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Ask Matty February 15th
Link Roundup



Ask Matty – February 15th Edition

DCClassics.Com Asks: If redecos are going to be part of the All-Stars lineup, has Mattel given any thought to directly polling the collectorbase for repaint ideas? Allowing collectors to provide some direct feedback or participate in a poll with limited scope (like no changes to paint masks) would encourage company and collector relations while letting the consumers feel like they have a hand in the usually less desirable repaints.

All-Stars are actually a combo of new figures and reissues. There will be no redecos.

ItsAllTrue.Net Asks: We haven’t heard much about Ghostbusters since the cancellation of Club Ecto-1, how is the Rookie figure coming along and has his accessory list been finalized?

You will see the Rookie at NYTF’s collector event.

Editor’s Note: In case you’re actually interested in this figure, allow me to go ahead and do the footwork here. The Rookie has been moved up in the schedule, he’s now before Dana and is currently slated for April. From the pics at Toy Fair, it appears he’ll include a deactivated PKE and closed trap on his belt, the proton stream attachment, the ghost trap with a new orange effects piece, and new goggles from the game.

DCClassics.Com Asks: Has any progress been made on finding a way to release Nekron’s scythe? After snapping up all of Wave 20 and building Nekron, he still feels like he’s a missing a piece since his accessory is integral to his look.

Having to delete this accessory was not something any of us wanted to do, but the skyrocketing cost of labor and raw materials made it an unfortunate victim. We are looking into ways to release it since it is sculpted, but as of yet we have not found a way. Had the 2012 sub sold better we would be able to look into adding things like Weapon packs, but as of now, we only have enough subscribers to basically “keep the lights on” and are not able to add any additional items yet. We’ll have to see how day of sales go and more importantly now the 2013 sub sales go this July.

MOTUClassics.Com: Fans are happy to finally have Demo-Man in-hand, but we’re still left knowing next to nothing about the character. You know we’ll keep reading the bios, but are there future bios in the pipeline that will shed more light on Demo-Man or the Fighting Foe Men?

Yes, you will find out more in time!

MOTUClassics.Com Asks: With interchangeable parts coming back into style, are Mattel and the Four Horsemen making a more concentrated effort to look for interchangeability in MOTU figures? Fisto is awesome, but his inability to part share with Roboto & Trap Jaw ended up being a drawback. Will future figures have that aspect more carefully considered so opportunities aren’t missed?

Fisto was never intended to share parts with Roboto or Trap Jaw. We leave these choices up to the Four Horsemen.

Editor’s Note: When we asked about interchangeability after Fisto was shown, we were told “Terry Higuchi from design is still working this out“. In October, it was “likely that is what we’ll do“. And when they didn’t include it, it’s become a choice “left up to the Four Horsemen”. If this really is a choice left up to the Four Horsemen, why was Terry Higuchi working on it last year? Should we be directing our interchangeability requests to the 4H directly and bypassing Mattel? Does the Mattel Answer team know that all the past Q&A’s are still available to be referenced? All these questions…

We need your questions for the next round!
Submit your suggestions on the ItsAllTrue.net Forums…

Ask Mattel Around the Web: Red Links Are Active

64 comments to Ask Matty February 15th
Link Roundup

  • Clay

    Oh, Matty.

    Well, at least with that last editor’s note you’ve already more than half of the next Q&A questions covered…

  • He-Mullet

    I’ve banged my head so hard to my desk while reading this Q&A… at this rate My forehead’s gonna look like this:
    http://cdn.pimpmyspace.org/media/pms/c/gp/pv/v8/colon.jpg

  • Reminds me how they swore up and down last month that they wouldn’t ship any figures until 100% of the shipment had arrived…and promptly started shipping Fisto and Shadow Weaver this month before 100% of the shipment had arrived.

    I’m fairly certain the same people don’t do every Q&A every other week.

    • dayraven

      this has been my opinion for a while as well, the months when we get actual answers, we’re hearing from a whole different team.

      as for noisy’s notes (i think these should become regular additions, BTW 🙂 ) well… they pretty much say it all don’t they? apparently, “these choices are left up to the horsemen” is the new “logistics”

      • They really do leave a lot up to the Horsemen though. The 4 Horsemen don’t work for Mattel, they’re sub-contracted by Mattel. They work out of their own studio in their own state (New Jersey), far away from the Mattel offices where their in house sculpting team works.

        So a lot of design decisions are left to them. It’s why they work with the Horsemen so much; they trust them enough to give them the best figure they want. Of course if they do something that Mattel doesn’t want in a figure, they will ask them to change it, or if they sculpt too many accessories, they can choose not to use them all if it’s too expensive.

        • Um…

          hurm.

          No, never mind.

        • Brainlock

          Of course, half the technical/logistics “decisions” are made AFTER they’ve left the 4h studio, yet they still take the blame? If that were me, I’d be up front about countering these announcements, no matter what the cost. I’m sure there are other companies waiting for the Matty/4H contract to expire so they can offer them a deal.

        • They certainly do, but Mattel reps have also been quick to point out the 4H aren’t engineers too.

          Either the 4H sculpted the fist to fit over a normal forearm and Mattel couldn’t/wouldn’t fix it or the 4H simply sculpted it and it was easier/cheaper for Mattel’s engineers to tool it up as a new fist that slipped over the traditional forearm.

          I don’t really care what happened, I’m still cranky that this didn’t get done. I did want to give my Roboto a big fist, but thinking of the possibilities with Jitsu too – a future weapons pack could’ve given us Fisto’s fist in Jitsu colors and Jitsu’s open hand in Fisto colors. There was a lot of “play” potentional here and it was wasted.

    • TSR

      I used to submit the questions to Mattel for Marvellegends.net (before the site got hacked; since the site is back, there is no longer DCUC coverage) and I asked about the difference in the style of answers given. I was told there were seven different people (at that time) who could be potentially answer the questions for that two week period. But that was well over a year ago when I asked that. Who knows how many people do the question answering now; I do think it’s safe to say that it can still vary from session to session.

    • Poe Ghostal: Reminds me how they swore up and down last month that they wouldn’t ship any figures until 100% of the shipment had arrived…and promptly started shipping Fisto and Shadow Weaver this month before 100% of the shipment had arrived.

      I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about that, we had a good laugh here at IAT.

  • Bigbot

    I’m guessing they didn’t make Fisto’s fist interchangeable because they’d have to redo a new human forearm piece that can accomadate the Trapjaw/Roboto plug.

    • Bigbot

      *create a new human forearm piece. Don’t know why I said “redo a new…”

    • That’s probably a large part of it, though that is how they tooled up Clawful (who regrettably we didn’t think about being compatible, that would’ve been hilarious) so there was precedent.

      The piece could’ve been reused for Jitsu at as well too.

  • I always assumed Fisto was never meant to have a removable fist. I don’t see why people would want him to be able to share parts with Trap Jaw and Roboto…are you going to display Roboto with a giant fist, or Fisto with a laser blaster arm? I don’t know why you would, because as far as the character is concerned, he’s never done that.

    • I think the concept is just having the potential for play. It would be a fun feature even if there’s no canonical expression of it. I mean, Fisto has a GIANT FIST, right? why? what’s the point? Man-At-Arms run out of normal sized mechanical hands?

      So it’s attached with the same peg as Trap Jaw and Roboto have. Someone could have fun swapping the hand around. Why not?

      Heck, what if we discovered that the giant fist of Fisto was actually just a weapon he wore? Like the king of all warhammers that slips over his forearm? Why now?

      • dean

        Bravo. Play/display value is always appreciated. 100% agree, Steve.

        Plus it makes for easier customization.

      • Brainlock

        Heck, you gotta figure he can’t be lugging that GIANT HUNK OF METAL AROUND ALL DAY, so giving him the option of taking it off seems an obvious choice. Making it adaptable to the TJ/Roboto bits is just a bonus.

        • Exactly so.

          OK, so, it’s too early, won’t be until next week (MAYBE!) that folks get their Fistos(man, there’s no way to say that without it sounding so dirty), so we don’t know what they actually did with the forearm and attached GIANT A** FIST, right? But the general thought was they *had* to use a modded forearm to make this work?

          So, for the future, it would have made sense to tool up a new forearm part with a ‘Roboto compatible’ plug wouldn’t it? Then if you get another character with a freaky right arm you have a part to use, or if you want a normal character with some kind of pseudo action feature you have this modded forearm that you plug a gauntlet or vambrace or bracelet onto with a normal hand or the ‘action feature’ thing. Very flexible for all manner of characters. It would have made sense. Adding new ‘buck’ parts to the inventory is ALWAYS a good investment.

          but it seems they chose not to do that. Maybe. We’ll know for sure when Fisto drops in everyone’s mailbox…

          I am SOOOOOO sorry for that. 🙂

          • Eh, doesn’t bother me. I never intended to to display Fisto any other way than with his giant fist.

            I suppose they could have just a normal forearm (or a slightly beefier forearm like they did with the bicep) and made the giant fist just slip over it.

            I think fans are in agreement that they want Fisto’s hand under the metal fist to be normal sized, rather than abnormally large like in the 200X series.

        • dayraven

          he does in fact toe that thing around all the time, hence the new bicep.

  • *bam*bang*wonk*splat*skeeg*bamph*whomp*blat*

    I’m sorry, I can’t hear anything, there’s too much noise from my head hitting the table over and over.

    I wonder if these kind of answers are deliberate, a complete “in your FACE” because they love to just rile up the fanbase for even daring to ASK such questions.

    I recall one time I was having a convo with a TV station exec, it was a chance encounter that started off all smiles and friendly, then I started asking some ‘inside baseball’ pointed questions using insider jargon, something like “so, what kind of Q did that program have running in afternoon kidvid?” and the dude just completely shut down and gave me the king of all stinkeyes and said “Who are you? What station do you work for?” and things ended real fast. See, I wasn’t supposed to know about such things, the arcane language of his guild.

    I think we’re in the same land with Mattel now. We don’t know or understand everything (the internal politics and power-plays in particular are murky at best for example, we don’t know the players) but we do know ALOT, yet we’re not actually ‘active players’ inside the business to be either sucked up to or actively destroyed and that confuses them. Customers are supposed to be seen and not heard.

    I’m sure there’s an unspoken wish embedded within the corporate culture that it was still the days when nobody knew anything and when a toy came out that was all there was to it. Promotion was limited to selling it to the stores and maybe some ads.

    Noisy, you do a man’s job with this. I think you are somewhat like me, you appreciate context and history and you just cannot let some of these statements exist without pointing out the truth. I appreciate your work and urge you to keep doing it, as frustrating and teeth gnashing as I’m sure it is. Thing to keep in mind, thanks to politics we are now living the concept of “that previous statement is non-operative, this is the current truth” also known as “I didn’t say that. I never said that”. *sigh*

    • I did allow myself to get a little snarkier than I intended, I have no defense other than disappointment and the late hour.

      The Fisto thing is just a bummer. If they had just said something along the lines of we couldn’t afford it, or there wasn’t time – I’d have taken it better. The “not intended” answer was just crass considering these are the folks that got the ball rolling when they screwed with Roboto at the last minute.

  • Lemmy

    Best “Ask Matty” yet! I love this stuff! Seriously, these guys should consider doing stand-up. This stuff is just too darn funny! It’s comedic genius!

    I’m hoping the next answer session includes a response like “Sorry, we don’t actually have any DC or MOTU product lines.”

    BTW, I LOVE the running comentary, Noisy. Please continue that in the future.

  • dayraven

    BTW, this, from elkk thunder, will come up again:

    “With the plan not to sell product unless 100% in the warehouse, by what date will be the cut off to know what will be on sale?
    Now it is 15-45 days prior to sale”

    especially since we just saw that w/ fisto and shadow weaver, we’ll need this quote for posterity.

  • Rich

    Action figure blues asked about detachable arrows, and they said it’s not possible, unless the bow is not strung.

    Can someone explain how Red Arrow and Artemis in the YJ 6″ line snuck out, please?

    • I’m not sure what you mean?

      Red Arrow’s bow is not strung, so that is definitely in line with their standards. There’s no string, so no attached arrows have to be set in the bow.

      Artemis’s bow isn’t strung either, technically. The “strings” are just molded plastic, as a part of the bow. Plus, there are little connectors to hold each of her arrows in place.

      So the only feasible explanation that could be needed would be Artemis, and that is actually a pretty good question. But Red Arrow has no string on his bow at all.

  • Black Arbor

    Jeez, no wonder Mr. Ghostal gave up his “Ask Matty ” feature, “no figure redecos”. I don’t know why they think we should believe them, when they just give out information that we can clearly see is wrong.

  • Megatherium

    I suppose Nekron will never get his scythe. Bummer for all the jokers who voted for him. I do notice that it is always the FANS fault for “not buying” a sub or supporting teh line….depite the fact that there are no new figures on the shelves ever? Hmmm…I will say that I loved all the Club Infinite Earths reveals at NYCC, cept Rocket Red, he didn’t do much to excite me. :/ Haha Oh well, I collect toys, I’ll have fun with whatever ones they make. 🙂

  • Battle Catman

    Man, I love their response on whether or not we’ll get fixed versions of Hssss and Roboto (from Kastor’s Korner):

    “Now that we are no longer doing reissues we would need to use a monthly slot for a new Roboto or King Hssss. If fans would prefer a fixed or updated version of these characters over an all new character as monthly sub spot, let us know!”

    Basically, “Sure! We’ll fix those errors! All you gotta do is decide which characters to SACRIFICE TO THE LOGISTICS GODS. Ram Man for Roboto? Mek-a-Neck for Hsss? Just say the word!”

    • But..but…

      Correct me if I’m wrong. The problem with Roboto and King Hiss wasn’t they were sculpted wrong, just the parts were assembled incorrectly, right? So all they REALLY need to do is make sure the instructions are checked, corrected if need be and FOLLOWED UP on if they do a second run, right?

      (Unlike the situation with the Green Goddess which calls for a complete check on the plastic used, which may mean a re-thinking of the actual ‘look’ of the figure)

      So, even though they will do re-pops if they think sales will justify it, in these cases they have to put EXTRA EFFORT into the task which makes them ‘problematical’ and thus…

      I’m sorry, I’m so brain-twisted trying to get around this I think I’ve completely forgotten what I was wanting to say.

      • Prepare to be corrected, because you are in fact wrong.

        It’s not that the shoulders were reversed, it’s that the inside and the discs are sculpted in such a way that they can’t simply just switch the shoulders around. They wouldn’t fit. Toy companies do this sometimes so there’s no mistake which part goes where. The same thing happened with Roboto and Hiss (or at least definitely Hiss), but back in the instruction stage they sculpted the shoulders wrong. So they would need to retool them.

        And because there is retooling involved, by definition it is not a reissue or second run. They could do some crazy variants of the characters that allow the extra pieces to be removed and have correct shoulders or something, but it would still take the place of other figures.

        As far as the Goddess goes, her defect had absolutely nothing to do with the type of plastic (it’s the same plastic used in every other figure, only translucent). It instead had to do with the joint mechanism in her pelvis. There were apparently miscalculations about the size everything needed to be inside, and because it was off by a tiny bit, it caused undue stress to the pelvis region even inside the packaging, which led to easy breakage.

        • I’ll leave others to discuss the shoulder issue in more detail. I think the fix is something that can be done in the assembly stage but isn’t something doable at home. Again, others who have more knowledge here can chime in.

          On the Goddess, you’re completely wrong about the plastic. The fact it’s translucent (with sparklies IIRC) makes it a completely different plastic, chemically speaking. And since this uses the Teela buck, I have to assume the pelvic joint is the exact same one used in the other gals using the Teela buck as it wouldn’t make any sense to do a tooling change. And the shattering that has gone on has affected people in places other than the pelvic area. That’s bad plastic.

          This is not new. When Moebius Models made their plastic kit of the Chariot from Lost In Space, they used a styrene that was silver/gray with metallic specks for the underside and road wheels and vinyl for the caterpillar treads and road wheel tires. Much to their surprise, customers started calling in, vinyl was reacting to the silver plastic, melting it!

          Turns out the act of adding the specks to the plastic changed the chemical balance enough to create a reaction. Outgassing and contact with the otherwise stable vinyl caused a melting effect.

          (this outgassing effect is probably what caused the ‘white powder’ problem on that wave of DCU figures)

          So, that’s my thinking.

          • Well I’m just going by what Mattel has officially stated on the Goddess issue. They said that something in the pelvic area was too large by just a tiny margin that was causing so much built up stress that it caused fractures.

            • Well, look. You might gather that many here have a, call it mistrust, of what is ‘truth’ when it comes from Mattel.

              Is it at all logical to assume that the factory in China made an alteration to the molds? Is it logical that Mattel would call for any changes in parts for what was a cheap (development-wise) re-color? Has there been discussion of Teela having a problem with shattering hips/pelvis?

              Would changes be made to the tool before they got Evil-Lyn out a year later? Was there a problem with Evil-Lyn’s pelvis?

              I think that if the answers to all that have been “no” then something else is wrong. That something is, by default, likely to be the plastic, wouldn’t you think?

              And I can see I was mistaken and she WASN’T molded in translucent with sparkles plastic, but translucent and painted. That doesn’t negate that the plastic was likely off-formula. Clear plastic handles stress differently, I see that in model kits all the time. clear plastic is often more brittle. But I am not a chemist. 🙂

        • stack32

          I have a Roboto with reversed shoulders (assembled incorrectly, which made the sculpt match), so it certainly is possible for the figure to be put together differently. I believe the issue was that the “L” and “R” sculpted into the parts as a guide for the workers were sculpted into the wrong shoulders.

          • Yeah, that is what the problem is. And the parts inside the torso that hold the shoulder discs in place are different sizes, specifically so the shoulders can’t simply be switched.

            • Except.

              I don’t have any of the MOTUC to hand except Skeletor, and he’s in storage for now so I can’t check, but I assume the shoulders are like the DCU figures, right? What I see is a round-ish quasi ball that’s sort of ‘U’ shaped with a disc that fits inside the ‘U’ to give it the Y-axis movement. I make the assumption that the disc has the plug on the end that fits into the torso that gives the rotational movement. Do I have that right?

              If so, I can’t see for the life of me how that disc and shoulder part get connected. I doubt very strongly that the factory is using one of those insane multi-color multi-plastic sliding mold injection machines like Bandai has, so I don’t think that shoulder/disk unit is molded as one part. They have to be assembled. Which means that there’s no new tooling required, simply make instructions that on THIS SPECIFIC FIGURE put the ‘L’ disc in the ‘R’ shoulder part, then place that completed unit L to L and R to R in the torso. (or L to R if the key is tagged to the shoulder, not the disc) It’s less complicated than I’m saying.

              See, there’s no detailing on the disc part. All the detail is carried by the shoulder part. So swapping the discs around in assembly would solve the problem.

              I don’t think this can be done by us because, again, I have zero clue how that fits together. It’s not a simple pin like the leg/thigh rotator, it’s not a rivet like the elbow hinge. IT’S MAGIC!! 🙂

              • dayraven

                to be precise, toy guru blamed the sonic welder. from the matty FB page:

                “Despite constant rumors, this issue had nothing to do with “cheap plastic” or even the use of translucent plastic. A small percentage of Green Goddess figures did have issues with the lower torso cracking. This was the same issue we had with retail DCUC Wave 3 and Wave 4 produced at around the same time. The sonic welder used to fuse the joints together was causing microscopic tears in the plastic which would later lead to breakage.”

                • Ya know, that just doesn’t make sense either, does it? Given the way we see Scott wrench away at the legs of figures in that video of him at Toy Fare you’d think the Goddess figure would have flown apart (when he got his production figure)!

                  I mean, I know sonic welders have to be set correctly but to think that not only the ENTIRE run of Goddesses got poor welds, but TWO COMPLETE WAVES of DCU figures? REALLY?

                  It’s almost like Mattel will do anything to not even hint at that a Chinese factory may have cut corners and used inferior material to increase the factory’s profit margin. LEAD PAINT ON HOT WHEELS, Mattel. Remember that?

                  I’m at a loss to understand ‘microscopic tears in the plastic’ leading to a figure literally falling apart just standing on the shelf. I understand action (use) leading to stress which becomes breakage. That really doesn’t seem to be what has happened, which is more like de-lamination leading to disintegration.

            • The shoulder discs inside are different sizes, but they’re still swappable. I fixed the shoulders on my “Dark Roboto” without having to do any modifications to the pieces. The funny thing about the shoulders is that it doesn’t really look that much different or better once you do it:

              And, Steve, Mattel does use insert molding on the shoulders. That said, in theory, you could just leave instructions to misassemble the figure, but I 100% positive that would cost money. Remember that in the world of toy manufacturing, everyone dicks everyone else around. It costs so much money to change the colors on a given paint mask, it costs more to make actual changes to the paint mask, so on and so forth.

              • As the commercial says, “Ask the man who has one!” or some such. 🙂

                I am really surprised that insert molding is used on the shoulder. AFAIK that’s not a simple or easy thing to do and probably requires its own tool. I wonder what savings could be made by re-designing the part to use conventional molding? Hm, probably wiped out by the extra assembly step. Ah well.

                So, I yearn to learn. Do regular figures have other insert molded parts? Don’t tell me the knees are pinned (the plastic rivet) to the thigh part in the mold!

  • Brainlock

    Infinite Hollywood:
    “1. What did Mattel take away from the recent Demo-Man shipping debacle? Obviously there was a lot of changes made as a result, but what would be the overall consensus on the line moving forward as a result of that?

    We changed our policy to no longer sell sub figures until they full quota is in stock. And clearly we will work on communicating changes earlier and clearer. But we wouldn’t classify this 30 day shipping delay as a debacle or anything that dramatic. Delays do and will continue to happen. They should be expected from time to time. If anything we did a poor job communicating what was happening. But the delay is normal and will happen sometimes.

    Editor’s Note: Mattel did not like my choice of word usage here. The emphasis on debacle is their style choice not mine. The dictionary defines debacle as a ” A total, often ludicrous failure”. I guess it wasn’t a total failure, they did eventually get Demo-man out… But I’d still say it was pretty close. I see it as the tipping point for a litany of ongoing issues with the site, but I guess they didn’t.

    This marks the first time I recall Matty ever taking umbrage with word choice, though. Sounds like the Demo-Man debacle situation is a sensitive spot. ”

    SOMEbody hit a nerve!

    • Brainlock

      that last quoted line originally had a strike through debacle, hence “debacle situation”.

      • I keep wondering if I’m ever gonna get any feedback like that from Mattel. The questions I post are usually condensed versions of the questions I ask (Mattel gets long specific versions while the article posts with a concise version).

  • another round of uhhh maybe check back laters and no info right now from Mattel
    the “keep the lights on” comment is damn insulting if you ask me

  • That black and sliver Supergirl is not a redeco. That version was released back 2008/09-ish in the pre-DCUC ‘DC Super Heroes’ line. So it is a straight re-release with no new development $ put towards it. That’s what they meant by their answer.

    • Julius, I think you’re confusing the black repaint of the Linda Supergirl from 2006-7 with this one. The Kara version was only reissued in the Lex 2pk with the same blue deco. Perhaps you’re aware of some inside info that they intended to do this redeco and scrapped it, but it was never announced that I know of, it’s not listed on any the DCSH checklist sites that I know of.

  • Bigbot

    So is Draego-Man going to be made with reversed shoulders? Or is Mattel going to go out of there way to tell their factory to switch when the shoulders are molded with the should joints?

    • dayraven

      well, that remains to be seen, doesn’t it? they’ve said like 4 times that he won’t have reversed shoulders, but if i were a betting man, and i had a bookie in vegas, you know where i’d put my money.

  • manekochan

    Please never stop doing these, no matter how time-consuming, no matter how terrible the answers. They’re so much fun to read. 🙂