Oh Takara, you rascally scamps. Sure, for the longest time, I’ve been a Takara Snob of sorts. I certainly like to pick up the Takara G1 toys if possible, and I always (except Bruticus) double down by buying both Hasbro AND Takara version of the new stuff. Generally I don’t mind paying the import mark up because there’s typically a significant change in color scheme. With the exception of Unite Warriors Bruticus, this generally is more appealing to me. But now, they’ve upped the game a bit. For the Combiner Wars and Titans Return toys (Unite Warriors and Headmasters in Takara’s line) they’ve been using the Cartoon accurate colors for the toys (where as Hasbro, equally as nice, has been sticking to the G1 Toy colors). With Target Master Kup (Or Chear in the Japanese Cannon), They’ve given him his Target Master….AND A NEW FACE.
Look, I’ve already stated for the record that I love Titans Return Kup. I still do. As a IDW based head sculpt with a G1 Toy colored body, he’s a great toy. Takara is just going a bit above and beyond here, and honestly, for the price, they should. Let’s start with he colors. Takara’s initial stock photos sorta depicted him as all grey. He’s not. He’s actually a gorgeous mesh of dark and pale teal, like he is in the cartoon. Everything seems painted, even though it’s not. The plastic is molded in both shades but they do a great job of color matching the paint apps. Everything looks crisp and clean with just a few tiny spots (usually at the joints) where there’s imperfections. But that’s not all, look at his arms:
Except for the fists, they’re brand new, and molded to look like the old-model-esque look of the cartoon design. I’ll admit too, the added color does help break up the arms a bit. The new face sculpt is just about perfect.
My only nit-pick, which is pretty minor, is that I feel like he’s almost smiling. Otherwise it’s entirely cartoon accurate and looks amazing.
Over all, it’s just a very impressive improvement over an already great toy.
Recoil himself is also entirely incredible. For a tiny Target Master, he features ball jointed shoulders, individually moveable legs, with ball jointed knees and an incredibly detailed paint job (especially on his face!). You can even rotate his head but it requires lifting up the gun barrels a bit.
Now it’s important to point out that because this is a Takara toy, the Headmaster figure is not considered an individual character, but Kup himself. Whether you subscribe to the Hasbro Cannon or the Japanese, it really doesn’t matter because he’s also very painted perfectly!
It is also worth pointing out that while Hasbro G1 Kup was a Targetmaster, in the Japanese cannon he was not. The included comic portrays Recoil as a Kiss Player (I think) who becomes a Targetmaster. We’ll just ignore that…
Vehicle comparison shows that the Takara version has quite a few added paint apps. Again, this is part of the increased cost. Before you start complaining about those unpainted tail lights on Hasbro’s version, think about paying $35 for a deluxe. I do like both and again, I just love this vehicle design.
We also get treated to the upgraded packaging, which is always well presented and nicely laid out.
And again there’s the comic included. Basically Recoil shoots bolts that make enemies super friendly. Again, the comics can be…weird and the Legends Cannon is all sorts of goofy, so just take it for what it is.
So would I recommend Targetmaster Kup? Yes. But, you have to be willing to pay quite a bit more for a deluxe toy. In this case (and it appears the rest of the Titans Return toys done by Takara), there’s certainly a valid argument for it. I have zero complaints about this toy so its easy to recommend. You may ask, what do I do with my Hasbro guys? It depends. Hasbro’s Kup will find his way to my IDW/LSOTW Shelf with Twin Twist and Top Spin. Other guys (like Ravage) I put into the Takara boxes for display.
(I KNOW I STILL HAVE TO DO TRYPTICON!)