Headmaster Autobot's review: Reissue Kup
"The past is the greatest teacher
"Kup is an old veteran warhorse with a thousand tall tales from his ten thousand adventures. He has a motto or word of advice for any situation and he's as brave and loyal as they come. In robot mode, he carries an old-style musket laser that shoots short bursts of metal corrosive hydrochloric acid. Range: 5 miles. Speed: 100mph. Kup sees himself as a seasoned campaigner with more knowledge and experience to share. Other Autobots aren't always receptive to his advice.
Ah yes, Kup. Well-known as the 'Gruff old man' of the Autobots, which was a role filled by Ironhide in the first few years of the series. However, with Ironhide's death (a truly premature one, at that), Kup stepped in to fill his shoes (leg ports?). When I was but a wee lad, Kup was my favorite character next to Optimus Prime (because let's face it, the unwritten rule is that Optimus Prime, or perhaps Megatron, is your favorite. We all just choose other characters for flavour). I never had his toy (nor did I know it even existed), being raised just in time to grow up with the Beast Wars, but I always thought that an old man who could beat the crap out of the Insecticons and Sharkticons without breaking a sweat, as well as telling war stories to the uber-badass Dinobots was a recipe for success. Recently, I managed to secure my hands on the Japanese reissue, with Recoil and Wheelie. How does he measure up? Well, let's jump right in (and subsequently swing off of Blitzwing's turret, and, well, y'know where this is going).
Kup was one of many 1986 third-wave Transformers to sport a futuristic alt-mode. It looks Cybertronian (in fact, many of the Female Autobots sported an alt-mode similar to this), but as the story goes, it was Floro Dery's attempts at what vehicles would look like in 2007...yeah. Moving on, the colour scheme is supremely dated. Ah, but you see, that's exactly the point! This colour scheme (a pale blue-aqua number) is a hallmark of vintage cars. A colour like this fits like a glove for an old coot such as Kup. Adding to this colour is a darker aqua, used on the front (which, on this reissue, is die-cast metal), and a smattering of grey along the tailgate's sides. Speaking of which, being a reissue of the Tragetmaster rendition of Kup, this tailgate has a hole which can hold his Nebulon buddy Recoil as a sort of rear-mounted cannon. It can't really aim forward, but it's not too shabby. In addition, Kup's older Musket Laser can also peg in here. Matching his colour scheme, it looks sort of like an external engine bit. There are a few niggling details, such as a semblance of feet at the back of the truck, and a lack of a real grill, but overall this truck mode is a good representation of the '86 lineup (unlike a few other 'futuristic' vehicles *COUGH*Springer*COUGH*), especially when it has the metal/rubber tires like this reissue does.
That sound you hear is the confused grunts of those viewing Kup's wrinkly, dissatisfied face. Yes, a robot with wrinkles. That's beyond the scope of this review, so let's move on, shall we? This robot form is fairly well formed, with legs of a good length, and arms with reasonable proportions, despite the fact that the shoulders sit rather low, sticking out where one's armpits typically would be. His backpack is pretty frakkin' big, but there are many TFs with far worse problems going on in that area. One minor gripe I have is that the truck bed gets loose very quickly, and flops down onto his legs. One way to resolve this is to take the bed, and fold it up, pushing it between the tires present on his back. This holds the flap in place very well, and while having the problem is annoying, being able to resolve it means it doesn't really hurt Kup in any way.
His articulation is really good for 1986 (imagine that, the old rust bucket being ahead of his time), with about five joints per arm, which means he can basically do whatever your heart desires with them, so he can punch out some Insecticon clones, aim his gun, and even shake his fist at turbo-revvin' young punks that he'll no doubt straighten out. However, the legs definitely show their age, i.e. they have no movement whatsoever. His head CAN move, but not in the way you'd think. A hinge, most likely intended in some odd way for his transformation, lets him nod. That's it. So, Kup will sadly be relegated to agreeing to Rodimus Prime's orders, no matter how badly he disagrees. Another quick note is that the back of his head is perfectly flat, again for the transformation. It's far from a deal-breaker, but it certainly caught me off guard.
As for weaponry, Kup comes with his aforementioned Musket Laser, and his Targetmaster Recoil (who also turns in a Musket Laser). The Musket Laser is nothing special, with a cool colour scheme and a good sculpt. Nothing to write home about. RECOIL, however, is much more interesting. Turning from a black/grey Nebulon into a gun. This gun is one of only two (the other being Crosshairs' partner, Pinpointer) that has two hinges to transform, which makes for a much longer gun, as opposed to the two-barreled boxes that most other Targetmasters had. Recoil's Nebulon mode is nice, but there's really no reason not to keep him in gun mode, as he has no poseability at all (well, he CAN bow). Overall, some nice weaponry here, and having two guns means you can give one to one of your incomplete Transformers, if a battle on your living room floor occurs and Broadside could REALLY use a gun.
All in all, the robot mode is the definition of 'solid'. He's got nothing major going against him, but he lacks the spark (NO, not a Sparkabot) that makes him truly memorable as a toy.
Marks out of ten for the following
- 9/10. The '86 Transformers began a tidal wave of nearly impossible to break robots. Aside from the truck bed, pretty much nothing can go astray if he, say, fell off a shelf.
- 7/10 if you're not a fan, 10/10 if you are. The fact that he can shake his fist at the young 'uns gives him endless amounts of fun, but he's not incredibly interesting to the casual goer.
- I got this guy (with both of his weapons, Wheelie, and his rubber tires and die-cast) MIB for an astonishing $15. If you get lucky like that, a perfect 10/10, otherwise 7/10. Again, not a lot of interest for a casual fan.
- While the '86 TFs giveth with one hand with their durability, they taketh away with the other, and are very easy to transform. A very simple conversion, with a couple of unique spots, giving him a 6/10.
- It all depends if you like the character or not. He's easily a recommendation to anyone to even remotely likes the guy, but anyone who is less well-versed with the post-movie characters will find less appeal. A compromising 7.5/10. Recommended.