Frustration is a curious concept for a collector. We want our collections to have some amount of difficulty. Something that makes us feel a little more savvy or gives us a story to regale others. Maybe we hunted something down. Maybe we got stupidly lucky while we were out picking up milk. We say we’d like to walk into a store and just find everything we want, but I don’t think that’s always true. That sentiment only comes out after a long drought for most of us.
But collecting “online” is exactly the opposite. There’s no romance to collecting online. It’s acquiring in a pure sense. We accept no frustration. We don’t want to hunt. We don’t want to have to get lucky. We just want it to be orderable and it better damn well ship fast with minimal handling time. We want it virtually hassle-free (and we often pay more for it becuase of that).
While I lament the loss of that romance (honestly, part of my collection does feel a little less meaningful without it), I do appreciate the hassle-free toys. I subscribe so that MOTU just shows up at my house. And I tell you, all of you, that no matter if you love subs or begrudgingly sub, the day that MOTU figures aren’t coming every month is going to be a sad day indeed… but I digress.
See, the thing about online toy collecting lacking that romance, that “fun”, was something that Toy Guru and the folks at Mattel tried to address this year. They added an extra, non-subscription figure to their MOTUC rolls this year, the Spirit of Hordak. (See, I may be ramble, but I’ll always get there…)
The problem though was the idea behind this “fun” addition to MOTUC collecting was inherently flawed. It wasn’t a completely bad idea. It has potential. So I offer this advice to Toy Guru should they do this again (and they should (and probably will)). Do more of these unannounced chase figures. Maybe not a bunch, maybe 1-2 a year at most. Do keep setting out to surprise us. Put the chase figures up on the site like you are, but then leave them there; no quotas on how many to sell before it’s taken down or a time limit in minutes. If you must – make it available for only half a day or six hours. But long enough so that the information about it can get out on social media and folks can come buy your wares.
No more of this 10 minutes here or 20 minutes there. It wasn’t fun. I didn’t enjoy it. I won’t enjoy it if you do it again. The loss of romance is regrettable, but this is toy collecting online and hassle just isn’t supposed to be in the vocabulary anymore, romantic or not. The surprise was wonderful, but, Mattel, you just need to keep things a little easier going forward.
Before I get any further in this review, I need to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to Jon over at Preternia.com! See, I didn’t* catch ol’ SoH when he was available on Matty and Jon was kind enough to give me hook up last week. So a big thank you to Jon and if you guys aren’t checking out his site every day, you should be. He’s doing some of the best toy reviews out there (that aren’t on IAT, of course) and he covers news like he’s several people working on one site. We have two and we still can’t find time to post any damn news!
* – Ironically, after Jon sent Hordak my way, I did manage to see the figure not “in hiding” on Mattycollector and snagged one for Vault. It’s funny how life works… Continue to Page 2…
85 thoughts on “MOTU Classics Spirit
of Hordak Review (14 Pics)”
Nice work on the captions as always. The peek-a-boo shot caught me off guard since it does suit fan response to the way this guy’s been offered.
Loving those Office Space references, so keep ’em coming. If we’re getting Stan Lee as a Master, someone do a Bill Lumbergh already! I’m sure there are a couple of Gary Cole customs out there somewhere.
I almost didn’t so an OfficeSpace ref since I just did one! 😉
I thought I may have over done it on the first few images in the slideshow, but it just made me laugh when I thought of it. It’s just a shame the content slider still isn’t working. Another blank up there would’ve been great!
The Office Space jokes made it for me. what else can you do but have fun with a review like this?
Reg vs Hurricane, there are plenty of contrast/compare notes, but on a figure that’s essentially one color/blank? go nucking futs.
I tried. It didn’t work out too well. 😀
Great review and pics, and excellent comics!
Gotta respectfully disagree with you, though, Noisy. I absolutely HATE the idea of limited surprise variants, for numerous reasons.
I thought the whole purpose of subscribing was to get everything. Then they pull “Not available in the sub” items. Fortunately, almost all of those have been easy to get. Up until this year. Now this.
It’s incredibly frustrating when Mattel says “Subscribers are so important to us,” then goes about making us annoyed by taking away the sole privilege we were supposed to have for subscribing: a stress-free and complete collection as a reward for backing the line sight-unseen. (And before anyone else brings it up, even as a subscriber, I feel that No-Day-Of-Sale on standard figures is an incredibly shoddy practice, so cherry-pickers have my full support on that front.)
I work a 10-hour day. In a foreign time zone. If I’m working a day shift (like today), I’ll have been in work for at least five hours by the time any standard sales go up, with another five or so hours to go before I can get home to order anything. When I’m not at work, I’m either asleep (when on night shifts), or looking after my elderly parents (don’t breed late in life, folks, your kids will have no life). I can’t be online 24/7, even if I wanted to be, so even a 6-hour window wouldn’t meet my needs.
Digital River’s hit-or-miss Customer Service track record aside, companies are supposed to satisfy their customers (which leads to them giving the companies more and more money; this is seen as A Good Thing in economics), and moves like this infuriate more than they please. With all the bad decisions over the past couple of years, I can’t say I’m in any way surprised that subscriptions have been falling and more and more fans are giving up in frustration and anger. Disappointed, sure, but not surprised.
Having said all that, I would also love a translucent green “Slime Pit He-Man” variant, but I’d prefer it if he were a subscription exclusive, like Unnamed One or Shadow Weaver, or the like.
I understand the appeal of the all-in subscription, I do. I had to sit through that stupid debacle the morning the SDCC Comet Warriors were released and although they were readily available later that day, it was annoying. I couldn’t help but think, “why not just throw the SDCC item in the sub, you know I’m good for it, baby!”. It would be much easier for them to just give us everything. And you make a lot of good points that you surely know I agree with.
But I think from a a business standpoint that they also need to keep the site relevant and that’s the one area where the subscriptions don’t help them at all. Things like these chase variants, the SDCC items, the forum, and other goodies do at least help keep people coming back to the site, particularly as DOS sales on overproduced sub items cease to be worth Mattel’s time. I think that’s important too.
dude, they’ve gone out of their way to make the site irrelevant. you can’t have a web store with product for sale for only 4 hours per month, you just can’t. picking up the “sub only” economic model that they have is pretty much the last dump on the chest of their own website. unless they’re going to adopt an open stock item, the site is irrelevant, and we the customers shouldn’t have to suffer to try to keep it from being so. cherry nyquil hordak was/is a bad move. you can enjoy the figure, but his method of sale is complete bull scrap.
Only due to the limited releases, yes. They just need to set the next one loose and not do the 10-minute junk.
Exactly. Make him a full day-of-sale, available until he sells out.
So what exactly are you respectfully disagreeing with me over again? 😉
“Do more of these unannounced chase figures. Maybe not a bunch, maybe 1-2 a year at most. Do keep setting out to surprise us. Put the chase figures up on the site like you are, but then leave them there; no quotas on how many to sell before it’s taken down or a time limit in minutes. If you must – make it available for only half a day or six hours.”
I want no more chase figures from a line I’m subscribing to in order to ensure I’ll get all the figures. Ever. They can pull that kind of crap on retail lines and let the scalpers tear each other to shreds in person.
And if they absolutely can’t avoid doing so, put ’em up for more than half a day / six hours. Especially if I’m stuck at work with computers that won’t let me order because they react badly to the “adult” in “adult collectible.”
Well, I’ll tell you a little thing… I’m writing most of that facetiously. Unless the negative reaction sways things (and when does it ever?) this will happen again.
Provided the sub goes through & all that, yada, yada, yada.
Hey, long time listener first time call…er…um. wait.
take 2 and Hey, Noisy! Another great review and fun as all heck pics! Man, brightens the day it does. 🙂
However, I have to disagree strongly with some of your commentary. I strongly DISLIKE the hunt. I hate competing with the scalpers. I hate how few stores that sell toys even exist nowadays. I hate how companies can’t figure out case packouts, but that goes to how few stores there are and how the scalpers work-see, everything is connected. 🙂
Tale of ultimate frustration. You might recall back in the old days before you were born that Kenner made a line of 12 inch tall Star Wars figures. They didn’t sell very well it seems and they canned the line around the time of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. Well I was in a toy store (one of the long-dead local kind) and I came across what would be the last of the 12 inch figures, IG-88. I thought “cool. Well, he’s dorky, I’m broke, he’ll be here when I get some more money”. Yeah, you know how it ends. Went back a few weeks later and gone. Never to be seen again. Never, ever saw him anywhere else. Even in the prime of Star Wars Mania, no other store had him. So even to this day, like a nagging toothache, I am ONE FIGURE SHY from having the complete (American release)Kenner Star Wars 12 inch figure line. (I suppose I could always do the O Henry thing and sell all the other figures to buy an IG-88…naaaaa)
Do I love IG-88? Oh hell no. I never thought of him as an actual bounty hunter, I always thought he was one of the other guy’s ‘bat man’ or valet or caddy. Somehow the idea of an armed, self-aware ‘Droid just didn’t fit given how ‘Droids had been portrayed in the ‘universe’ to date.
So that’s what I think of ‘treasure hunt’ or ‘chase’ or ‘surprise sale’ things. Never again. Never again. If I want something and I can’t just walk into a store and buy it like a damn loaf of bread I’m just not going to care. Works the same for the insanity of ‘sold out forever day of sale’ Japanese toys too.
And the whole “surprise! buy it now” aspect of Gummi Hordak…what, only stay-at-homes and people NOT DOING THEIR WORK AT WORK got the shot. Bad, bad idea.
I don’t have an answer that is realistic given the limitations Mattel seems to work under. My thought, go ahead and have the surprise but sub members don’t have to struggle or fight, they get one IF THEY CHOOSE, would be the way to go. Get it any time. Need to wait a month because a big product dump is on the way? No bigs. it’s there whenever you want it. yeah, DR would have a cow over holding that much inventory.
In the OLD DAYS such concepts would be possible, not today.
(of course I still think the subs should be like a Book Club membership. You agree to buy at least 4 figures in a year and every month you’re offered ‘the new guy’ and a selection of ‘older stock’ figures you may purchase as an alternate. If you do nothing within a specific time the ‘new guy’ is shipped and billed automatically. Gummi Hordak would be a bonus figure, as an example. Everybody has a chance to cherry pick their faves, new people signing up eventually get everything they want. Makes so much sense of course it could never be done)
Ahh, I’m just a crazy man. 🙂
100% agreement on all fronts; plus, I too am old enough to remember the original Star Wars 12″ in the stores. Good times, good times.
I should leave well enough alone, but I’m not gonna. Man, I despise hardcore scalpers. I managed at a nationwide toy chain for a bit, and I can tell you from personal experience that hardcore scalpers are some of the most dishonest, selfish, unscrupulous people I have ever met. They will lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want. They are the complete antithesis of what a hobby built around children’s playthings should be. With that said I do believe there is a difference between true scalpers and someone trying to make a couple of bucks off a sub figure they don’t want. Fine line, tough call, not mine to make. My problem with Matty’s business plan is they are attempting to turn more of us into something closer to scalpers. We as a community should never feed off our own. We are in this together.
Anyway, Steve, great post. Sorry the mention of scalpers got me rollin’.
It’s cool, we all have our sore spots.
So, where did ya work? I spent a good deal of time in the barrel, 3 years at KayBee Toys (grunt, head cashier, asst. manager) in the ’80s, three years Warehouse Manager at a Children’s Palace early ’90s. I saw the GI Joe Shuttle Complex roll down the line. I still weep that I just couldn’t figure out a way to fit one of those in my car. I had the money, just no way to get it home.
And yes you are exactly right. Mattel’s business plan DOES seem to be geared into promoting the scalper life. It’s almost as if they use the perceived ‘heat’ of secondary market sales as some kind of..what..validation? Approval?
Bah. toss them all out. hire new people. Everyone here gets a VP job. 🙂
This Book Club style subscription is absolutely genius.
I haven’t got anything else to add to the discussion.
It really doesn’t. One of the advantages of the subscription is that it subsidizes less in-demand figures. If we did it Steve’s way, they could only make the 40 or so characters everyone agrees on and then the line would be dead.
No, that’s not the idea, Noisy. The Idea is they’re going to make everything ANYWAY, because like I’ve said in the past while not every figure is everybody’s favorite, Every figure is SOMEONE’S favorite. So I don’t care about Gummi Hordak. That’s OK, there’s likely at least 1000 people who will. Everybody wants Ram-Man, so that’s a no-brainer.
And it would work for DCUC too. Not everybody wants Bouncing Boy. But enough will. You base your business model on what a minimum sale is needed (I would guess 1000, frankly) and if you don’t sell them all this month, it’s OK because NEW members will join NEXT month and it’ll be new to THEM.
The business model works under the assumption it will grow as more see how cool the toys are. Oh, and advertising. Like full-page ads in Marvel and DC and indy publisher books.
The line lives on new releases and a rotating, expanding catalog of..um…catalog. Missed He-Man in the first release? He’s back. Want some stands? Here ya go. You could even build a commitment to a big item like Castle Greyskull. The DIFFERENCE is Mattel is taking a risk instead of the contract of “we have this much money because x number signed up”, they have to commit to the concept and stick with it.
I know, publishing books (or CDs) is different from making toys. But really, it isn’t. It’s creative people generating product that has to be manufactured, sold, shipped. It’s actually a lot less risk than Mattel takes in paying DC for the Green Lantern movie license and the millions I’m sure they had to eat in return product allowances from retailers and canceled reorders. Every month I’m sure some beancounter shakes in fear that Monster High will cool down and become stale. It’s all risks, and toy companies used to TAKE them.
I mean, I’m just shooting off my mouth here anyway. Ain’t no way Mattel would even TRY to make something like this work. 🙂
It wouldn’t work. You’re thinking 10x times too small to keep the price points low. You’re spending tens of thousands on advertising to try and grow the subscription and fight the normal decline & attrition that all toy lines are constantly in a state of, and you’re talking about thousands more in additional warehousing cost to keep older items in stock.
I wouldn’t invest money in that plan. I’ll tell you that.
If you don’t like the hunt, sounds like toy subscriptions just might be for you! Maybe the Joe Club will do a 12″ FSS someday? 😉
FSS? I’m sorry, I’m not up on my acronyms. I’m super old school in my GI Joes. Adventure Team all the way! Fuzz head and Kung-Fu Grip Forever!
Joe Club will never do 12 inch AT figures/sets/vehicles akin to their other Joe nostalgia programs. The only AT love is reserved for the Joe Con and as much as I want to attend one some day I’m not keen on forking over $300 and up for a dude and some clothes. If I’m going to pay that kind of money I could probably replace my vintage AT helicopter and ATV.
Give me a line of 3 3/4 AT Joes in different uniforms and with vintage vehicles in scale, and not make them SUPER LIMITED things and I could buy into that. Oh, wait, no I couldn’t, I have a debit card not a credit card. I’d have to keep the entire sub priced loaded and untouched plus flexfunds for shipping. Not gonna work for me. ah well.
I keep the Matty sub on a paypal card separate from my bank account. It’s not that difficult, but I’m not big on obstacles.
…so I had heard that MOTUC figures were showing up at a closeout chain called Big Lots!. We have several in my area, and I decided that I’d visit one to see if there was anything worth picking up.
It was a very interesting experience, to say the least! First off, I found several figures that I thought I could use to customize or just wanted for “spares”, but having picked up three or four a manager suddenly bustled into the aisle and snatched a Grizzlor out of my hands. “Sorry,” he said, breathlessly, “but this is a chase figure. Only on sale for a limited time.” He proceeded to gather the other two or three Grizzlors off the shelf.
I was pretty much dumbfounded. “That…that’s absurd. This is a business. Barring a safety recall or something, why on earth would you not sell a product you have in stock?”
He grinned widely like a deranged chimpanzee, shoving his face directly into my own. His rancid breath gagged me as he exclaimed “Because its FUN! Aren’t you having FUN? FUN, FUN, FUN!!!” He stumbled away, laughing and gibbering hysterically.
I’m not sure how long I stood in that sad toy aisle, mouth agape, unable to process the absurdity of what had just happened, but I shook it off and decided I should just pay for my three remaining figures and leave. I stood in line for about 45 minutes as the cashier would only scan one or two items at time for any given customer before taking a smoke break or answering a phone call or simply stopping and staring off into space for long periods. She would also occasionally grab an item from someone’s hands, announce that it was sold out, and throw it in a bin beside her, refusing to let the customer purchase it.
When I finally reached her, she snatched up the Orko figure I had found and narrowed her gaze. “Don’t tell me its sold out!” I said.
Her eyes shifted toward me. “No, its available, but due to rising manufacturing costs, I can’t sell it to you for the price on the tag. It’ll be five bucks more.”
“Wh–what? That’s absurd! What do current manufacturing costs have to do with previously manufactured goods?”
She grinned maliciously “Well, I could explain it, but that Marzo in your hand is almost gone.”
I shoved my remaining figures at her. “Fine, whatever, just let’s get this over with quickly, please?”
“Time for a smoke break,” she croaked, locking her terminal. “Be back shortly. Don’t ask anyone else here for help, they’ll just make you move to the back of the line.”
Ladies and gentlelmen, I left that store without a single MOTUC figure. But that wasn’t the end of the story! You see, several days later, I friend who just couldn’t believe the experience I had convinced me to go back. Unfortunately, they were completely sold out of MOTUC figures by then (or, at least, they had none that we were allowed to buy at that hour on that day), but on our way out, my friend spotted three figures sitting on the same checkstand I had tried to utilize days earlier – the very figures I had tried to buy! I picked them up in wonder, and like magic, the cashier appeared – this time as bright and cheerful as could be. Without comment or hesitation, she rang up my figures for the marked prices, took my payment, and wished me a nice day. It was disconcerting, to say the least.
Why do I share this long, meandering story? No real reason, just something(s) for people to think about, if they so choose.
Thanks, that made my day.
LOL I think that might’ve been longer than the review! If I had to shop at a store like that, I’d definitely switch to being a subscriber and avoid that store altogether! 😀
just so you know brother, cuz i love you… about two “then you should just sub up to avoid the hassles” ago, this became shilling. as my man carlito cool would say “that’s not cool.” i know you like the sub, but lots of people have lots of very legitimate gripes about that sub. now would be a great time to knock that crap off.
trust me, as the guy who is most often found far afield on the other side of decency… don’t take up a seat beside me. it’s cold and lonely over here.
I’m not shilling. I’m laughing at the nature of the beast. The hunt sucks. The sub sucks. It’d be funny, if it weren’t sad.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
(Most wonderful time)
With the threats and the bullying
And Scott pleading helplessly
Sub up for what’s dear
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
For the record, I am a subscriber. Currently. Future is undecided. Regardless, not one of the issues I parodied above is resolved by being a subscriber. Not a single one.
Other than the chase figures, I haven’t had to deal with any of those, so I wasn’t sure.
Here’s the thing now that I’m back home and can actually type more than a sentence.
Your parody is funny, but it’s not really got much to do with anything. The chase figure thing is – and like I said in the review the only real issue I take with Mattel here is that they didn’t leave him up on the site after he was introduced. They took a fantastic idea – a figure just popping up and being a surprise and stranged it by turning it into a surprise figure that only people who were online for ten minutes could get. That was stupid.
Now maybe they wanted to avoid some scalping them or they thought the random releases woudl help, or they just plumb didn’t think about it being any other than fun, I don’t know, but I find that was there one mistake. I’m more than happy to see them do it again provided they drop the limited releases nonsense. Again, despite some of these comments, it sounds like we all agree on that central tenet.
The rest of your parody doesn’t really hit home for me. The thing about raising prices is industry standard. If a company decides to charge $27 instead of $28 on an item, they don’t divvy it up between old product and new product – they’re all just $28 now. That’s normal. Happens every day, all over the place by manufacturers and retailers alike (probably even at Big Lots!). We can take issue with it as an overall practice, sure, but it’s not some crime specific to Mattel. Nor is the loose use of words like “new”, “limited time”, “almost gone”, & “sold out”. I place the impetus on the consumer to buy what they want when the want (which includes subscriptions) and not worry much about what the seller is trying to push. Mattel has never blackmailed me, motivated me with a scare tactic, or put me through any mental trauma. They’ve frustrated me a time or
seven, but I could end all of that with a simple decision.
Anyway, sorry if I came across like a dick earlier or even now. I didn’t mean to and I should wait until I’m home and can type full responses.
Just so we’re ABSOLUTELY CLEAR, just like “the Ghost of Skeletor” is a completely separate figure with no connection to Skeletor, but with extremely similar features and color scheme, the “Spirit of Hordak” isn’t actually Hordak as a ghost, right?
I mean, otherwise, it’d just be confusing.
You’re killin’ me! That’s hilarious!! I feel like I need to go back and reshoot some pics with Scareglow! So mad. 🙂
You saved the comments section! lol
Although I believe the thrill of the hunt is an integral part of the hobby, this figure is just a frustration. He comes from a line full of frustrating moments and is a very simple clear deco holding on to an accessory we subscribers should already have.
If they had just dumped him on the site to stay, it’d be entirely different wouldn’t it? Scott should learn that collectors never forget. It’ll be hard for some to learn to enjoy the figure. Hopefully, they’ll switch tactics for next year.
Add me to the list of people hating “the hunt.” I get no thrill out of not being able to find what I want, going to a store only to find scalpers picked through every case before they even hit the shelves, wasting gas and time trying to find the figures I want, etc., etc. I collect toys to have cool toys. If I wanted to hunt, I’d go hunting. Heck, I would hunt the most dangerous game of all… man.
Actually, if those men were scalpers, I might be doing us all a favor…
You ever get up a scalper safari, James, let me know, and I’ll be right there with you, sharpening my k’icti-pa and breaking out the “100 Recipes for Human Flesh” cookbook.
Think of it like this. An average baseball player only gets a hit one out of every four times. He goes back to the dug out, defeated, 75% of the time.
I suppose he could choose to hate baseball, but I imagine most of them just have fun getting a hit 25% of the time.
But they enjoy getting hits, and I bet if you asked them, they’d tell you they want to knock it out of the park every time they get up to bat.
Not that athletic achievements and collectibles are exactly analogous.
An achievement is an achievement in the snowflake world we live in. 🙂
Of course they want to hit it out of the park everytime. I was very hopeful I’d find a Gorshin Riddler today! I did not. I did see the Batmobile, so that was cool, but I don’t need it. I will go back tomorrow. And maybe I’ll have to go back next week. Maybe a couple times next week.
I will get the Gorshin Riddler. And in a few years I will just be happy to have it. I might remember that it took multiple trips to get him, but that won’t be a negative.
In addition to scalpers, I ain’t too fond of baseball players as a group . . . or any professional sports players, either. Obscenely overpaid muscular men running around after balls whilst wearing shorts or tight pants.
Doesn’t help that whenever I want to watch something on TV, it’ll likely be delayed or cancelled because whatever game is on is inevitably over-running.
That’s a really weird tangent to go on. And it’s not even late over there. LOL
No, but I was operating on two hours’ sleep.
And besides, you were the one who brought up baseball players in the first place. };D
based on the strength of that first photo, i almost didn’t read the review… you know, just to keep with a theme. 😉
That was almost my favorite picture. Then I thought of the peekaboo pics.
I am not Kraven… The Hunt does not please me… Also, I look awful in Leopard Print Spandex. Kool-Aid Hordak is a nice toy, but not worth the flaming hoops while being doused in Kerosene that Mattel wants us to jump through.
Psst… Including shipping, he’s cheaper just to get off eBay. Not many flaming hoops there!
I already have him and the hunt was not fun at all… (Got him on his second appearance) While I DO miss it sometimes, the disappointment of hitting stores and not finding anything reminded me of how much the hunt sucks! The closest thing to the hunt that I’m doing right now is Blind Bag Ponies… and yes I cheat with the cheat sheets!!
Cheat sheets are handy.
I don’t get to hunt much anymore. I don’t need anything at retail. When the subscriptions are finally over, I’ll probably only be buying 15-20 toys all year. Boo.
I’m surprised by the lot of you. Never mind that this review would have no comments if I hadn’t started out taking about the thrill of the hunt, but not a one if you ever liked it… ever?
You never found an end cap of Marvel Legends? Never drove to a distant KB and found a big clearance score for regular price? Never thumbed through a line of pegwarmers to find that one figure hiding out four back? Or turned the corner to find the latest wave sitting there staring at you?
I’m sure you’ve all had your successes. You have your stories. And while things have gotten leaner in recent years. And eBay has greatly come to our aid while also helping scalpdom. Those changes can’t take away the glory of yesteryear and certainly can’t dampen a success in the here and now.
You guys sound downtrodden. We need a good Toy Run article where everyone can share positives to remember the pros instead of focusing on the cons.
You just can’t recreate that with the way Mattel is doing it with Spirit of Hordak. Not to mention, those are times that I’m glad I don’t have to do anymore. I’m glad I don’t have to go hunting for figures since scalpers got word of how much the figures are worth. I’m glad I don’t have to make phone calls and see if I get a competent employee who knows what the hell they’re selling. I’m glad I don’t go to Walmart after midnight now and go pallet diving for the newest wave of Legends or DCUC. I’m fine with the subscription model of Mattel in the sense that it helps have a complete line. Having this Spirit of Hordak figure (and traveling convention figures) completely undermines their subscription model that they would love to go full 100% on.
I’m glad sometimes, but not enough to look back on it harshly. It was fun hitting up the Big Lots on the trip to CT & back and I basically totally struck on that trip. It was still fun just to stop in the different cities and check out the various stores though. I don’t know. I still like running down to Arkansas or up to Kansas City too.
I do really like what Mattel was trying to do with this figure, but I do agree that they just didn’t go about it correctly. One, it simply can’t be in the sub (And I do agree, I’d love for them to just throw it all in there), but it was really the ridiculous idea to take it up and down that I think has soured the group here.
The idea was to surprise us with this fun figure that we never saw coming! And the dumb release scheduled turned that into this fun figure we never saw coming and can’t have. That was dumb.
I don’t know how fast he would’ve sold out had he been up for a full day (it’ll be funny/sad if he languishes when he’s available for general sale later), but I think it would’ve been better.
ok one positive hunt was finding a hercules god of war figure that i found at a local comic store for 18 bucks that I wanted solely for the arm attachments for battle armor he-man. After trying to find a reasonable price on Ebay (which i didn’t) this was a revelation for me. That’s it though. I can’t remember any other hard to find figures that I stumbled upon. I do remember hunting TRU many times for an early spawn Malbolgia figure that I never ever found. I have many fond memories of picking up great figures but only that one of finding a hard to get fig.
About the Hordak, I was able to grab one and he’s alright enough. He will be reconfigured with sir laser lot (and i think the boots from Nepthu) to make a decent new figure but that is $90 for a figure cobbled together from 3 others that missed the mark. That’s the one problem i have with this line. Some figures are fantastic alone and others need a lot of help to get them worth my money.
I understand everybody’s argument with this hunt though. It isn’t fun. It is more fun opening a figure than finding it. and if I miss out on Goat-man because I’m not able to get to a con…
I really don’t think Goat Man will be an issue. ToD Sorceress wasn’t and I don’t think Strobo will be either.
Strobo is an excellent example. Fan reaction to his EA sellout was visceral – but he’s going to be available at various cons and on the site at the end of the year. It’ll be fine. Strobo has been one of the biggest reviews of the year for IAT and I couldn’t figure out why until I realized he wasn’t really released yet. We just got lucky during EA.
Anyway, it sounds like you might have some good stories on less rare figures? Heck, I have stories about figures I found and didn’t care about. On my recent trip to CT, I stopped in the WORST WALMART EVER™ on the west side of Columbus, OH. I ran across a Movie Master Superman clad in black. I didn’t even know they’d made that! I took a phone pic and went about my business waiting half an to get checked out and still leave with nothing ironically. Days later, I saw the big hullabo about the figure when it showed up on mainstream news sites – turns out I coulda scooped everybody and didn’t even know it!
I have amazing memories of the hunt. An entire POTF wave discovered INSIDE A KIDDIE POOL DISPLAY. A Suncoast out of business sale that got me Hasbro ML series 2 for a fraction of its costs. Finding the previously ultra rare Wayne/Beyond/Warhawk JLU pack in a Burlington Coat Factory. Finding an entire set of DCUC 5 in a Wal Mart after so much trouble. Casing Targets by DCPI numbers. However, after turning thirty, there’s a lot less time for the hunt and I’m glad there’s the online option.
I do not own the Spirit of Hordak. I do, however, have several Hasbro SDCC items. Why? Because I vaguely knew there’d be a sale, just as limited as Hordak, on their site. And I mean vague, like a 14 day window. The sale date did not match any from prior years. So I setup an assistant on Firefox to alert me and mission accomplished. The thrill I felt un-boxing that massive
Metroplex equalled the thrill of a brick and mortar hunt. Spirit of Hordak had no announcement whatsoever. Not even the slightest tease. Imagine the scenario if instead, subscribers are alerted that a special MOTU product will be popping up randomly on the site soon. Don’t need a specific time, don’t even need to know what it is. Just a special heads up for being a subscriber and supporting the line That’s the crux, that’s the cognitive dissonance. We need you to sub, we need you to come together and be the best MOTU fan you can be. Then to pull what they pulled, it makes it all sound disingenuous.
The sound of downtrodden = Subpocalypse. Mattel, as a whole, cares about MOTU as a brand just enough to get us this frustrating line but not enough to pursue a new cartoon that could get it into retail and alleviate a lot of the problems. So instead the burden is placed on us. We’ve been educated on the glass ceiling Scott & co. have got, but it doesn’t have to be this way, does it? I mean they won’t even give them an advertising budget for a ad in the MOTU comic book.
DCUC5? That’s awesome! It sounds like you’ve got some good hunt stories to expand on too. I do agree about the age and time though. I just don’t have the zeal that I used to, but I do look back on the days fondly – counting the successes and not the failures.
On the subject of HTS, personal experience just isn’t worth much sometimes. I’ve seen Spirit of Hordak available and I haven’t been able to get a single SDCC exclusive off of HTS three years running. I always laugh when anyone praises HTS because it ain’t got nothing on Matty from what I’ve experience (but again, I know that’s not true for everyone). And the fact that SoH went completely unannounced is the one aspect of this whole nonsense that I did love. I’m actually sad that they can’t do it again – cause we all but know they will.
Because…I was once MASTER of the Hunt. I was. It was a f*sking super power.
I have a friend who is a huge Batman fan. I manged to find EVERY SINGLE villain in the original Batman: The Animated Series line. Every. single. one. I would walk into a Walmart or a Toys R Us or a KayBee and as if they opened a fresh box and pegged it just for me, there a new one was.
Did the same thing with the Playmates Star Trek figures, for another friend.
Sad story, I was working at KayBee Toys in ’85 when the Kenner SW Power of the Force coin figures were being blown out. I had cherry-picked ALL the figures (I don’t know if I had Yak Face. I *think* I did but I won’t swear to it), had them in a casepack box(they used to sell them 48 to a case you know), waiting to buy them, man they were like 2 for a Dollar or some nonsense, I was just waiting for my next check…AND THE ENTIRE BOX GOT THROWN OUT BY MISTAKE BECAUSE IT WAS SITTING NEAR THE OUTGOING TRASH!!!
Man, I tell you, I get that Time Machine, that’s one spot I’m going back to. 🙂
Then there was the time when I was warehouse manager at a Children’s Palace…
Now, really, how lucky were you with those 1701 figures? Can you imagine the internet response to that nowadays. LOL
All cool stories. That is what I’m talking about when I talk about the hunt. A ball player doesn’t look back on the strikeouts, he looks back on the home runs. That’s the way to live.
Never found any of the 1701s, most of the Trek figures I found had numbers in the low hundreds, as if that really meant anything. 🙂
But the baseball analogy isn’t a good one because you can get plenty of base hits, some home runs, but if you get out at that bottom of the ninth, two outs, bases loaded moment, one is FOREVER the goat.
And I’ll tell ya, the current collecting market, there’s a hella lotta goat going around.
Guess I’m the weirdo here, but I actually enjoy the hunt, even if I come home empty-handed. Also, I hate, hate, hate getting cart-jacked by the guy with the faster internet connection WAY more than going to a store and not finding the hot figure there. Putting an item in a virtual cart, pushing some buttons, and having it shipped to you, for me, does not compare to turning into an aisle and seeing THAT figure on the shelf/ the peg, putting your hands on it, and knowing that it’s yours. Unless Scalp-or tries to take it from me, then it’s ON!
But as I said, I’m a weirdo.
Why is it so hard for Digital River to have a reservation service like TicketMaster? You have like a five to ten minute window to cash out your items before returning them to the store. Is that proprietary to TicketMaster?
You’re not a weirdo. We’re just living amongst all these online guys. I think some of the folks here might enjoy more than they remember. It’s just too easy to focus on the negative.
Take this figure. I had to wait months to finally get him and even then it was through the good graces of a fellow blogger, not Mattycollector. I could’ve written a really bellyacher in the review. I just chose not to.
Despite any issues with the way they sold him (which have been gone over to he’ll and back twice) this is a great figure that I was more than happy to add to my collection. Great review as always bud!
Thanks! I didn’t think I’d like him as much as I did, but he turned out to be a lot of fun.
And that’s before the brilliant reader suggestion that he should hang out with Scareglow!
Okay, positive hunt stories . . . . Ain’t got that many. Mostly been spoiled by scalpers.
Having said that, there was the magical winter of 1998, when they’d just brought out the Expanded Universe line for Star Wars. Walked into the Toys R Us in Cuyahoga Falls one evening with my friends Doctor and Wildman, and found A WHOLE WALL of the Expanded Universe figures. Bagged the whole line in one go, including 8 Spacetroopers to form a squad. For half price. And then went across the street to the Target, where they had crates of Action Fleet E-Wings and TIE Defenders, which we passed up on because we didn’t collect them. We left ’em for those who’d appreciate ’em more.
During the same visit to the States, I walked into a Target and plucked the last B-Wing from the shelf, reduced to $15, where comic book shops were selling them for $75, and later bagged the last Clone Wars “Rancor-Faced” Republic Gunship within minutes of walking in the door.
Mostly, though, for the last decade, my “conquests and hunts” are done online, and succeed only because I have no life and can afford to throw around far more money than many others are willing to spend on little plastic toys. The shopping in Torbay is ca-RAPP.
Best experience back here in Devonshire was when I went down to Plymouth to audition to be an extra in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” in 2008. Didn’t get cast, but met some very nice folks, and the Toys R Us less than a block away provided me with a BMF Falcon, AT-TE, 2 exclusive big-wing TIE Fighters, and the very last exclusive A-Wing with updated super-articulated pilot. Loads of other exclusives there (including, somehow, SDCC and SW Celebration items from previous years!), but I’d already gotten them from elsewhere.
But I still refuse to resort to eBay if I can help it.
I always want to sympathize about scalpers, but it’s hard because I live in the midwest. I mean, they’re here. I get beat sometimes, but it must just not be as bad as it other places.
I think distribution is part of it. Not you, obviously, but looking at the site demographics, there are far too many of the readers in too tight concentrations. There are whole toy aisles sitting in Wyoming full of everything we want and no one to buy them.
Anyway, you had some great finds there. All Star Wars interestingly.
Well, with Jurassic Park, Aliens, and Predator in stasis since the early/mid-1990s, TransFormers and G.I.Joe not catching my interest until 2008, and MOTU Classics undreamt-of until 2008 as well, pretty much all my collecting was Star Wars-based.
And now I’m running out of money and space as I go into a 1980s retro nerdgasm collecting meltdown frenzy.
I live in the Midwest, and we have tons of scalpers. I live in the suburbs of Milwaukee, and it’s well known that almost no popular action figures hit the shelves without the boxes having been gone through first. There are also plenty of people who hit every store right when they open every day (and sometimes several times a day, don’t ask me why).
It was the same when we lived in Ohio (going back a ways, now). Exactly as James describes.
At least in the States, if you’re there right at opening, you have a chance of beating them to the punch. Here in Britain, I never saw a chase Star Wars figure in the wild. I went to a local toy shop when Revenge of the Sith toys were coming out, asked if they could order stuff for me, and they said yes, and let me look through their ordering catalog. More than half of the products has “Not available outside the USA” next to them.
Grrrrrrrr . . . .
Noisy, I have to laugh at you. You seem genuinely surprised by some of the bellyaching comments presented here, but you started your review with this:
“There’s no romance to collecting online. It’s acquiring in a pure sense. We accept no frustration. We don’t want to hunt. We don’t want to have to get lucky. We just want it to be orderable and it better damn well ship fast with minimal handling time. We want it virtually hassle-free (and we often pay more for it becuase of that).”
What did you expect?
Alright, you do have me there. 😀
I walked into this one.
Cool pics as always. I was able to pick him the during EA months ago. Nice variant of Hordak.
“The Hunt” is a strange beast indeed. I hate it, I hate driving all over God’s Creation looking for stuff, and I hate the gnawing in the back of my brain that says my collection is incomplete. But dammit, I do love that feeling of finding something completely out of nowhere. A couple months ago I came across the TRU Azbats/Batman 2-pack at a Burlington for $12 STINKIN’ DOLLARS! I cannot deny that I was as giddy as a schoolboy on Christmas morn’ when I saw that. And my local Comic Shop (Eide’s Entertainment in Pittsburgh. Represent!) just sold me a sealed DCUC Wave 1 Penguin for $25. I will not feel one shred of regret crackin’ that badboy open. My big problem (with Mattel, specifically) is that too, too often The Hunt has no endgame on the First Market (is that the right term?). I mean, sooner or later you realize that you’ll NEVER find that final DCUC wave with Red Robin. And that STRIPE wave? Sorry, fella, they only made Magog and there’s about 2 million of them. So the hunt is cool, as long as there is some possibility of victory (I’m talkin’ to you, Krypton Armor Zod).
And my favorite hunting trophy? Walked into a local chain that no longer exists (Hills, anyone?) years after Super Powers was discontinued and found a complete Supermobile and Lexsoar 7 which had been used for display, resealed in the box for the princely sum of 50 cents each. Unreal.
I don’t count finding random awesomeness as part of “the hunt.” If you were a caveman, you wouldn’t find a dead mastodon outside your cave and claim you hunted it. You just stumbled into good fortune. If you drive to several stores a day, every day, and eventually find what you’re looking for, that’s the hunt. If you have a prize that you check every flea market and convention within distance for, and eventually find one, that’s the hunt. Wandering randomly into a store and finding something cool when you didn’t expect it? That’s not hunting.
Hunting, gathering, it’s all the same. A good find is a good find, regardless of how much effort went into it.
I’ve been known to travel about 4,000 miles (from Torbay, Devonshire to OH / PA / MD) to nab some items. I believe that qualifies as a win in the epic hunting effort stakes. };D
That’s insane. But also very awesome. I hope you never, ever leave empty handed and always find something cool.
Well, mostly the trips are for visiting friends and relaxing on holiday and so forth. But there’s also a lot of hunting going on, and I almost always leave with some good swag. };D
Oh believe me, if I was a caveman and I found a dead mastadon carcass, you better believe I’m telling the rest of my starving clan that I brought that big b*tch down all by my lonesome, and then I’m gonna enjoy all the spoils that go right along with new alpha male status.
But I get what you’re saying. As collectors though, aren’t we ALWAYS on the hunt? I mean, when my wife asks me to go to the drugstore for Q-tips, I have to at least scan that little over-priced half-an-aisle toy section just in case they have something random I need. So whether you were on a mission, or just happen to fall blindly into it, a win is a win, mon ami.
Just a great set of pics with this review. I don’t have any tie to the figure itself, but the pictures were great. The first bunch had me laughing out loud at my desk.
Late to this awesome comment party, but wanted to chime in…
The fabled “thrill of the hunt”. The only time I *really* participated in true hunting was with the MotU 200x line. And that did indeed suck big time. I suppose there was some kind of “thrill” aspect to finally landing on an Evil-Lyn or whoever. But it was probably more relief than anything else, and any kind of buzz associated is probably psychologically more connected with slot machine syndrome, so not sure that’s a healthy thing to romanticize. LOL
If there’s anything else “romantic” about toy hunting, it’s probably because it reminds is of a parent or grandparent taking us to the toy store (unannounced or otherwise) and we would always score big time. Problem is we had real toy stores back then chock full of way too many awesome and worthy additions. Toy hunting in its current form is instead born from the opposite: such a barren landscape that there’s only ever a small handful of figures at any given time that collectors give two starfruits about.
(Noisy did request happy toy stories, so sticking with the MotU theme, I’ll never forget reading reports at he-man.org about a reissue set of vintage figures, that they were being spotted at Walmarts. I hopped in the car and headed to the nearest one, grabbed a cart (guess I was feeling lucky!) and headed to the toy aisle where I was greeted by case fresh multiples of each Commemorative figure. Probably the closest thing ever to recreating being a kid again in those glorious 80’s toy aisles. And as I recall, I never had to “hunt” to get anything from that line. I don’t like trying to find something, I like having it! This isn’t like the tales of adventure from Mel Birnkrant aka the original collector, where the hunt birthed unforgettable experiences and friendships. The world isn’t like that anymore. Sure we have sites like this where bonds are formed, but I don’t wanna come here and talk about missing out on something, we want to share the experience of how cool these things are to have in person!!! Ok, tangent rant concluded!)
The other common element to my 200x frustrations and the SoH conversation? That’d be MATTEL of course, who through their own internal business practices and their hiring/promotions show time and again that they couldn’t understand less what collectors want and how they want it. Scott himself is the pinnacle of that. Exactly how many times does this guy need to demonstrate just how out of touch he is with collectors before Mattel wants to go another direction? The answer is never, because MotU fans prefer limping along to gambling on accountability which might lead to a confident jog. But, but, but why risk it?!?!? We KNOW we have the limp! Let’s just learn to love the limp!!
So for me it’s not so much that this is a chase figure from a line where we promised no chase figures, but it’s just the last in a long and still-growing list of how MotU continues to be mishandled. I mean look, we’re all grown ups here, and we understand how the modern toy biz functions, and silly no-tooling repaints can be a fun way to pad a line while less diehard non-completists can go “Looks cool but don’t need him!” There’s no reason why we couldn’t be getting these all along, and y’know, maybe that would’ve let us pay for some new legs for someone once in a while!! Without Mattel and Scott dicking around at every turn, these could’ve been cool. But as you say Noisy, don’t do the hunt thing. Leave it as a surprise.
Imagine a world where “sub or die” and other ill-advised decisions hadn’t alienated most of the casual collectors. Imagine a world free of WSOD or glitchy cart systems, where Matty sales days are smooth sailing. We had a couple of those, remember??? Imagine heading to the computer, gearing up to grab the scheduled drop of 6″ BTTF Marty McFly, DCUC Classic Comic Superman, Club Sandman The Corinthian, and MOTUC Rio Blast. As soon as you log on, you get a splash page: “What’s this?! One of Skeletor’s spells had some unintended consequences, and FANTOM FAKER is the result!!!” (Shows pic of translucent blue body Faker with translucent orange accessories)
Everyone’s already going to Matty anyway, because you respect your customers, want to give them some freedom when it comes to their purchasing habits, and you acquire and develop collector product that you actually believe in, and know will sell through accordingly. The choice is IMO a false one between a crappy time hunting vs a slightly-less-crappy time subbing. If Mattel wants to rig it that way, it’s on them, but as shown by Sideshow, Onell, Four Horsrmen, and others, it doesn’t have to be like that. Come at us right, with respect, and the adult collector will sell your product for you.
Love the pics, i noticed Keldors swords whered you get those?
I guess I have my own “thrill of the hunt”. I didn’t notice it because it wasn’t a toy. Half the time with some “thrill of the hunt” thing, when I look for something and look for something, finally finding it, I decide I don’t need it. 😛 This time, however, I was looking for a gift for my stepdad. I looked all over for an older video game. I wanted to buy it here in town rather than ship it so that I could have it on time for a reasonable price. No one had it new and the used prices were ridiculous. I even checked our store finder for TRU and they said it was out of stock. I checked anyway. Lo and behold, there is was, one single copy sitting on the shelf despite what the liar website claimed, AND it was on sale for 3 for $30! So my hunt ended on a mighty note and I got myself some pressies as well. 😛
Glad to see you got your SoH!
I only collect CIE, so my opinion is about to be moot as of 11:59 PM PST, but I’d be pretty pissed if Matty dropped a fig (like white Raven) during little windows throughout the day at random. I’ve been watching Hasbro for the last three weeks waiting for Elektra and Mysterio to go from “coming soon” to “available” and it’s a royal drag. I’m in that camp that would rather just buy the thing and be done with it. Guess my sport comes from price shopping though… hunting around trying to get the figs I want at the price I want. Not being able to get the fig at all (or only for an outrageous price) is the fun-killer for me.
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