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Sergeant Kup

Transformers: Prime
by yo go re

Why the eff isn't this Ironhide?!

Sergeant Kup is one of the most experienced soldiers in the Autobot army. There's a rumor among younger Autobots that he's laserproof. The aging soldier has a habit of walking calmly through even the thickest crossfire to deliver advice or encouragement to raw recruits cowering under cover. The robots that serve under him think he might have a screw loose somewhere, but they'd still gladly follow him anywhere. His commanding voice and centuries of experience are an inspiration to everyone who meets him.

At a glance, this figure makes sense. Kup's altmode, as we learned last time, is a pickup truck, and this toy is a pickup truck as well. The downsizing of Transformers is really evident here, since the truck isn't even 4½" long and barely 2" high by 2⅛" wide. Tiny, tiny truck. It's a green body with brighter stripes on the doors and a silver grill.

Compared to Generations Kup, Prime Kup is very blocky. We're not talking perfect right angles or anything, but there are definitely more corners than there are sleek, curving lines. The last one looked like a concept truck from an auto show - this one is more like the kind of rugged truck you'd see out in the real world. The bed of the truck is ridiculously short, though - the engine takes up ⅓ of the overall length, the cab ⅓, and the bed a final ⅓. Really, the bed should be about half the length of the entire thing. But it's not like Kup would be good for hauling anything anyway, since there's a giant hole all the way through to the ground.

Hasbro doesn't have the instructions for Kup up on their website, but he's easy to manage. Lift the entire hood/roof area up off the body of the truck, then fold the hood back against the windshield. Pull the doors out to the side, slide up the panel that reveals his head, split the bed of the truck to form legs, then rotate the feet down. spread the shoulder pads, raise the arms, and finish up by dropping the front end over his shoulders.

There's a little bit in this figure that says "Kup" when you look at it - the windshield on the chest, the collar/frame around the neck, etc. - but that's helped mainly by the coloring. If not for that, there'd be absolutely no question that this toy was meant to be Ironhide. He was designed to be Ironhide, he was announced as Ironhide, he's listed in stores' computers as Ironhide... but he's painted green and the package says Kup. And so that's who we have to judge him as.

The worst part about it is the head. You know how Hasbro will release a Transformer, and the instructions will show a different head, and then fans will debate about who the second head will represent when the repaint comes out? Well, that's not what happened here. This head is unmistakably Ironhide from the get-go, without an ounce of Kup to be seen.

And it's a shame, too, because the body is pretty decent (if a little too skinny). The limbs look large and powerful, and have the same kind of angular look as the truck. Most of the kibble is well integrated, but the hood of the truck just sticks off the back of the figure in the worst way possible. Someone designed 95% of a good Transformer, then realized they hadn't done anything with the hood but only had 10 minutes to turn in their design. And if Hasbro's cutting back this much on plastic, they're probably not springing for overtime, either.

In keeping with the "this isn't Kup and you're dumb if you think it is" theme that Hasbro's smacking us with, Kup's weapons are clearly based on the cannons movie Ironhide had - they even mount on the arms the same way, and can be combined into one giant super gun. The stock photo shows them with some silver paint apps on the tips, but in production they're just plain black. They can be mounted on the truck, at which point they look like rockets. Rocket truck!

The toy itself isn't terrible - other than the hood kibble, it's well designed and (mostly) fun to play with. But what was clearly a last-minute change of character just drags this one down. You don't want to buy Kup. He's not in the show, barely in the videogames, and hardly even present in this toy. If you must have the mold, get the Takara release, which retains its intended Ironhidedness, but don't feel like you're missing anything if you skip it entirely.

-- 01/15/13

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