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Okay! Time for the new molds, and I'm starting at the low end, which happens to be Kup. It's not really all that long ago that we had an official first showing of this, as covered by Ben Yee, and my feelings on it have been divided. On getting it in hand now, I have to say... well, I'm still divided, but maybe not in the same ways. So, positives: Kup has a little more articulation than is currently standard. As a result of the needs of transformation, you get double jointed elbows that let the forearms fold flat against the biceps. It's nice to have the added bit of useful poseability in there, even if it's not just for its own sake. Sadly that's about the only place articulation is remarkable.
Or at least, positively remarkable. The shoulders get mild negative note due to some restriction of movement. The arms can't raise out to the sides completely because of these flared edges on the back of the shoulders. It's offset by transformation joints being able to take over and compensate, but it still doesn't look quite as good.
The bicep swivels on this copy are pretty stiff. Enough to start to obstruct easy posing. And the wrists hinge outward for transformation. Everything else is pretty ordinary.
You get a waist swivel, which on this one is looser than I'd like to see.
The hip ball joints have good tension, and a decent but not impressive range of motion. The thigh swivels have about the feel I wanted out of the bicep and waist swivels, so at least that turned out.
And the knees are single hinged, going only to a 90 degree bend.
The toes point down, as a function of how they move for transformation.
I suppose I can offer some credit here in that the robot mode is pretty clean. With exception of the wheels on the lower legs, any visible vehicle bits are very low profile and integrate nicely within the body. There's not even a hint of backpack. Though there are a pair of 5mm ports if you want to add some backpack.
The lower legs are a little bit busy. In fact they're easily the most visually cluttered part of the toy. In one context this makes them a little out of place. But there's another context that I feel excuses this. Stay tuned. But really the only reason there's visual clutter is because several colors all converge at that point. In terms of sculpt detail and aesthetic, they basically conform to the rest. And that's also a factor here: Kup feels a little light on sculpt detail.
Take the arms. They have very little happening on a visual level. Partly you can blame the deco since they're majorly a single color. But there's barely even any panel lining. Worse, the plastic color does not seem very good at showing those shallower levels of detail, so it looks even worse.
The layers of material in the torso at least make that pop a bit. Though how the inner bits are arranged, and having a very transparent window over them can start to make the body read weird. Meanwhile, around the collar you have this dense level of detail which actually does feel out of place.
Some deco modification could probably help some of these points, at least disguise them a bit. Like, there's a molded frame at the bottom of the torso window, which if that was painted would help fill in some of the negative space of the body. That kind of thing. The deco is a weakness in general, I think. The colors skew towards the G1 toy, which is a perfectly valid direction to go, but I won't pretend I don't want something more cartoon. Or a fusion of the two, as long as it looked more interesting when it was done. But there's more specific things to look at. Making the shins less of a conglomeration of various colors would make it more coherent as single structures.
And a sure issue will be the head, the coloring of which is firmly rooted in the old toy. And as such happens to also line up with the Marvel comics. But all the same, the face sculpt is probably gonna be its own source of complaints. This too might be inspired by the toy, but I just don't see Kup when I look at it.
Flintlock, the Titan Master manages two plastic colors for its body, but naturally has no paint. However, the sculpting for Flintlock's face is unusually sharp. Although that seems immediately offset by the turquoise nylon making up the torso giving a super soft appearance.
But hey, it's time for another positive thing, which is the transformation!
Point the fists out.
Fold the arms over on themselves.
Peg together the shoulders and wrists.
Point the elbows forward.
Lift the arms on top of the collar, and tab them in place.
Bend the torso back, away from the waist.
Then lift the panel above the pelvis, and hinge everything forward.
Fold the torso back until it clicks in place.
Lift the windshield, bring out the hood, and close the windshield to help hold it in place.
Now hinge the unfolded torso back.
Rotate the waist.
Fold in the feet.
Lift the shin panels.
Unfold the leg, starting at the wheel well.
Then swing the entire unfolded lower leg assembly around to the opposite side.
Fold down the shin panels so they fit under the fists, and close up the "tailgate" panels, and tabs the sides together.
Then tab the fenders in the sides of the hood to finish.
So I absolutely have to give the toy credit there, the transformation is actually quite engaging, and is a welcome move far away from what became a tired formula of transformations based on what almost all of Combiner Wars was doing out of necessity. This is an example of something I want to see more of, because it's about as far from "arms on the sides, legs in back" as is reasonably possible without getting needlessly overwrought and/or killing the budget.
The vehicle mode is not a bad adaptation of Kup's sci-fi truck form. The basic cues are present, though not exactly the same.
Like, Kup is either a flatbed, or has a very low profile bed with a cover over it. Given the kind of surface detailing the bed has, I'm leaning toward the flatbed answer.
The bed holds a lot of the flaws of this mode. Many panel gaps, obviously. Also those hands. Just... sitting there. One might make a case for the arms being all out in the open back there, but they're at least generic enough to look possibly structural.
There's a bit of good detailing to be had. Evident storage compartments around the outside of the bed, (unpainted) tail lights.
Generic greebling is added along the sides to help mask the feet in there. I'm cool with that. It's an obvious effort, at least.
The color layout of the robot mode makes a little more sense seeing how things land in this mode. The color difference between cab and bed looks good here. The result in the robot mode is still mildly unfortunate though. I appreciate having painted hubcaps, even on the back wheels which you will never see more than one-sixth of at any given moment.
Some more paint is hiding here too. Those wheels? They're transparent. Same plastic as the windshield. The inside surfaces of the wheels are painted black to try to hide this. But it only works partially, and only from specific angles. An outside paint dip would have been better, but I'll give them a point for trying things.
The windshield closes down tight, but helpfully there is a small notch on the left front corner so you have someplace to pop it up from. The driver compartment is quite spacious. But not well detailed.
It also has no means of securing a Titan Master in place. Even with the windshield down, Flintlock or anyone else can rattle about inside. Needs seatbelts. And on the subject...
The bed has pegs for up to three more Titan Masters. It's a bit of a squeeze to get three on here at once, but it's doable.
Let's talk accessories. Kup's got a mirrored pair of guns, as so many Titans Return figures do.
I find these particularly unattractive to use individually, because the seat space on them is huge.
Combined, there's still a giant gap, but it's easier to ignore with the sides closed.
There are 5mm ports on the side panels of the truck for the guns to plug in, but the real storage spot is the bed where they kind of try to fill in the sides.
But they can serve a purpose, as each half can seat a Titan Master thanks to the one foot peg on either side. Slightly more secure than standing three on the deck.
Oh, and in robot mode, remember those 5mm ports on the back? They're perfectly spaced so the dual gun can plug in there.
So, like I said, Kup has a few isolated positives working for it. But everything else idles at mostly unremarkable. Leaving the matter of deco aside, there is very little I would call outright bad from an engineering point of view. The toy is not flawed, or anything dramatic like that. heck, if it had an interesting flaw, it might make me like it more. The truth is, outside the moments when I'm changing between modes, Kup does little to hold my attention. It's a bad case of being just a bit too ordinary and not offering enough special that can hold on to my interest. I do think an enhanced deco could tip the scales on it towards the positive, so it'll be interesting to see what TakaraTomy might do with it. Eventually. Don't take this as me recommending against buying it, because of course your mileage will vary. And the transformation is quite slick. If you want a G1-looking Kup update, this'll have you well covered. It just might not do much more than that for you.
|Date||February 2nd 2017|
|Score||(6 out of 10)|
|Link||Titans Return Deluxe Sergeant Kup & Flintlock|
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