Friday, 14 April 2017

Titans Return Kup with Flintlock

Titans Return Kup with Flintlock

Kup's last release was as Generations Sergeant Kup where the line was taking the Movie characters and giving them more contemporary Earth vehicle modes. Blurr & Scourge have very similar updates in that line leading to Titans Return Blurr & Scourge being done giving them their more familiar vehicle modes. With Hot Rod, another 1986 Movie toy that was Targetmastered in 1987, following in Wave 4 it was inevitable that Kup would follow. The Titans Return Kup was first revealed in the final TFCC magazine in December 2016 with further toy pictures following on Oddly, I don't believe Kup's official renders have ever been released to websites by Hasbro.

The original Targetmaster Kup came with a Nebulon called Recoil which acted as his Targetmaster. He's been translated into Kup's Titanmaster on the new version of the toy but, apparently due to trademark reasons, the Titanmaster is called Flintlock, a name used previously on Dual Targetmaster Flintlock, one of Landfill's weapons. Confusing! Flintlock is an almost all grey robot with just his mint green chest breaking the grey up. He transforms into a reasonable impersonation of Kup's head, though some feel the sides of the helmet intrude over his cheeks too much.

The robot for the Kup toy is rather odd, it's almost as if someone's taken a look at Kup and tried to do the upper body with just straight lines. Kup's always had round arms, even on his original toy, and to see them squared off is most peculiar. I thought that even before I saw the remoulds on Legends LG-46 but due to tardiness didn't get it written down before then! The chest is just as bad: Kup's always had a more projecting at the top, sloping in as you go down chest to him, on toy, animation and comics design. A straight, almost square flat chest doesn't work for him at all! The legs as well are traditionally straight up and down so it's something of a surprise to be seeing him with much bulkier lower legs. The colour balance is slightly peculiar too: mint arms where I'd have expected grey, which doesn't help the squared off look there. The mint is also used in patches on the lower legs with some grey paint and some aquamarine, which also appears in it's usual position on the chest.

Kup comes with two mirror image guns that feel a lot shorter than many Titans Return weapons. Each has an open barrel that looks like it should hold a 5mm peg but doesn't. The guns lock together to form a dual cannon that a Titanmaster can sit in the top of while it's being held. There's a pair of 5mm peg holes on his back for storing the weapon in combined mode, or separately, plus a peg hole on each ankle for the individual weapons.

Articulation: Ball jointed neck from the Titanmaster, shoulders which shrug up at the body and are ball jointed at the arms. Bicep swivel, double bending elbows and hands that oddly swing out to the sides as part of the transformation. His waist turns, there's ball jointed hips, thigh swivels, bending knees and an ankle pivot for the foot.

Transformation: Oh this is a bit interesting: remove the weapons and the Titanmaster. Straighten the arms and legs. Fold the body back 90° at the waist, then fold the clear chest front up at the top of the body. Fold the vehicle's front out of the chest and tab into the waist. Close the canopy back onto the upper part of the body and fold forward till it meets the nose. Fold the hands outwards as far as they'll go. Bend the elbow 180° so the front of the lower arm lies against the front of the upper arm and the peg on the shoulder recesses into the small hole on the wrist. Rotate the arms forward & up 90°at the shoulder ball joint and then fold the body's shoulder joints in 90° so the arms meet each other on the top of the robot's neck and the tabs on them slot into slots on the top of the body. Rotate the waist 180°. Untab the car nose from the waist and then fold back 180° so the waist is under the folded back hands. Fold the panels on the top of the flat bed, what was the front of the legs, forward 180° towards the cab. Fold the outer panel on the leg, with a wheel embedded in it, back 90° so it sticks out to the side and is level with the bottom of the leg with it's folded in foot. Fold the bottom of the leg back 90° so it, and the outer leg panel, are level with the inner leg panel. Fold the inner leg panel out & forward 180° to form the entire side of the vehicle. Tab the flatbed plates together and fold up the rear of the vehicle. Tab the sides of the vehicle into the cab. Sit the Titanmaster in the vehicle's cab.

The leg transformation is radio rental and reminds me very much of the origami insanity which was the Prime Vehicon!

Seeing this side by side with the original Kup with both toys in vehicle mode it becomes clear the new toy is a crackingly good redo of Kup's original vehicle mode, albeit one that blatantly has the arms folded up against the cab! The weapons can be mounted individually on the sides of the vehicle, using the peg holes that were on the lower legs, or in parallel on the flat bed, courtesy of a pair of 5mm holes. The weapons can also be combined together and mounted via one of the handle in one of the holes, emulating how Recoil worked with the original Targetmaster Kup's vehicle mode, but unfortunately off centre enough to really annoy you. The holes there could almost do with being a lot closer together. The flatbed also has 3 pairs of Titanmaster pegs, one pair fully on each side designed so the Titanmaster can stand behind the weapon and fire it off to one side, and one pair with a peg on each half of the flatbed so the Titanmater stands in the middle. The flatbed here feels far more useful than the one on the original toys did! I never really saw the point of it until the Targetmaster mounted on it on the revised version and never grasped he was meant to be a pickup truck till much later. This feels like a better vehicle than the original in that respect.

So.... Decent vehicle mode but slightly odd robot mode that somehow doesn't feel quite like Kup. There's a nagging feeling in the back of my head that Hasbro want to use Kup for something else, probably a Targetmaster Crosshairs retool. The problem with that is one of the odder bits of the Kup robot design, the arms, would be one of the main things I'd change to make Crosshairs.

Legends LG-46 Target Master Kup

On April 5th 2017 news broke that Sharkticon, Hot Rodimus and Kup would be the September 2017 Legends releases with some speculation over the Target Master description given to both Hot Rodimus & Kup. Neither toy was released as a Targetmaster in Japan in 1986 but their Transformers Collection reissues were each modified to allow them to use both their original and Targetmaster guns. Official Images followed 5 days later revealing a new Targetmaster companion in addition to the existing Titanmaster plus a number of colour and moulding changes. Kup's head design changes and he receives new, rounded, arm pieces. However at the same time he takes on an all grey colour scheme, reminiscent of how he appeared in the US cartoon story The Rebirth.

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