Truetorial: Who would Pre-Order
the End of the Line?

As I’ve said, I hate the post-SDCC subscription period. It’s a study in frustration. First comes the uncertainty of if we’ll even hit the minimum. Then we transition into anger & fighting, bargaining & bullying, and depression. Strangely, some folks want pre-orders, so that we can party like this all year.

Some folks, many of whom I have a lot of respect for are talking about having Mattel go to a pre-order system for MOTU Classics. I disagree.

I can understand why collectors want it. It’s been frustrating being a MOTU Classics collector. We’re somewhere between being big enough to bother with, for Mattel to invest in and profit from, but we also don’t really contribute much to Mattel’s bottom line, no more than a fraction of a percent of gross sales and even less in net profit. We know that MOTU is worth Mattel’s time. We know that we’re worth the time. And yet, we’re very rarely made to feel like it. That’s probably the one thing we can agree on.

We’ve had the subscription debate ad nauseam; I got my fill of it last year. It’s well established that I’m pro-subscription. I want to explore the franchise, learn to love new characters, experience MOTUC as I experienced MOTU when they were all new, all concept characters. I’m not in this just to get my childhood favorites updated, to see MOTUC become a pastiche of the vintage line. I know that I’m not alone in that desire, but as outcry to turn the line into that pastiche seems loud and clear, I know that like-minded folks are in the minority.

And it’s from that minority that I have to unequivocally shout down the idea of individual pre-orders.

On the surface, the idea seems good for collectors. The risk and burden reverts back to Mattel and choice has been restored to the consumer. It’s not that great for Mattel, they would have to risk the money invested in developing a pre-order figure instead of asking us to pre-order the entire subscription. Collectors would no longer be subsidizing figures like Ram Man by purchasing Jitsu. The figures would each have to rely on their own individual merits which, in theory, would mean Mattel would have to “do better”. In almost sounds okay, but for two things.

One, that the subscription itself is a pre-order. In years past, MOTUC collectors haven’t had to deal with much stress this time of year. Over the years, there has been some in-fighting, some pressure to sign up, but nothing terrible. Last summer was downright awful for DCUC collectors as we moved from retail to subscription. A lot of us turned on one another. It wasn’t pretty and it made for a really long, stressful extension-filled few weeks. Would we even get the figures? How would we complete our JSAs? And that was just individual worry, then the fighting started, the bullying, the cajoling, the idiotic attempts to define what a “real fan” was.

I might’ve thought it was an isolated incident brought on by Mattel’s foolish handling of the DC transition. It wasn’t. MOTUC fans have been having a go at each other for weeks now. I’m a regular over at the Org because I love it so, but reading through the primary subscription threads has been frustrating to say the least. For the first time in a decade of being a member, I started using the Ignore feature.

I don’t know. Maybe some of you have been having a cake walk of a time these last few weeks as the gnashing of teeth has raged on. I’m unusually involved due to the site, the reviews, the checklists, and the e-mails… ugh, the e-mails. But think about the consternation this one pre-order causes. The worry. The in-fighting. The arguments between fans. We don’t do well when our favorite line is on the chopping block.

Now think about it happening every other month when each individual figure is on the pre-order chopping block. Sure, we already argue plenty over if something should have white gloves or disbelief that a certain character was even chosen, but there are few consequences in those debates. That figure is coming. This would be very different. If the pre-order comes up and doesn’t pan out, the folks who buy-in get nothing. The stakes will be this high all year long. The chopping block would be year round instead of three weeks in July and so would all the crap that comes with it.

And the other thing? Well, it’s about what we’re willing to sacrifice to that chopping block.

We all have our favorites; some of those favorites put us in the majority and others the minority. The minority ones are the problem. Let’s assume the vintage MOTU figures are safe, even the movie ones. That a Rio Blast or Saurod pre-order will hit the minimum. Though it is kinda funny to say that, “oh, Rio Blast, there’s a safe pre-order”, isn’t it? We’d never really know. Putting vintage MOTU aside, are POP fans really wanting to see what happens when Madame Razz or Sweet Bee are on the chopping block? Are NA fans curious to find out just how many people want Crita or Hydron? Would Calix make the pre-order cut? I don’t know, but I’m a ‘better safe than sorry’ kinda guy.

The truth is that I don’t know who the “too obscure” characters are. I also don’t want to find out. I don’t want to be shown an awesome Darius and watch him fail at 88% of the minimum. Heck, I don’t want to see it happen to any character. I don’t need the stress.

Basically, I don’t want MOTU Classics to turn into a Kickstarter Popularity Contest where the handful of figures that get made are the only ones we can agree on. Much like the old farts and the new kids had to come together last year to get that DC sub working, the so-called MOTU “factions” need to stop this nonsense and make theirs MOTU. Hydron & Mermista could make for a fun pair on your shelves. Calix can chill with Mantenna & Dragstor when the Horde is a little more filled out. The specific examples don’t matter though, because I’m positive that everyone reading this has at least one character that they would worry about running through the pre-order gauntlet. And that right there is what makes it not worth it. The risk that reverts to Mattel is only financial. The love we have for the franchise, the desire to see certain characters be made, that emotional investment? We’d run that risk every month. I’m not asking anyone to buy a subscription in this or any other article, but I personally would much rather run the risk of getting a character I may not immediately want than see a character I want and may never get.

Finally, that pre-order gauntlet is an issue too because you have to ask yourself how many pre-orders would be allowed to fail before Mattel pulled the plug. Even if you disagree with me and are confident that a pre-order system would be better, even if you promise to be a tight-lipped, tough cookie when one of your favorite characters goes down in pre-order flames well south of the minimum, do you want to see what Mattel does if two or three pre-orders fail? Heck, if one pre-order fails? I don’t.

Personally, I don’t think pre-orders are in our future. First of all, I think the 2013 MOTU subscription will go through before the time allotted. I know that Toy Guru has been bringing pre-orders up, but I just don’t see it happening. Yes, they have done it for the Hoverboard, which was a slam dunk, and now for a Young Justice 2pk (I want it too, but I don’t think it will happen). But Mattel also released all the Ghostbusters on their own recognizance this year. I don’t know where MOTUC is numbers wise, but I know for damn sure we’re better than Ghostbusters.

We’ll see what happens when the time comes, but I wanted to get this out there. I don’t think individual pre-orders will help us or save the line. I think it will just drive us further apart and bring the conclusion of Classics about that much faster. The subscription isn’t perfect and I’m not trying to pimp it with this article, but a pre-order is the wrong direction for MOTUC. I don’t need to watch the line languish as we find out just which characters can’t capture the imaginations of MOTUC collectors. I don’t want to see how limited some folks imaginations might just be. I don’t need the stress & heartache, none of us do.

98 thoughts on “Truetorial: Who would Pre-Order
the End of the Line?

  1. Great article Noisy.

    What a lot of people forget as well is that the sub is a legal contract between an individual and Mattel.

    You make the agreement to purchase (as an example) 12 figures on a month by month basis at a set price. Much as you can be sanctioned for not paying – sub getting cancelled, etc. – Mattel are also obliged to provide that service to you. This is the real reason the GB figures were finished up despite the full sub getting cancelled.

    Obviously, there are stipulations in that contract – Mattel have the right to change the order of figures, set a minimum number for orders or delay particular items as industry conditions demand, but once the sub starts then it would be a legal minefield to try to get out of it. Mattel doesn’t want a lawsuit, much less the bad PR that would go with it.

    Personally, I hate this time of year. I don’t collect MotUC, just DCUC and I’ve bought two subs. I’d love to buy more to up the numbers, but that isn’t financially viable for me. What really upsets me though is peoples’ need to dump on the selection that was shown. I’m biased because I love all of them, maybe, but it’s easy enough to sell off a figure or two that you don’t want, or to just not sub-up if you don’t like any of them. Why some people see the need to sour other peoples’ enjoyment of the line I’ll never be able to fathom.

    *fingers crossed*

    1. A legal contract which does not necessarily guarantee that you will get your figures, or that the figures you get will be in acceptable condition; but is guaranteed to lighten you of your hard earned cash. Mattel is the only one who gets the guarantee. We get whatever they want give us, stfu, if one disagrees.

      For $500 plus I expect better quality, customer service, and “true” collector figures; not what Matty is trying to pass off as a collector figure. These are mass market toys disguised as collector figures. Real collector figures have plenty of cool paint-aps, accessories and loads of swappable limbs.

      If Mattel shows me true commitment then I’ll commit to them. My $500 plus doesn’t currently get me what I want, because I want a Goddess, Roboto, and Snout Spout which don’ t fall apart. I want a Hiss , Roboto, and Stinkor with their parts where the Horsemen meant for them to be. I want Matty to fall on the Power Sword when they goof and pony up a tiny percent of the billions they make and fix it, instead of telling me to suck it up and accept inferior product, or convince myself it is not that bad. I want female figures with full leg articulation.

      Mattel can have my sub money when they honest to god show me I mean something to them as a real live human- being of a customer, and not a bonus check for Scott and Co. Fix stuff. Prove to me you really, really want my money and you will get it. Get it, Scott?

      Sorry for the rant, but had to get it out…I don’t have my own awesome site to let my thoughts be known. Thanks for doing what you do, noisy.

      PS. I will not give the Org anymore page views after what they did to Emiliano so I’ve missed a lot of the goings on over there.

      1. Sorry for the rant, but had to get it out…I don’t have my own awesome site to let my thoughts be known. Thanks for doing what you do, noisy.

        Thanks for the post. A lot of my Truetorials are converted from forum posts that I decided to expand upon, so I undersatnd. This one actually started on Twitter, but the 140 limit was inconvenient at best.

        For $500 plus I expect better quality…

        I haven’t touched on QC much, but I’m always fascinated by it and our perception of it.

        I’m privy to some big things like Poe’s Wind Raider fiasco or the problems with figures like Fisto where they didn’t hold onto enough CS stock, but I haven’t personally experienced many issues. I’ve had two QC problems and Digital River promptly replaced both. I’m willing to accept that I was very lucky.

        I haven’t had problems with Snout Spout & Roboto, but I know folks have. There’s other widespread issues like the Goddess, Hssss, and we can throw in Stinkor’s forearms. That’s five figures which sucks, but out of a hundred. I don’t know how I feel about it being a big issue. There are smaller issues to, we’ve all seen pics of the bad paint or misassemblies here and there thorughout the line, but again, I don’t know how much emphasis to place on it.

        I do think that as consumers, we always, have to demand better QC, even when it’s fantastic, lest the companies forget when they see a corner they could cut, but I don’t know if the line has had that bad of QC comparatively to other stuff I’ve collected. I just don’t know what to make of it, where the line is drawn between perception and reality.

        1. Well, on the whole QC thing, I am really at a loss to understand it.

          I don’t consider ‘poor paint app’ to be a major issue, altho of course in a reasonable world it would never happen because the factory would have pride in producing a perfect product.

          I’m not too concerned about mis-assembled figures as long as a replacement is made available. Again, the problems with Swiftwind’s legs and various issues with the Wind Raider are stupid but forgivable. aside, I hope Poe finally got a good Wind Raider with the SDCC repop. These mistakes shouldn’t happen but it’s not earth-shattering.

          Then we get to the Green Goddess and Snount Spout. Holy cats. Even discounting the usual ‘internet echo chamber’ effect it seems these both are duds, and should have been totally replaced. Snounty shouldn’t have had his trunk made from a material that self-destructed with ANY ordinary use and the Goddess…wow. You know, it doesn’t really matter WHAT the problem actually was- substandard plastic? Improperly set sonic welder? mis-made tooling? doesn’t matter. That figure should have been replaced free of charge to anyone who wanted it. (my bet is the Chinese factory substituted a lower quality plastic to increase their profit, charging Mattel for the high quality stuff that the specs called for. let’s not forget the lead paint Hot Wheels scandal.)

          So what happens next? We can all sing happy songs and say the past is the past, but what happens when the next QC problem happens to someone else’s important, favorite figure? Because frankly, I just don’t see the QC oversight getting any better.

          Yeah, it’s a bit frustrating to think about it.

          1. What sonic welder? they probably dipped the edge of the parts in ketamine(?-something with a similar name), which melts the plastic, shove the two parts together, and they’re fused. That stuff also eats up your fingers if you get sloppy with it, since it’s an acid.

            1. Would that be MEK (methyl ethyl ketone)

              I use something along those lines for building plastic kits. 🙂

              But I believe that one of the excuses made was that the sonic welder at the factory was set to the wrong specs, which put excess stress on the plastic, which resulted in shattered groins.

              I’ve used a sonic welder when I had a brief, VERY brief stint working at a plastic injection factory. Man, that s**t is just magic.

          2. Yeah, The Goddess and Snout Spout: with you on those, Steve. Seriously, they should offer to replace those — and not with identical items, but with improved versions.

            Since you can’t see through the Goddess’ bodice anyway, make the hips out of sturdier opaque plastic. (I’m assuming that’s the main fix needed with The Goddess, as brittle translucent hips is the the complaint I’ve heard most of about her, and the problem I’ve had as well.) As for Snout Spout, I think a replacement head (preferably with segmented, ball-jointed trunk) and Speedo would suffice, since the rest of him seemed adequate.

            Experimentation is a good thing, because it leads to knowledge and progress. But when it yields poor or unexpected results in a business setting, the company should just own up and fix things.

            1. They did allow for late refunds on Goddess I believe. I’d already bought a new one on sale and returned the broken one by then (with no problems from, DR, I’m just lucky I guess…)

            2. They did allow for late refunds on Goddess I believe. I’d already bought a new one on sale and returned the broken one by then (with no problems from, DR, I’m just lucky I guess…) .

          3. So what happens next? We can all sing happy songs and say the past is the past, but what happens when the next QC problem happens to someone else’s important, favorite figure? Because frankly, I just don’t see the QC oversight getting any better.

            Yeah, it’s a bit frustrating to think about it.

            See, I don’t think the QC’s been that bad. Like Steve, I can’t get up n’ arms about occasional splotch of paint, so I’m just left with those widespread issues like Snout Spout and Goddess (and for full disclosure, my Snout Spout is still doing great while my Goddess did need replaced) and then the figures with misassembled parts. That only totals out to 5-6 figures, depending on who you count, out of 100+ figures.

            Like I said, we all have to clamor for better to prevent future issues, but I don’t know if the folks touting the “bad QC” as a reason the subs are being abandoned really has their finger on the pulse of the hesitant subscribers.

            1. I think there’s a big difference in people’s minds between the occasional figure with bad paint and a figure where a very high percentage of the run has the same problem. Take Roboto for example: Some significant number (that may be a small percentage overall) have cracked torsos, but nearly every figure has the arms misassembled. The cracks are probably a bigger deal to most people, but they’re easier to forgive as a “normal” quality issue. The sheer number of misassembled figures on that particular run creates a perception of bad quality even if most of the characters don’t have that same problem. Not to mention it makes it seem more likely that one of your favorite characters, say Stinkor, might suffer from a 100% issue.

              1. I definitely see the importance of figures like Roboto, Goddess, and possibly Stinkor having major QC issues, but that too is lessened by the sheer number of figures that have been released. What I mean is, it feels like – and I stress feels because this is very much an emotional concern – that a toy company could release a dozen figures and if one of them severe QC issues, then we all “get tired of the QC issues” despite the fact that we have eleven perfectly fine figures.

                It’s a question of what’s acceptable. In theory, none of it should be acceptable, but in practice, it’s probably unrealistic. That’s why we must stay vigilante in a positive way, push to “improve the QC”, but at the same time, I don’t know that it can necessarily be considered a negative issue, something worthy of getting exceptionally angry over or dropping the line because of.

                1. Rule number one: everyone has an agenda.

                  We see a lot of quarterbacking from the proverbial backseat on this topic. When I see someone with a particular set of complaints now, just for my own amusement, I ask them a question: “what figure did you have a QC issue on?” or “since you think the line-ups are D-list, what figure would make you sub?” And the people with the complaints reply that they DON’T COLLECT THE LINE AT ALL.
                  You might take a back and forth between me and one of my friends from these boards like Dayraven and say “man, these guys really dig into each other.” But I respect his opinion because I know he buys these figures.

                  I don’t unnerstand!

                  As a legit question – did anyone outside of Poe actually report in issues with the Wind Raider?

                  AND the QC problems on MOTUC are NOTHING compared to the Palisades Micronauts/Army of Darkness fiascoes. NOTHING.

                  1. I remember the Micronauts thing. Holy crud that was so amazingly terrible. Completely killed what could have been a fun line.

                    I remember when we got a shipment in at Suncoast. I swear to god every single one was broken in package. Not good at all.

                    While I’m only speculating on this, I have to assume more than Poe had a problem with the Wind Raider simply because Customer Service couldn’t ship a replacement. That seems to imply they burned thru their stock of ‘held back’ WRs pretty quick, doesn’t it?

                    1. Or it could be like Fisto & the Sorceress where DR didn’t bother to hold back CS stock and burned through all the figures on sale day. TG always maintained there were replacement Wind Raiders available during the debacle Poe experienced, but I wondered if it wasn’t similar to the Fisto issue where they had sold them all.

                    2. I brought up the Micronauts because it was an experience where, out of 200 people buying them on the Micronauts Embassy, there were reports of catastrophic failure on some of the figures. Clear Yellow Membros – try finding one with unbroken arms. I bought two Space Gliders – one had no flight pack! which I didn’t catch until I got home. And the other one was broken in the package.
                      I had a similar experience with AOD. Personally, I’ve opened about five cases of Series 1. I probably have a post somewhere with my stats on it. But again – many joint issues on these guys.

                      I see the reports of issues with Roboto cracks, broken Goddesses, Snout Spout, etc.* The only one of the MOTU issues I have personally experienced, outside of the loose ankles that plagued the first year or so of releases, is the Swift Wind mixed up legs. The leg sculpts are too similar and I can see how the workers were confused in assembly.
                      If you look at the OSM that the Horsemen have done, they have dots on the lower limbs to help prevent this type of error.
                      There should have been a clear marking to help the workers assemble it correctly.
                      My Swifty still stands and displays well, so I kept him as-is.

                      *I don’t know that I would call the backwards Hiss and Roboto shoulders a QC issue, as they weren’t assembled incorrectly by the workers, but flawed at a design level. But the last thing we need is another category of bad on these for people to rally behind, right?

                    3. That’s true, QC tends to be factory screw-ups whereas the part swapping are design issues.

                      This also reminds me of the Prince Adam figure which lost his sword-holder during shipping and no one noticed until it was too late. Oops.

            2. This is where it hurts that I haven’t locked all the MOTUC issues in my deep brain. It seems to me, and again, my perception may be completely in error, there was a RASH of QC issues over the past…what, 16 months? Maybe less? Roboto, Snout Spout, Swift Wind, Wind Raider, I think another figure with reversed biceps/shoulders…

              it appears to be a pattern. Granted, only one is a substandard material issue (right?) but still, it’s disturbing. Imagine buying a new GM car and the left and right doors are put on backwards (I know, that can’t happen, just work with me a moment 🙂 ), and when you complain to the dealer you’re told it was a design choice, or you can return it for a refund but no, you can’t get a fixed one.

              but cars aren’t toys, unless they’re from Pixar’s CARS.

              1. But see, exactly, the perception that there were a rash of issues is not necessarily the reality. Anyone that’s been around the net long enough knows how much the online community super-magnifies QC issues. They’re hardly as widespread as we often believe, particularly when you factor in that good QC doesn’t create angry people who repetitively post about it.

                As for specifics, I wouldn’t coun the Wind Raider as one because I believe that was magnified by Poe Ghostal receiving a bad one and the subsequent stupidity he had to put up with at Digital River. Unfortunately, all we have to go with a large enough sample size is the Org and while there were some folks beyond Poe having the issue, it didn’t turn into a major concern like many of the other issues you mention. Similarly, the Swift Wind legs are another questionable issue because it’s difficult to tell between the two supposedly swapped pieces.

                Roboto & King Hssss have nearly 100% reversed shoulders (consequently so does Grayskull and the first He-Man, but no one noticed so, no, those don’t count), Goddess has the fractured pelvis which seemed to affect the vast majority of figures, and Snout Spout is somewhere in the middle ground between those and the WR/SW issues. I might group it in, but there are plenty of collectors who haven’t had any issue with it, myself & Vault included.

                But even if we count all of those, that’s only 6 out of nearly 100 original releases, not counting all the legitimate reissues that should count towards Mattel’s batting average since they were completed production runs with no significant issues. Anyway, the percentage of severe QC issues is definitely under 5%. If someone thinks that it too high a number, they are welcome to, but I think it’s also valid to consider that QC isn’t that much of an issue.

                1. But Noisy, I’m sorry to beat on this, but I think you’re missing my point.

                  Yes, as an aggregate taken over the entire span of the line, and the number of items in the line, it’s a very small number of boners. No argument there.

                  My point being, the major issues (and yes, taking into account the echo chamber nature of Teh Internets) were few and extreme, but RECENTLY there’s been an uptick.

                  I can’t recall if Greyskull got re-popped and they fixed his shoulders, I think they did do it on the re-popped He-Mans.He Mens? He-Man!(insert Filmation music sting here) We were told no re-pop on Roboto IIRC.

                  It’s not a BIG thing, except insofar as a factory, and a company, should have enough pride in their workmanship to not only not allow these thing to happen in the first place, they really should be taking steps to make things right for those who are burdened with an issue. So, Noisy, you got a replacement Goddess for the one that shattered. Good deal. What do you do when the same problem shatters your replacement? I hate to be evil but brother, it’s GOING to happen. Ready yourself. 🙂

                  1. First, I don’t see the uptick. Of the 18 figures released so far in 2012, the closest thing we’ve got to a QC kerfluffle is Stinkor, and honestly I have no problem believing that Ruben wanted to reverse the arms. It’s clear from figures like Dekker that Ruben isn’t going to slavishly preserve the 4H’s original work the way that Terry did. We know Terry wouldn’t allow for the 4H’s sculpt to be even be reworked digitally whereas Ruben’s already removed Dekker’s facial hair. It’s no small leap for us to believe that Ruben & Scott also decided to swap the arms around as they stated. If anything, the QC has been excellent of late – just like the character selection has been vintage-heavy of late – and we’ve still got people clamoring that character selection and QC are hot button topics. Perception.

                    Second, their ability to fix the QC issues is compromised by the boutique nature of the line. Wait, forget the small nature of the line, when has Hasbro, Mattel, or any large toy company ever conducted a mass replacement of a QC-ridden figure? I can think of a few instances where they fixed an issue and then sold a corrected one, but that’s not really taking care of those burdened so much as turning a mistake into an opportutiny.

                    And no, I can’t accept that Mattel needs to bend over backwards and lose money to fix the few issues that have cropped up. It doesn’t make good business sense and that’s why it doesn’t happen. A good company will offer refunds (which were always an option for recent figures, plus after-the-fact returns were opened up for figures like Goddess & Stay Puft a year or more after the sale because of the QC issues). That is the thing companies do to make things right and Mattel has done it. I have no expectation of Mattel to go back to press on the Goddess just to fix her. She’s one of three figures that got pulled after two weeks instead of selling out on her first run. Clearly, the cost-benefit ratio is not worthwhile in regards to her. I have no problem accepting that and I don’t think anyone else should either. There’s not a current thread at the Org clamoring for a corrected figure, there’s not one clamoring for any of these figures to be corrected, in fact.

                    That said, Toy Guru did make a point to fix the He-Man shoulders for future releases. That was clearly worthwhile – he was also the one to point it out, because again, the consumer didn’t notice. And Horde Prime & Draego-Man fixed the shoulders for Roboto & Hssss, so it may be possible to get those figures corrected one day (though as of right now, Mattel’s still selling off old King Hssss and Roboto’s not exactly screaming for a costly reissue), so Mattel has offered refunds and put plans in place to have better figures should it make business sense to make more of those particular figures. What else do you want that’s reasonable?

                    1. Reasonable? I’m to be reasonable? IMPOSSIBLE! I’m on the internet! Reasonable doesn’t exist!! 🙂

                      No, you’ve made a good solid case that things are all ticky-boo. I surrender.

    2. Why some people see the need to sour other peoples’ enjoyment of the line I’ll never be able to fathom.

      Some folks just do it without even realizing it. It’s creepy.

      The Ghostbusters line is a great case study. The sub was for six figures, but the lack of interest ended up canning the subscription and whatever the last two figures were planned to be (I’d love to know!). Mattel wraps up the four figures that are at various stages in production (stretching out to get to Tony Scoleri, I imagine) and are then quietly done with it. Things to think about for the future of MOTU and how far we can go after we finally fall under the minimum.

  2. I’m loving the line as well, and from being at SDCC last year and actually getting my first figures in hand i was totally hooked and got me the sub.
    Now one problem is that size is like a big thing when you don’t have enough shelfspace and this is one thing that holds me from signing up to more, since already this years output is already killing alot of space – 4 figs more and then that’s it. And this year has still like 8 figs to come, lol.
    I had my quibbles with not getting the Star Sisters at the beginning of the year since there was some weird hick-up in ordering the sub along available products in august and i got everything refunded, which made me sour quite 2 months long, but in the end it’s all good.
    Preorder is def not a thing to go with MotuC. 3A is all a hit and miss with this option and MotuC is just getting right there into that if they would do so, and right now i think the sub is so easy peasy in just recieving figs monthly all without hazzle – pfft, why change that.
    But out of the experience now with the sub this year i calculate it down (disposeable money+shelfspace multiplicated with root out of neccessarity, lol) that MotuC line has to go without me. Like it did the years before 2012.
    If Mattel would just do a little more of retooling and doing less beasts and vehicles and set their marks back to what they did in 2010 i think it can pan out all great – i think just them thinking to grow more and more and expecting maybe the double amount of subscribers from 2011 is just unrealistic (as it is with every business! i see too many businesses having to shut down or shrink again cause they are just pokering too high and not one of them learns from the other).
    As for the price increase: if you want to collect and have your favorite figure – i see guys paying like 200$ for a transformer that was just 20$, so why bothering having it delivered to your house for 5$ more and being exclusively made and all.
    And it’s still one week to go.

    1. Shelf space is killer! So many are convinced that it’s just the price, just Digital River, just QC, but this fall off in interest isn’t anything new. We get restless and the shelves get full! I don’t have Tytus, Megator, Swift Wind, the Griffin, & the Wind Raider on display. They’re in the celllar with a few of the figures that seemed redundant. It’s sad!

      Sideshow was pointed out to me as an example of pre-orders working and he was right, but I don’t think the level of interest is there for what’s left. And yeah, 3A, that’s not the best example of a good pre-order system.

      On your last point, there was a great discussion on Twitter the other day between two of the smartest guys on the net, Phil Reed of Battlegrip and Doctor Kent from FansofPheyden, about how the MOTU collectorbase is being asked to spend compared to other collectorbases. It was a great read.

      1. I have a little politic in my collection that when i have it in storage and doesn’t look at it in a year or two it’s quite the candidate to move out and i sell it or customize it/and sell it. Though i also have like a playbox(es) where stuff is in that i pick up and play arround whilst it’s not on display, but displayed stuff i pick out and play once in a while with too. But i kinda think it’s odd to buy stuff willingly to go in storage what i wouldn’t usually also display. Then i’m also good in not buying it. Spacewise i just can’t afford another sub and there’s like only 1 or 2 items in next year that really have my attention. i was eeling over to DCUC stuff this year that sells me even more over than what is next up in this years sub of MotuC (Quicksilver and Elastic Girl – mmhhhh! :D).

        it seems i have to get on twittr and pick me this discussion out. I met all 2 in real life and love their points (and also have a drunk John Kent complaining with John Ward, designer of the new GI Joes about O-rings in a garage was great last SDCC).

  3. I think one thing people don’t understand, and it’s probably because they are MOTU fans, is that this line, despite how much we pay for the figures, doesn’t register on the Financial Reports that the decision makers at Mattel See. They don’t look at profits or Revenue from individual lines. They look at the Whole Revenue per Division as a whole. Subs is what TG is telling us will keep this line alive. If they switch to Pre order then that’s signalling the end of the line. What happens when they get 2 figures in a row that they can’t get enough Pre Order Revenue off of? Do they try a third? Or do they give up? I’m willing to Bet that after 2 consecutive failures at Pre Orders the higher up Shut them down in order to spend that money on something Profitable. Like a New Retail barbie Doll that they can produce far cheaper and rake in the money on.

    These figures are great. “Filler” or not they Look great on the shelves next to “Non Filler” figures. I welcome additions to the line. I welcome them adding to the roster by doing concept figures like the Fighting Foe men. (Who BTW, people were asking for on the boards in the not too distant past) Instead of fighting we need to band together and keep this line alive. Get an International Buddy and arrange to ship them Figures so it’s easier on them with custom charges. Cherry Pickers? I’m sure there will be Sub holders that will gladly sell you their figures that they don’t want that you do. Completists? Buy a sub! Most importantly, as collectors we need to support one another. Not insult one another.

    1. What happens when they get 2 figures in a row that they can’t get enough Pre Order Revenue off of? Do they try a third? Or do they give up? I’m willing to Bet that after 2 consecutive failures at Pre Orders the higher up Shut them down in order to spend that money on something Profitable.

      That’s exactly my concern. Do we win to pin the hopes of the future of the line on Darius & Madame Razz or a year’s worth of those figures that includes them and Two-Bad, Mantenna, etc.

      I welcome additions to the line. I welcome them adding to the roster by doing concept figures like the Fighting Foe men. (Who BTW, people were asking for on the boards in the not too distant past) Instead of fighting we need to band together and keep this line alive.

      I don’t believe for a second that the FFM are a big part of the problem. They do contribute to the overall cost, which I think, along with attrition, are the two biggest overall problems.

      When the trouble set in, everyone’s pet peeve with the line seemed to became galvanized as the reason for the subs not selling. Since many collectors are focused on recapturing something from their childhood, character selection became their banner.

    2. not to nitpick here homes, but there’s a failing of internal logic here. if mattel isn’t looking at the line as an individual profit maker, and instead looking at the boy’s division as a whole, then one or even a dozen figures not reaching their pre-order min won’t tank the line. in fact, by this rationale, no individual toy line will ever fail so long as hot wheels continues to generate.

      largely, i think the pre-order fears of “if one or two figs don’t make the minimum votes to produce” are baseless. the advantage of the pre-order system is there’s no production cost on a fig that doesn’t meet a minimum buy-in. they produce no extraneous figs, they sit on no un-sold stock, etc… that’s why it’s a next step for them, if subs fail. if the pre-order system were a complete disaster, trust me, toy guru would be saying so to get people to sub up. it’s an alternative that he hopes chumming the water with means we’re more likely to whip into a frenzy over…

      it’s funny too that, noisy also misses the point he’s making… the sub is in practicum a pre-order too. so the pre-order system, if one gets adopted, is really only a means of trimming the fat from the line. does it mean we won’t get concept figures, or PoP trannies, or NA folks? truthfully, i don’t know that, and noisy doesn’t either. despite his fears, we’ve all watched motuc fans, for YEARS now, foam at the mouth over every reveal, month after month finding much fault w/ the release du jour, and come buy day, they show up and buy anyways. will that continue w/ a pre-order system? logic says no, but precedent says yes… and we all know, where motuc is concerned, precedent is the more prudent parameter. logic doesn’t have purchase w/ this fanbase.

      noisy also doesn’t know how much we contribute to the bottom line at mattel, in either gross sales or net profit… none of us do. what we do know is, when you make 1 billion dollars a year, you don’t waste time counting nickels. this is not TG’s vanity project, they’re making good money on this line, and on us, or they wouldn’t have launched into the production in the first place. there’s no reason to believe that the line will get KOed by them taking a step that reduces the number of unsold figures while maintaining the financial commitment (and sales commitment, remember no warehousing unsold units when you know precisely how many to make) that they want out of us. just some things to think over. 😉

      1. It’s not a means of trimming fat from the line because TG’s not really proposing it as how things will go on after the sub fails. When you listen to TG on Roast Gooble, it’s really just how Mattel will try to limit their risk and get the money back for the pre-production costs they’ve already incurred. Not necessarily a means to incur new pre-production costs. This is something they’re trying with the YJ 2pk and… we’ll see how that goes.

        While Mattel wouldn’t have ot incur production costs, it’s the pre-production costs like paying the 4H for the sculpt, Ruben’s time, Scott’s time, etc that Mattel will ultimately balk at after a pre-order or two doesn’t go through. Why throw good money after bad? And as for precedent, the precedent is that non-vintage stuff is not held in that high regard. The subscription works because it joins us together to get all the factions over the minimum. I have no desire to see the factions fend for themselves, particularly my favorites.

        Finally, as for MOTUC’s contribution to the bottom line, we have two of the three things needed to determine where we fall in terms of gross. We know the price of everything and we know exactly how much Mattel makes, leaving us only to have to make a reasonable guess at the one unknown component, number of units. If we pick a number of units that is all but guaranteed to be too high, say 20,000 units of everything, do the math, and compare it to reported earnings, it’s clear that MOTU doesn’t even represent a half of a percent of Mattel’s gross just for the Boys & Girls division, let alone Mattel itself. If Mattel provided data for the Boys division alone, we could possibly be a bigger factor there. There is no way to know anything about our contribution to net profits however, which could be anything from a conspiracy theorists wet dream to about the same as the gross percentage.

        In short, unless your only interest is Mantenna & Two, Bad, then pre-orders bad. LOL

        1. There would be a cost to a pre-order, to work up the proto sculpt.
          The Horsemen ain’t free. And the “fans” aren’t buying anything on name alone.

          1. sure they would… the “fans” are buying straight up vintage re-duxes now, and are willing to sub up for 8 figs a year without so much as a name. it takes ZERO imagination to see how a motuc two bad or dragstor would look, and it takes only minimal imagination to say geldor would be badassed… but predictable. the line has enough precedence now, the only surprises are brand new characters or concepts. people are subbing right now w/out prototypes, that wouldn’t change on a pre-order (whose only real distinction w/ the sub would be the option for mattel to bill up front)

            1. I’m not against you on this one, DR. I wish you were right.
              The subbers don’t need to see anything to sign up.
              You know for a fact that there would be a 80 page thread about “I’m not going to sign up for a pre-order until I see EXACTLY what Dragstor is going to look like”, with people arguing back and forth about “why can’t you PO just on the name?”, etc.

              I’m not the best judge of this, though. I’m dissatisfied with one and only one figure so far.

  4. You bring up fantastic points, although I don’t entirely agree about the merits of the pre-order system. On the contrary, I think a pre-order system could save the line.

    I think, for a lot of collectors, it’d be much easier to stomach an agreement to pay for an individual figure than commit whole-hog to a costly all-in model. That alone would probably drive more activity toward the pre-orders and make it easier for collectors to decide to help out if we haven’t quite reached the minimum amount of orders for a given figure.

    Also, Mattel still plans figures based on how many parts they need to tool, so I imagine it would be possible that certain characters would require a smaller minimum to get made.

    While it is certainly possible that some characters might not get made due to lack of interest, isn’t that a better alternative than not having a MOTUC line AT ALL because Mattel couldn’t convince enough people to buy EVERYTHING?

    1. One thing that I always want to talk about is tiered subs. On the surface, they sound good, get more subscribers by freeing them from the beasts and larger items. But, the drawback is that it also takes the current people willing to subscribe and subsidize the large items, and gives them an out. Tiered subs could easily help or destroy the oversized items.

      The pre-order has the same risk. It may help or it may not, clearly we’ll never know for certain. I would love for you to be right, that folks would be willing to chip in individually outside of the subscription, but I just don’t know. There is so much “faction rage” at any given time that I don’t know if people would care to invest outside of their favorites.

      1. I genuinely believe in the tiered system, and I think the more people (*ahem, Scott*) think about it, the more sense it will make at this point in the line.

        I don’t see a drawback from giving people “an out” as you say, because if someone feels that 13 basic figures is really all they need, they should be given that choice.

        But the upside is that I believe they’d see a MASSIVE uptick in subscription sales, so they’d have a WAY more accurate number for how many MOTUC collectors are actually out there, and then could plan more accordingly when determining DOS numbers for all non-sub items, as well as DOS for the beast/variant/oversized category.

        C’mon Noisy, you know you got a Tiered Sub Truetorial in ya. 😉

        It’s my hands-down vote for how the line should go for 2014, and sucks that Mattel wasn’t able to give us more advance warning so we never had any chance to rally cry for going tiered in 2013.

        1. Hypothetically, if they ever go for a tiered subscription model, I would very much like them to do an ACTUAL, No-Really-We-Mean-It-This-Time, All-In Subscription. Y’know, where you pay for the luxury of getting everything for that year without having to compete with the hordes on day-of-sales for things like Weapons Paks, vehicles, playsets (come on, Slime Pit!), convention exclusives, and Granamyr.

          Seeing as how I can’t just drop everything and fly to the States every time there’s a convention or other event with its own special toy, it’s no wonder American-location-specific exclusives are one of my biggest berserker buttons. And since I’m often at work on day-of-sales, can’t use the break room computer to order anything (because the filter reads “adult” in “adult collectible” and blocks the site), and don’t get home until four and a half hours after the sale starts, I run the risk of missing out on something.

          So, yeah, not that I’m actually backing or calling for a tiered subscription, but if they ever do decide to go that route, they’d better have a Full-On, Bouncy-Round-Rubber-Objects-to-the-Wall, Total-Immersion, Utterly-Comprehensively-All-Inclusive Subscription option available, or I’ll set the building on fire.

          I have spoken. Now let it be Law. };D

          1. Regardless of them doing a tiered one, the “Early Access” program they have been touting would essentially be this.

            1. Even with “Early Access,” there’d be no guarantee of getting a non-sub product like Granamyr. (And since the program isn’t coming through until next year, I’ll still have to use up some vacation time in December to take the day off to order Granamyr, just to be on the safe side.) You’d still have to compete with others for the swag, and I’d rather just pay to have everything come straight to me.

              1. It would be highly amusing to be if Granny sells out after all the complaints I have read about his pricing, time of drop, etc.

                And of course, the Early Access is only going to be for sub holders. If it works as they have said (a big if, I know), then every sub holder will at least have the chance for one piece of the non-sub items.

              2. Yes, any tiered system should definitely include a 100% all-in option, which would include the SDCC items, any weapon packs, etc.

                Early Access isn’t a bad workaround, but I’m with Beedo in that it should be guaranteed product for anyone diehard enough to want an all-in to begin with.

                1. You can count me in the camp of “here’s my credit card number, just send me one of whatever you make called MOTU that is compatible with the scale you are currently doing. I just need 30 days notice to make sure the money is going to be available.”

                  1. And you wouldn’t be alone.

                    It’s what has never made sense to me.

                    They need the sub to guarantee Ram Man, but not Granamyr? How does that make ANY sense?

                    1. Grannymyr isn’t part of the 2013 Sub. He’s a 2012 figure. They used the Revenue from the 2012 Sub to pay for him. In order to Tool Ram Man they need the Revenue from the 2013 Sub.

                    2. Expanding a line is a difficult proposition. And Mattel has been very cautious about the line. They give us a chance to say if we want the bigger items. Battle Cat then Wind Raider then a giant child-sized dragon. Next probably would have been a playset, using that logic.

                      Based on their sales info, it becomes a math problem to say if there is a fanbase for an $80 item -which is why they were so stunned about the Wind Raider sales.

  5. “pre-order the end of the line” there’s something transcendent about that line. like queueing up for entropy…

    1. Not bad for 3am, I guess? I felt like I was queueing up for entropy when I wrote it.

      I still don’t know about publishing the third truetorial. It wasn’t very nice. LOL

  6. I’m with you all the way on this, Noisy. All good, rational, calmly-presented and thought-out points. And if you need to name anyone else who’ll fight in your corner alongside you (or just sign a petition), I’m MOTUC subscriptions forever, and woe betide anyone who tries to change my mind.

  7. I’m in the Vintage camp. I believe I’d be in Noisy’s camp if there was a great animated property of MOTU currently on air. My largest and prized toy collection is the JLU line & it certainly isn’t due to the fantasic detail on the figures which deriders have labeled happy meal toys. It’s because that cartoon was so excellent, it is my love letter to the creators of the show. With MOTUC, the bios and minicomics aren’t cutting it. It’s like reading a random paragraph from a book once a month. I’ll probably subscribe this week only because Toyguru mentioned that they’d wrap the vintage line in 2014 if ’13 goes through.

    Noisy, do you think the news of a  potential director on the MOTU movie could give the line more leeway with mgmt.? To keep the brand in the public eye?

    1. believe I’d be in Noisy’s camp if there was a great animated property of MOTU currently on air.

      That’s kinda what the unpublished third truetorial is about. I really need to edit the frustration out of that one and get it posted this week… hrm.

      Noisy, do you think the news of a potential director on the MOTU movie could give the line more leeway with mgmt? To keep the brand in the public eye?

      I think it would help in the short run for sure, it may already be helping. I do worry about the movie though and how much it might change the status quo. That doesn’t usually end well for collectors.

  8. Also, we could really use some rallying on the DcUC end here. It’s getting completely drowned out by the MOTUC talk

    1. I honestly don’t know what to say about the DC one. I wrote my article last year because I wanted the DC fans to see the potential of what could be if they chose to invest, to take my MOTU experience and say “look at this”.

      This year, I’m just at a loss with it. I don’t want to directly put up a ‘propaganda’ piece. My MOTU stuff has been dancing around that though, I know.

  9. Great work on this. I am one of the pro pre order people myself, but I think they should be used in conjunction with the Subs. That way fans win, completionists get all the figures guaranteed, people who only get the figures they want (I hate the term cherry pickers) can pre order the figures they want to buy, and Mattel gets exact numbers about how many figures they need to make. Is it a perfect system?.(not that the current system is perfect) no means, but I just hate the whole “sub or die” line of thought as it divides the fan base way too much and leaves people without a ton of disposable income out in the cold.

    1. Thanks, Doc. Do you worry at all that a pre-order system for Day Of sales would take away too much from the subscriptions?

      1. It more than likely would..I just think it would make a modicum of sense for Mattel to try something to keep the people who would only buy 4 or 5 figs a year giving them their money pre orders would work well IMO, and as TG explained in his latest video about pricing for manufacturing they would need a sliding price point, like if unit a pre sells this much it will be $40 and if it pre sells this much it will be $30 and so on….the logisitics of the whole thing are staggering so actually making it work would be a nightmare. I don’t really know what would fix the problems with this line, but I do know the sub only model doesn’t seem to be working. I personally would prefer a much more all in sub that comes with everything, but not everyone can afford or want that. Its such a complicated issue as it is with all the different factions at play in the community…Its hard to even think straight about it anymore

        1. I’m not totally convinced it isn’t working. I think that a large part of the panic was caused by SDCC not being timed with everyone getting paid (as it had in all prior subscription years).

          Combine that with the 20% price increase (and then all the lesser important issues that the Org has been chewing throughing for two weeks) and I think it’s more that the circumstances around the subscription has changed, rather than the subscription itself.

          I wish the Joe & TF Clubs would get theirs off the ground so we could see how they go.

          1. good point there noisy. Maybe the sub only model is working…
            I dont know really the whole situation has left me exhausted…im tired of the uncertain nature of it,the complaining, the fighting, the if you dont sub you dont care line of thought, the whole thing really. why does it have to be such a production to just buy some toys?
            I’m just glad we have you doing this here without all the negativity that is rampant other places, it is good to have nice calm discussion where even people with different views can at least be civil.

            The Joe and TF clubs seem to be in dire straights themselves that much is certain.

            1. I guess we should clarify what “working” means. 😀 To me, it’s doing a great job of expanding the line and providing protection from an 83-and-out vintage line. It’s helping introduce some new life and imagination into a line that some folks only want nostalgia from, so in that sense, I see it working. I view it as protection for Mattel’s bottom line and the fans of lesser known characters. In that sense, it is working, but I’m open to the idea that there are other significant drawbacks.

              And, yeah, he Joe/TF Clubs are definitely not in a good place. I want my “Lost Adventurer” clothes, dammit! LOL

              1. We come to one essential issue that is at the root of all toy collecting: what is the customer base?
                The answer is complicated. It varies with the particular line, the price of the items, the amount of things to collect, how hard it is to find…

                Put MOTU Classics in a physical store for $10 per figure and it is going to sell like gangbusters to the people who currently buy it online for 3x that price BUT will kids/more collectors care? To make it $10, they have to make 4x-5x the amount they do now. And if it doesn’t work, we wind up with walls of Mekaneck and Repaint Skeletor.
                80s Joe had a giant fanbase because the figures were cheap. There was always a good selection of things to buy during the prime years of the line. In the end, there were less people buying Joe so they had to make it go away for a little bit.
                I read a few forums, so I know that this is true, but a question – does everyone have the same wall of TF Prime Bumblebees that PA/NJ do? That’s mass retail in a nutshell. You are making things for an audience that might not exist. Is that Bumblebee “crappy”? Maybe. But parents might persuade the kid to skip Bumblebee – “don’t you already have Bumblebee?” NOT THAT ONE MOM!

                MOTU’s issue is that the fanbase may not be big enough to support the price level of the figures for the limited runs that are existing AND with the depth of characters that fans always say they want.
                We’re all tired of this conversation – BUT we’re going to be seeing more and more of it slipping into retail as prices rise and quantities lessen. Well, I wonder if the quantities at mass-retail have been slipping as well. It would certainly seem so on lines like Gi Joe, where empty pegs stay for months.

                1. I hate to be a broken record, but there’s been such a huge paradigm shift since the ’80s, it’s almost impossible to…

                  OK, look. short catalog of changes.

                  1. Kidvid programming blocks no longer exist. One of THE most important parts of the equation was the existence of a programming slot on local TV targeted at kids. Not only did the cartoons drive the toys, the slot itself (Sat. AM, Weekdays M-F 3 pm to 5 pm)had a steady audience, which meant that even without a concurrent cartoon it was worthwhile to put ads for toys out there.

                  2. FCC rules changes. Because of the ‘fear’ that kids were being programmed to demand parents buy toys and sugary cereals (and, hey, of course they were, that’s why you advertise) new restrictions came into being that didn’t allow for ‘unrealistic’ play with toys in ads, and no longer were ads for a toyline tied to a cartoon allowed to be bundled WITH the cartoon. These changes created a chilling effect and toy companies pretty much stopped sponsoring the creation of a cartoon to tie into a toy line, which lead to a decline of ad buys, which lead to stations (and networks) killing off their Kidvid blocks, which meant there was no market to SELL a toy-based cartoon to.

                  (aside: Yes, internet and cable. However, even the most popular cartoons out there haven’t been able to generate audience numbers anything like the market penetration a strip syndication cartoon running M-F at 3 pm had. )

                  3. Competition. Nobody considers this, but when Mattel had to fight it out with Hasbro, Kenner, Ideal, Topper, Remco et al. they had to be lean, mean and take risks. Creativity blossomed, money flowed. Nowadays, Mattel is only really threatened by Hasbro, and I think that creates a kind of complacency in both companies. When you ‘own’ roughly 80% of the toy market between the two, you can play it pretty safe because what would fill the gaps on the shelves?

                  4. Retail is on life support. I said it in another thread, it’s just shocking how much the environment for toys at retail has shrunk. Retail has had a hot/cold relationship with toys for a long time now but there’s always been a toy department, until recently. Toys are no longer seen as core product. Everybody wants that HOT HOT HOT toy with the huge margin. When that toy isn’t produced, nobody cares about the toy department.

                  ahhh, the heck with it. The solutions I’ve come up with boil down to companies like Mattel taking more risks, spending more money on advertising, bringing manufacturing back to the USA to better control costs and quality and distro and so on, and NONE of that is ever going to happen. never.

  10. I know it is impossible, but a goal number would really help us out.
    Are we 2000 subs short? 5000? 8000?

    As far as pre-orders go, I would mostly be interested in their implementation.
    I think people think it would be more transparent, like Kickstarter. I doubt it – I bet we’d still be playing with a big thermometer and no real information.
    But mostly? I would be curious if Mattel would list a sliding price scale per order, or if they would give us a goal to hit to lock in a certain price. “If we get the magic number of orders, then we make RAM MAN for $30!” Legal would probably never let them do the sliding price scale.

    1. I keep meaning to get to that homework you unknowingly assigned to me the other day…

      As for target numbers, my best guess is that the minimum to do basic stuff around 8k and that the subscrptions were selling north of 10-12k. It’s been mostly accepeted, but unconfirmed, for a few years that the initial 2008 figures were produced around 7500 units and that production was getting up into the mid-teens during the height of the line. Toy Guru said that they could’ve lost “half” last year and been okay, but that the early numbers this year were trending to not even hit that (thus the panic, but really the timing of SDCC was prolly a factor).

      On the Roast Gooble, Toy Guru basically indicated that the line-ending (he calls it wrapping up) pre-orders would be done at DR just like how the Hoverboard was handled. There might be a thermometer, but that’d be it. The sliding price thing would be great just to educate collectors, but yeah not gonna happen.

  11. Another good essay, Noisy. I’m just going to toss some thoughts out here and see what sticks.

    1. Yes, the sub is indeed a form of pre-order contract. However, having those ‘outside the sub’ items makes this a very frustrating thing. one would think that if one is subscribing you have a cache, a certain preference and should have first dibs on those other things. I believe this has finally been addressed, kinda-sorta in the usual half-a**ed Matty way.

    2. I am well, very well, aware of the bizarre tyranny of Teh Internets, and how a very tiny minority can tilt and warp and bend any attempt at ‘pure democracy’. Some do it because they feel their voice is more important, others do it due to the sadly all-too-human nature of wanting to just f**k something up. I am really astonished that for the CIE we didn’t get Black Lantern Swamp Thing instead of Metron.

    3. So saying that, a pre-order model would only work if money was demanded up front, to be returned if the figure doesn’t meet the minimum. ANY other system results in the kind of nonsense you fear. But this would kill the line for sure as I’m positive folks would be distressed over having $30 per figure tied up in limbo (with Mattel earning interest on it, of course), and for many, it’s psychologically easier to pay a bill due than it is to push cash upfront for a promise.

    (except that worked REALLY WELL for Kenner Christmas 1977, didn’t it?)

    4. A new factor has been added. Word on the street is there’s serious, hardball, fasttrack interest in putting out a MOTU movie suddenly, and the guy who directed the unreleased GI Joe 2 is attached to it.

    Mind, this is the internet. This could end up being nothing but a coked-up dream by someone. However, it makes some sense given the recent revealing that Dreamworks has bought the company that holds the Filmation licenses.


    This vaporware MOTU movie can’t possibly be in theaters any earlier than 2014. 2015 is more honest if they intend a $200 Million + ‘epic’. Isn’t it interesting how that would mesh with all the fear talk ToyGuru is spouting for MOTUC, the lead time needed to launch a retail line, and “Don’t worry, MOTU will continue in some form”. As in “retail line tied to movie greenlit so management decides that MOTUC is duplication of effort and will be shut down”

    Make of that what you will. 🙂

    1. I would’ve been happiest with an all-in subscription years ago. The early access thing sounds good though!

      I’m not sure how Mattel is doing the YJ pre-order. For the hoverboard, they didn’t take my money up front, but some say they will for YJ.

  12. MOTUC fans must look nuts compared to casual collectors. People are getting angry at people who are big fans of the line, people getting angry at people who aren’t subbing, and people who are just cherry picking. I have to respect the people who are passionate enough to support the line by subbing as well as the people who are sticking to their guns by not subbing.

    We’ve had what, just over two weeks and all these ruminations on the topic haven’t really yielded any results. At last check I think I read somewhere ToyGuru said the sub is 60% of the way there.

    Fans demanded subscriptions — but if it weren’t for the WSOD, quick sellouts, and extremely inconvenient sale times I don’t think it would have been demanded.

    Honestly I think Pre-Orders are the best route for MattyCollector. While we may not see a fully fleshed out line, it effectively puts the power back in consumers’ hands. Right now they can either sub or not sub — it’s either all or nothing.

    Those individuals who collect MOTU have different motives. There are those who are just looking to collect their childhood favorites, others looking for a more diverse line and to “explore the franchise” — It begs the question, in a Pre-Order system, would figures like Vikor or Demo-Man have ever gotten off the ground? Which would be a real pity because many collectors seem to regard those as the best figures.

    The subscription IS a “pre-order” but you’re forcing those who choose to sub to buy figures they potentially don’t even want. I’m sure fans would have an easy time unloading unwanted figures on cherry pickers and customizers — but that’s just yet another added hassle, whether it’s selling on forums or on eBay.

    1. I doubt concept figures, POP, and NA figures would make it through pre-order system. Millennium maybe, but even still it might be doubtful. In a perfect world, there would be six subs: Vintage, Filmation, POP, NA, Millenium, and Concept figures. I’d sub to the last two.

      1. This is exactly my problem with pre-orders. It will effectively limit the line to a handful of remaining characters and the performance will kill it after that. At least with the sub, the poor performance impact is reduced to another year or half of figures.

        1. Bizarrely enough, would even all the vintage make it through a pre-order? Or did you already ask that about Rio Blast? I think I’ve read 50 threads on this subject at this point. 🙂

    2. Fans demanded subscriptions — but if it weren’t for the WSOD, quick sellouts, and extremely inconvenient sale times I don’t think it would have been demanded.
      I think this bears repeating. Sale day was such an awful experience that anything seemed preferable. If it had been a reasonable experience it would have made the idea of the sub much less enticing, especially with the shipping drawbacks.

        1. womp womp womp. 😉

          I think part of it wants to have your cake and eat it too — Collectors subscribed for the 2010 line, right? — But that was just for the figures and it left out the bonus quarterlies and the beasts, like Battle Cat, and many of us (myself included) were left out in the cold. We begged for them to add the bonus quarterlies and beasts to the subs, which was cool — but then they started in with Tytus, Megator, Shadow Beast, Gygor, 2-packs, Griffins, etc and soon this quaint little line got way too big and way to expensive, scaring out many fair-weather fans.

          I mean, not to sound like a broken record here but the Star Sisters was pretty damn extravagant. At least they were up front about them though — so it didn’t really impact the sub — but I think it left a really sour taste in subscriber’s mouths.

          1. Exactly. We demanded “all-in” subs when it became more and more clear that it would be the best (or ONLY) way for us to get such must-have items (like Battle Cat, etc) at REASONABLE prices.

            And I think Scott read that completely wrong and just assumed everyone had become ravenous MotU addicts willing to gobble up any and everything with MotU stamped on it. (Which explains why on a recent Gooble he was expressing how genuinely shocked he was that fans were disappointed by the obviously lackluster Vykron and SLL.)

            Though, to a certain extent, he was right, as evinced by total sell-outs of everything . . .

            Everything, except this subscription, that is. 😉

        2. I sometimes wish Mattel had just been packaging and selling subscriptions outright. As I said, I’m not here to get any one to buy one, but I do enjoy mine. I think it’d be easier for most folks to accept if this was just always the way instead of coming about as a fan-demanded service.

          1. Agreed — I think you can compare it to the boiling frog. if you drop a frog into a pan of boiling water it will frantically try to get out. However if you place it into a pan of room temperature water and slowly raise the temperature it won’t notice —

  13. MOTUC fans DO look crazy, especially to “cherry pickers” like myself. I just get new characters or ones that weren’t released in 200x and have that look. I have all the vintage line and 200x already. So Demo-Man and The FFM are what im getting and not Spikor, Fisto, etc.

    So from my perspective- that of someone whos been getting MOTU since I was 15 in 1983- you guys are completely crazy. So a company screws you over year after year, and you’re criticised for NOT re-joining? Exactly why I stay away from the Org. Its sheep brown nosing each other. I see no difference between the Org and a freshman high school football team: lots of gossip from the skinny little bigmouth hens and nothing to back it up. They can have their fun running another line into the ground for everyone else with the whole Spoiled Teenage Princess crap over there.

    1. “the whole Spoiled Teenage Princess crap over there”

      Not a way I would have ever thought to describe the Org, but hilarious nonetheless. 😀

    2. Demo-Man & FFM have become some of the best parts of the line thanks to the vintage-based figures being dialed back to being barely updated versions of the original, that’s for sure. It’s not a sea of riches for folks into something besides vintage.

      We should dial it back a bit about the Org. I’m all for free speech, but I’d be mighty unhappy if I found people badmouthing IAT over there. 😉 The thing that’s kinda funny is that my frustrations at the Org is largely due to the folks who want to talk others out of subscribing, insist that we hold Mattel’s feet to the fire, and folks insisting their personal issues are what the problem with the line is – taht sounds completely different from your frustrations at the Org, so maybe it’s more balanced than either of us think!

    3. It’s really a lose-l0se situation… you’ll get critisized if you bite the bullet and subscribe -or- you get critisized if you stand your ground and refuse to…

      1. How true. That applies to the Org too. Criticize the opinions of the wanna-be big dogs there who want to be forum all-stars *so bad* — ugg. The amount of trolling is just ridiculous. The one toy line where the people in charge actively talk to you, get you almost ALL the figures you ask for in a pretty short time frame as far as the toy world goes… and people just complain about any and every little thing. So sad as it was a great place to be a fan until this sub started happening and then folks began picking sides and talking out the wrong ends of their body. Almost everyone but the hardcore trolls left around the time the Mattel Zombies infiltrated.

        Sorry to “trash talk” Noisy but the truth sometimes hurts, and in the case of Masters, I think many He-Man fans could use a nice full cold glass of truth.

    4. I love it! I knew there had to be someone out there collecting in the exact way you described, but I don’t think anyone has ever said so.

      1. It sounds interesting! I get so hung up on matching styles, I don’t know that I could, but it sounds like it’d make for an interesting setup.

    5. I think all collectors are a bit crazy, Private Dancer, some just WAY more than others.

      Didn’t anyone listen to He-Man back in the 1980s about not putting up with bullying? (That was one of the Filmation PSAs, wasn’t it?) If one won’t stick to one’s principles simply because of overbearing peer pressure (as opposed to personal choice or by being swayed by reasoned arguments supported by data and/or precedent), one doesn’t deserve to whinge about the way things go, and one is a vacillating invertebrate.

      I’m a subscriber, proud of it, and can provide what I believe to be adequate reasons why I chose to subscribe, but I don’t think I’ve yet pestered any non-subscribers into changing their minds because if teh lien gets killed because of low subscriptions, I will find them all and eat their insides while they watch. Nor do I intend to.

      Stick to your collective guns, and let’s see what happens. We’ll worry about what happens if things go awry if or when we get to that particular bridge, but it’s good to have a bunch of contingency plans on hand for any enventuality . . . .

  14. I’ve seen that Scott has been kind of throwing the pre-order notion out there more and more as like a dying breath for the line. But he is also putting out there that the tooling is going to suffer, details, price will go up etc.

    I want what we saw at SDCC, I also want ALL the figures they have planned for 2013. I don’t want a gimped pre-order system that ends up looking like that Young Justice pre-order they currently have with jus two basic figures for $50 with no accessories or anything. That would be dissapointing if MOTUC ended up like that. Say what you will about the high price, but I almost never had a classics figure that I felt ripped off by. If they start really cutting paint, accessories, and cheaping out on the reuse so that we could pre-order them that would be very dissapointing.

    I also think preordering is unneccessary with a $25 figure. I think a preorder scheme would work much better if they wanted to do a large vehicle or beast.

    Oh well, I agree that while I’ve never had to have the anxiety of the sub until this year (I don’t really collect DCU) I hate it, and don’t want to have to deal with it on a monthly basis.

    I still think the sub will go through and we’ll get all these guys … I just wish Matty could cool the theatrics everywhere. It’s driving people into a frenzy.

  15. I’m going to miss DCUC (I mention that here as since DCUC doesn’t have a post).

    1. I don’t know what to do or say about the DC subscription. Last year, I wasn’t really out to talk people into a subscription, so much as to make sure they understood what they were resisting.

      This year, they all know, so I don’t know what to tell them. It’s the same with MOTU, while my Truetorial’s have been about removing obstacles that people are tossing out there, I can’t quite throw it out there that they should do it.

      1. There’s that old expression “you can lead a horse to water” which I think applies here. DCUC fans certainly had a huge shellshock what with the announcement of Mattel pulling the retail plug — not everyone was familiar with MattyCollector—

        1. Exactly, that’s what last year was about. I’ve gotten more than a few disappointed e-mails about my not writing another one this year. :/

  16. Generally agree with you Noisy.

    Don’t want pre-orders mostly because I want the 4H to have more wiggle room to do cool unexpected figures like Vikor and FFM without requiring the larger fanbase’s “approval”.

    While SOME of those might sell through, I fear that bigtime crybabies will veto characters like that on the notion that they are “stealing _________’s slot” and that “________” will eventually be put up for pre-order. Sort of a degenerate gambler mentality, not appreciating and being happy with what you have, but fixating on what big score might be right around the corner.

    For real, tiered subs are the way to go. I even came up with a sweet slogan:

    “NO MO’ MOTU TEARS! TIERED IN 2014!!!”

    😀 😀 😀

    1. I fear that bigtime crybabies will veto characters like that on the notion that they are “stealing _________’s slot”

      I can already hear it. I hate the term wasted slot. It’s a personal designation and people always seem to think they’re using it as a disputable fact. Drives me crazy.

      We’ll see where we end up for 2013. That might be the way to save some of the larger items I still want from this stupid “vintage 2014” edict….

  17. I just want someone to go make the damn video with the Sarah McLachlan song playing, “for $1.77 day, you can save the MOTUC line”!

    1. I almost did, but I figured there would be hatemail from people for my comparing suffering dogs to losing the subscription. LOL 😀

  18. A Sarah Mclachlan MOTU subscription video would be HILARIOUS. Please do it. Please.

  19. BTW I noticed the first He-Man had reversed shoulders. That’s why I didn’t buy it. At that point in time I was already fed up with Mattel giving me incorrectly assembled figures in the DCUC line. And I’m probably not the only one who caught the error. We just didn’t feel like posting about it.

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