TF: Prime has had its tenuous run in the toy aisles and now it’s time for Beast Hunters to replace it. You know what that means? All those TF: Prime figures that I couldn’t find because the pegs were clogged with Bumblebees and Cliffjumpers are now starting to show up in the Toy Graveyards better known as Marshalls and Ross. I scored quite a bit of Prime goodness on my last trip through there, and today I’m going to look at the best of my finds: Sergeant Kup. He’s a figure that I would have gladly paid $15 for if I found him at Target or Walmart, but as it turns out, I was destined to find him sitting at Ross for $6.99.
It’s been a while since we saw the TF: Prime packaging. I still dig it a lot. The extra-long card, the character art, the pleasing deco, it makes me want to buy any Prime figure that isn’t f’ing Bumblebee. This one includes a DVD with an episode of the show on it.
I saved the DVD, but I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet. Actually, I sat down and watched it just before posting this feature. I thought Dreadwing was pretty cool, but if I had to listen to Bulkhead call Wheeljack “Jackie” one more time, I think I would have vomited. Kup comes carded in his vehicle mode, so let’s start there.
Kup’s alt mode mingles with his G1 roots by being a greenish pick-up truck, only instead of having a Cybertron design, he’s definitely an Earth style vehicle. He has four doors and two big black drums in his bed, which convert into his guns. They can also be removed and pegged into his doors to give him some firepower in alt mode. He features clear windows, some nice coppery paint for his front grill and roof lightbar, and some light green accents on his hood and doors. With a little effort, you can even open his hood while he’s in his truck mode. Changing him to robot mode is pretty easy, despite some very clever engineering.
Man, do I dig Kup’s bot mode. He’s a little stocky, but he has a clean, humanoid design that is both original and inspired. Kup looks like he can take a pounding, as his head sits protected in his recessed engine compartment with part of the front bumper making his shoulders and a clear, faked-out windshield plate on his chest. The head sculpt is excellent and fits the character well. I’m not crazy about the way the hood hangs off his back, and it’s blatantly obvious that a simple hinge would have fixed this, but this figure already has more engineering than I’ve come to expect out of modern Deluxes, so I won’t complain too much. The sculpt itself is busy with detail and he’s a good example of how when used correctly with the right sculpt, even a moderate level of paint apps can make the figure look great.
What can Hasbro possibly do to make this figure any better? Give him a pair of great weapons. Kup comes with two big hand cannons. They don’t shoot anything, they don’t convert into anything, they just look great. He can clip them onto his arms, but I prefer him holding them. You can, however, combine them together to make one big cannon, which he can wield on his arm like a Megatron-style fusion cannon. Yes, these things are very cool and they even store sensibly in Kup’s alt mode.
Kup is easily my favorite of the Prime Deluxes in my collection, and it goes to show you that even Hasbro’s downsized Deluxes can make me happy. He’s a great mix of original engineering, fun articulation, thoughtful paintwork, and a great sculpt. He’s also brimming with personality, which is always a plus for me because I haven’t been into the Prime fiction at all. It’s a shame that poor casepack ratios and pegs choked with Bumblebees prevented this figure from seeing the light of day in my local toy aisles, but I certainly won’t complain about being able to pick him up for half price.