I’m just gonna start this post right off by apologizing to Kup. I have heavily discounted him as a character ever since I was a kid. To me he was always that “You kids get off my lawn!”, old, know-it-all that every kid hated. His original G1 toy didn’t do much to dissuade me either, with his pudgy, wrinkle-filled face.
True to form, however, had I just paid attention, I would have seen that Kup may be a know-it-all, and not up for all the shenanigans of these turbo-revving young punks, but he could also kick some serious amounts of tailpipe. It was all right there in the movie.
What really woke me up to the fact that Kup truly is a battle-hardened warrior, was his portrayal in recent comic book series.
I remember reading some of these issues and thinking that maybe I had missed something. Upon reviewing the movie, I began to see it all, from his first little moment of action– the iconic scene where he jumps on Blitzwing and pulls the triple-changer’s cannon up, causing Blitzwing to miss his Autobot target and hit a fellow Decepticon instead. Kup then does a tidy little dismount as both Decepticons go tumbling down the side of a mountain. All-in-all, a pretty cool scene.
The next thing I remember thinking after reading the comics was, “Oh, cute, because we’re playing up the battle-hardened warrior part, now he chomps on the Transformers equivalent of a cigar?” Then the comics even explained the cigar; after Kup is stranded on a poisonous planet in Spotlight: Kup, he develops a nasty addiction. Prowl — in a morally questionable moment of “executive decision” — replaces this harmful addiction with something called a “Cy-Gar”.
So, for me, lesson learned. Don’t judge a book by its old, leathery, worn, creased cover. This was the perfect time, of course, for Hasbro to announce that they were releasing an updated version of Kup in the Generations line. Now named “Sergeant Kup”, trademark issues weren’t this new design’s only problem. Another was, to be quite frank, his face.
I can only assume that the designer was aiming for “angry, yelling drill sergeant”, but unfortunately instead they landed squarely in “equal parts terrified-looking and emaciated, walking death”. Seeing a definite gap between the design we had all come to know and love in the cartoon and comic books and what had been delivered, 3rd party creator I-Gear jumped on the opportunity with their “Kup 01” set.
And boy did they jump on it. Each set actually comes with two replacement heads, both absolutely flawless renditions. The first one, “angry, yelling drill sergeant” done right.
The second head, however, is the pièce de résistance.
They actually went and gave him his Cy-Gar!
Naturally, I’ll be leaving the cy-gar head on for a while, though the cy-gar itself is terrifyingly small and seems easy to break, so we’ll see how long before I swap it out for the drill sergeant head. Until then, mind-blowingly amazing display piece it is!
My G1 Kup is the Japanese 2005 Transformers Collection reissue that came with both his Targetmaster partner, Recoil, as well as his original “Musket Laser” (it also happened to come with a redecoed Wheelie for some reason). The Generations release pokes a little fun at the concept of a “Musket Laser” by coming with a “Laser Musket” that is actually shaped like a musket.
Though it would have been cooler if we had gotten an updated version of his Targetmaster partner, like the updated version of Nightstick that came with Generations and RtS Cyclonus.
Because the Targetmaster version of G1 Kup had larger hand holes to be able to hold the standard-sized peg of his Targetmaster partner, the original “Musket Laser” weapon is also modified to have a bigger post. This means it too can fit in either Kup’s hands or on his alt mode. Generations Kup’s gun, however, makes use of the new “C joint” system, to clip on at several points.
Luckily, for those of us that find this a little too… redneck looking (I mean, really? A shotgun affixed to the roof of a pickup truck?), you can also attach Generations Kup’s gun to the underside of his alt mode, where the barrell makes a second exhaust pipe.
Speaking of alt modes, one thing has always bugged me about Kup. His name, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is a play on “PicKUP” as in pick-up truck.
There is no bed or tailgate on G1 Kup. How is he supposed to be a pickup truck? Even a futuristic pickup truck? He’s got far less “pick up” and far more “slide off the back onto the road”.