Truetorial: Let’s all freak
out about MOTU Classics!

My least favorite time of year is here! The Subscription sign-up time! The excitement of the reveals gives way to the arguments over the merits of subs and character selection, opinions become facts, conspiracy theories are abound, and bad marketing is considered terrorism. I should pop some popcorn.

I’m teasing a little bit in the opener, of course, but I don’t really enjoy this time of year. My opinion on the subscriptions should be fairly well known by now. DCUC & MOTUC are two of my favorite toy lines, I like that the figures show up at my house with relatively no stress, and while I have my favorite nostalgic loves, I’m downright ecstatic when Mattel makes a character I didn’t even know I wanted. So this time of year has really just turned into me watching my fellow collectors tear at each other over something that should be bringing us joy (and make no mistake, Mattel can’t be blamed for how we treat each other).

If you’re wondering what I’m blathering about, the usual lively discussion over the sub was amplified last Thursday when Toy Guru made a post on Facebook updating us on the particulars for 2013 subscriptions. The full text is available at that link, but the gist was that he explained the reasons behind the price increase, announced “Early Access” which lets subscribers buy non-sub items before the general public, changes to international shipping, and then dropped a 1-2 punch of bad news.

The first was that Mattel would further be reducing production over the subscription model. That “day of” stock, normally available for the 15th would be even further limited this year up to and including there being none available. If you’re unable to or simply don’t want to collect everything, that pretty much takes you out of the game. I can understand that Mattel is trying to save money by not having excess stock lying around, investing in product that won’t move, but it doesn’t make me feel good as a subscriber and if you’ve been buying things the hard way, this amps up the difficulty level to somewhere near impossible.

To make matters worse, Toy Guru wrapped up by noting that sub sales were down and that MOTUC was “technically” on the chopping block and as at risk as any of their subscriptions. Honestly, my first reaction to this was to laugh. I know that we haven’t had to deal with this particular stressor in MOTU Classics, but it’s been true from day one. It’s true for every toy line ever, in fact. If you don’t buy the figures a company is making now, then there isn’t going to be figures to buy later. Surprisingly, this seemed to catch many of my fellow collectors unaware.

I’m gonna hope, though, that it was merely the timing that was to blame. We all saw what happened to the DC subscription last year: the uncertainty, the thermometer, the gnashing of teeth. We also saw what happens when a subscription dies last year in the form of Ghostbusters. The subscription doesn’t move forward and a handful of partially completed figures are finished up and sold day of. Make no mistake, that is the future of MOTU Classics.

We will eventually get a thermometer (maybe even this year) and we will eventually get to a year where Club Eternia is cancelled and the last few figures will eek out. This isn’t because Mattel is some malicious company trying to figure out how to kill MOTU or even a reflection on Scott’s tenure as brand manager – it’s just going to happen. All toy lines die and nearly all of them do so before all the important characters are made. Personally, I thought 2014 would be the scary year, but it appears that the price increase and international shipping issues have brought about a faster attrition than many of us expected.

I’m not concerned for two reasons.

First, is that we’re five years in. If you’ve bought everything, you should have just over a 100 figures in your MOTUC display. And we know there are nearly twenty figures in the pike – that’s all going to come out, no matter what happens. If the line ended with King He-Man, it would still be one of the best and most comprehensive toy lines in modern times. Yes, it would suck to not have Two-Bad or Mantenna, but it wouldn’t be right of us to discount all the success MOTU Classics has already achieved because of it. It’s already had a good run… but the best part is that it’s not over yet.

See, the second thing is that we’re not anywhere near having to say “it’s been a good run” yet. Toy Guru has made several posts on his forums at Mattycollector and will shortly be making an appearance on He-Man.Org’s Roast Gooble dinner and the general feeling is that 2013 is going to move forward, that 2014 can be reshuffled to be a big Vintage/POP/NA year (which actually makes me sad), and that the line will continue on in some fashion. Basically, Toy Guru is outlining that there can be a DC-like year and a Ghostbusters-like year before we’re over and out. And see, that gets us into 2015. That’s most of the way through Toy Guru’s “road map” right there.

So, we don’t need to be fighting with each other. We don’t need to come up with wild theories about what’s going on behind the scenes. The line’s not dead yet, but it is in the decline. That’s perfectly normal. It sucks, I know. We as collectors have this terrible affliction of looking at what we don’t have and the decline phase only heightens our negative feelings. See, I have this amazing MOTU Classics collection sitting a few feet behind me. When I look at it I’m often reminded that we don’t have Rio Blast. I do that because I’m stupid. I have figures I really wanted like Scareglow, Snout Spout, and Man-At-Arms. I have figures that finally made me appreciate characters I hated as a kid like Spikor. I have great new things like Battle Armor Faker & Vikor. And yet I look at the shelf and ask “Where’s my Extendar!?”. It’s just the nature of the beast, I guess.

Anyway, I know things are a little crazy right now, but remember that we should all be collecting for enjoyment. We should be counting the birds in the hand. We should do our best to not let what characters we haven’t gotten yet or what words Toy Guru chooses to use get in the way of that enjoyment. We should be trying to come together as a community. That’s the very nature that the subscription relies on by the way, but I’m not writing this to pimp the sub today.

The thought of this great line ending before we’re ready for it to is heartbreaking, I know. But it will end someday and it could even potentially be a good thing. I think we’d all be happiest to see MOTU achieve the success of brands like GI Joe or Transformers. To do that, it’s going to have to evolve and grow. To become a perennial franchise requires a healthy dose of reinvention. I hope the day that we transition from Classics to something else is still pretty far off, but ideally there will be something new in the pike when attrition finally brings MOTU Classics down.

Until then though, let’s work on that sense of community and celebrate what we’ve got. Otherwise, we’ll all be too busy dealing with ulcers and hemorrhoids when the real cancellation notice comes.


250 thoughts on “Truetorial: Let’s all freak
out about MOTU Classics!

  1. “Let’s all freak out about MOTU Classics!”

    Instead let’s spend time and money on stuff worth while!

    1. LOL I need to write some reviews, but all the negativity on the boards has been really draining. I don’t think they’ll be any “Club” reviews this week. Oy!

      1. Awww…Why you gotta punish the rest of us just because a few chumps are being a bit whiney?

  2. This just breaks my heart. Great article and I respect your ability to be objective regarding the choice Mattel is making here. In regards to DCU and MOTU I have always been the kind of buyer that only buys what I like. I lack the resources, space, and inclination to get a sub for just 2-3 figs I really want. Mattel has basically told me (and buyers like me) to either do it their way or it is the highway. I find that a poor business practice. Raising the price is another bad move. Sadly this will drive people to ebay (as sellers and buyers) and further erode the “fun” out of the hobby. I was already bothered by the 50 dollar YJ (potential) two pack. This just convinces me that it is about time to step away and possibly invest more in 1:6 figs. If Mattel doesn’t want me as a buyer then I guess I no longer want to buy anything they have to sell. I am excited for Dekker and after that I’m out. I am sorry for other MOTU/DCU fans who invested/supported Mattel and are now being told they need to offer a stronger commitment then what Mattel has given its customers or suffer the consequences…

    1. Right on.This has been what I’ve been saying since last year.Mattel and We as collectors have forgotten who has the power in the business/customer relationship.Unfortunately many collectors don’t have the guts to even threaten to let them keep their product.They side with Mattel against their fellow collectors,and as a result, Mattel treats us all like crap.STAND UP!! Don’t buckle,and buy 2 or 3 subs just because you think you can’t live without “Ram Man”.Trust me life will still go on,OR keep doing what you’re doing and end up paying $60/$70 bucks a figure for a lot of crap Mattel KNOWS wouldn’t make it on the peg,just to get the 1 or 2 figures that you want.

      1. I think who has the power largely depends on your definition of power. We as consumers have the “nuclear option”. We can quit, walk away, and let the line go on without us. Like you said, life will go on and we can find other things to collect and enjoy.

        We have had limited success in getting certain things changed from Mattel and I take pride in that (I love my Battle Armor Faker!), but I don’t feel all that empowered by it. We can’t really “threaten” Mattel in the way that you might want.

        I do agree with you that folks shouldn’t be buying 2 or 3 subs (unless they really want to). This is a company we’re talking about, not a person. We don’t need to do them favors (nor should we expect favors).

        As for Mattel making figures that “wouldn’t make it on the peg” – that’s why I love the subscription and sign-up every year. I love that this toy line is able to grow and explore in directions not limited by retail or “day of” popularity. I’m ecstatic for figures that I know would never have reached the minimum pre-order. I’m thankful to other collectors who subscribe with me to make that possible.

        I think a lot of subscribers feel similarly. Sometimes being “in the club” does run the risk of causing rifts between the fans though and I hate that. None of us who are subscribing should attack the “Day of” buyers. If someone doesn’t want to subscribe, that’s their call and I support it.

    2. I don’t think the subscription is a poor business practice at all, but I also don’t think the poor marketing attempts are threats either. The subscription offers protection for Mattel from characters that aren’t likely to sell well, and protection for collectors that want those characters unlikely to sell. The subscription is getting me figures that might be impossible with only “day of” sales or individual pre-orders.

      If other collectors are unable or unwilling to join in with me to get everyone those figures, I don’t begrudge them. It’s an expensive proposition anymore, even more so now that the figures are more expensive (which I believe is a necessary move, not a bad one – though it does suck).

      I will admit that I’m baffled by the little to no “day of” sales announcements. If I were Mattel, I would never say it out loud, not even to sell subs. If they’re really concerned about having excess stock laying around, putting money into figures that they’ll end up selling at a discount, then they should cut the production to just a few percentage points higher than the subscription, and shut up about it. Let the hour sellouts return. I wouldn’t use it to try and sell more subs.

      I do agree with you that the YJ 2pk is not worth $50, but I don’t think it’s moneygrab from Mattel, I think it’s them passing along the costs of production while maintaining their usual profit margin. For me, it’s too much. I don’t think I can order that, even for that awesome Miss Martian figure. If we get close to the end of the pre-order window and we’re really close to getting Mattel to make it, I might change my mind and throw-in to get them done though.

      1. I don’t know. While I initially perceived it as a strong-arm tactic, I do appreciate knowing that day-off sales will be extremely limited or non-existent, if only because that was my fear for 2012 and it turned out fine. I would’ve hated to be caught by surprise next year. So now I know the stakes, and if I don’t sub, I have only myself to blame for missing out on figures.

        1. It is a fair warning, so I guess I can see it from that perspective.

          But I wish more folks felt like it was fair warning and not strong-arming. I’m always really confused by the tendency we all have to feel like people “selling to us” are trying to manipulate us. I have a co-worker who always points out when things are limited or unlikely to come back in stock as part of her selling routine and she’s not trying to make a hard sell, she’s just trying to inform. That’s generally how I view what Scott is doing.

          I have never felt threatened by the statements he makes about subscription sales. Maybe I’m weird.

          1. Or maybe you’re just a normal adult capable of rational thought without letting fear and paranoia cloud your judgement.

                1. Thanks, guys. I’m trying to be as polite as possible with this piece, but have to admit tat I do feel similarly at times…

          2. “I have never felt threatened by the statements he makes about subscription sales. Maybe I’m weird.”

            Or, you’re subscribing regardless, so what he says about the line, or how he describes Mattel’s policies regarding the sub, will have no impact on your buying habits. 😉

            1. I just can’t bring myself to see them as threats. They’re fumbles, characterizing the negative aspect instead of the positive.

              I mean, in reality, he shouldn’t even have to say “if you don’t buy these, there won’t be more”, y’know?

              1. He shouldn’t, but there’s a LOT of things Scott should and shouldn’t have done over the years.

                I think that more than anything, his latest statements are a culmination of all of the BAD will he’s earned from his dismissive, wannabe know-it-all, and frequently “take it or leave it” online remarks.

                True, every line is always at risk. Except that this time around, it’s a real risk, and just like last year’s DCUC sub, it really feels like Scott and Mattel were totally unprepared for what has been to me an obvious reaction from the fanbase.

                He wants to say NOW that “I told you so guys. I always said the price point would ‘kill teh lien’ I knew all along!”

                But if that really were the case, then releases would’ve been more scaled down (not a record $600+ sub commitment) or the 2013 line rejigged in some way.

                1. The thing that I don’t think Mattel understands is that every subscription year is basically starting over. They seem to just expect us to “be there” instead of thinking of it like they’re wooing us all over again.

                  1. that triggered a thought, and it ties to a common thread, about how wonderful the line is because it’s huge.

                    Is that really such a good thing? Is that maybe one reason for the hard sell for the subs?

                    Consider: I have a Skeletor, because my late Best Friend loved him some Skeletor. Where do I get a He-Man? Where do I get a Man-At-Arms? Where do I get a Snake MAA so I can copy Noisy? (this assumes being in a position with money to do such a thing)

                    eBay, most likely. So I pay an inflated price to start my collection. I’m not keen to do that. Spending $30 for a Matty-supplied figure is bad enough, more than that troubles me greatly, and as was said by another, we all have to judge the value of these things and how much we’re willing to pay.

                    Were I to try and complete my ‘core Filmation’ MTOU group (including Battle Cat) I can easily anticipate spending way, way more than might be sane. How do I ‘jump on’ then? I can’t. I have no real entry point. I surrender.

                    There is no way for a late-comer or a casual “Hey! I had that toy!” customer to join the fun. It struck me several years ago this was a self-limiting concept and I fear all the talk of struggling sub numbers makes it really clear.

                    But of course there’s so many other factors- the reputation of Digital River (right, wrong, it’s there), the downsliding economy, all that stuff.

                    1. It’s gotten easier for late-comers to join in. Mattel’s got quite a few figures in their “Essentials” shop and many of the figures are available at online retailers for relatively cheap. There are still a handful of hard to get ones though.

                      But I think that criticism is true of any toy line these days, it’s not limited to the subscription model. Jumping in late has always sucked – it’s why toy lines aren’t supposed to last this long.

                    2. Yeah, as Noisy says the “Essentials” thing is great, but like with so much, too little too late.

                      It was years that fans were asking Mattel to have “perennial” stock of the big guns, and only when people have ’em or have dropped the line or don’t wanna touch it with a 10 ft pole did they finally do it.

                      But yeah, now more than ever should be a pretty painless time to jump on the MOTUC wagon for new collectors.

                    3. Steve, it’s a good concept – but no toyline has shipped in that manner since the 80s. At least none that I can remember.
                      It amazes me now that Kenner Star Wars used to put that same Darth Vader out movie after movie…unlike now, where you have have a frame-by-frame version to choose from of every Vader moment.
                      However, how many people would buy a He-Man and then decide to get a $700 sub of characters they don’t know? The logic doesn’t flow unless everything is available, always.
                      And it is – on eBay. Or via the community – a great friend hooked me up with a Wun-Dar at cost. (my first figure was actually Hordak, so I was in this same boat of “the first releases except Stratos are 5x retail – how do I get them!!!) Another friend had ten extra Mer-Man figures, so I got one of those. And slowly, over time, I got every figure for $35 or under.

                      I don’t disagree though. He-Man and Skeletor should always be available through Matty.

                    4. Hey, the Matty shop may have been a day late and a buck short, but its better late than never. At least someone can go on and pick up He-Man, Skelly, BC, She-Ra, and the other “essentials”.

                      Someone getting into MOTUC now is no more worse off than someone wanting to start collecting DCUC. I was at a comic/toy store a few months back and they had an entire bin of MOTUC. I didn’t look through each figure but it looked like a fairly complete collection!

                      There are bargains to be had, you just have to be patient — watch eBay like a hawk, wait for Matty Collector sales — also checking out comic/toy shops, flea markets, and conventions is a good way to catch up too.

      2. “I will admit that I’m baffled by the little to no “day of” sales announcements. If I were Mattel, I would never say it out loud, not even to sell subs. If they’re really concerned about having excess stock laying around, putting money into figures that they’ll end up selling at a discount, then they should cut the production to just a few percentage points higher than the subscription, and shut up about it. Let the hour sellouts return. I wouldn’t use it to try and sell more subs.”

        And it is that statement that bothers me. I’m with you that this something that should have never come up like this. It sounds like a threat now “get a sub or else!” This time in 2013 when enough non sub members would have had enough examples of low/limited stock and missing out on sales would have improved buy in for the sub. Like I said I don’t want every MOTU fig so the idea of a tier (even one that requires I get x number of figs)sounds good to me. I guess there has to be incentive that goes farther than “or else.” I would be more apt to support a DCU sub but if I have no idea what’s coming you won’t get my money. If I don’t feel I have a chance to see the figs I want (Milestone/Wildstorm) you won’t get my money. I think there should be some give and take…heck over the people who sub to have MOTU figs at a cheaper 20$ price. Simple things like offering perks to subscriber would do a better job of getting people to take the plunge then “threatening” them that they may not find what they want. If someone wants it bad enough Ebay is right there to give it to them…they may have to pay a bit more but speaking for me I’d rather pay 10=15 bucks more for the ONE figurfe I want as opposed to paying a large amount for more I don’t want just to get the one(s) I do want.

        1. I completely agree about the incentives. I don’t feel that the weak attempts at outlining the ‘reality of the subs’ are intended as “or else” threats, but I do wish that there were more subscriber perks.

          This isn’t going to be a fan-friendly statement, but I sometimes wonder if part of the problem is that Mattel doesn’t want to commit to the subscription-only model. It seems like Mattycollector is in the business of selling subs now, right, so why isn’t Ram Man the sub exclusive? In a normal situation with a normal company, the prime rib ain’t cheap. I applaud Toy Guru for taking the harder route and placing something like King He-Man the exclusive so that there’s not chaos in the streets, but I sometimes wonder if getting really good perks as a subscriber falls to that same notion.

          They want to sell subs, but they’ve wanted to tread carefully (up until this ‘no day of’ announcement anywaY) at the same time. Maybe it’s because the subscription model was our idea. They can never fully embrace it and use it against us.

          1. It might be, just possible, there’s some kind of internal paperwork BS that if Ram-Man was sold as the incentive figure, it would prevent him from being re-popped later for whatever need arises. Scott may be aware of that.

            Think it can’t happen? I have a tale to tell.

            So there’s thing thing called Space Battleship Yamato. It’s my particular passion. One of the problems in loving the franchise, it’s really really hard to get a good, decent, accurate model of the titular ship! OH, there’s a number of different kits and toys produced over the decades, some are reasonably close, others are super, super bizarre, but nothing is perfect. (and, actually, it can never be but that’s a long discussion).

            A couple of years ago Bandai Visual/Emotion in Japan decided to do a remastering of the first TV series on Region 2 DVD, and in order to really pimp it out, to make us fanboys just bleed with the need to buy the set, they commissioned Bandai Hobby to craft a really, really excellent 1/700 scale snap kit of the Yamato. It’s really the best possible kit that could be and a great number of Japanese fans bought that (expensive!) DVD set just to have the model kit.


            Well, something that popular, you’d think Bandai would want to increase the ROI of that tooling by offering a mass market release of that kit after a suitable time. I used some friends who had solid ‘insider’ contacts, I asked them to really push the question. Answer. Won’t happen. CAN’T happen. Because the kit was made for Bandai Visual the Bandai Hobby arm can’t do a thing with it. Yes, “it can’t be helped” was thrown into the mix.

            So Bandai Hobby is sitting on this expensive tooling for a model they can’t do anything with. Check that, Bandai Visual offered a special ‘reflecting coating’ (read: chromed. it’s an obscure plot point in the final episode of the first series) version of the kit via postcard order. And that’s all there is.

            You would think this wouldn’t happen. Bandai is Bandai. But the paperwork is what it is, and that’s all there is to it.

            (and the new 1/1000 kit of the Yamato is from the excellent Yamato 2199 and while it looks similar it’s a whole other beastie. 🙂 )


            argh. Being an anime fan ain’t easy 🙂

  3. great post noisy, i also think that the line will go on for 2-3 years or so=D i have first started to collect these(i dont have a job im only 14 so my collection is for right now a lonely zodac=D) and look forward to getting all the new and vintage characters. i think that all the fuss about lineup and the arguments going on are silly, we should have fun collecting not tearing each others throats out. and the fussa about the 3-pack is outright stupid, i know that many wanted it to be horde troopers(me included) but the 3 pack got me exited because it brought in a great new group/hordemembers. now we have some more guys to fight vikor/or bolster the horde and their weapons have a great flair of all their vehicles. i think we should appreciate neat stuff not hate on it=D and TG is trying hardly to make it work and is CHANGING the roadmap, then u know he wants the line to continue=D

    kind regards: ghundiman, the master of words ending with undi!

    1. But an awesome Zodac, right?

      I love that 3pk. It’s vintage and ‘new’ at the same time. It should be appealing to just about everybody, but there is the sticker shock. I remember when multi-packs used to be at least a little bit cheaper than buying the same number of figures as singles. I wish we could get back to that. That set is expensive, the price of three figures at once (and will be sold alongside a fourth figure that month), but if Mattel could squeak it out at $5 or $10 cheaper they could at least make it feel like a “deal” instead of we’re just offering four figures that month.

      I’m all for finding what’s good about stuff before hating on it though. I’m trying to find a way to appreciate this month’s Rocket Red figure from Club Infinite Earth’s. It’s challenging me though… o.O

      1. a great zodac indeed!
        thanks for the quick answer, i also think its expensive but im probably gonna pay more for it:C (i live in denmark so its sadly ebay money for all the new releases, atleast i can get it without a hefty customs charge). rocket red, love the character, dc classics version not so much;D but i am gonna hang on for the long run with the motuc, its the first line i really feel for=D looking forward to more reviews from you guys!

        1. I always applaud the overseas collectors. I don’t know if I could be as resolute in my collecting if I had to jump through the hoops you guys do.

          Thanks for the kind words on the reviews. I know we haven’t had too many lately, but we’ll be back in the swing of things soon.

      2. Maybe you don’t need to appreciate the Rocket Red figure? When I was contemplating picking up a DC subscription, it was the strongest possible argument against doing so. You’re allowed to call a poor figure what it is, and I feel like the figure is a bullhorn at the worst possible time shouting, “WE MIGHT NOT MAKE GOOD DECISIONS WITH YOUR MONEY!”

        (I did ultimately pick up a subscription, less due to the solicited 2013 items – although Mallah/Brain is wonderful – but because they came through on the Doom Patrol and Metal Men in 2012.)

        1. Don’t worry, I will call Rocket Red a poor figure. It totally is. He’s probably a bad example as MOTUC hasn’t had anything that egregious placed in it yet (and, no people, the Star Sisters don’t count – it would take a 12″ tall Orko to equal RR).

          I would like to find some value in him though, there just isn’t much.

          Oh and I might steal your post for a picture in his review, btw…

          1. If you do, I’ll squee.

            I was totally okay with the Star Sisters because I wanted some misc_PoP_females to go with She-Ra. MotU collectors are (he said, making a sweeping generalization) an idiosyncratic bunch; the figures we want just aren’t necessarily going to match up. I’m running out of storage and display space, so even if there were still a wide range of MotU/PoP characters I’d like figures for, a subscription is just not a good idea for me.

            You’re right – I don’t know that there’s an equivalent MotU figure to Rocket Red. The MotU universe isn’t nearly as vast as DC comics, and there aren’t as many iterations of characters. It would be really hard for them to make a “totally wrong version” of a character, and they’ve established that if, say, you always wanted the mini-comic coloring of Mer-Man, they’ll cater to that, too.

            1. Space is another concern right now too! I am really filled up – there’s no room for Ram Man! 😀

              The closest MOTUC that led fans to revolt was Snake MAA, and Mattel did rework that, but he actually came out really well in the long run, unlike Rocket Red who makes the subscription look like Skittles Riddles aimed at people who want to to know what flavor they’re eating.

              1. I think you just put your finger on what bugs me about Rocket Red.

                With Snake MAA, Mattel listened to their dissatisfied customer base and made changes to make the figure more attractive/palatable.

                By comparison, if they took their customers’ preferences into consideration regarding Rocket Red at all, I’m not aware of it.

                1. The problem with the DC stuff is the DC approval process and Mattel’s internal complications. I’m not defending it – it’s bullshit really, but if there’s a problem with MOTU, Scott can run downstairs and ask Ruben/Terry if their’s time and if they can afford it.

                  After DC has approved something, it’s much more complicated to change. In this instance, DC failed more than Mattel. I wish Mattel had some way to just torpedo the figure entirely…

  4. I like the positive, “appreciate what you have instead of complaining about what you don’t” message.

    But the way you seem to frame the “inevitability” of this line’s decline is only such if you ignore Mattel’s business practices. If we were talking about an average retail toyline with all the problems of demographics and precious toy aisle real estate, I think discussion of a natural shelf-life would be more apropos. But this was supposed to be tailor-made and middle-man free, essentially fool-proof.

    The fact is the all-in subscription-only model is not what built MOTUC’s success, and it’s ultimately not what will sustain it IMO. I think by the time the line is OFFICIALLY done, it will be clear that there’s a huge portion of collectors that support this line, but can’t/won’t be an all-in subscriber.

    But if subs really and truly are the marching orders from Scott’s bosses, then TIERED SUBS need to be introduced ASAP. As was shown with the 30th anniversary add-on, it’s logistically possible for Mattel to pull off.

    It’s just that the kind of money we’re talking about for an all-in MOTUC subscription isn’t just automatically “there” and fans are sitting on it to make a point, or take a stance. It’s just a LOT of money that a lot (or most) people don’t have to sink into just one, so specific area of their hobby. But I genuinely believe the 2013 offerings (and promises of future completion) are strong enough that if there were a REASONABLY priced subscription, any theoretical thermometer would climb, climb, climb!

    Just as you say Mattel isn’t malicious and trying to kill MOTUC, neither are the fans. The fans want figures WAY more than Mattel wants to make them, I can assure you that.

    And just for the record, I enjoy all of the “new favorites” as well, like Vikor and Icarius, and am keen on tracking down the Fighting Foe Men set, so I’m not a strict “vintage and out” fan by any means.

    1. “The fans want figures WAY more than Mattel wants to make them, I can assure you that.” i like this statement, as it’s damned true. scott has always griped about getting budget for new bits, and one would think, for a property that literally changed the toy industry 30 years ago, the execs would see the merits in investing more heavily. this line was contemporary w/ gi joe and transformers in their heyday, but only one of the big three died on the vine.

      the org, for all it’s flaws, is living vital proof that motu fans are ravenous for more product. go look up the fansite for C.O.P.S., it’s five guys in dirty t-shirts sharing lolC.O.P.S. photos. (that’s a joke… it’s only four guys, but one guy also logs on as a female fan to entice the boys)

      it’s tough to be excited during shenanigans like “the sky is falling on motuc” because, while i like motu, i’m too invested in developing my own story, my own characters, my own kinds of fun w/ the toys to be an “all-in” kind of guy. i don’t need 16 new toys, i need time to enjoy the 8 i bought last year. for me, the excitement lies in the having, not in the scramble for the next fig… i find the scramble kind of tedious. and you’d think that would make me excited for the sub concept… it doesn’t. it makes me wish there was a year between releases, like one year on, one year off. or that there was another way to buy.

      you know why i can find excitement for she-hulk and sentry? cuz i have time to build anticipation. the seemingly never ending assault of motuc toys leaves me almost giddy that the line’s dying down, cuz the barrage will stop. one figure (or four, who’s counting?) a month for the last 5 years straight feel like i’m competing in the assault course on american gladiators, only instead of tennis balls, they’re firing PVC action figures. i really just want to get to the invisible wall so i can return fire w/ the giant nerf dart and get off the course.

      1. Toy Guru has made the comment that MOTU won’t go away with Classics. I hope that’s the case, but I can’t say how invested I will be in whatever’s next. I come and go from TF and Joes pretty reliably.

        And, yes, C.O.P.S.. Ugh! lol

        1. Thats just it — MOTU might come back in another incarnation much like Transformers has had Beast Wars, Robots in Disguise, Armada, Classics/Generations, the Movies, Animated, and now Prime — I’m not even really sure where they go from here but I just can’t see myself getting into yet another line after this one. —

          1. I said that about MO2K, so I have to be very careful…

            Funny story, I actually wasn’t that hot on Classics He-Man when he showed up in the case in 2007. Mattycollector’s messed up shopping cart is what got me into the line. I had almost bought Beast Man & He-Man before they ‘sold out’, but opted not to. After they sold out, I found them still in my cart and I figured “what the heck?” Little did I know, I’d be running five years later… O.o

        2. I imagine it would follow a similar model as JLU. Occasionally popping up with 2 or 3 packs every once in a while. Maybe an annual con exclusive.

          I’m with Dayraven, I’ve got a ton of figures, and if MOTUC ended I wouldn’t be terribly sad. I’d have more time to enjoy the figures I do have. More time for photo shoots and story ideas.

          1. When the line was in its infancy and they had really only planned up until Hordak/Man-At-Arms I always kind of assumed this line was going to be short lived. Then it took off and look how far it has come in five years!

            1. There are a few things that I really want to see the line get to, but yeah, this method of delivery does make it hard to appreciate the individual figures, particularly when I’ve got to schedule reviews.

              And one of those things, btw, is the Horde Mummy. I’ll be so ticked if we don’t get that…

    2. I do completely ignore Mattel’s business practices. I think attrition has little to do with the toy aisle itself and is more about buyer fatigue. I don’t think any online toy line will be safe from it.

      I’m always up for subscribing because I assign value to it making things like the Fighting Foe Men possible. I don’t think Mattel would invest in riskier figures if they were only relying on “day of” sales and I know they would crash & burn in the pre-order process (which is why I will never push for a popularity-based pre-order process).

      I agree that going subscription-only is ill-advised. There is a collectorbase out there who wants to buy and doesn’t want to subscribe, but I think that a large chunk of that collectorbase is a lot closer to the “Ram Man and out” philosophy then me, who’s willing to purchase figures I don’t necessarily want to see what Mattel will do next.

      I want to be in agreement on tiered subs, but that’s kind of spiting the extras to help the monthly figures. I see Mattel’s hesitation, they don’t want to take the people somewhat reluctant to sign-up for everything and give them an out to not buy the four extra items next year. But since we’re officially in the decline, I think that’s something that should be worth a shot in 2014. That might make for a good Truetorial at some point.

      And, yeah, the fans aren’t trying to kill MOTUC. Did I not say that in the meandering mess above? You have it right in that the collectors do want the figures, but I would be happier if more fans would expand their horizons. I can’t ever tell anyone who/what they should collect, but it’s depressing to see all folks ripping on the concept figures or anything non-vintage (it’s also really depressing that TG thinks the band-aid solution is to screw off anything non-vintage in 2014).

      1. You know Noisy, philosophically I am totally with you in wanting to subscribe in hopes that it will keep getting us interesting releases. I just don’t have the kind of money to sink into MotU *ONLY*, especially when so many figures like the Filmations or PoPs are uninspired absolute bores.

        But I still fail to see how Mattel can’t retain the “sub + day-of” model. They have practically 5 years’ of sales data to know how many “unique” buyers they had before the subs, then how many subs they sold and what deficit was made up for by day-of buyers. So if they are in any way competent, they should have a fairly solid picture of how many collectors there are out there going through Matty itself. If they signed really bad contracts with DR, or whoever is warehousing their stock, (or whatever the reason is that carrying product for a few days is so unacceptable to Mattel) I don’t see how the customers should be punished for that. The fact is, Mattel absolutely CAN continue with the day-of stock plan, they just don’t want to.

        Of course, with the new “Early Access” plan, the result will be even more mucking with what should be the natural flow of selling product to a customer, and now you’ll see a new mad scramble where subscribers will start to take “pre-orders” themselves for the Ram Mans and other highly-desirable pieces.

        As for convincing people to broaden their horizons . . . Sadly, I think it can be human nature to get more selfish when things aren’t looking so rosy. And I think that’s a huge problem. People are so concerned with getting their favorite characters that they ignore so much potential for this to be a better line.

        I think that’s the mentality that has plagued this line from the get-go, and has had an impact from top to bottom. Just as one example, the Filmation PoP fans who kind of made it impossible for the 4H to feel comfortable reinterpreting those character designs in any way, or the vintage fans like Scott himself making sure the vintage toy characters had the option to be de facto replicas.

        The lack of vision, from just about everyone involved in the equation, is the main thing that has held this line back from being to us now what the original MotU was to us then.

        1. The POP figures really don’t appeal to me. I wish they could. My cobbled together She-Ra is probably my favorite, but, heck, I even opted to use the gold cape instead of red because I think it looks better.

          I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around the the “no day of” announcement and it’s been difficult. I can see it some cases – like this year, Dekker probably wouldn’t need all that much of an overage past the subscription, but Mekaneck absolutely does. You’re right, Mattel should have a base line by now to know what they can sell in regards to Dekker and Mekaneck. I’ve never been able to figure out if all figures are produced in equal numbers or if they do play with it already.

          I do know that one thing that’s difficult for us is that we only see the sellout times – I’m even guilty of keeping a giant record of the sellout times despite the fact I know they’re mostly meaningless because we don’t know the numbers. It is an equal amount of figures when Stinkor blows out in half an hour versus Slushhead taking 3 days?

          1. I really, really wish I liked the PoP figures too. I’m almost positive that I had Frosta on several of my early MOTUC “wish lists”, but I was making the mistake of envisioning the 4H being able to take liberties and really deliver something that would be able to stand toe-to-toe with Teela and Evil-Lyn, as an action figure.

            But I feel that all got hijacked as soon as the PoP fans themselves starting crying foul at each and every slight turn, and I think they decided it was best to just deliver familiar, no-risk on-model Filmation versions to appease the fans that would care the most, or at least complain the loudest.

            It’s the inherent problem that a lot of us called from the get-go when it was revealed they’d be attempting to blend characters from a warrior-based boys’ action figure line and a fashion-based girls’ doll line into the same sandbox. And in hindsight, I don’t think it’s been all that successful.

            1. The changes made to Bow & BP She-Ra (underneath the armor) highlight what POP figures should be in the line. As it is, they’re not really turning those particular figures into winners, but saying so seems to be automatically categorized into disliking POP by some folks.

    3. “The fact is the all-in subscription-only model is not what built MOTUC’s success, and it’s ultimately not what will sustain it”

      Well, in a very literal sense, yes it is – since that’s what mattel uses to gauge interest. It was the success of the 2010 & 11 subs that led to more figures than ever in 2012, and the poor uptake of the 2012 sub that reduced figures for 2013.

      The sub model does suck for collectors that for whatever reason can’t or would rather not buy into the whole line, and the price increase is painful. But the figures cost more to make than they used to, so they cost us more, and mattel needs to know they’ve got a baseline market for the line so the sub model makes perfect sense.

      I know how frustrating it is when these things push a collector out of the game – I had to drop out of DCUC since they’re not sold in the UK and importing them just became impractical – but that’s just what this line happens to be, and I’m not sure it constitutes bad business practice.

      1. If Mattel can’t appropriately gauge an accurate demand for their figures by now, then they don’t deserve the MotU license.

        The line was built on fans logging on each and every “day of” sale and selling the figures out in minutes. THAT is the source of the success of the line.

        Remember that it was the FANS who demanded the subscription, and only then did Mattel respond, and return the favor of that loyalty by transforming the sales model to sub-or-nothing.

        This year was fine for day-of purchases, but apparently what feels fair and flexible to the customer is the exact opposite of what Mattel demands.

        1. You’re both right. The initial success was day of sales which expanded the line to more figures, but the massive expansion to it being a more fully realized line was the success of the early subscriptions.

          1. Technically, it’s the way it played out, but remember the initial Bonus Figures (like Battle Cat, BAA He-Man, etc) were NOT part of the subscription and still sold very well, 100% day-of sales with subbers even having to pay separate shipping.

            So really, even though they maybe assumed how many buyers they might have for the extras based on the sub count, if it wasn’t necessary for Battle Cat then, it’s not necessary for Ram Man today.

            1. That’s true for the most part, but even without specifics we can guess that Ram Man isn’t going to move as many units as Battle Cat and that rising costs make him more expensive to produce, the candle’s burning at both ends in that regard.

              1. Battle Cat total, with reissues? Clearly not.

                But I think Ram Man is wanted in so many collections that he should be made in quantities comparable to Battle Cat’s initial run for sure.

              2. I’m with LZM on this one. Ram-Man has been a core member of the property since the beginning in toy, cartoon, and comic book forms. A lot of people will be wanting him to flesh out their collections, even if he’s going to be a few dollars more. (And it’s only a few dollars, $30 compared to any other $27 day-of-sale figure.)

                And although I’m very happy with the Ram-Man we’ll be getting and will be satisfied with just having the one, I’d be willing to bet money that there’re going to be people out there who will want to buy extra ones so they can repaint him in his cross-sell / mini-comic / MYP cartoon colours (delete where not applicable).

              3. Ram Man is clearly popular but I think the only reason he’s in such high demand is that he is only being offered now. If you switched places with him and say Man-At-Arms, Teela, or Stratos I think demand would be just as fervent. That I don’t think his demand will eclipse that of Battle Cat. Everyone who has a collection of the 8-backs will of course want Ram Man, but I think He-Man and Battle Cat have a much, much broader appeal.

    1. I got a good laugh out of the title too though I don’t know if it fits the article anymore. I originally sat down to talk about why I enjoy subscription and then it kinda turned into this “don’t treat each other like crap” article by the time I was done. I’m afraid to even reread it this morning. LOL

      1. Haha… yeah, its like an episode of Mister Rodger’s Neighborhood! 😉 j/k — but it is true — no matter what Matty does and no matter how you feel about scott neitlich or whatnot there’s no need to get all butthurt about it.

        ya know what, people have been butthurt about one thing or another this entire line. granted, i’ll give you that in some occasions they had good reason to be — but other times i think people just look for stuff to bitch about.

        i got really sick & tired of it. i’ve learned to ignore most of it and just try to weed out the good. i’ve also learned to take people with such a grain of salt — there’s no sense in letting my blood pressure boil when someone’s being close-minded — its one thing to have a different opinion than me but you get tired of hearing the same thing over and over again and seeminly with no partiular reasoning or logic —

        1. I’m not out to disparage any of my readers, but it seems the feelings of MOTU fans get hurt a lot more easily than some of the other lines I’ve collected. I don’t know why that is, or maybe it’s just my imagination.

          1. I dunno. From personal experience, I can attest that Star Wars and TransFormers fans can get extremely vehement about their lines, practically to the point of jihad.

            We’re all passionate about our hobby, regardless of whether it’s MOTU or COPS, GI Joe or Dino-Riders, comic book characters, TV charcters, or movie characters. For all I know, there’s a cult devoted to Air Raiders, holding secret meetings and sacrificing chickens in the hopes that bellows-powered toys will make a comeback. I guess it’s just a case of you know best about the circles you move in.

            1. I suddenly no longer care if MOTU goes on, and just want to go to the Air Raiders meetings.

              1. Air Raiders, like StarCom, were lines I passed on when they came out. At least I ‘woke up’ to the wonder of StarCom while it was still somewhat available as redtag (being warehouse manager of a Children’s Palace helped too) but I’m a little sad I never picked up Air Raiders. I recall some amazing vehicle designs.

                1. I never experienced either of these lines during childhood, then I met Matt Doughty. Now I have a near-comprehensive Starcom line and Air Raiders will be added someday.

                2. Yeah, I passed on Air Raiders as well, because Star Wars and MOTU were taking up all my pocket money. If I’d had a job back then, things might’ve been different. Some of those designs were certainly compelling.

          2. Well you’re in a dubious position. On one hand you’re running your own site so you should feel free to let your own opinions fly. On the other hand you don’t want to be a jerk. There are plenty of sites where the owner is king of his little mountain and lets that get to him. You’re at least trying to by somewhat of a neutral party.

            Whether we agree or disagree its great when we can come together and discuss a topic and not have it devolve into flame wars.

            1. I wrote a second Truetorial… it wasn’t negative per se, but it was me venting about my primary issue (the idea of going vintage to “save teh lein”). It didn’t really seem right for the site.

              I do like the little niche we’ve carved out here though. A 100 level-headed comments? That’s pretty sweet.

  5. I just have to wonder what’s so different about 2013 than this year. The obvious difference is increase in price and the changes in int’l shipping policies? But all of that aside, those who subbed in last year know as much about what they’re subbing into as they did last year. I think 2012 has been a great year thus far — although I wonder if people have been left with a sour taste in their mouth from the quarterly releases like the Star Sisters, Griffin, Snake Men 2-pk, and Procrustus.

    I’m absolutely ecstatic about Ram Man, Mosquitor, and Mekaneck — but I also love the concept figures like Vikor and Demo-Man. Some of the leftfield choices make me scratch my head though — like Snake Man-At-Arms — I guess they’re trying to flesh out their story through release in the line, but he’s just not really essential. I think Scottie N and his homeboys got a little carried away here.

    1. I think the price is the biggest thing, but I think Scott & Co were absolutely insane with the 2012 line-up. From now to January we’re getting Spikor, Mekaneck, Rattlor, Mosquitor, and Ram Man. I thought we weren’t going to burn through those? Mekaneck especially – he was the logical go-to choice for the “fan bitching” figure after Ram Man was finally made… and they made him before Ram Man. Duh.

      If you’re at the Org, a healthy chunk of the debate seems to go back to the Star Sisters. Getting into factions isn’t healthy, but there’s a persistent negativity about them. The quarterly items are more expensive, so it’s probably more essential they not be to “out there”. I don’t think the Star Sisters are, but some do.

      I was annoyed about Snake MAA until I got him and gave him a proper MAA head. He’s one of my fave figures now and he busted MAA to being non-mustached and hanging out with Great Unrest folks. Ouch. His inclusion was wonky though – even I was initially against it. The original figure just had little value, they definitely need to be more careful with the subscription choices going forward.

      I kinda feel like Filmation Randor is an icky choice too though, but he got a lot of fanfare during the panel…

      1. “I thought we weren’t going to burn through those?”

        Exactly. Makes me wonder what characters people consider to be “main” characters if anyone still thinks there are any left.

            1. properly, i think the noisy fudgers will want mantenna, extendar, two-bad, ninjor, and out. that’s still not the full vintage roster, but it’s the remainder of the figs “everyone had.”

              even though that’s malarky. every kid i knew had modulok parts kicking around their mom’s washing machine. every friggin kid. and on that note, i didn’t know a single kid who owned ninjor. granted, both of those are anecdotal evidence, but i was thick in the he-circles back in the day. i had extended periods of immobility to enamor me of my figures, and we changed states about every four years, so when i got to school, i immediately made toy & comic friends and kept them, so the evidence is not from a small sampling.

              1. It’s ridiculous to me to think that we were “spreading out the A-listers” and yet the line was supposed to go three-and-a-half more years on the backs of Mantenna & Ninjor.

                I don’t think I had a single Horde figure as a kid. Didn’t like ’em. 😉

                1. Really makes me question the validity of the claims that the “roadmap” WAS a roadmap and hasn’t been altered significantly.

                  If that’s the case, then Toyguru is either less qualified for the position than I initially thought, or he’s just too close to the property and thinks that Snake Face and Perfuma are “A-listers”.

                  1. It actually makes perfect sense.

                    Generally, the POP and NA audiences are (based on .org comments) the all-in types. Make the early years vintage MOTU heavy – because those fans are going to abandon ship anyway once they have their 82-83-84 collection. The later years were always going to be the hardcore audience anyway. There was a chance that figures like Icarius and Bow might have converted vMOTU fans to stick around. It did work for some people.

                    The idea of the roadmap was the promise to the hardcore fans that if we just kept ponying up, we’d get the complete collections of characters we wanted. And, for the most part, hasn’t that been the case? Not fast enough for everybody, but logically, wouldn’t 2013-16 NEED to be heavy on POP/NA if they were going to do ALL the vintage characters from those lines

                    1. If those who lean vintage-only as collectors (who some assume to be the majority) are going to leave when the early year characters are done, and you have a roadmap to 2016, then why would you elect to “let go” of that base by the end of 2012/early 2013?

                      And if the idea was to try to “hook” people into supporting fringe characters they might not have already wanted, then you release MORE of those characters early, not fewer. Cause to be honest, as cool as the NA figures are to me, they don’t really blend 100% with the rest of the line, and they look a little sad as such a paltry little group at this point.

                      Any well-crafted roadmap that had ANY hopes of reaching 2016 should’ve been intentionally CREATING key vintage holes, not systematically FILLING them.

                    2. (replying here because we hit the end of the reply tree, LZM)

                      I think that TG knew that there would be a revolt eventually no matter what he did. Look at the Star Sisters. It was worse to the people that didn’t want them that they were a 3 pack/expensive/in the sub. But we would have seen complaints even if they were just released singly.
                      What I think surprised TG is that the quantity of people that didn’t wind up wanting Vikor/Demo Man/Gygor/Tytus (based on the Black Friday quantities) was so extensive. People don’t consider them the MOTU they want. I really believe that if you considered those characters MOTU, the plan was that people would “tolerate” NA and POP being in the way of “Ram Man” until we got to a point where it became the POP/NA sub featuring MOTU.

                      It is/was a tightrope. You can see that some people just quit instead of waiting for Ram Man. They just didn’t want to wait five years for him.
                      They knew the subs would lessen once the majority of the early MOTU figures were out of the way, but not to this extent.
                      Someone who just wanted vintage MOTU wasn’t going to subscribe to seven years of product to get Ram Man in year seven. Looks like year five might have been too long to wait…

                      What it becomes is playing percentages. Remember, Mattel is the only source for these things. They know exactly how many they made and how many sold for issue price.
                      Is it unreasonable to assume that the highest production quantity was for He-Man himself? Sales on him is your baseline. Every collector needs a He-Man. Less people need Man-At-Arms, less for Tytus, less for the Goddess, and so on. That’s why the subs are important for them – if the fans management have been led to believe exist by the subs from prior years are willing to sign up for a year of product in advance, there’s no need to guess if they can sell 15k of Nocturna. They already know.

                    3. I think people would’ve been more receptive to Star Sisters and other “NOT just how you remember!™” releases if the effort had been made to blend better with the other figures. The 4H are so diverse, and so skilled in different genres that they could deliver 12 different versions of the Star Sisters. But when you feel the marching orders (even if not explicitly spelled-out) are to be cartoony, simplistic and Filmation-y, and when attempts to step outside the box are nixed by Mattel (over-budget, too anime hyper blahblah) or dissed by vocal minority obsessive sectors of the fanbase, you’re not exactly going to feel at your most creative.

                      If Vikor and Demo Man et al weren’t sellers up to whoever’s standards, to me that has less with do with subscription issues (as those should’ve already been more than satisfied by the pre-sold sub quotas), and more that a lot of collectors had already been bummed out and split. Cause those are just cool figures as long as you don’t have blinders on.

                      But more than anything else, PoP and NA characters just aren’t that popular, let alone ALL of them, which is why I think it was misguided to announce MOTUC as such a comprehensive line in the first place. Far better to surprise fans with Frosta than to release her as a way to shut up fans claiming PoP is getting the short end of the stick.

                      Then, you also don’t get people complaining about unreleased characters “stealing” another character’s “promised” slot. Cause again, when the expectation is that “EVERY” character will be made, until you make everyone’s favorite character (ie. actually make EVERY character) there will be pity parties and victim plays to spare.

              2. I had a Ninjor, too. Apart from the “monster” feet, which bugged me, he was a pretty damn sweet figure. Stuck out like an Iguanodon’s thumb-spike, and even as a Kid, I thought he was just shoe-horned into the line, but it was a nifty figure on its own merits. Can’t imagine it’ll be too long before they get to making him in the MOTUC line. I just hope they give him a Stormshadow-like backpack to carry all his gear in.

              3. If anything, I err more on the side of “Extendar and out”.

                But honestly, I think the “and out” comments is a result of collectors’ general frustrations with the line.

                All of the headaches over the year have worn people down, so in their minds, they’re looking for an easy exit.

                But I’m a firm believer that if things had gone even a little more smoothly over the years, and specifically if 2012 hadn’t been bogged down with so many unessential figures as to legitimately question judgements, then fans would have a much more laid-back approach to collecting this line.

                I think frame of mind affects enjoyment almost as much as the quality of the product itself, and Mattel (Scott specifically) has had a hugely negative effect on MOTUC collectors’ collective frame of mind.

                FFM case in point. Those are cool, fun figures. They just are. Are they $75 cool? Not really, they’re more like $50 or so cool, but MOTUC figures have always been overpriced. I just think collectors are in a really poor mood, so in makes it harder to be accepting of anything new.

                1. Obviously not everyone can or wants to subscribe, but I have to stop myself when I hear about the headaches because my first reaction is… “wuh?”

                  The biggest issue with my sub was in 2011 when they double-charged for Man-E-Faces and my sub was temporarily cancelled. I ended up not getting it reinstated, but easily could have. There were two significant QC issues, but DR replaced them both without hassle. There was some confusion over which credit card was getting charged back in 2010.

                  The only real problem I have with the line is the persistent handling delays, particularly when I forget to switch to UPS shipping. (I’m not going to see Vykron for awhile… sigh…)

                  I mean, I’m not oblivious that it’s not a cakewalk for everybody. I know that some times replacements have been unavailable. I know that some have had issues with swapping cards and addresses. I know that at least some portion of the fanbase receives QC issues. But I also think that negativity is magnified on the net, so I tend to never think it’s as bad as folks might think.

                  1. I’m just talking about headaches associated with the line in general.

                    I won’t trot ’em all out here . . . unless you really want me too. 😀

                    I realize that the vast majority of people who have subscribed have not experienced technical snafus with charges, shipping, etc.

              4. Said it before, it bears repeating.

                “EVERY MOTU character is SOMEBODY’S favorite. Doesn’t matter who it is, every single darn toy in the line was the BESTEST TOY IN THE UNIVERSE to somebody.”

                That’s true for MOTU, NA, POP, characters, beasts, vehicles, playsets.

                Obviously, on a percentage basis, there are characters that weigh WAY WAY more high on the rolls than others, but that doesn’t mean that the low percenters shouldn’t get made.

                So where does that leave original characters, unmade characters, prototype characters and those oddball things that ended up in Italy? I dunno. Me, I sure wouldn’t push them as if they were as important as key characters, I’d make them fun bonus items.

                I feel for those wondering if there will ever be a ‘New Adventures’ He-Man. I kind of get the idea Scott has sort of dismissed that existing while the secondary characters are folded into the main MOTU world. Or something.

                1. I would totally push them! We really need to kick the collectors who want “vintage and out” in the pants! The original toy line thrived on new characters and innovative figures.

                  To only want the characters repeated and updated while dismissing additions is to deny what MOTU is all about. It’s to collect a pastiche of a great toy line instead of wanting this to be an equally great toy line.

                  (My other Truetorial is showing through… lol )

  6. You would think they would start the new year off with Mekanek — why bury him so far into the year? They were smart this year — starting off with Sorceress and Fisto, two really strong characters. Even though Dec leaves off with Mosquitor, Netossa is a heck of a way to start the year.

    Although we have been teased with Snake Face, we aren’t going to get any more teasers until ToyFare. Maybe they thought Netossa, Fang Man, and King He-Man would get a better reception.

    1. They probably put Mekaneck so far into this year because once Stinkor was done, he required very little new material (head, necks, club) and could give them a bit of breathing space to work on something more development-intensive, like Ram-Man. I was actually expecting Clamp Champ to be released by the end of 1st Quarter 2013 for the same reason: A new head and a clamp, and he’s good to go.

    2. Is this for sure? Didn’t they reveal some at PowerCon last year?

      That’s only two months away.

      1. and i’m pretty sure i read that they’ll have one more release for power con this year too.

        1. PowerCon is in September right? I forgot about Power Con. While NYCC is October.

          Yeah, so we’ll get a handful of reveals at each of those.

          1. We’re up to March right now and if the follow last year’s playbook (provided the 4H have kept up), we should learn April, May, and Jun across those two shows.

  7. I probably wouldn’t have thought to ask for it, but looking at the rest of 2012 I am really glad they cut back on SKUs next year. The end of this year is going to be murder after August, going into the holidays there will be three items almost every month. It will be kind of nice to go to a single figure a month and an extra one quarterly.

    I think they just overloaded us this year and coupled with the price increase people are probably just feeling toy fatigue.

    1. Agreed… people who subscribed to Club Eternia *AND* the 30th Anniv Sub are screwed — you’re talking $80 in September, $60 in Oct, Nov, and Dec — not to mention the upcoming Weapons Pak and Granamyr!

      1. Enh, it’s not so bad if you don’t have much of a social life outside of collecting. };D I know loads of people can and will go out of a weekend and blow over £100 a night (between US$140 and US$180, depending on the exchange rate) on getting plastered. (Because there’s not a Hell of a lot else to do in Torbay.) Temporary drunken idiocy that lasts a day or two, or some cool poseable sculptures that, barring mishaps, will last decades? I know which I’d rather spend my money on each month.

        1. You raise a good point. Some people go out and blow that kind of money in one night. Whether they’re going out to dinner or going drinking, or just to feed their habbits (booze, drugs, and smokes). No judgement here, but its true.

          Others will spend hundreds of dollars on tickets to go see their favorite sports team. Heck, I just had a friend debating about whether or not she wanted to buy full season or half-season tickets for the Celtics. In comparison to that this is just a drop in the bucket. Some people will balk at nothing for going out and dropping a hundred bucks on a pair of sneakers — which will probably be worn once and kept in a box.

          I think the underlying issue here is some people have the disposable incomine and don’t even have to think twice about whether or not to subscribe. Others have to crunch the numbers to decide whether or not they can even afford it.

          1. I agree.

            Though, I have to admit that I can’t spend that much money on sneakers, hate how much it costs to go to a name, consider alcohol way to expensive, and yet will not hesitate to subscribe. 😉

    2. Buyer fatigue – I’m definitely feeling that this year too. Mattel pretty much soaks up my entire toy budget at his point. I’m not looking forward to this Fall/Winter with Matty.

  8. One of the good things about spending so little time online and not ranging very far when I do is that I’m completely oblivious to all this hatred that’s being discussed here. Believe me, living outside the USA, I know what frustration is when it comes to toy collecting, enough to make me see red. But I can’t take too much more negativity than what I spew out myself, so I avoid that kind of conflict.

    Worst comes to worst, if we’re looking at 2015 as the last year of MOTUC, we have 25 figures left from the original MOTU line yet to be made in MOTUC. I think it’s entirely possible that they get to them all.

    Might sound pollyanna-ish, but I hope everybody ends up getting what they want out of MOTUC in the end. So long as they make enough Granamyrs so that I can bag one on day-of-sale. };D

    1. I sometimes wish I could go back to being oblivious, back before IAT and all these checklists. I’m super keyed in anymore. 😛

      And again, another shout to overseas collectors! I don’t know if I could handle it!

      1. Noisy, you forget – you ARE an overseas collector. Your overseas is just a different place. 😉

  9. Thank you. I just asked you about this and here it is. I absolutely love it. The positivity is a breath of fresh air.

  10. noisy get to the dc reviews youv been neglecting the sub and r u doign a bane review

    1. Sorry, Zach! We will. I’ve got a lot Atrocitus and Starman on my desk right now and I just found the John Blake Movie Masters today too!

      We will get to Bane. I haven’t bought him (or Batman) yet because I want to find all the difficult ones first. I prolly won’t wait for that sixth figure, so I might grab Bane here soon though.

  11. IMHO, I believe that there is a disconnect between the hardcore collectors that attend the Matty panels and the general masses who are nostalgic fans of a toy line from their past. For example, lets take the Fighting Foe Men. When I saw this reveal as a still photo from my home in Upstate NY, I was confused and frustrated. These were not figures I came even close to recognizing (and I was a guest on a He-Man centric Animation podcast and subscribed to every sub up until this) and couldn’t even find their team name or their individual names on Grayskull wiki. It took me days to learn of the connection and even then I was frustrated. I read the mini comic where the 4 armed giant figure appears and thought “really? this warrants ‘turning on the machine’ (a phrase JLU fans are far too familiar with)?”

    Noisy, you somehow find beauty in unwanted figures and I have to say you’re in the minority. Look at Poe Ghostal’s apathetic reaction to signing up for the sub on Twitter. Look at Rob Bricken’s (creator of and former Toyfare contributor) often perplexed reaction to MOUTC reveals. These dudes are hardcore and they can’t even get behind all of this merchandise.

    My point is that Mattel is devoting too much attention to the near obsessive crowd and not realizing the majority of their customers just want a modern iteration of the toy line they loved as a child. They’ve devoted too many slots to the obscure and the 200x and not enough to the original line up. My evidence is the trouble we are in at this year rather than in 2014. We should have Moduluk, Clamp Champ, & Ninjor by now. To quote Principal Skinner “Prove me wrong, children. Prove me wrong.”

    1. Andy, I don’t know if you’ve been to the Org lately, but the basic stance you outline is the predominant stance there as well. Mattel is catering to the Org crowd, but it’s benefitting you, not me.

      When I’m at the Org, I’m continually frustrated by the folks who can’t get the vintage figures fast enough. And the complaints about the Monogram Riders or Procrustus fall on deaf ears for me for a very simple reason: the vintage fans own this line. Just look at this year. The line-up for Club Eternia 2012 includes the Sorceress, Fisto, Kobra Khan, Thunder-Punch He-Man, Stinkor, Spikor, Mekaneck, Dragon Blaster Skeletor, Rattlor, and Mosquitor. That’s eight of the twelve monthly slots and two of the four quarterly figures. If we expand the scope of the term “vintage” beyond toys to the cartoons (and lump POP in for good measure cause it is vintage), vintage fans also can claim the sub exclusive, another quarterly figure, two of the four oversized items, and one more monthly slot. In other words, 71% of the Club Eternia 2012 was squarely aimed at fans of the classic cartoons and toy lines.

      71% of the items released this year were geared towards the exact fans you’re talking about! Do you really think it should be higher? Are you motivated by your lacking that handful of figures that you really want? It’s an easy trap to fall into, but I think the folks wanting “more vintage” should be super excited right about now. We’ve entered a long run where virtually every figure is for them and it culminates in January with Ram Man!

      So no, I can’t accept that the Fighting Foe Men or Vikor are to blame. We’ve got standard attrition, a 20% price increase, people who can’t get over their political issues with Mattel/Scott, and the fact that the vintage roster is overwhelmingly already represented. We’re digging around for Two-Bad, Clamp Champ, & Mantenna as the “big guns” that Mattel hasn’t gotten to you yet. If character selection is really the problem like you say, if the collectors who only want vintage stuff really want to tell the rest of us to screw off because nearly 3 out of every 4 releases just isn’t a good enough, then I don’t have an answer for that.

      1. Yeah, I think it’s odd for people at this point to be trying to hang their hat on such “heavy hitters” as Entrapta or Blast Attak.

        Seriously? It’s starting to feel like people fighting over the last $50 sale crappy Blu-Ray player on Black Friday. 😀

        To be honest, I’m starting to wish Scott has never made any promises about the all-encompassing nature of the line. That way no one would attempt any of the entitlement crap, or nonsense “fairness in the factions” campaigns, or the like.

        1. “nonsense “fairness in the factions” campaigns”

          regarding this… while i don’t think fairness is the word i’d use, i do think balance would have been a good thing. had the game plan had set numbers, from every faction, revealed over the course of an orderly release schedule, i think that could have helped manage expectations and quell customer anxiety. it wouldn’t have solved everything by any stretch, but it would have helped had people known better what to expect. i do think there’s a direct correlation there between the uncertainty of the lineup and release schedule have scared people. cuz let’s be real here, we’re being offered a lot of product in dec… what happens to subbers if dekker gets bumped back a month? the sub is worthless if it doesn’t buy the peace of mind that a sub ought… of course, i have frequently said that the she-ra gang should have gotten a better shake for those girls and that that failure of design appeal was far more responsible for their generally luke warm reception than the characters themselves “not fitting in.”

          as for the new guys in motuc… man, these ladies and their vintage only agenda have got to go. because they are the vocal contingent doesn’t make them the biggest market… as you just pointed out noisy, 2012, the worst year for subs yet, was MEGA heavy w/ vintage characters. because of that, 2013 is shaping up to be worse… the vintage hags have been proven, 100% verifiably and irrefutably, that they’re a vocal minority. like mets fans, only less valid. 🙂

          some of the very best of this line have been characters who were concept sketches or development suggestions, or brand spanking new characters to the franchise, while some of the biggest duds of the line, measured both in sales times and in QC errors, are the vintage folk… remember when he-man debuted as the first major QC kerfuffle w/ the backwards shoulders and the hay fever eyes? but wait, that wasn’t the line debut, KING GRAYSKULL, a first timer to the toy world, was the debut figure, he-man was just the first botch.

          1. I am all in favor of balance, but not from a “Let’s see how we can be fair to all the disparate MotU fans…” perspective, and more of a “What’s gonna make for the coolest, most diverse toy line?”

            When I mention “fairness in factions” in a dismissive way, it’s because I don’t believe those people really want a good balance. They just want their own shortlist of nobodies to get fast-tracked, and they wanna frame it in a fairness context instead of a selfish one.

            I guess I just wish people would’ve been more open to the idea of MOTUC really and truly being its OWN line, not a hodgepodge of modern toy-making tech replicas from 5 different lines. Imagine if we really and truly didn’t have any idea what to expect, no inkling whatsoever of what characters from what source material were available. Then there’d be no specific fans trying to hold anyone’s feet to the fire as to what people’s expectations were. And people would relax with the “Well, you got 5 jelly beans and 3 chocolates, so *I* get . . .” childishness of how many NAs or PoPs or whatevers.

            This should’ve been the one and true “be all, end all” MotU line, but no one wanted to just let it organically BE.

            1. i agree 100% on the end-all, be-all ideal, but pretty early on, it became apparent that that was our dream, no different that the guys that campaigned for illumina, or who wailed about moss man’s ears… we were all the squeaky wheel, and mattel caved randomly in applying oil, so those of us who got what we’re after feel vindicated, while those who didn’t feel shafted.

              mattel didn’t have, despite the early press, the end-all, be-all intent we hoped for.

              and i realize now my first paragraph in that earlier post was a little schizophrenic… sorry about that. the point was, the subs don’t provide the “sit back and let the toys come to me” experience that they ought, partially because there’s no regularity of expectations. you can’t count on the product shown for a month coming from that month, and when you open the box, the item might be complete crap. there’s no other way to word the cracked robotos or the broken wind raiders, or the exploding pelvi of the goddess, those were crap. any company worth their salt should have been embarrassed to sell that, and gone overboard to win back fan loyalty. instead, they shat on our collective faces and then bristle when we don’t eagerly line up for more, as if we’ve done something wrong in not wanting to lick their devil’s chili ring clean.

              1. It’s a good description, but I guess I don’t feel *personally* shafted, because I still have enough figures from this line that I really, really enjoy.

                But it does feel a little depressing to have genuine concern for something, take time to be considered and measured, and offer up helpful suggestions, only to have them ignored, and then see the line take bad turns just like you feared it would.

                I just feel like MotU always deserves better, but always gets sold short based on the selfishness of those involved.

                And you’re right, if I ever had the smallest kernel of faith that they could’ve delivered a “sit back and let the toys come to me” experience, I would’ve been and remained a subscriber from day one.

                But I have been so beyond vindicated on every single bullet point in sitting out of the sub program, that there’s not even any kind of “I told you so” or schadenfreude to be had. It’s just a bummer.

                1. I can’t get behind the notion that the subscription has been a bad thing. I’ve had a handful of problems over the last three years, but so much of it has gone off without a hitch and I’ve got a kickass collection without having to deal with the stupid website.

                  1. I’d argue that considering what you’re doing with IAT (and excellently, as should go without saying) it puts you sort of straddling the lines between MotU fan, action figure collector, (attempted) objective reviewer, archivist, analyst, news blogger, and so on. Know what I’m sayin’?

                    And of course, for any MOTUC completist, you would’ve had to “deal with the stupid website” for at least what, 20 or so releases, “All-In” sub or not! 😉

                    1. Awww, thanks. 😀

                      And yes, you do remind me that my biggest problem with the sub is that it’s not really all-in afterall. 😉

      2. You can start talking about percentages of figures, but Procrustus and the Fighting Foe Men are going to be an awful lot of money spent by subscribers on figures that Mattel absolutely wouldn’t be able to sell any other way. I’m already not subscribing (I can’t get over my political issues with Mattel/Scott), but those two would cause me to have some pretty serious reservations if I was considering it.

        1. Luckily, I’m not here to talk anyone into a subscription. I do have to challenge the notion that the line should be limited by majority rules though. See, the character selection angle is a numbers argument too, just with no data. How few subscribers have to want something before its not okay? Two/thirds? Half? It’s a hard place to pick the line because you have to look at half the collector base and say, “sorry, you can’t have this”. I know that some of you would have no problem looking at the other half of us and whispering, “no”. I do and that’s why I don’t mind subscribing and looking at some of these characters to see what their fans love. But again, I’m not here to pimp subs.

          I have an honest question, if Scott is the issue, why do you draw the line between cherry picking and subscribing? Why not draw it at not buying from his brand at all? That’s something I’m always curious about.

          1. The other thing I’d add here is that I’m a firm believer in people not really knowing what they want.

            Years ago, if we’d seen a character list that included “Demo Man” or “Icarius” a ton of people would’ve been in an uproar, and I’d argue some of the same people who now consider those to be among the standout figures in the entire line.

            Also, how many people have deafeningly requested vintage figures only to be disappointed by the final figure?

            So even though the idea of a 2014 full of all the remaining most popular characters may look good on paper, the result is almost certainly a less interesting, less cool toy line.

            1. No stake in MOTUC, but this is true of everyone, everywhere.

              A quote by Neil Gaiman that you hear often, but not nearly enough, goes like this:

              “People don’t know what they want until you’ve given it to them. And then they don’t know what they want next: they think it’s more of what they liked last time.”

              1. Awesome, I think I had read that before, maybe that’s who I was channeling/stealing from there. 😀

                Absolutely spot on though.

                And in the context of MOTUC, for me it boils down to the following: a cool, well-made action figure is a cool, well-made action figure, totally absent recognizability, nostalgia ties, childhood warm fuzzies, movie tie-ins, or whatever.

                And as “action figure collectors” I think we would do well to get back in touch with that. We’d have a lot fewer gray hair, and a lot more enjoyment out of the hobby.

          2. “How few subscribers have to want something before its not okay?” Obviously there’s a line somewhere, I’m sure we disagree about where it should be. Procrustus and the Fighting Foe Men stand out to me because they are very obscure and they’re going to be really expensive. If we were talking about two normal figures they probably wouldn’t be worth mentioning.

            “I have an honest question, if Scott is the issue, why do you draw the line between cherry picking and subscribing? Why not draw it at not buying from his brand at all?” Good question. Short version: I can’t quite live up to my ideals. Long version: Between affection for the property, the amount I already have invested, being close to having all the figures I had as a kid, and the hassle of selling my collection I haven’t been able to pull the trigger on getting out. Yet. I did quit buying anything that wasn’t essential to my collection (figures I had as a child) and quit purchasing directly from Mattel. I might get there when I finish selling off my DCUC collection.

            1. I would set that bar very low. I’m really bought in to the community aspect, I’m okay with buying figures I don’t necessarily want – Catra, Slushhead, Megator, the Griffin – because I know other fans out there want them. I’m not advocating that everybody do that. If they don’t want to, if they can’t, etc., but I do think we could all be a little more accommodating towards what is included and a little more willing to buy in if we’re getting 70-80% of what we want.

              What really perturbs me though, and this is drifting into my original Truetorial that was scrapped for this one is that too many folks seem to scoff at something they don’t immediately recognize.

              Where’s the collector that sees a 12″ tall, four-armed Rock dude and wants it because it looks cool – the guy that doesn’t really need to know it’s Procrustus or where he showed up, he finds that out later. Where’s that glee that we had at kids when all of these characters were new and unknown. So many folks are trying to reassemble the figures that gave them that glee thirty years ago, but are unwilling or unable to tap into the glee of enjoying something new or different.

              I’m always for folks refining and narrowing their collections, you have to to keep it in and check and keep control, so I applaud you on that. Good luck!

              1. I tried asking this on Twitter. The basic answer was that people don’t want things that they don’t want.
                I get it. Not everyone wants Filmation, POP, NEW ADVENTURES, etc…we’re so used to people wanting to “collect em all!” that it is easy to lose sight that we all have different opinions of what a complete collection is.

                I feel the worst for that one guy who wants an Attack Trak and just knows it is NEVER EVER coming.

              2. “Where’s that glee that we had at kids when all of these characters were new and unknown.”


                Procrustus just looks badass, and just as the original MotU figures had that visceral “I already knew this character before I even saw it”, Procrustus taps directly into that!

                If someone declares themselves a “MotU fan” I just can’t possibly wrap my head around how they aren’t naturally drawn to Procrustus.

                1. There are exceptions, Vikor caught on pretty well, but I am just at a loss for the MOTU fans who can’t get caught up in anything but the character’s names and presence and what they mean to them.

                  I want to say not nice things about them.

  12. Wow, whole lotta blather in a really short time! 🙂

    I am trying really hard to find a way to discuss this without tons of sidebars and some personal observations that might come across as goofy, so probably more later on but for now:

    What I get, what it feels like to me, is Mattel is afraid their losing their scalper demographic which, for some f**ked up reason seems to be very very important to them.

    I think it’s crazy they’re so afraid of having inventory that doesn’t sell-through within a day. I know there are tax reasons for not wanting to carry inventory but…well, that’s one of the issues I’m struggling with how to put in the best words with the least need for long context paragraphs (so my point is not misunderstood).

    My main thought is they shouldn’t have done an all-in sub, they should have done the book club ‘positive opt-out’ business model with a need for the subscriber to take a minimum number of offered figures in a year. But this would mean keeping an inventory and we know that’s a ‘bad thing’.

    Hey, did anyone grab the reissue Wind Raider? Did that happen? Did people who got the “too bad all gone have a refund” news for returning a bad one, were they given an special chance to buy one?

    1. When we have to drift into talking about “scalpers” there’s really only two conclusions to draw. My viewpoint, that Mattel doesn’t really give a crap to where their stuff goes after they sell it or the alternative, they do care because those are their biggest customers.

      Having the inventory at DCL isn’t free. Toy Guru is never up front about this, but from various comments over the years, we can gather that there’s a DCL warehouse where stuff ships from and a Mattel warehouse where stuff sits when it’s not available at DCL. Keeping excess inventory away from DCL and not having to move things around between storage solutions will save Mattel money alone – not including putting capital into product that you don’t move, taxes, etc.

      From a collector standpoint, I see no value in opt-out or pre-orders because I want the figures that are less likely to sell. Pre-Orders and opting out would’ve done nothing but send the line back to 1980 faster.

      1. well, not, the opt-out…

        Run it like the book club. You’re going to make the figure, the only question is how many take it and how many decide to pass AT THAT TIME. Excess goes into inventory.

        Next month or the month after that the figure shows up again as an alternate choice. And then people who gave a pass at first may decide to pick it up then.

        Now, the flaw in this plan is obvious. It relies on having the faith and the accounting and the logistics to carry on long term. It means planning for the year as a whole and not being worried about the dips and peaks in each figure’s sales. The average will work out. The Bonus is, there is always a jump-on point. Maybe a subscriber decides to take two months off due to cash flow but comes back the third month buying the Alternate figure and three more from offered stock. It’s not as predictable as the current subscription model (the fact which would make the current beancounters shoot blood thru their nose) but as a long-term income generator it has some advantages.

        Never gonna happen. I know, completely unrealistic of me to want it. But it’s a way to carry on no matter what the overseas issues.

        (of course I’m completely insane, I think Mattel would be wise to consider bringing manufacturing back to the USA to eliminate the problems of rising transportation costs, the constant devaluing of the Dollar, questionable QC issues and tie-ups and potential tariff issues at Customs. yeah, I’m ready for the loony bin. 🙂 )

          1. And it’s things such as this that are likely what keeps beancounters from even trying to investigate the option. If one doesn’t want to do something, it’s very very easy to find reasons why they ‘can’t’.

            I don’t dispute the numbers, mind. What I dispute are some of the assumptions that this org seems to make to get to those numbers. I think if one were to set up a new factory from scratch, start from zero, use the latest technology, costs would end up much lower. Do it all in-house.

            But again, I am a crazy man.

            1. I’m not trying to defend Mattel, but the idea of them selling directly to us on the scale of what MattyCollector has tried to do is contrary to decades of how their company has been run.
              I’ve been posting about this in so many different places that I forget what I said where, but Mattel is a megalithic company. They made their money selling their products to Walmart, not to us directly.
              I have to imagine it is relatively easy to have maybe five “customers” – the buyers at those big chain stores – compared to thousands of customers with different wants and needs from their lines.

              Mattel is stuck in this place where the old logic of “make a million of them and let the chips fall where they may” doesn’t apply to MattyCollector. Or maybe they are sitting on such a significant amount of “day of” Gygors and Tytus that they don’t want to have warehouses full of Mermistas and Tuskadors.

              I think they would move production to America ASAP if they could figure out a way to maintain prices. They just aren’t going to be able to with labor and costs being what they are.

              1. No, no, I dig you’re not defending Mattel. It’s the limitations of the written word, were you and I speaking to each other it would be more clear.

                I am with you 100% on ‘old thinking’, that’s what I mean by embedded corporate culture. Let’s throw out there just how much has changed since the ’80s.

                Who were the majors back then? Sears, Pennys, Wards, Toys r Us, Children’s Palace, Circus World, Kay Bee Toys, Hills, K-Mart, catalog stores Witmark and Service Merchandise, Walmart and Target were up-and-comers and there were still a few local department stores, small chains and independent retailers buying in quantity.

                Now look at what is left in 2012. Walmart, Target, K-mart, Toys r Us. maybe we can consider ‘the internet’ as a 5th player. All of this combined would barely meet what Sears, Pennys and Wards would order all by themselves back then.

                And yet there are more people now than then. More kids. Should be more customers. What Happened? It can’t all be blamed on videogames.

                Bunches of stuff happened. I think it starts with the death of Sat. Morning cartoons, carries over to the death of the local TV weekday kidvid time slot (3-5 PM m-f), the changes in regulations that prevents advertising a toy line within a show because that’s somehow ‘confusing’ children as well as ‘unfairly brainwashing’ them-which meant toy companies wouldn’t buy ad time which meant TV stations decided there was no money to be made programing kidvid which meant toy companies wouldn’t sponsor a program to make toys from because there was nowhere to air it…

                And cable/satellite TV have only made things worse because a. a program doesn’t reach anywhere NEAR the number of homes they used to with local station syndication and b. instead of ‘making more pies’ they end up slicing the one pie thinner and thinner.

                And we can also bring up how the current thinking in retail is “there’s no real money in toys anymore” because they expect a BIG GIANT HOT HIT toy year after year (think, in their heyday, Power Rangers, Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle-me Elmo) and they somehow ignore the constant demand for Hot Wheels, Matchbox cars, Barbie…

                Everything is all f’ed up. 🙂

                1. It’s a weird time when we have both MORE choices than ever and LESS choices at the same time.
                  There is still an aisle of Barbie, but at the same time, Glyos can find an audience for its product.
                  Properties that came from comics can make a billion dollars worldwide while comics themselves have migrated into an ever smaller niche.

                  We’re overwhelmed with choices and communication noise so that getting through to us usually winds up causing a backlash – “WHY IS THIS PIZZA HUT COMMERCIAL ON DURING EVERY SHOW I WATCH!!! hello, Pizza Hut…” But that’s the only way to get through to people….as a tweet hits my feed about how people want Chick-Fil-A to die. 🙂

  13. I’m rather surprised we haven’t seen:
    Ice Armor He-Man
    Snake Armor He-Man
    Jungle He-Man
    NA He-Man

    …before King He-Man

    esp since the last two need no new tooling on the figure itself, unlike Thunder Punch He-Man, or King.

    I don’t care for the vintage vs modern fights – I just like good toys. In fact, when Clawful, and to an extent: Spikor and Fang Man *look* like cartoons, it’s a bit of a turn off, personally.

    Variety is the spice of life, and I like that they’ve been drawing from many different sources.

    I had the “Secret Liquid of Life” mini comic to read over and over when I was young (despite not having any of the figures it was packed in? don’t know how that happened…), so I’m easily convinced that Geldor, Maran and Prince Dakon have a place in this toy line.

    I really wish I cared more about King He-Man, but I’d have to agree that any figure has a place in the line. I think it’s still fair to question percentages, and the order of releases, just like we are free to question case packouts in retail lines, though!

    It’d be nice if we got along. Some good things have happened (Keldor swords!) when we all come together.

    1. “I don’t care for the vintage vs modern fights – I just like good toys. In fact, when Clawful, and to an extent: Spikor and Fang Man *look* like cartoons, it’s a bit of a turn off, personally.”

      Couldn’t agree more.

      Also, I think Geldor could make for a potentially awesome figure!

        1. From in-hand pics he does look improved (I don’t know if it’s darker hue or different quality from the plastic) but I just have little tolerance anymore for things that are supposed to be badass right out of the gate and aren’t.

          I’m sure he’s a fun figure to have, but he’s never been a favorite character, so he had to win me over on pure, visceral “badass” factor.

          1. If it means anything, I hate Spikor as a kid. He had a trident for a hand that shot of his arm. When this verison arrived, I wasn’t too keen still. I noticed that the head sculpt ended up with this great bruiser look, but it was still Spikor.

            Let me tell ya, that extra “filmation” hand saved the entire figure for me.

    2. I’m dying for Snake Armor He-Man! He’d be awesome. Geldor too!
      Ever since TG offered to rework 2014, the community aspect has really taken a hit. Most disappointing are the folks who now feel they can go around and tout they’re the most important segment of the collector base.

      1. Maybe with Ruben Martinez being involved with MOTUC we’ll see the SA version sooner than later.

        I do find the concept behind it silly but I admit to enjoying the look of the design, but dang it if we don’t get a new head or at least new face for that version.

        1. truthfully, i don’t know. in the “last year hurrah” we might get SAHM, but truthfully, given his undeniable 200x influence, i don’t think you’ll see him till the line’s literally in it’s death throes… and maybe not even then.

          to put this another way, marzo’s hair almost got him canned, and whiplash’s head changed the operating parameters, so how do you think they’ll respond to the giant spaulder? we’ve gotten two MAA releases w/ nary a tease of his 200x giant spaulder either.

          1. I’ve been hoping for Ruben to have that kind of influence! And it may be silly, but I loved it. I’m actually dying to see… “CONCEPT FIGURE ALERT!” the Horde Armor at some point too.

            1. If everyone else on the staff gets “their” figure, then it’s only fair for SAHM to happen for Ruben.

              Besides, that’s already a recognized, well-liked figure as opposed to the stellar TMS, SLL, Cy-Chop gang.
              That, and even if he’s the next reveal in line, we’ll have a pretty solid group of Snakes for him to beat on.

              As for the 200x-ness of the armor, I think it’ll just be toned down. Less than stylistic purposes, I think I would prioritize maintaining the articulation as much as possible.

              1. Agreed. We should pressure Ruben to step up! 😀

                Articulation is key for me too, so I think there’s no daylight between us on this one.

  14. SO much commentary but just to weigh in..

    Great article Noisy, I was wondering when you were going to weigh in…

    I am getting the MOTUC sub, but not DC this year (are you going to to a DC sub article too?). I can “afford” both, but I really gotta cut down (wifey’s orders). It kinda sucks that people outside the sub will have virtually no chance to get the toys but i am not sure Mattel will ever find a middle ground that makes everyone happy, even if it means letting people pre-order individual characters. Maybe if they did some very basic marketing of the subs outside of toys sites, more people would sign up. If folks like us are iffy on the sub, how will you get folks outside toys boards to sign up if you DO NOT KNOW IT EXISTS! I am sure they were hoping that making quantities limited on sale dale would make more people get the sub interested, but that seems to nowt be the case. I am very excited for all the toys that have show for 2013, but I just like cool looking toys and if we do not get certain characters before the line ends, I am okay with that too since we have gotten are great selection so far and the line is far from done. Mattel had made some errors with the line to say the least, starting and maybe even ending with Digital River, bad TRU 2-packs outside of BA Faker, awful marketing of the sub, etc, but I think we are having a very good run regardless of how far this line goes…

    1. If I recall, there’s a MotU comic currently in production. Does Mattel put an ad for the figures there?

      Say what you will about the ‘Before Watchmen’ comics, they’re selling. I see house ads for Batman books like crazy (what with the new movie and all), but does Mattel advertise Club Black Freighter?

      And of course Club IE and ANY DC comic.



      1. and one would think after the johns connection, those kind of company crossovers would be the order of the day…

      1. Scott sent out banners promoting the Club, but likely just to the same circle of sites that talk about it anyway.

        I thought about putting the Mattel ads up, but my advertisers pay for their space and it doesn’t seem right to just give the space freely to Mattel, even if I do want the subs to go through.

        1. I don’t think its probable, but could there still be potential fans out there who don’t know about MOTUC?

          As far as advertising on web sites there comes a point when you’re just preaching to the choir — and you overlap on your target audience. There seems to be a nice ring of websites that fill a certain niche. Sites with larger, more active communities like Fwoosh and and then sites like IAT, Poe’s POA, Infinite Hollywood, Michael Crawford’s, etc — but a lot of the same people travel in the same circles, so there may be audiences out there that just aren’t reached —

          1. I think it’s entirely possible, mate.

            There are no good comics shops near me that I know of since I moved back to England (which ain’t exactly a third-world country, but you wouldn’t know it by the shopping opportunities), so ToyFare and other such publications weren’t a factor in my finding out about the line. All of my friends back in the States knew I was a MOTU fan, and none of them even knew about MOTUC to tell me. If it weren’t for Big Bad Toy Store putting the first pre-order images up on their home page, I would never have been alerted to the advent of the line in the first place. Heck, it wasn’t until the 2011 subscriptions came up that I found out non-Americans could buy directly from Mattel and have the items shipped to their own countries!

            And would it have killed Mattel to offer cases of figures at wholesale rates to e-tailers like BBTS, Entertainment Earth, or Forbidden Planet? Then Mattel could let them worry about ultimate storage issues, get wider advertising through those sites’ e-newsletters, and widen their potential customer base.

            How many people out there might have warm fuzzies about a toy line from their youth, but stopped collecting and got on with their lives, never imagining that it would make a return more than 20 years later? Star Wars and TransFormer fans, for sure, because those brands get advertised and made into movies and TV shows A LOT.

            Also, not everybody is as active on the internet as, say, us (by which I mean everyone else on this site but me). I never bothered with because it always made my vintage 1999 computer with Windows ME and Internet Explorer 6 (now, thankfully, all replaced) go very slow and rarely show any of the pictures. So that avenue of information was closed to me, as it might be to others.

            Mattel could get some ads on TV, YouTube, in magazines, and in comics. They could make a cartoon. Better still, they could release Season 2 of He-Man and both seasons of She-Ra on DVD outside Region 1 to stir up some interest! There must be thousands of other people who want to throw their money at Mattel for this property, me included, but Mattel ain’t making it easy!

      2. I think it would, if nothing else it would continue to hype to the scalper crowd with the monthly “what’s selling big on the secondary market” pages.

        But the ads had to help. Having a place to talk about upcoming figures has to help. I think it’s safe to say while it’s an open question if having ToyFare still around would help sales, it seems pretty sure-as-hell true the LACK of ToyFare has hurt teh lien.

    2. Thanks, da man. I don’t know if I’m going to do a DC sub. I don’t feel like I need to tell DC collectors to have a little faith this year. I think they know, I just hope there are enough of us!

  15. There’s a line in the film Casino about a high-rolling gambler.
    Paraphrasing, “he didn’t see a small bet (for him) as winning $10,000, he saw it as losing $100,000 (that he would normally win on a high-stakes bet)”.
    MOTU means very little to Mattel. Mattel is two things: Barbie and Hot Wheels.
    Look at their quarterly reports. It says as much, with Batman as a third most important line.
    This mythical office where MOTU is made is probably a cubical with Scott and two other people in it, where hundreds of people work on Barbie. HA! I just realized that Scott’s videos are filmed inside it. From a corporate perspective, MOTUC is a blip on their financial report.
    The Digital River warehouse is a closet. That’s why they don’t want any stock laying around!
    Jokes aside, MOTU gets treated small because it is microscopic in a megalithic corporation.

    As far as faction fairness goes, you can’t make everyone happy.
    I love NA, but I know that a NA sub would never fly.
    I have my doubts about a POP-only sub.
    I see people asking for concept stuff and I see people who don’t want it.
    I suppose we’ll know the answer to this in a couple of weeks. The people that love the vintage MOTU line through 85 have their want lists fulfilled after two figures next year, so we’ll know if POP+NA+Filmation+other is enough to make it worth Mattel turning on the machines to make figures in 2013 and beyond.

    1. If only MOTU could blow up like Monster High, eh? I bet that guy got an office!

      I’d like to think that the line could go on after a vintage exodus, but it would be so much easier if some collectors could dial back to yesteryear and be open to new/unknown characters like they used to be. They’d have a lot more fun with this line…

      But yeah, the “factions” have to come together to make the line work. The good news is that POP & NA seem to have made the cut in this imaginary cleft. Still missing some key MO2K and fun concept stuff though…

      1. I have a theory.

        Here in the US, we are used to our toys being something cheap in price. Remember a $5 Toy Biz figure? We’re approaching a point where we’re paying prices that are similar to what many non-US places have been paying to import US releases for years.
        I was at TRU last week looking at NECAs Predator figures. They are $20 each (and even more expensive in some of the other neighborhoods – oh yeah, did you know that TRU doesn’t have consistent prices at their stores across the chain?).
        Granted, I have some knowledge of WHY the figures are so much more expensive. You could make a Kenner figure retail for $5 because they probably made 500,000 of them. The tooling was less complex. Labor rates were so much cheaper.
        As the things we like become mass-produced in smaller and smaller quantities, the prices MUST go up. But our minds know that we once had a McFarlane Predator that was $10, so $20 seems excessive to pay for the “same” thing.

        To sum up, when a Toy Biz figure was $5 (or 3/$10 at KB), I would buy EVERYTHING they made, no matter how small the variant or the character. It was throw away money. I had to really start thinking about things when we hit a $7 pricepoint; a McFarlane line with a $10 retail price, I could skip the characters I didn’t know; and now, I think a $15 SMALL Transformer is easy to skip.
        At the same time, I’ll pay $8 for a Glyos figure that is actually trying to entertain me for my money. Hilariously, it is one of the cheaper options around now.

        1. It’s what I’ve been saying for a number of years now. Toys are part of the ‘cheap disposable entertainment’ paradigm. Deep, deep in our brains we know what a type of toy ‘should’ cost.

          I can’t wrap my head around the reality that a Star Wars figure is now $10. My mom really wanted a Captain America figure from the movie (she REALLY liked that movie) and was stunned that a. there wasn’t one that looked ‘just like’ Cap as seen in the film, and b. what there was available was $8.

          That’s “I need to think about this” money. I don’t think too many action figures are impulse buys anymore. I went mad and collected most of the rest of the available Avengers (Thor, Hulk, Loki, and I can’t find an Iron Man that looks right, and of course there’s no Black Widow or Hawkeye) and wow, that HURTS.


          1. But MOTUC toys are forever! You’ll have them around til doomsday! 😀 😀 😀

            Unless they crumble, crack, shed, or otherwise show any signs of less-than-world-class quality, of course. 😉

        2. Steve, I’d venture to say that we don’t know what a toy should cost anymore. That for a lot of us, the “value” we assign to it is no longer in accordance with how much a company does “need” to charge.

          We’re also in a position where many of us feel we’re getting “definitive” stuff. It’ll be interesting to see where things are in ten years.

          1. OK, fair enough, we don’t know what a toy should cost, and we don’t know what Matty needs to charge to either break even or make a profit.

            We can infer and extrapolate some data points however.

            1. Mattel is not paying a licensing fee. MOTU is theirs. Whatever deals that have to be done with Filmation (the library of which was just picked up by Dreamworks. This may also be a factor later on) are more about..well, I don’t know what. I mean, Mattel commissioned the show, so I would assume that in actuality they should own all the characters created therein as a ‘work for hire’ situation. Blah blah, another discussion.

            2. Even though I can’t know this, I am 100% positive that the profit margin on MOTUC HAS to be substantially greater than any of their licensed, mass retail lines. I believe this not only because of the discounting that has to take place, but because of the return credit deals that are put in place to GET retailers to carry a line, and the outright purchasing of retail aisle footage to ensure consistent product presence and attempt to dominate other vendors. Those Monster High shelf talkers don’t just magically appear, ya know.

            Speculation: It is generally held that to break even on just about any kind of pop culture item you need to sell at least 5000 units. You see this all the time, 5000 seems to be very consistent. I cannot believe that MOTUC (and yes, CIE) are struggling to meet 5000 subscribers.

            So, saying all that, I guess my problem comes from what I see as Mattel’s attitude. Not that the lines aren’t making money (because by all rights they should be), just they appear that the lines should make MUCH MORE money. And that desire, confusingly, seems primed to kill the line and result in zero income.

            1. Interesting angles, Steve.

              Let me give you this:
              a company wants to make a trash can. The guy who designs it makes $50/hour, spends five hours on designing – $250.
              His boss makes $100/hour, he spent 50 hours having meetings about it/etc – $5000.
              The prototyping guy charges $3000 to make a sample – $3000.
              The US based factory, when all tooling costs are included, costs $14,000 for the tooling.
              So, the first sample off the line with this tooling has a value of all of the above in an accounting sense – $22,250.
              (I always think of trash cans because a friend had to get some custom-made for work and the cost was amazingly high)
              You run that second one, and you’ve cut the cost in half – you have two $11,000 trash cans.

              People might be rolling their eyes, but this is a mass production equation that happens every day with every product that goes to mass production.
              There are things we can never know – like the credit deals you mentioned, or deals large companies get on factory time/labor/steel cost. So it’s all a shot in the dark.
              Could Mattel be on a profit margin similar to…the X-Box, for example, has been reported as costing MORE than the retail price upon original release. That wouldn’t make much sense. If they are making nine billion dollars a quarter on Barbie and Hot Wheels, maybe they don’t much care about making money on MOTU, and the sub number is some horribly low number like 2000 subs. Anything is really possible. It all depends on the corporate culture. Maybe they need to make a minimum 150% profit on items, and the MOTU figures we purchase, including all expenses for everything, only cost Mattel $1.25 per figure. Or maybe it costs them $17 per figure, and they now have to raise the price to maintain any profits.

              That’s why it is best not to think about these things. I really don’t care if Mattel is making a penny or $19.75 per figure sold. I’m judging the time value to my money – in other words, is the time of my life I spent to make the money to purchase something WORTH what I get out of it?
              For now, MOTU is in the yes column. Surprisingly, I’ve really curtailed my Transformers collecting as they price has gone out of what I want to pay. Someday I hope to find a Hot Toys figure I want to pay $200 for (please don’t let Hot Toys get the Captain Power license…)

              1. That’s why it is best not to think about these things. I really don’t care if Mattel is making a penny or $19.75 per figure sold. I’m judging the time value to my money – in other words, is the time of my life I spent to make the money to purchase something WORTH what I get out of it?.

                Thank you. I was typing up a paraphrase of this while you posted it.

                1. Heh.

                  Now Noisy, when I debut my action figure line next year, make sure you just think of the enjoyment of toys! and not how I’m running to the bank with all the money! HAHAHAHAHAAH!

            2. A MOTU Classics is an action figure with nearly 50 pieces, usually at least 10% of which required new tooling, and all the costs that go into the figure prior to actually pouring plastic in the mold are then divided among less figures since this is a boutique line. I have no doubt that the costs associated with this line are outrageous compared to what Mattel is used to, perhaps they want a boutique profit too. Who knows.

              That said, it’s no skin off my nose how much Mattel profits from the line. To me, all a consumer should be concerned about is if it’s worth the price to them. If it’s not, which is apparently the case of late, then the line dies. All the speculation about what Mattel’s doing is fun and academic (which I know if your primary interest, Steve), but I can’t enjoy that side of right now because of the rampant… negativity going on surround this year’s post-SDCC debacle.

              1. My point on the profit margin is, that money should be going back into the line, so there aren’t those “gee, we can’t afford to make that Sky Sled” or “we’re holding Ram-Man hostage for a price increase” moments. MOTUC should not be paying the bills for Green Lantern Movie toys. (which I just cannot help but think is a significant factor in much of what is going on- I can’t help but feel that the GL Movie failure poisoned upper management’s views on ‘super hero’ toys because to THEM, it’s all the same thing. If the various Batman lines underperform they’ll be screaming for blood)

                Yes, this is a completely unrealistic view. I know it all goes into the big corporate pot and the strong lines carry the weak blah blah. Remember, crazy man here. 🙂

                1. Well, Steve, bean-counters and marketing people don’t think like other people. They have their own weird, skewed viewpoint based around warping data to support their own viewpoints (rather like a lot of modern scientists, actually).

                  I hate to be the type of person who trots out some else’s old witticisms as the be-all, end-all answer to a situation instead of saying something original and well-thought-out, but the quote about “lies, damn lies, and statistics” constantly springs to mind whenever business-type people (or politicians, scientists, or special interest groups) trot out numbers in their arguments about why they’re not doing what the public wants.

                2. We can guess at a gross estimate of the line’s sales and compare it to that of Mattel overall. MOTU’s portion of Mattel’s gross sales comes out to maybe a quarter of a percent, so it can’t pay for much. 🙂

                  That said, Green Lantern was touted highly in Mattel’s Q2 financials and then never mentioned in Q3’s financial reports, but Mattel did come out ahead of projections in Q3 based on Cars 2. So if anything covered GL’s ass, it was Cars 2.

    2. I remember when the original MOTU outstripped Barbie for sales one year. The biggest difference between then and now, I think, is advertising. Used to be you couldn’t turn on a TV during an 1980s afternoon without seeing at least one Masters of the Universe ad touting the latest product. Granted, the internet reaches far more people nowadays than 1980s American network television ever did, but unless you know about the product to begin with, you’re unlikely to get exposure.

      Heck, I didn’t know people outside the USA could order directly from Mattel or subscribe to their clubs until mid-2010, and I’d been collecting MOTUC since the first He-Man and Beast-Man releases. Could’ve saved myself a lot of money and hassle if they’d thought of a way to make that more widely known atthe time.

  16. I just had to pull the trigger on the sub, and I totally feel forced into it. I’ve been in since 2011 with Vikor but never got a sub (felt like I was being forced to hand over my CC to Mattel, and give them free reign to charge it!) and never ONCE had a problem getting a figure on sale day… Until Fisto, which I still to this day haven’t been able to get.

    I 100% know Ram Man (and probably Jistu too) will be scalped to high heaven and I will never, ever get a Ram Man for under $100 unless I subscribe. I am positive you just won’t be able to get him on sale day. I am sure he will be sold out during Early Access. I definitely knew that would happen with RM no matter when he was released, and that year i’d have to subscribe to get it at retail price.

    But with Scott’s whole “the line is dying” scare tactic, I feel completely forced into buying a sub now.
    I feel massively ashamed of myself for supporting this line after this really, really dirty fear mongering “Jerk Marketing 101” type move on Mattel’s part. Should any of us support deceptive practices from a company or it’s PR “guru”? Is that what MOTU is all about?

    Now it’s been three years that within 72hrs of SDCC they start crying “If you don’t subscribe, we’re going to cancel it all.” Three years! In a row! Seriously, this has to just stop. We all know WHY subs are down: Digital River! QC! Scott’s flip-floppy attitude and bad PR statements/moves! It’s not character selection or price increases… and this 100% STRAIGHT UP LIE ABOUT NUMBERS doesn’t help. Stop telling us ABOUT your numbers if you refuse to give us FACTS about your numbers. It’s too easy to lie, and we know Scott is a poor liar via last years “save the DCUC sub” lies.

    it’s not us, Matty & Scott, it’s YOU GUYS. Stop selling us bad QC figures, then give us bad CS, then raise the price, and then tell us it’s all our fault, and then after all hat LIE to our faces and then start the cycle again. Every MOTUC fan just wants the figure to be delivered promptly and not break in our hands, without having to jump through hoops. It’s not us it’s you, Mattel.

    1. Ram Man won’t have early access as it’s been described since he himself is a subscription figure. Early access is reserved for things like Granamyr or Weapons Paks that are non-subscription.

      I don’t think you should feel ashamed of yourself for supporting the line. It’s not about Scott, or even Mattel, in my eyes. I buy a subscription because I’m going to get figures I want and I’m going to help other fans get figures they want too. I’m happy that you joined up, so thank you.

      I do wish Scott could figure out a better way to sell the subscriptions, but I can’t tell him what it is, so my criticism is moot.

      1. One thing that’s puzzled me about toy lines is their recent (as in, since the mid-1990s) reticence in disclosing any information at all. They all like to work us into a frenzy about “wait until the next convention and see” before they let event he slightest morsel of information trickle out.

        I remember back in in the mid-1980s, for whatever reason, I wrote to Mattel asking them about what MOTU figures might be coming out, and they sent me a list containing not only all the MOTU products ever made up to that point, but also everything that was going to be released for the rest of that year! THAT got me really interested, because I could only imagine what “Dragstor,” “Mosquitor,” “Horde Trapper” (a typo, obviously), and best of all, “Eternia” might be.

        Personally, I think that if they were to say up front “Here’s what we’ve got planned for all of next year . . .” it might get people more interested and subscribing. I know that due to “logistics,” plans can change and schedules can get rearranged, and that’s just a part of life and business we’d have to take in stride if it might occur. But that simple one-page typed list some angel of a 1980s Mattel secretary sent me did more to fuel my interest and passion for the line than anything else that year, and ensured I stayed with the line until the very end.

        And, if they did that, it might reduce the number of times I see “If I’d known at the time they were going to make such-and-such this year, I would’ve subscribed!” posted online.

        1. I used to live for the new Consumers Distributing catalogs that came throughout the year to see which toys were coming out next. The Sears Wish Book only had toys at Christmas time. The rest of the year, the Sears catalog wasn’t much good to us.

        2. Walmart changed the industry to a quarterly assortment model instead of yearly.
          So things aren’t as set in stone at mass retail as they used to be.

          Psychologically, part of what keeps people interested in MOTUC is the revealing of information. If they let us know all 12-20 items at one time, what is there to talk about? It helps maintain active discussion as people wait for their favorite character to be revealed, the countdown to his bio, the countdown to release…you can see some fatigue set in during the times of the year when there is nothing new being revealed.
          There’s a percentage of people who MIGHT subscribe based on the mystery aspect – but there is also a group that definitely wouldn’t subscribe if they knew there were four NA figures in one year, etc.

          Mattel knows that with all of the toylines running and other nerdy entertainment out there, they have to keep MOTUC in our minds continuously, lest we wander into the miasma of Hasbro’s tempting Marvel Legends line/Hot Toys/3A/Glyos/Lego.

          1. I can certainly see what you mean, DK, but I’m sure there’d also be a percentage of people who would subscribe if they knew they were getting Extendar in December (because I’d be in that percentage). And if one doesn’t like a figure for whatever reason, one can always send it back or sell it on and get money back on it.

            I suppose it all just proves that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, eh?

      2. Noisy i thank you for trying to make me feel better. I still feel like I’ve been compromised though. Mattel is the most successful toy company on the planet. Their profits on Monster High, Hot Wheels, and Barbie alone can underwrite a small nation. It feels like this panic on the subs thing is artificial and as I expressed before, the “fake panic marketing” technique has become commonplace in a variety of industries, and guys like 3A and Secret Base have been the envy of PR folks for years now. We all know what went down last summer with DCUC was wrong and now we let them do it again. MOTUC is not really in danger and this totally feels like a repulsive ploy to win more sales (it worked)

        Look I am what you’d call “semi-hardcore”- I dont want them all but i do plan on getting most. I had a huge vintage MOTU collection up until about 8yrs ago and my MIB Enternia became too valuable to sit in the garage anymore. I was on the Org back in the day pre200x.

        the fanboy hate is nothing new, just look back to the 90s and tell me how positive the Xena and Star Trek comunities were back then ;). The Org guys have been taking it too far for a while now, and now their negativity is being pushed onto everyone who collects the line. The Org didnt man up when the QC and price increases started, by not buying – they prefered to complain to each other rather than Scott in person or Mattel so now we all suffer… and when anyone suggested some way of protest or fixing it, everyone turned into a baby and cried tears of killin teh lein.

        But now I feel marginalized, in the flurry if anger and negativity that MOTUC has brought around. I really just want the 1st 2 waves of vintage, and I am a die hard minicomics fan- but I am not a “fascist” and I do like some POP and Filmation, and feel MOTU is for everyone and they should make a bit for everyone. I don’t toe the line; I dont “want them all”; I loved Demo-Man; I am psyched for Vykron; I dont like the bios but i dont get worked up over them; I dont care if its a dio or playset but i want a castle grayskull; I am excited for Fighting Foe Men; I dont hate Scott, just the lies he tells; I like King He-Man; I disliked Spektor but rather than complaining in the comments I – suprise- voted with my wallet and didnt buy one; and I dont really care who comes out, I just want to see cool toys. All the org drama is the same fanboy crap that has been going on since the 70s- all about cred, and forcing your will on others because your life blows. Cmon lets move beyond that and enjoy this stuff and stop making it POP vs NA or whatever crap the newbies at the Org are pulling to gain cred. I feel bad for Val and Eamon and the other old school guys who dont post anymore as the newbz argue over dumb dumb petty stuff. Vertigoink anyone? Lets have fun and make it about the toys not our pants size 😉

        I subbed for a hassle-free Ram Man. I wont sub again unless a Castle Grayskull is involved. I dont want to “belong” to the org cult, or gain nerd cred from others. Im not looking to buy every POP figure so Scott can buy a new car and look great to his boss. I just want to buy some toys!

        ps sorry for the long comment, but felt maybe you could all use the viewpoint of a not so hardcore fan.

        1. Nothing wrong with a long post if it makes your standpoint clear and understandable, mate.

        2. Thank you for the post. It’s a lot easier for me to understand the opposing view point when it’s expressed like you’ve done here.

          I think that I just don’t know what it feels like to be threatened by marketing. I’ve got my start in running small retail departments and later ran a couple of my own businesses that I had to do the marketing for, so I know there’s good and bad marketing. But it’s hard for me wrap my head around the poor marketing as a scare tactic. I can see it as panic-inducing though.

          The other part of where I sit could maybe be blamed on naïveté. I generally accept what is said about production costs, tooling, paint applications. I’ve had a lot of discussions about just from posting back and forth with Doc Kent or talking to Cornboy and Matt from Onell. I do feel that MOTU is always in a vice – and DC too. I might be wrong about all of it, but I think reduces my skepticism heavily.

          And you’re right about the negativity, it is pretty persistent. That’s a big part of why IAT exists. I put up shop because I wanted a place where I could promote and focus on the good stuff. I always fear that IAT will one day be overrun by negativity I’ve seen elsewhere. I don’t know what I’ll do when that happens.

          1. “That’s a big part of why IAT exists. I put up shop because I wanted a place where I could promote and focus on the good stuff. I always fear that IAT will one day be overrun by negativity I’ve seen elsewhere. I don’t know what I’ll do when that happens.”

            I wouldn’t worry too much about that. I think your personality shines through, and sets the tone that is inherently unwelcoming of trolling, spouting off, etc.

  17. OK, here’s a thought to toss out.

    It’s ‘common wisdom’ in the toy industry (what there is left of it) that on the whole, a line lasts 3 years. That’s a successful line, and ‘evergreens’ are a whole other matter.

    So, let’s look at that. We’re told that when a line is running it takes a year from conception to in-store, right? We’ve seen a 2-year mention more recently but that extra year seems to be involved with the initial ‘paperwork trail’ to worm thru management to get approval to start. MOTUC is an established line so I think it’s safe to go with the year-long lead time.

    Three years. What we see then is that when a line streets, that second year of it is being tooled and put in the pipeline and the 3rd year is in prelim design. That’s logical. If the line is a slow seller they may kill the 3rd year production and that second year shows up on shelves. If the line REALLY dies, like goes into stores and NOBODY wants it, there may be panic and the second year ends up moving to overseas release (because it’s too far along, the money for tooling has been spent) (I fully expect to hear rumors of more Green Lantern Movie toys popping up in the EU any time now)

    Now let’s put that into MOTUC perspective. If management has been thinking of this as a three year line instead of an evergreen (and more fools they if that is the case), the 2013 announced lineup fits as a ‘second year’ run, too far along, too much money spent on tooling (yes, I believe many of those are already tooled up) to pull the plug. The ambitious nature of the 2013 wave comes from the optimism of 2010 sales. Lotta crap has gone down since 2010.

    It’s…kinda twisty, isn’t it? Even more so since I tend to believe some specific things about Mattel NOT planning long-term and such like. I think we see the conflict between the realities of manufacturing mixing with embedded ‘corporate cultural’ behavior (it’s still the ’60s! we have thousands of retailers wanting our toys!) and conflicting with “anything for ONE MORE PENNY right now” mindset.

    OK, start making the jokes about tin foil hats and black helicopters. 🙂

    1. Good points.

      People can jump all over this, but the x-factor here is…ToyGuru.
      Let’s face it – the guy is a collector. He was/is one of our brothers.
      It’s common collector logic that “if Company X made this product, it would surely sell!”
      I’m not saying it is him and solely him that made MOTU happen.
      BUT the idea that a corporation known for aisles of Barbie product could market a COMPLETE LINE successfully to (estimated) 20,000 customers AND make a profit AND run for ten years is totally something only a collector would think was possible.

      I’ve been reading stats over the years from Hasbro that say collectors are 10% of the audience, or some other ridiculously low number. Mattel is trying to prove that the 10% can support a line, but it has been a rough ride.

      1. Toyguru absolutely deserves credit where it’s due.

        It’s safe to say no other Mattel employee would’ve lead the charge to make new MotU figures the way he did. But being my cynical bastidge self that I am, that’s more a DIScredit to Mattel’s shortsightedness than it is a credit to Scott. 😀

        But in no way has anything he’s done been altruistic. As he himself has said, he makes the line to make himself happy first and foremost. Which is fine if you’re an artist, not wishing to compromise to your critics’ every whim, but not exactly ideal when you’re creating a commercial product for a specific customer.

        On the one hand, it’s awesome that we have “a fan” (he’s no über-fan with more particular talents or keen insight than anyone else, he’s just a random guy who grew up playing with MotU like the rest of us) in his position, but when you manage a line for yourself as he’s done, you’ll inevitably create as much divisiveness and eyebrow-raising as you do support and geek solidarity.

        As I said before, maybe he’s TOO close to the property, and should’ve passed the reins along to someone else after the ball was rolling.

        But then there’s that pesky little thing called “credit” we were talking about, and we know who clearly seeks and cherishes a GREAT DEAL of it . . .

        1. Good points.

          Also, I’ll gladly take TG in charge instead of a suit who tells us “we had to do three He-Man variants a year to keep the kids involved.” Classics could have easily been an even more horrific (and short-lived experience) if there was one He-Man every quarter.

          1. EXACTLY!

            I’ve been saying for literally decades now (since Kenner’s Batman: The Animated Series line in 1992; I can’t believe it’s been 20 years!) that one sure way to get people to stop collecting is by releasing a thousand Neon TurboJet Infrared SCUBA Grappling Pack Capture Claw Hero variants (with dino-buddy!) and keeping the villains and secondary characters to one-per-case. What’s the point of having a bazillion He-Men if you can’t find anyone for him to fight with? The original MOTU lasted six years and had four He-Man and Skeletor variants. The Millennial MOTU had buttloads of He-Man and Skeletor figures and lasted half that time. Coincidence? I think not.

            I’ve also said the same thing about exclusives, and all their other problems aside, the reason I either gave up on or never even bothered with the Palisades lines that caught my attention was the ridiculous number of exclusives all over the place that were tedious as Hell to track down.

            1. Beedo, the things about the proliferation of Batman figures is that the companies don’t make these decisions in a vacuum. Especially now that a store like Walmart (America’s #1 toy retailer) can provide Mattel with an exact SKU sales count of how many Catwoman figures they moved versus Blade Batman, Ski Batman, etc. There’s a plateau that some figures hit where they just cannot sell any more, then the stores get full of them.

              Way back when, figures like BTAS Penguin and TMNT Leatherhead were super-expensive on the secondary market. But a few years earlier, TRU had walls of them on clearance. It was only later when new people started a collection that the Penguin finally became desired.

              The unfortunate side effect of “hot toys” at one per case is that even though more people were unhappy, there were MORE people collecting because it does something to us psychologically. We never want something more than when we can’t have it. Which, back on topic, Ram Man. 🙂 Is everyone’s favorite character Ram Man? Hell no. But people want him because he fills that final hole in their 1983 collections. It would be the same way if any of those characters were substituted in his place.

              1. Right, I get your points, Doc. Please bear in mind that almost all my experience with American brick-and-mortar toy sales ended in May 2000 when I moved back to England, so it’s hardly comprehensive. But I’m thinking regional distribution might have something to do with the point we’re discussing as well.

                Loads of times, I would encounter someone in the North Canton / Belden Village Toys ‘R’ Us who was visiting from out-of-state, who marvelled at the wall of Star Wars POTF2 Coin Collection Lukes and Leias, which they couldn’t find for love nor money back in, say, Texas. But if you wanted to find the Wal-Mart Max Rebo / Doda Bodonawieedo 2-Pack, for example, tough noogies. Loads of ’em back in Oklahoma, rare as birds’ teeth in Stark County. Personally, I never saw Penguins or Leatherheads clogging shelves in NE Ohio. But I was seeing boatloads of Hanging-Upside-Down Batman Beyond in stores for AGES after the cartoon went off the air.

                Maybe I’m weird (okay, no maybe about it; let’s say that perhaps I’m unusual for a collector) in that if a company makes it more difficult to collect something, I’d rather abandon it than try to keep up and have too many gaps in my collection.

                Which is why I always have a huge, contented grin on my face every time I purchase a Club Eternia subscription and get monthly reminders that, yes, barring tragic mishaps, I will be getting this month’s cool toy(s). It just may take a couple of months to get to me. };D

          2. As I say, getting the ball rolling absolutely required a Toyguru in this case.

            But after that, who knows? Maybe a “suit” would’ve been more open to bringing fan consultants into the fold a little more, whereas Scott has the sort of “I got this, I’m an über-fan” mentality that doesn’t allow for much outside input.

  18. Me and my boy were so excitet to see all these charakters at sdcc. And now? Its a strange feeling i have about it. Sure 5$ + shipping is a lot of money, but its better than european e-bay prices, and i dont want to talk about the shipping cost (matty from america ~9$, e-bay germany up to 20€!) I’ve bought my boys he-man from e-bay: 70€ (and thats better than the local store 99€)! But its worth to see a four years young boy smiling and shouting: by the power of grayskull. I support the sub.

    1. Markus makes a very good point. With all the crap non-American collectors have had to put up with in just about every line (initial costs, shipping, customs, middle-men mark-up, scalpers, et cetera), when a line as fun and easy to collect as MOTUC comes along, it’s a real treat for all concerned.

      For example: How many conventions outside the USA get their own figures? I don’t mean ones like the German JediCon, which may get the same figures as the American Star Wars Celebrations, just in a slightly different package. I mean their own unique, not-to-be-released-elsewhere figures? I could probably count them on the fingers of one head. But Mattel then makes their American convention exclusives available online, to people across the world, after the convention is over. I can’t think of any other toy company that does that.

      I suppose I’m very fortunate (and in the minority) that I’ve enjoyed every single figure that’s come down the line in the sub so far, even Mighty Spector (still don’t care much about the character, but it’s a well-made figure). But when your only alternatives for so long have been 1) paying through the nose to import something or 2) not getting something at all, you learn to appreciate that while Mattel’s handling of MOTUC hasn’t been perfect, it’s by far better than just about every other toy line out there.

      Makes me realise how utterly spoiled I was living for some time in Ohio, able to practically reach out and pluck anything I wanted off the pegs and shelves with minimal effort and mark-up.

      1. It is a great point. I remember when the line first made its debut and people were bitching and moaning about the fact that it should be a brick & mortar line — some even going as far as coming up with “calculators” using some backwards math to try and justify it — However lets just pretend for a second this was a retail friendly line — I cannot begin to fathom what an absolute nightmare this would have been.

  19. I made a comment a couple of days ago about taking your power as customers,and was fairly ignored,but who has seen the news today where Mattel is saying if they don’t get a little over 50% more subs you’re going to be paying $30-$35 a figure.Hate to say “I told you so”,but as long as the “Real Fans” keep bending over backwards for Mattel the longer they are going to put the screws to us all.

    1. I overlooked your comment about customers having the power earlier because I feel it’s not really true and I didn’t want to be rude. I think it’s one of those nice things that people believe but doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny, like the customer always being right. Anyone working in the service industry can usually tell you that customers should be treated like they’re right, but that more often than not they’re woefully wrong.

      The only thing a consumer can do against a business is discontinue patronage or become a squeaky wheel. The latter usually doesn’t matter because most people don’t have a reach which can squeak loud enough to cause the business difficulty, so the former is really all most folks have. And that power isn’t over the business itself, but rather their relationship with the particular business. In the vast majority of cases, walking away will improve the life of the consumer (they’ll feel better about themselves, feel less shackled, be open to new experiences, basically that kind of change can be rather cathartic), but really does nothing to the business. Most businesses simply come across replacement customers rather easily and then march on. There are specific historical instances were one or two people have been able to change how a business does business, but they’re rare and are usually much more complicated than just not liking how a company chooses to sell its product. And while I know we’ve had success with Mattel getting us BA Faker, Keldor swords, etc., I don’t think there was any way for us to change how they run and operate the line other than to sabotage it.

      Now, when several consumers act in accordance with each other (though not necessarily in unison or by agreement) then the business can be affected, but in this situation the effect of us walking away from MOTU or withholding our funds to “take power back” only hastens the ultimate, inevitable fate of the line: cancellation. At some point, whether it was later in the life of the line, now as caused by natural attrition & market forces, or earlier by means of consumer rebellion as you suggest, the outcome would be the same. Subscriptions would go away and the last figures would be offered at the steeper prices. Leaving the guy saying “please subscribe or the line will die” just as capable of saying “I told you so”.

      The other thing I’d like to say is that I don’t feel like the screws are put to me whatsoever. I don’t feel strongarmed, pressured, punished, railroaded, or forced in regards to Mattel selling subscriptions. I’m not going to tell anyone that does feel pressured into purchasing a sub that they shouldn’t feel that way (though I would counsel them not to buy one if they are feeling that resentment), but it is important to remember that there are different opinions on what Mattel is doing and how they’re doing it. It’s not nearly as open and shut as some folks believe.

    2. Yeah, I’m with Noisy on this one. If a restaurant, for example, offers poor service or fare, people stop going and force the management into improvement or bankruptcy. With any toy line, but especially MOTUC, the management will likely just say “Oh, well, sales are down. Now we’re justified in pulling the plug on this turkey,” and then start tooling up for something else.

      Mattel ain’t exactly struggling for a share of the market, and people with a marketing mindset would rather do away with all niche products (like online subscriptions) and just stick to their most profitable lines . . . and they will always have arguments ready for why they’re justified in doing so, because they’re experts at massaging data interpretations. Plus, I don’t really want to live in a world where Mattel only makes Barbie and Hot Wheels.

      1. “If a restaurant, for example, offers poor service or fare, people stop going and force the management into improvement or bankruptcy. With any toy line, but especially MOTUC, the management will likely just say “Oh, well, sales are down. Now we’re justified in pulling the plug on this turkey,” and then start tooling up for something else.”

        I wanted to chime in here because the restaurant analogy struck a cord with me: I think the issue with Mattel is that they are really seeking to play the game on their terms to an almost offensice degree and the rationale doesn’t make a whole heck a lot of sense for example:

        A person called to make reservations at a restaurant because you like their steak. The person on the phone tells you that to get steak you have to order everything on the menu because if you do not and you show up to the restaurant anyways no one can assure you there will be steak to order. To make matters worse no one can or will tell you what other items are on the menu for “legal reasons.”
        I don’t think anyone in their right minds would agree to this…Mattel is doing the same thing. Mattel wants people to commit but is unwilling to make a worthwhile gesture to the people it is seeking the commitment from. I think MANY people would consider a sub if they knew what was coming for the year. I think even more would jump on board if a tiered sub (subbers must order a min of 4-6 figs a year)or even if a Sideshow preorder method was adopted. This “the whole menu or starve” stance is bothersome. As I said before I only want certain figs and do not wish to get them all when I only want a few. If that is the only case then I’ll go to ebay to get what I want….40 bucks for one I want is better that 500 for a bunch I don’t want.
        I get uber fans want the line to go on and I don’t wish to stand in their way…I want the line to go on as well but I won’t be forced to play it Mattel’s way just to make that a reality. BTW any uber fan who wants to but a second sub and sell me some figs at cost pust shipping would be cool!

        1. I’m not saying this is true based on tooling at the current level of subscribers, but if Ram Man himself was $500, would you pay it?

    3. I saw your comment but nothing really resonated with me so I didn’t reply

      It’s a catch-22. In reality I don’t believe there is any real “power” in the consumer/business dynamic. There is only what is perceived as power. Consumers rely on businesses to offer goods and services. Business relies on the patronage of consumers. It’s a mutual relationship. But we’re not talking about break, milk, and eggs here. Nor are we talking about little Mom & Pop establishment.

      If you have a favorite restaurant that has delicious food but horrible service, will you still go back again and again? It all depends on how much you like the food. If you can do without it, more power to you. You can go on with your life and be happy.

  20. I’ve been buying Classics since Day 1, and that was mostly due to the “HOLY CRAP! He-Man is back!!” factor I got from seeing new, old-school styled MotU toys. I bought every figure that 1st year, mostly because I wasn’t sure how long the line would last so I wanted to “at least have something” to look at before the line was canned. Here we are 5 years later & the line is still kicking. As the line has been moving forwards, I have changed as a toy collector drastically. I used to buy anything that appealed to my eye & just had a giant horde of toys that I felt obese with. A lot of my MotUC figures I traded away as I realized I really didn’t want those characters & instead focused on the ones I really wanted, like some of my childhood favorites like Buzz-Off, Leech and now soon Rattlor.

    I just received another childhood favorite of mine Spikor in the mail today and once I busted him out of the packaging & began checking him over a feeling of buyers remorse set in. I spent $33.40 on this figure, I wash windows & get roughly $60 a shift to do that…so this figure cost me half a day’s pay. And for what? Is it a cool representation of one of my favorite childhood toys? Hell yeah, but I dunno if it was worth $33 dollars. If most people don’t know, I’m a HUGE Glyos fan and I spend the majority of my toy buying money on Glyos and for $33 bucks I get a lot more fun out of Glyos then I do MotU Classics figures, and that’s just my opinion. Needless to say I’ve never been a Subscriber as I don’t make a lot of money & can’t afford to be contractually obligated to buy 1-to-3 nearly $33.00 figures a month. So, I just cherry pick what I want & that’s about it. For the remainder of 2012, I’ll odds are be buying Dragon Blaster Skeletor, the Snake Men 2pack, Rattlor, Cy-Chop & Mosquitor (possibly Castle Grayskull Man). But in 2013? I really don’t want any of those figures shown, so I’ll odds are not be buying MotU Classics until after Fang Man. So that’s roughly 3-months of no MotU purchases. I just can’t spend money on toys I don’t want that much anymore. I’m a later-generation MotU fan anyways, so I grew up with the Evil Horde, the Snake Men, the Comet Warriors, etc; everything post 1985. The 2 oldest figures I had were Buzz-Off & Stratos, so a lot of the “core cast” of MotU that all the other fans go nuts over I really don’t have any connection to. So, I dunno if this was just ramblings or if it made any sense, but that’s my 2-cents as to why I’m not getting a Sub I guess?

    1. That’s exactly the kind of observations that we need. The financial commitment is cumbersome, the low appeal of some characters should be a huge factor in determining one’s decision.

      I wonder some times if chasing after childhood favorites wears thin after awhile. My childhood favorites are some of my least favorite Classics.

        1. One that Lay Ze always point out is that the purely vintage figures require no imagination on our part. We know exactly what they’ll look like before Mattel unveils them. The 4H still do great work, but some of the vintage figures really lack an x factor.

          It’s funny to think that a year-and-a-half ago it seemed everyone was praising figs like Vikor for having that x factor and now “concept” characters are suddenly dirty things that could rob us of Two-Bad.

          It’s sad.

          1. There could still be an x factor for vintage figures if Mattel allows and encourages it.

            MAA, Fisto, Moss Man, Scare Glow, Tri-Klops . . . there are a bunch of standouts in the line that brought brand new elements that weren’t from vintage or 200x that no one really “saw coming a mile away”.

            Noble effort I guess on Stinkor, but was anyone REALLY that jazzed by the button-to-nozzle conversion? That just seemed an overwrought, unnecessary (and I think Scott blameworthy) splitting of vintage and 200x elements when a combo release (with 1 head only) would have more than sufficed.

            And thank Meddlor™ as well for silly things like forcing the “huh???” Clawful shield on us instead of an alternate modern head that 99% of collectors would’ve preferred.

            But yeah, it does remind of how much palpable, like ELECTRICITY was in the fandom air whenever a new 200x design was going to be unveiled, because we were frequently met with surprises and lots of takes that were hard to anticipate. Even when it was just a bust, like with Hordak, then the speculation began of how the rest of him would look.

            With MOTUC, we see Sy-Klone (and nothing against Syk, I own and dig him) and go “Oh yeah, there’s Sy-Klone. Mmhmm. Yep. Sy-Klone.”

            1. Yeah, I wish every fig had the x factor! I enjoy the line, heavy vintage figs and all, but a lot of them don’t stand out. Clawful continues to be a disappointment with his weapons pack mace being the same color. 😛

              Stinkor doesn’t do much for me either. The nozzle is on all the time for me, though the button will be fine for Mek.

            2. NoisyDvL5: “That’s exactly the kind of observations that we need. The financial commitment is cumbersome, the low appeal of some characters should be a huge factor in determining one’s decision.

              I wonder some times if chasing after childhood favorites wears thin after awhile. My childhood favorites are some of my least favorite Classics.”

              You gotta get the most bang for your buck these days. If something you buy leaves you with that “buyer’s remorse” feeling, then you probably should re-evaluate your purchases of said product. I’m not a brand-new collector so I don’t have that tons of room, money & energy that younger collectors do, so maybe that’s why I’m more…picky(?) in what I spend my monies on.

              As a kid growing up, I had only a handful of MotU compared to the other kids. I had: Thunder-Punch He-Man, Stratos, Buzz-Off, Rio Blast, Stonedar, Rokkon, Terror Claws Skeletor, Spikor, Saurod, King Hiss, Tung Lashor, Rattlor, Leech & Modulok. So that’s, what, 14 figures? So far they’ve made 6 of them, soon to be 7 when Rattlor comes out. All the characters I grew up with that I’d like toys of probably won’t be out for a while; or if the line ends before 2014 I’ll never see them in Classics. In the 1990’s I had gotten Webstor, Sy-Klone & Two-Bad from my mom for X-mas as a random-old-school funny gift (I’d found a seller who had a ton of old MotU figures MOC & asked for any 3 from a list I gave her, to re-create the randomness of getting toys from my childhood). I guess I can count them in my original childhood collection, so then it’s more like 8-or-9 of my old MotU figures as Classics. I’m really only looking forward to Rio Blast, Terror Claws Skeletor & possibly Saurod. I know the Comet Warriors & Modulok will never see the light of day with the number of new parts they’ll need to be made correctly, or if they do they’ll be on the table during the year that the line will get cancelled.

              I was excited to see Sy-Klone make the cut, but I felt like you did Lay Ze-Man when he arrived in the mail. I know action features cost extra, but I would have happily traded the large 200X ring accessory for a gear system in his chest & waist to make him spin. Some characters are defined by their action-features and without them they’re just shadows of their former selves. They don’t all need to have “spring-waist-punching-action”, but Kobra Khan should spray mist, Rattlor’s head should strike (although his tail rattles so that’s a good compromise) & Sy-Klone should spin. If/When they make Rio Blast, I’m curious if they’ll give him a new torso with a hollowed out chest to accommodate his chest-cannons, OR have it peg into it. I think they might as well go the extra mile & give him a new torso, but when it comes down to costs who knows? Same with Extendar; would he be more cool if he could extend like the old toy, vs the same way they did Tallstar?

          2. I have to agree — a lot of the vintage figures they have released have been kind of anti-climactic. I felt that way especially with Man-E-Faces and Snout Spout. They were 100% exactly as I expected them to be, but really lacked the “Wow” factor. Especially in comparison to Fisto, Man-At-Arms, and the others mentioned which really went above and beyond.

            1. I can certainly understand the point that without action features, the characters might seem to lack a certain “oomph.” But for the most part, I’m just happy to have some cool-looking MOTU figures again. };D

              1. I don’t even know if its the action figures though — I’ll give you that on a character like Snout Spout a lot of that original toy’s appeal WAS the action feature, so as much as I didn’t think I would miss it I kind of do — not to say I’d actually use it, but I think its a psychological thing. Whereas on the other hand you do have Man-E-Faces who DOES have the same gimmick as the vintage and 200x versions, and while he is a solid entry I still felt like he lacked something.

                1. Like a twist-waist punch, for example? };D

                  Is it anything you can pin down? Because I think I know exactly what you mean, and I’m not sure I can put a specific name to what bugged me about him, either. (Apart from the fingers of his left hand being gummed together by excessive paint and empty coal-black eyes.) When I finally get an updated, super-poseable version of my first-ever MOTU figure, with an EXTRA head piece that allowed for three new “disguises,” I still felt a bit . . . blasé.

                  1. I honestly don’t know. For the most part he is 100% accurate to how I would have imagined the Classics figure being. There was really no surprise there. Could that be why? Maybe we just reached a point in the line where we already started to have a good idea about what the figures would look like — it was just a matter of waiting for the 4H for actually sculpting them.

              2. I actually wish they’d have left action features almost completely alone for this line, as it seems it caused more problems and unmet expectations than it did any kind of “Just like you remember!™” nostalgia.

                MEF and Tri-Klops are one thing, but clearly (no pun intended) Roboto was a terrible waste.

  21. Thinking further, I’m convinced that someone in middle management at Mattel has convinced the higher-ups that Mattycollector should follow the ‘comic book store’ model- that is Product should only be made to meet 100% sell-thru day of sale.

    this will ‘control costs’ and ‘increase margins’. It also allows for zero growth.

    Stupid question. One can quit the subscription, right? Pay off whatever has shipped and pull the plug? I wonder how often that has happened? I mean, they lost Noisy when there was the (seeming all too often) CC screwup, has anyone gotten their ‘most important’ figure and bailed out?

    1. It wouldn’t be hard to manufacture as long as you have or know someone with an expiring or maxed out credit card. They cut you loose pretty easily really.

      I know it’s just a parenthesed, cast-off part of your comment, but I really have to pull out the “seeming” in “seeming all too often”. I all but know it’s absolutely “seeming”. In the past, Mattel has sold thousands of subscriptions, somewhere between 10k and 20k, and yet these ideas persist that there are rampant QC issues, rampant DR customer service issues, that the subscription is this huge headache that no one should be involved in. That’s the “negativity magnification” that the internet irritatingly provides. It’s not relegated to MOTU, of course, one guy posts on one of the major forums a mispainted head and then another guy posts his mispainted head over and “OMG! What’s going on!?” while the thousands of people who bought something without a mispainted head just go about their normal business… drives me nuts.

  22. I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’ve got to say I can’t recall ever being on another coollectors’ site where a posting has developed 200+ comments, with not a single vicious, spiteful post in the mix. There are both passion and reasoning in all these posts, people sharing differing opinions clearly and thoroughly, and still no real hair-tearing, back-stabbing, vitriol flying about.

    This is perhaps the most civilised collecting site I’ve ever visited. I love this place!

    1. It’s refreshing, isn’t it? I like to think that some magic has attracted overall sane, rational people who have passion and common sense to this site. I think it would be kinda cool if we could all get together for some kind of ‘summit’ and jawbone crap about toys. But then I’d drive everyone crazy with my big whiteboard and the ‘chalk talk’ of outlining connections, causal relationships, historical information, all those strings leading from a to b to c 🙂

      (not that I have any of this actually written down. Lots of stuff crowding my head. it’s a scary place sometimes)

      I think the reason everything stays cool here, it’s a ‘top down’ feeling. Nobody wants to pee in Noisy or Vault’s cornflakes. It’s respect and I’m damn glad to see it in action. I’m positive I’ve made Noisy sigh and roll his eyes a couple of times in this thread, but he sticks with me and I like to think I offer some interesting food for thought. If not, I’m sure I’d hear about it! 🙂

      1. why steve, you meandering neanderthal! your points are so back and forth, it’s like geri jewel trying to swim in a maytag washer!


        i love all this chatter, and have a longer more substantial post to… well, post, but i just got a nice plate of pasta set before me and i must sup.

        1. ok, back from dinner… doc has made several points about affordability of figures back in the day… and steve has mused on the prices of existing figs. both have neglected to point out, overall, our cost of living was cheaper “back in the day” and at the same time, our wages were not as high. when a kenner fig costs 5 bucks, a gallon of gas was 1.20 and average income (in the states, at least) was about 24K a year. things are not quite the same now… as anyone w/ bills can attest. at minimum wage, 3.35, a kenner figure cost you about an hour and a half of work to afford, whereas a new motuc fig, at sub prices as of 2013, will cost us 3.5 hrs of min wage work… before shipping.

          the problem mattel faces here, the dilemma we all face as customers, is, do we perceive a value in accordance w/ that much of our work. in 2010 we did, in 2011 we did… in 2012, fewer of us did… and apparently, as of 2013, we largely think it’s no longer worth our time. i think honestly mattel is largely to blame for that, because the perception of value is their job. they have whole divisions at work whose well-paying-job it is to make us think that whatever they’re selling, we ought to be happy to buy. that’s not at all how motuc has worked in the last couple years. we’ve had recurrent issues on the line w/ QC, CS, PR, and a whole host of other two letter abbreviations, which have all worked against our perception of value, and all we’ve been given to contradict that is more figures. the figs aren’t substantially better than they were, the packaging is the same, etc… so where is the work to convince us that we’re getting more for our buck than we were? as prices increase, even if that’s totally legit as a production cost, we have to made to think that’s we’re getting more for our dollar.

          and make no mistake here, i’m not saying that things have to actually be better, they just have to convince us that we’re getting more than the previous year for our purchase, and they’ve failed at that. this preposterous and out of touch griping we see all over the various toywebs is all cumulative testimony that people don’t perceive the value to be there anymore. it’s mattel’s job to make them think otherwise. the complete lack of advertising, even on the 24/7 interest channels, even on the interest websites, astounds me. remember when they gave us that con exclusive in conjunction w/ the robot chicken crew? did mattel buy any ad space DURING robot chicken? no. did they purchase any ad space on the robot chicken web page? no. instead, the only advertising came from the show itself showcasing the figure itself, AFTER mattel had pulled it from retail sale. in the immortal words of south park “DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB!” now the fig is back for sale, and there’s STILL NO ADVERTISING!

          as for the figs themselves, i think personally i’ve seen a few duds, but in general, i don’t see any deal breakers… but conversely, i don’t see any “must haves” either. ram man will be a great addition to the line, but i’m past the “must have” phase w/ this line, and honestly, w/ figs in general. too many disappointments, too much cost, too much work to acquire, a whole host of reasons keep me from being gung-ho anymore. i need a break from buying in general, in large part because i want to take time to enjoy the collection i have accumulated over the last 30 years. anyone else miss play? i sure do, and i’ve been doing more of it, and have more in plan… and play is great. the imagination of the playing is the allure of toy collecting for me. that’s why stuff like the horsemen’s 7th K and gothitropolis, and the glyos stuff is great for me, they inspire my imagination a lot more, and i perceive that i’m getting my money’s worth, in large part because they can’t afford great marketing, so they rely on sales coming from superior product.

          but getting back to motuc, the folks who are now “hey, FLUCK the fighting foe men!” or “man, that king man is balls” or “procrustus disgust’s us” or whatever mindless hatred they have to spew, they were looking for a way out, and a nifty slogan to do out on… something would have gotten them eventually. the web is full of these tools, and they’re emergence/vocality now are just part and parcel. i don’t think mattel listens to them, or by now, all of their execs would have carradined themselves some time ago. as has been pointed out, motuc is not this company’s bread and butter…

          but, and i promise this is the end of this diatribe, they’re making money here, and have been… a company this big doesn’t do “pet projects” on any budget. they like profit, so this line is making them money. they like lots of money, and the line would have mothballed in a heartbeat if they weren’t. there’s no way that the house that barbie built doesn’t regard motu as a money maker, and expect a return on their investment, because it’s enormously easy to just not make product. so let’s not pretend that they don’t care at all at this tiny niche property… the beancounters figured that this would make great scratch for them, and it has. so let’s get treated like we mattered. this was no one night stand, no matter how many times they’ve attended the barbie orgy. we mattered dammit.

          1. the dilemma we all face as customers, is, do we perceive a value in accordance w/ that much of our work. in 2010 we did, in 2011 we did… in 2012, fewer of us did… and apparently, as of 2013, we largely think it’s no longer worth our time. i think honestly mattel is largely to blame for that, because the perception of value is their job.

            I completely agree with that. I think it may be an overwhelming task though as the prices have raised so fast in the last ten years that our ability to reevaluate can scarely keep up, particularly when these lines are quickly becoming “boutique”.

            the folks who are now “hey, FLUCK the fighting foe men!” or “man, that king man is balls” or “procrustus disgust’s us” or whatever mindless hatred they have to spew, they were looking for a way out, and a nifty slogan to do out on… something would have gotten them eventually.

            Absolutely. If you read through all the discussions, the people who hate the price insist the price is the problem, the folks who want “Ram Man & out” want to blame Vikor, etc. It’s clear they came into the discussion with an agenda and were merely looking for support. It sucks.

            so this line is making them money. they like lots of money, and the line would have mothballed in a heartbeat if they weren’t. there’s no way that the house that barbie built doesn’t regard motu as a money maker, and expect a return on their investment, because it’s enormously easy to just not make product. so let’s not pretend that they don’t care at all at this tiny niche property… the beancounters figured that this would make great scratch for them, and it has. so let’s get treated like we mattered

            We do matter, so the discussion of the worthwhileness of Mattel is a tricky one. We can guesstimate that the MOTU line is about a quarter of a percent of Mattel’s overall gross sales (though we really can’t make any guess at net profits), so while it makes a large sum of money to us – and hopefully to Mattel, it doesn’t make that much of the pie. Which is where those comments originate.

            1. Yeah, I think one thing some people forget in the talk of this being a “high end collector line” is that by and large, we’re still buying the same figure we were in 2008.

              And that’s been the formula for profit since day one.

              As far as perceived value, I think this past year has done a number in that regard. Almost no one thought the Star Sisters was worth $60, and the subsequent missing paint ops and missing accessories doesn’t inspire confidence that they won’t still do that next year.

              1. Multipacks should really be a little cheaper. I miss those days.

                The “quiet” changes companies do to save money of late. Ugh. The TFs get smaller. The accessories are one color. It’s disconcerting and definitely calling value into question.

                1. the thing i keep wondering is… why the emphasis on human labor? scott has mentioned, repeatedly, that motucs are labor intensive, “hand painted” and “hand assembled”… so? it’s not bread or cheese here, there’s nothing artisanal about a mattel product, so for the love of all that’s holy, why don’t we get to work on an actual “classicizer” machine that will assemble 5000 figures an hour? and that sits in iowa? employ iowans to load the figure parts into the classicizer, that assembles the toys and applies spray tan, then more iowans to move the finished pieces to the “packagizer” then more iowans to get the packaged figs into the mailer boxes, yet more iowans to load them onto trucks and move them to the post office (not newgistics, the actual post office.) and mail them. then, iowans could afford motucs. 🙂 seems like pretty basic economics to me.

                  why pay 1000 chinese 35 bucks a week, when a 15,000 dollar machine will do the work 10 times faster and 10,000 times before it needs a re-calibrating? no health insurance required, no employee suicides to cover up, no worker revolts to put down, no shady middle man getting his taste…

                  1. I always tend to think ‘hand painted’ and ‘hand assembled’ are a bit of misdirection. I could be totally wrong but from what I’ve seen ‘hand painted’ means a person places a brass stencil over a part and sprays. I’m pretty sure a mis-cut stencil explains all those ‘up and to the left’ eyes on DCU. To my mind placing a conformal stencil on a part and spraying a color is not nearly ‘skilled labor’ compared to someone hand painting a face.

                    Assembly? Again, it’s reasonably unskilled labor to take part a, put it inside part b and shoot a plastic rivet in. Sonic welding is a bit more tricky.

                    I’m honestly not sure how much of the process could be automated. Assembly, probably could be. If computers and robot arms can build a computer’s guts (all those different bits!) there’s probably a way to automate building a figure. Painting, I think you’d still need the human touch.

                    And I might suggest Texas for the factory. Tax reasons mostly, but I think there’s also plenty of factory space available cheap down there.

                2. I’ve oft wondered that myself. When you go to the groceries store, usually they’ll have a sale, i.e. “buy 3 for $5.00” —

                  A lot of companies are finding ways to cut corners? Speaking of groceries stores, have you taken a stroll down the cereal aisle recently? Those things are shrinking!

                  1. The same thing goes on here in England. They shrink the chocolate bars a little at a time, but keep the price the same. Been doing it for decades.

      2. I think its a testament to the folks here at IAT. Very few sites do I really feel a true sense of community, rather than just being a bunch of strangers who post anonymously. I was watching Scottie N’s videos on YouTube and happened to glance down at the comments and it was pretty much what I expected, nothing but venom and vitriol towards TG.

        Also there’s a nice sense of community going on, not just here at IAT but at other sites, like Poe’s POA, Infinite Hollywood, JesterGoblin, DoomKick, etc. so if one of us goes on here spewing all sorts of nonsense and whatnot we’d quickly lose our reputation. I’m not talking about those “WordPress” things you have to sign in to, but we know who each other is. So I guess at that there’s nothing from stopping me from just posting as someone else and saying whatever I want with no consequence, but that brings me back to what I said about a sense of community and not wanting to crap on what the fine folks here at IAT have built up, same goes for other sites too. is different though. I’m sure there are little cliques on there and whatnot (I rarely go myself) but I think when people post on that site they figure nobody knows who they are and therefore will be a little loose with their tongue.

        1. Thanks, tear!

          Anonymity has always been an enabler, so I’ve always appreciated the folks on forums and blogs that invest in the community aspect. One thing that has surprised me is the Facebook vitriol. I always wonder the grandparents, siblings, parents, etc. think when they see “such and such posted on Mattycollector’s Wall” when it’s angry or hate-filled.

          1. frankly i’d be embarassed. although i seem to think that some people create accounts specifically to troll with —

            i’ve never been shy about my hobby, heck, once i launched an all-out campaign to solicit my friend’s help to win a battle cat! its another thing to broadcast it in such a negative way…

  23. @dayraven: amen to that!
    I can’t believe in this day n age, companies can think that the masses can be fooled easily. I love MOTUC but I am so pissed by the way they treat us that I hope they don’t get enough sub n can the project. It will be a sad day but at least they will finally shut up about ending the line if subs R low! Go ahead n cancel the line..i will just find something else to buy.

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