Given the previews I had seen of this year's toys, I was expecting 2011 to be a year for Star Wars and Masters of the Universe Classics. But the Star Wars wave that might have lured me back, namely the ROTJ Vintage Collection with Admiral Ackbar and Gammorean Guard, was a no-show in my local stores. And the debacle I went through to get Grizzlor (along with my growing indifference for the line) pretty much killed MOTUC for me. That leaves a big void that's just waiting to be filled by some toy property. Maybe Transformers will be that property. I've been really impressed with the line recently, especially the Generations subline with its interesting take on classic characters like this Sergeant Kup.
As a side note, G1 Kup was the only TF I owned from the movie wave. I just didn't dig the styling of either the vehicles or the robots of the movie but I did like Kup.... for some reason. His robot form was pretty doofy and his alternate mode was reminiscent of a Cybertronian El Camino. Not exactly the most heroic of Transformers. Still, I'm nostalgic for Kup, so this Generations upgrade was a must-buy. Let's check him out!
Size: 6" tall (robot mode)
Price: $14 at Toys R Us
Kup has never looked better. His proportions perfectly fit my requirements for a cool-looking Transformer: big feet, smallish head, and triangular torso. There are elements of his alt form evident in robot mode (another requirement for a cool TF) like the front tires and head lights, and the head and chest even harken back to the G1 Kup (in a cool way). The paint apps are sharp and there's some nice color variation among the teals and grays to give the figure an interesting coloration. If you told me back in the day that my doofy G1 Kup would inspire something as cool-looking as this figure, I would have thought you were crazy.
Kup's alt mode, a pickup truck, looks good and is appropriate to the character. And I really like what Hasbro is doing with the hands these days, sculpting them in such a way as to make them look less like blocks with a hole drilled in them and more like real robo-hands.
Gone are the days of the relatively static G1 Kup. Sgt. Kup has a nice range of movement:
- Ball-socket neck
- Swivel-hinge shoulders
- Swivel biceps
- Hinge elbows
- Swivel wrists
- Ball-socket hips
- Swivel thighs
- Hinge knees
- Swivel ankles (with limited lateral movement)
He would have scored a perfect 5 if he had waist articulation. As I mentioned previously, a swivel waist can go a long way to create dynamic poses.
Kup comes with a long "laser musket" for blasting Decepticons. The musket goes well with Kup's veteran personality and you can incorporate it into the truck mode either by storing it underneath the truck as a tail pipe or by attaching it to the top of the truck as a laser cannon.
ValueI used to think that Transformers were too pricey to collect, but with Star Wars figures running anywhere from $8 to $10, DC Universe Classics pushing $15, and Masters of the Universe Classics clocking in at a whopping $20 each, suddenly Transformers aren't all that expensive anymore. If you wanted to push the cost justification further, I guess you could say that you're getting two toys for the price of one: a truck and a robot. I guess.
Even though we fanboys have a tendency to identify everything from the 80's as super awesome, let's be honest. G1 Kup was in no way, shape, or form a cool Transformer. He was the Mekaneck of the Transformers universe. But this Sgt. Kup figure somehow takes the essence of the G1 character and updates it into a super-cool action hero mingled with the personality of a seasoned veteran. It's kind of weird, in a way. Part of me thinks that Kup has no business being this cool.
Kup's only problem is that he's kind of a pain to Transform. You could usually transform the G1 toys in only a few seconds so they easily changed from robot to vehicle and back again during playtime. Kup's transformation is considerably more complex and there are so many moving panels that you have to "squish" all the panels together to fold the robot into the truck form. I think the transformation time can get quicker with practice, but I'm just not sure if it's as playable as the G1 Transformers. Maybe I'm wrong, though... maybe kids these days are capable of dealing with the more complicated transformations and I'm just an old fogey who can't keep up with today's Transformer technology.