As an avid collector of Generation 1 Transformers, I tend not to get any of the modern remakes of the original toys unless a character demands a more cartoon-accurate figure (Ratchet), reissues are unlikely (Sunstreaker), or the figure is a really damned good version of one I don't already own (Hound). My brother has the Japanese reissue of Kup—the crotchety old soldier introduced as one of the main new Autobots in Transformers: The Movie back in 1986—but the old school Kup’s robot mode wasn’t quite up there with that of contemporaries Hot Rod and Blurr. So when Hasbro announce it was finally releasing a new Kup as part of its Generations line this year, I knew it was one of my only new must-haves.
Packaged under the more copyright-friendly moniker of Sergeant Kup, what immediately disappointed me about the figure was that he’s been given a new alternate mode. Kup was originally a futuristic pickup truck with a distinctive design, but Sergeant Kup is now just a plain ordinary pickup you’d see out on the road. One of the main disadvantages of this change is that the figure now can’t replicate the old transformation scheme, meaning it has to “fake” the original design elements like the original truck front end becoming the robot chest, a design technique I abhor. Furthermore, the panels that make up the sides of the truck mode can be frustrating to deal with during the conversion process. I plan to keep the figure in robot mode, so ultimately these aren’t as big of issues to me, but I imagine they can be irksome to others.
Once in robot mode, Kup looks pretty cool, especially armed with his giant new rifle. The rifle features this c-hook/balljoint attachment (common in recent Transformers releases) allowing it to affix to the roof and arm panels; it's cute, but no better than peghole technology, in my opinion. Sure, Kup’s got more heroic torso proportions (look at the V-shaped torso) and bigger feet than I’d like, but overall it’s a great rendition of the character. That is, except for the arms. Saddled with cumbersome front tires and truck side panels as part of the transformation, the figure is further hampered by some wonky joints. The shoulders keep wanting to push down and inward whenever you move them, and the ridiculous double-elbow joints (hinged for up-and-down movement in the middle of the bicep, but only for inward movement in the forearm) are the worst I have ever seen on a figure I own. They look like they should be balljoints instead (I find myself instinctively trying to move them as I they were), and I really wish they were.
I’ve found Hasbro’s most recent updated Generation 1 designs under the Generations banner not as enticing as efforts in the preceding Classics and Universe lines. I hoped Kup would be an exception to that, as he’s one of the characters I felt most needed a new figure. I’m largely pleased the figure (the head in particular looks great), but looking at that torso which is only a facsimile of the original truck mode and dealing with those terrible arms, I know a better job could have been done.