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Truetorial: Mattel’s
Meddling Middle Management

Over the weekend, Toy Guru let us know that the 2nd Whiplash head caused a bit of commotion in the Mattel offices and that 200x-esque heads can no longer be included in the line. By itself, this might not be big news, but I think it’s part of a larger issue. I think 200x slowly being stripped out of MOTU Classics.

As part of his latest “state of the union” update on MOTU Classics, Toy Guru let fans know that the Whiplash figure, which included a 200x inspired alternate head, had caught some unwanted attention. Earlier in the year, Count Marzo’s sculpt didn’t sit well with the higher up folks at Mattel and some issues arose – fans were only able to get that great figure because the folks in charge at Mattel bowed to the almighty schedule. But, now Whiplash and his 200x inspired alternate head has brought a new edict. According to Toy Guru: “after the second Whiplash head, we were asked to pull back on second heads that are purely 200X inspired”.

Now, we hadn’t been getting many 200x inspired heads in the line. Whiplash was really the first one, though an image of Grizzlor in ToyFare indicated that he might have been a second. I also contend that, tooling costs aside, Roboto in October and Buzz-Off in December were two missed opportunities for 200x alternate heads. But, since Whiplash was the first, Toy Guru has referred to this new rule as stopping a “trend of one”. I don’t disagree with that, but it seems that the only edicts we keep hearing about when it comes to Classics is “no 200x this” and “no 200x that”. It’s starting to get to me.

For my part, I view MOTU Classics like I did Marvel Legends and DC Classics before it – an inclusive line that sets out to celebrate an entire franchise. Figures from all eras. Figures from different interpretations. That’s what I want from MOTU Classics – all the eras & all the interpretations packaged in the ‘Classics’ style. But 200x seems to being picked out piece by piece. This current rule – no 200x heads for 200x sake doesn’t even make much sense to me. Toy Guru says that the 200x Egyptian Sorceress is still on the table, yet she would have to come with a 200x head would she not? I’m confused by the ambiguity. And right now, I fear that the 4H would send in the 200x Sorceress, or perhaps even Lord Dactus, only to have this same Mattel Management object and say “no, you didn’t remove enough of the 200x”.

In the Classics line, we already know that all non-vintage elements must have their clock turned back. I’m all for this. I want the line to be cohesive and I don’t mind the missing “hyper anime detail” (as it’s been called) because I don’t find the 200x figures to be all that hyper-detailed or anime-inspired. The “turn back the clock” edict only bothers me in instances like Skeletor’s 200x swords. The idea that, once classicized, they would revert to the old looking sword irks me. Many fans have created wonderful vintage style dual-bladed swords to disprove that notion, and yet the rule persists. And I have to ask, looking back, was the turnaround on the Skeletor sword the first sign of a “too 200x” sticking point?

After that, we got word that Marzo’s head was deemed by Mattel management to similarly be “too 200x” and that, going forward, future figures would ambiguously have to avoid too much detail and/or windswept hair. This is ironic because it looks to me like Whiplash’s vintage head is the more detailed of the two, yet the “no 200x” policy has reared its head again.

Whiplash’s head has changed the rules of the game a bit more. Characters like Grizzlor or Buzz-Off, who could make use of a second, 200x-esque head, can no longer have that option. What I thought was going to be a fantastic way to include more fans in the fun of MOTU Classics while giving collectors incentive to buy doubles must be stopped per Mattel’s insistence. Alternate heads will keep coming, but the 200x element mustn’t be part of the equation.

Even though we’ll never get a straight answer, I have to ask why?

Who at Mattel is so afraid of 200x? It’s not the Four Horsemen – a lot of that work is their design. It’s not Toy Guru, he seems to truly love MOTU and when he doesn’t have to defend the anti-200x policy, you get a sense that he loves all eras of Masters of the Universe. It’s someone higher.

It’s someone that, frankly, doesn’t get it.

I’m not sure what their reasons are. If it’s simple dislike, well… I don’t have pleasant things to say about that. No one individual at Mattel owns MOTU and no one person at Mattel should be able to make the decision to marginalize one segment of the fan base that way. I’m okay with fans having their favorite eras, but I think when you’re put in a position of authority – having say so over a toy line with a myriad of fans – you have to check some of your wants at the door. Everyone at Mattel should be trying to be as inclusive as possible with this line. It would mean more sales, more success, more MOTU. Nothing good will come of treating one segment of the fan base worse than than another. Speaking of, Optikk still appears to be the lone representative of New Adventures – he could use a buddy or two.

If it’s not personal dislike, then I have to ask if “Mattel management” believes that the 200x era of the property deserves to be stricken from the record? While there have been a few titanic toy lines in the last few years, I don’t view 200x’s brief run as a failure. And if Mattel Management does, they have to understand that they have only themselves to blame – whichever of the lot worked there years ago – for that line ending prematurely.

In fact, Mattel has only themselves to blame for mismanaging He-Man since the beginning – the other tent pole properties of my childhood – G.I. Joe, Transformers, DC & Marvel Superheroes – have scarcely left the shelves in the intervening years. There’s hundreds of Snake Eyes, Optimus Primes, Spider-Men, and Batmen. Mattel has continually strangled MOTU to the best of their ability. They let the line die in the 80s, left it dormant in the 90s, and mismanaged it to an early death just this decade. It should be obvious to just about anyone that Mattel doesn’t know what to do with Masters of the Universe.

So, to you, the nameless individual(s), who keeps stepping in and saying “don’t do this” & “don’t do that” to the MOTU team.

Stop.

You’ve struck gold.

You’ve got some of the greatest sculptors in action figure history making these toys. Let them do their work.

You’ve got a real MOTU fan as Brand Manager. He has already rescued Masters of the Universe from your death grip. Let him do his work.

They’ve made this success. They’ve charged the fan base. They’ve put together a toy line that keeps fans coming back month after month – ordering through a hellportal of a website, no less – to get the next awesome figure whether it’s straight from the original or has some elements thrown in from one of the other eras. When they bring you windswept Marzo or a 200x Whiplash head, they know they’re doing.

So step aside.

You will only break it.

You will only screw it up.

You will only send Masters of the Universe back to where Toy Guru & the Four Horsemen found it. In the vault. Unused. Not making money.

Whatever your reason for these edicts, we (the collectors) don’t care. Let Classics celebrate all eras of Masters of the Universe. Let all fans be included. Put your trust in the Scott Neitlich and the team he’s assembled. They’ve given you this opportunity. Let them run with it.

110 comments to Truetorial: Mattel’s
Meddling Middle Management

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  • RageTreb

    Whiplash wasn’t exactly the first. Mossman was.

    • Adrian

      Yeah, I gotta agree with Carter below. Mer-Man was really the first 200x head, cross-sell art be damned.

      I guess the main thing that says Moss Man didn’t have a 200x fan was that this particular Mattel executive didn’t get his panties in a bind over it.

      • I can see a case being made for Moss Man, but I’ve wanted a 200x Moss Man since he showed up on the cartoon and that head doesn’t really look like him either, even ‘classicized’.

        I also have to laugh about the Mer-Man head, cause yeah, it kinda was 200x too.

  • Carter D.

    If you wanna get technical RageTreb Merman was first, but as far as Moss Man’s goes if it was trying to be 200x it was barely that.

    I agree on all points of the article, except maybe “In Scott we trust”, 200x should be getting celebrated instead of slowly removed bit by bit.

    • TSR

      “I agree on all points of the article, except maybe “In Scott we trust”, ”

      Seconded.

      • Adrian

        LOL! I read that too and was like “What?” I’m just going to take it more as trusting in Scott and the 4 Four Horsemen instead of the jerk trying to malign the line to his wishes.

  • Unicron27

    Great talking points. Other than Digital River, I like how you through that in there by the way, and maybe some QC issues, no one at Mattel should be interfering with the line.

  • Winston

    Is there somewhere we can forward your ‘letter’ ?

    • If you want to forward this onto Mattel, feel free. We’ll probably never know the exact person who is cutting out 200x though (and that’s probably for the best).

      • Heli

        I would strongly suggest printing this out and mailing it in, or even writing a similar letter in your own words. Include a little more about the hellportal and QC. I’ve always heard that physical letters are about 100 times more effective than e-mails, and e-mails are about 100 times more effective than something posted online, in terms of getting the attention of the suits.

        Let’s face it; Scott knows all about how crappy mattycollector is, and the QC problems, and that we want more 200X, thanks to Q&As and his presence online. The battle you want to fight is with the management, and they don’t bother reading toy websites.

  • Henry

    Given that if something lasts even a remotely reasonable ammount of time on the site it is deemed a failure, one would think that they wouldn’t be interested in how the line was run, instead just leaving the people behind it to find a happy medium for the line, where it could be successful.

    Or this executive could be working on the behalf of another company, being told to minumise competition from mattel, hence the poor quality of DCIH, poor distrubution of DCUC and Mattels own properties being poorly managed and in poor health when compared to the in-house properties of other companies.

    • It has a lot to do with the whole “Who you know” behind the scenes. I saw it a lot, and if you kiss the right butt, you get promoted fast. If you are against a small thing or even neutral, they treat you like crap… A lot of the heads over there are very “diva-ish”… They think their crap smells like roses and they all think they have great ideas. Unfortunately, after hearing them speak, I can tell you that they are more like little kids arguing at a school yard. They don’t know what’s in, they don’t listen to their fans, and I’m sure none of the higher ups even heard of the internet… So, chances of them actually reading this is slim to none. I think the only ones there that do are the ones actually into toys and actually care about what you think. Hell, most of those people were more interested in the Lady Gaga show that just came around than what we as fans think.

      • I mostly agree about them checking internet sites, particularly one was young as mine, but I also think that Toy Guru’s motivation for telling us that 200x heads were cut (he could have just not mentioned it) was to stir up a bit of controversy.

        I’m happy to help.

  • Nik

    I am against this. If they stop shitting on MOTU, they will just shit MORE on ghostbusters, and that already has enough cost cutting shit on it.

  • Rich

    The Sorceress brings up an interesting question:
    If they sold a classic Falcon Sorceress and a modern Egyptian Sorceress, would you buy both? I probably would.
    I think I’d like both; both have a place in different parts of the shelf.
    I think the same logic would apply to Buzz-off, too I like the look of the one coming out, but I’d also like one with hands and fingers, and a more humanoid face.
    As they run out of characters, perhaps this is the only way to extend the life of the line: sell us Evil-lyn in purple in 2013, and so on.
    I’d rather hear that as a reason for the discontinuation of new heads, rather than “no 200x. stop asking”.

    • I want both versions of the Sorceress!

      If this new rule cost us the Buff-Off head, I’m annoyed. If it turns out this gets whole 200x figures (properly classicized) in the line, I’m all for it.

  • Rich

    Trying to make sense of this bafflegab makes my head hurt. Are they saying we value figures like Trap Jaw over King Randor based on # of heads, and not, say, something else?
    This is from Pendragon’s Post’s latest Q&A:

    “Not all figures will have two heads. If we did so, the extra head feature would lose its value. Many times it comes down to cost and logistics as to which figure will get second heads. Just because a character does not have a second head in the first release does not mean we can’t revisit this down the road in an update. We try to save extra heads for when there is a compelling reason to do so. (although that doesn’t stop the Horsemen from sculpting a ton of extra heads we are not budgeted for! Regretably, sometimes they wind up in PR shots such as the case with Grizzlor who will only ship with his classic vintage head).”

    Let’s try that another way:
    ‘Regretably, the public relations dept sometimes shows you nice things. We’re trying to get them to stop that; we don’t want those kind of warm fuzzy relations with our public’

  • JediCreeper

    Bravo… i agree on all points, and said similar things at the fanex board. the line is FINE… extra heads double sales… and that means that even people with the subscription, will give you more money, just for a second toy.

    and I think the issue with whiplash, as opposed to, say, moss man, is that for mossy, they only tooled one new head… the other was a repainted beast man (as the classic version should be)… whiplash is 2 brand new heads, as well as a new torso, arms, legs, hands, feet, weapon and tail. I wouldn’t be shocked if “management” looked at the numbers, saw that they were either a higher than usual, or seriously pushing at whatever is deemed “acceptable”, then looked at this second, apparently unnecessary, head and said “why the hell is THAT there”.

    the only argument being “to give fans of the newer series something too”, to which they would answer “no, they don’t need it, vintage is fine” and thus an edict is written, stupid as it may be. I can’t wait for the backlash to hit full stride… they were wise to not say anything at comic con, or they wouldn’t have been left alone…

    we will get a millennium He-Man before the line dies… just you watch… (also, I know the Horsemen will figure out a way to get us some proper Keldor swords.. I trust them… maybe they can work with SpyMonkey!)

    • Thanks, Jedi!

      I’m positive a 200x He-Man will eventually squeak out, but I do wonder how right they will get it. Remember a pouch is a hyper anime detail… oy.

  • Rexplode

    BIG BIG BIG agreement on this article.
    MOTUC is a wonderful toyline that seems to continue to be wonderful IN SPITE of the people who have the ultimate authority on how it does.
    SO MANY bad decisions made from “on high” and they need to stop.

    Well argued Noisy, Mattel needs to read more of this kind of info and less of the unfounded anger all over so many of the “official” he-man websites.

    • It was really important to me to frame the article with as little of my annoyance showing through as possible. It’s really important to me to get the idea across that we want the line to have an all encompassing feel.

  • No offense, but I think the “Old school heads” kinda suck. I always change out the heads for the newer looking sculpts because they are in fact better.
    What I smell is Middle Management just trying to find a way to bleed us for more money. Why give the option of changing out the heads when they can charge us later?

    • TSR

      Actually that’s the way I understood this all along. Stop including 200x heads with classic sculpts. 200x heads can only come with 200x sculpts, and those are to be later down the road.

      • Adrian

        I don’t read it that way at all. I don’t think a 200x Whiplash was ever in the cards and had the head not squeaked out pre-edict, we would never have gotten it.

        We’ll never get a cool and better 200x Buzz Off head now and that sucks.

        • I don’t read it that way, TSR. I think the rule cost us our chance at a 200x Buzz-Off head and there’s no other place it will go in the line now.

          I could be wrong…

  • Geoff

    AGREED. It’s totally cool to let some favoritism through i.e. making Scareglow early on or Wundar but a negative impact is unacceptable! This guy is ruining teh lein!

  • Oh… and they viewed 200x as a failure cos they don’t want to admit that their planning was at fault. “You really want another He-Man, Skeletor and Man-At-Arms in this wave? Really?” Mattel is run by the marketing team and their marketing team doesn’t really know what is hot now. It’s the same on both the boy’s side as with the girl’s side over there. The 200x He-Man cartoon (not anime, not even anime-esque, looks more like Mighty Max) had an Emmy (or was it just nominated for one?) and had some cool things going for it, especially with the introduction of She-Ra (Oh, that didn’t make it to cartoon form cos they already canceled it…). The Toys did pretty well, and would’ve done better if they would’ve scaled back on the massive re-use of the big 3… but one of the biggest things we liked about MOTU as a child was (similar to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) the massive amounts of characters. If the only characters you have on the shelf at the store is the big 3, then no ones buys, cos everyone already has them. By the time they started pumping out the other characters more, it was already too late and no one wanted to buy them. So the fault finger should be pointed AT MARKETING! Taking out the 200x heads is just another one of Marketing stupid, hair brained ideas. Hey, you dumbasses, how about doing a focus test on this instead of doing one of your stupid ideas? I’d gladly head over to El Segundo and tell you how to do your job, because we all know you’re doing it wrong.

    • Drunken Fist

      This is exactly what I think, too. Someone (or multiple someones) who still has authority over the MOTUC line must have been involved in the 2002 debacle. Their ego cannot let them admit that their own mishandling doomed that line, so they’re trying to act as if the style and designs of the line itself are at fault. Obviously, we have no way of knowing this for certain, but as the anti-2002 sentiment comes to resemble a vendetta more and more, there must be something like this at the root of it all. Someone in authority dislikes the 2002 designs for personal reasons. I’d bet money on it.

      • It’s odd because there’s not an outright ban, it’s like this frustrating line that the 4H can get close to, but not cross. It has to be very annoying for them.

  • Dougster

    Hells yeahs, Noisy!

  • Lee in MI

    I don’t collect this line at all. Love it, love it, love it but I just couldn’t jump in due to space and cash.

    But I have to ask this question, could the shying away from the 200X line be an issue of licensure and/or cash? TG’s articulation of management’s argument sounds like he is walking on a very thin sheet of ice. Perhaps the 200X elements may require some type of additional license fees that Mattel doesn’t own. Perhaps that rendition is not wholely owned by Mattel…maybe the 4H have rights to that “look”. Or maybe some other entity.

  • Rfg

    Martello completely owns everything from 200x toon.

    This is a combination of pettiness (90%) and greed(10%)

  • brillant idea Mattel- alienate potential buyers who first came to know MOTU via the early 2000’s line! Like it matters at this point, the line sells out in seconds so they know they can do near anything they want.

    want them to include them? Don’t buy the whiplash.

  • Perry

    Between Mattel executives and Digital River, it feels like they are strangling He-Man.

  • Adrian

    Great article! This needed to be said. If anything, they should be embracing the generation aspect of MOTU fandom and keep the younger fans from this decade interested in MOTU for years to come. I’m not feeling very courted as a 200x fan.

  • Sy Branch

    I hope MATTEL read this & is having 2nd thoughts now!!!

  • David

    Business people can make stupid decisions in the interest of money. But they are always in the business of making money. Therefore, my pet theory is that Mattel wants to bring out a full blown straight to retail Masters of the Universe line which will encompass articulation plus some of the detailed stylings of the 200x line. So they need to keep the 200x style out of Classics so as not to dilute that future toyline. I can’t think of any other reason to deny fans now other than to help ensure they sell these things later.

    • Unfortunately, that’s not how those guys think… they are kind of like selfish little boys, in my opinion, and most of them were drama queens only interested in their own wants or their main boss’s wants, which means there is a lot of brown nosing involved. This, unfortunately, won’t change unless the main guy thinks it was their idea to begin with. Conceit, I know… but this is why MOTUC will probably see its last year next year.

  • Lay Ze-Man

    Signed.

    That is all. 🙂

  • orionpax636

    Well written once again, Noisy. You guys at IAT should be proud of yourselves and the reasonable, tactful arguments that Mattel SHOULD be reading.

    As I said on the FanEx boards, I’ve assumed a “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” approach to all the odd information coming from Mattel regarding 200x touches. Toy Guru and his team keep dispensing the company line about how 200x, anime-style and hyper-detail are retired, and yet we have another Grayskull and other 200x indicative things coming. I now think that he has to SAY 200x is dead, but is sneaky enough to get that stuff past “management” and into our hands anyway. That said, I’m looking forward to a certain feline-ish general, an oddly familiar sorceress-like woman, and hopefully some other things that DEFINITELY aren’t 200x. Right, Toy Guru?

    • I’m with you on the POP baddies. I would like to see more girls in this line. I said it before, and I’ll say it again… This line is a sausage fest… It’s like they modeled it after the Smurfs or something…

      • orionpax636

        Hmm. There might be some misunderstanding, due to my overuse of snark. While I’m welcoming of some POP stuff in the line, I was vaguely referring more to the upcoming releases of Carnivus and hopefully an “Egyptian” Sorceress – both characters that are 200x-derived but that we’re still mysteriously (and thankfully) getting.

        But I do agree with you as well as most others, there does need to be some more females in the line, fortunately Mattel has assured us that at least one is coming in the next subscription period. Catra and Frosta would be excellent candidates.

        • Thanks, Pax. I too am hoping for the “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” approach.

          I’ll start up with Poe’s idea of calling all this stuff Millenium if it’ll get this management folks off our backs… 😀

          Yes, and more women. I think we’re up to or around 50 women and we’ve got 5 girls – 3 of which are mostly the same.

      • LOL. I can see lots of Smurfs and MOTU parallels now that you mention it…

  • Yso

    “Let them have their cake.”

  • dayraven

    this needs to be seen by the boys at mattel. it is simply the truth that the he-fans see, and frankly, it’s a company trying hard to make an already costly line more cost effective for them… but in so doing, they’re making it less cost effective for ME. and ultimately, they’re trying w/ these mindless behaviors, to make me decide between my money and their toy… the balance is in their favor, for now, but actions like this could tip the balance. and they want my money more than i need their toy.

  • Russ

    I think for the next Ask Matty, this should be asked:

    “if the latest edict suggests that 2002 heads must be scaled back from this point on, how are plans to be done for 2002 characters, that being aside from simply scaling back on the ‘hyper anime detail’ ?”

    • dayraven

      or maybe we ask “isn’t the notion of extra heads and 2002 influenced accessories part of the 20 dollar price point we are still subject to, despite the line being a phenomenal success and having had production runs increased vastly from the start point of the line? in other words, so long as you re-use parts in the buck system, and sell more and more units, don’t you either have to concede us either more accessories or a lower price point to justify our continued interest?”

      this whole thing “some guy in the office doesn’t like the 2002 influence” is ass NEWS FLASH MATTEL!! the unnamed exec(s) AREN’T THE ONES BUYING THESE TOYS, I AM!!! and i want the bloody second heads!!! the “we’re not using that aesthetic anymore” is equally crap… I’M THE ONE BUYING THE TOYS!! and while i get filtering the 2002 designs through the lense of the classics line, PUT THE INFLUENCE IN THERE!! let the horsemen do their thing so i can keep throwing wads of sweaty money at mattel.

      • Russ

        Minor tip dude: basically even suggestively asking “why are you trying to screw us over” isn’t gonna do any favors.

        You’re just gonna get the same non-answer you got before. If you get a little specific, you at least know you’re gonna wind up with some type of an answer.

        I remember I got a bit specific in asking about Keldor’s blades. While they still gave a non-answer about it, you could almost tell *JUST BY THE WRITING* that they were squirming like crazy in their answer.

        It’s about “backing ’em into a corner” by covering all your bases, not just firing your shots at ’em and asking “why are you ripping us off?”

        • dayraven

          don’t ever correct me.

          i at no point asked “why are you ripping us off?” i asked a very specific and informative question, “isn’t the notion of extra heads and 2002 influenced accessories part of the 20 dollar price point we are still subject to” the rest is my personal rant, but the point was made, in plain english. even if you include the rant points, all of which are factual, BTW, they simply reinforce that w/out the current value-added items included in standard releases, the existing business model is excessively gouging us for the item we’re buying. their existing product rollout structure has changed, to their benefit, but they’re talking about altering product release, to our detriment, to which i asked, aren’t the extra items necessary to justify the price point.

          “if the latest edict suggests that 2002 heads must be scaled back from this point on, how are plans to be done for 2002 characters, that being aside from simply scaling back on the ‘hyper anime detail’ ?- here’s your question, which answers itself now, doesn’t it? we know, thanks to carnivus and other characters, that 2002 characters will see release on their own, so the answer to your question is, the 2002-exclusive characters will see release as their own figs (viewed through the motuc lense), no head pack-ins, so what is now a value added item on a 20 dollar fig becomes instead it’s own 20 dollar expenditure on a retooled fig/variant. that’s not a question, it’s a backdoor w/ a neon sign over it reading “get out of substantial answer here.”

          • Russ

            I apologize for not better articulating what I was trying to say…and thank you for in fact articulating your point much better.

          • I have to assume the 4H thought they classicized the Whiplash head sufficiently (it looks to have less detail than the vintage head), but it still tripped a meddle management trigger. I don’t know how they’re supposed to follow this rule. It’s very ambiguous.

  • wesitron

    I’m 26. My brother was the MOTU fan in the house, I rarely even saw the cartoon. I loved his toys, but I didn’t own that cartoon until 200x, which I loved.

    I’m probably going to have to skip Roboto because I think his original head looks like crap and was hoping for the 200x as an alternate. Grizzlor I definitely won’t be buying unless he has the 200x as well. I can’t justify 30 bucks for a character I specifically didn’t grow up with. My brother had him, but I never liked him because he was just a big fuzzball.

    Cutting out 200x is basically cutting off their left hand. Sure, the right hand can do plenty, but think of all the things which are no longer possible. I couldn’t care less about a green Beastman, but I am definitely going to be online next time Mossman goes on sale.

    Listen to the man, Mattel. Leave it alone. IT’S WORKING.

    • I grew up with the old stuff but I ended up liking the new stuff more. I agree with you on Roboto, I think the old toys, for then, was ok.. but he just looks weird now… And the imagery with the whole left hand thing, yup… that’s what that company is known for…

      • Love the left hand right hand analogy.

        And yeah, I feel awkward about Roboto. I love the original and I was really looking forward to his Classic, but seeing it doesn’t give me the sense of joy I was expecting. Maybe in person…

        • wesitron

          Without the action feature, it just seems like a 200x head would be a total no-brainer… And therein lies the problem for Mattel.

          • Roboto did get his action feature, but I still agree with your point. This whole thing is a non-brainer. Include the two primary camps of the fanbase? Work on encouraging generational involvement with the franchise?

            No, they’re ‘retiring’ the newer stuff and telling newer fans to not bother. Targeting this line at just us old fogeys who had them as kids is a dumb, short-term decision.

  • Jason

    I see this as an opportunity for Mattel to sell two different versions of the same character.

    1. First, the fans will DEMAND that they have access to the 200x versions of the heads.
    2. Mattel will give in to the demand, sort of, by offering a second version of the figure with the 200x head.
    3. What will be presented is a vintage style character like Buzz Off for example released AND at the same time for release, a 200x version of Buzz Off with a different head and 200x style weapon. This is going to be an easier redo than Green Goddess. They will just have to double the production run of the exact same figure, minus the heads and weapons.

    This of course will force fans to buy two of each figure where there would have been just one sale. It’s just another trick, but after all, it’s all about money these days. There is no way Mattel is going to turn away from making a buck. I certainly don’t expect any favors from them. It’s like watching Whiplash sell out in 45 minutes. Here we are, almost 3 years into the line and we still have to put up with that bulls@*#t. They are not going to blackmail me into buying a subscription. Make more or limit the amount that can be purchased from 10 to 5!!

  • Tsarivan

    Really truly great article.. I hope they read this…

  • orionpax636

    Hmmm. A bit of an interesting comment made by Toyguru on the He-man.org boards: “You will still see 200X characters and 200X versions of characters (i.e. Sorceress, Randor) but they will be in “Classics” style, similar to Carnivus or Grayskull (or Marzo minus the flowing hair).

    We’ll also still do second heads for characters like Moss Man or Stinkor who’s vintage head was a repaint. Really, the only character to have a true “200X” head was Whiplash. So there really wasn’t a huge trend we are breaking here. A trend of one.”

    I don’t envy this man’s job. But if he keeps tip-toeing this line to get us more 200x homages (in whatever way he wants to classify them), then I say go for it, I don’t care how confused I get.

    • I read that too. That’s where I get confused. A 200x head on Buzz-Off or Whiplash can’t happen now, but they can still do a 200x Sorceress head on a 200x Sorceress? I’m not going to question it, I just hope they find ways to keep the line balanced.

  • nicholas ford

    i think i understand mattel’s stance on this, i personally don’t see how providing an alternate head due to fan demand causes any sort of issue. count marzo is definitely different from the rest, but he wasn’t a classic character, so if they’re going to make characters outside of the original cartoon, i think it’s okay for them to be different.

    • dayraven

      so you understand mattel’s stance of ripping off fans who are already paying more than the toy is worth? you understand a BS public explanation to justify dropping a value added item for the toy (which is an industry way of explaining an “accessory”) completely in order to charge later for an entire additional purchase on a line that already enjoys an enormous profit margin? do you work for mattel, or are you an orger? cuz i have to be real, as a mattel employee, i could justify your position as essential to maintain your employment… the orgers, the blind devotees to the company line that repeatedly cornholes them by taking advantage of the “fandom” they openly espouse, those guys are a pathetic lot indeed. even a junkie has options. if i’m blowing the guy down the block for free meth, and he stiffs me, no pun intended, i can buy my meth elsewhere. the mattel junkies, the orgers, are twice that pathetic, as they can’t go any where else for their fix, and mattel sure notices that. they’ll blow eager loads of love mustard all over the orgers faces and like good little bukkake bitches, the best they can muster is “pleeth thir, may ah avv sum moor?” please tell me you have more going on for yourself than that. if life is really that otherwise meaningless for you, please, by all means, take up the next traveling religion side show, whoever that may be, sign up, and give yourself wholly to that religion. you’ll thank me later.

    • I can understand the stance in this respect:

      1) The line sells well, so they don’t have incentive to expand/add to it at this point time. But note that this is the same reason you’re not seeing any improvement at Digital River either.

      2) That someone has a beef with 200x and feels justified in implementing it. This I understand, but clearly disagree with.

      Ultimately, this article isn’t about 200x heads getting included – it’s about the meddling specifically. What keeps this person from always hating Leech? Or similarly not wanting NA in the line? Nothing. Those are “the sky is falling possibilities” and I don’t want to use them to stir up unnecessary trouble, but to me they are equivalent possible decisions.

  • […] this week, you might not have heard that Whiplash’s alternate MO2K head was determined to be “200x for 200x’s sake” by Mattel management and, for now, Whiplash will be the last figure to get an alternate […]

  • DrNightmare

    Excellent write-up, though as a non-MOTU fan, I felt like I was reading a paper on illegal underground stray-cat fighting rings, I could probably care about their plight, but I care more about dogs.

    What was my point? I forgot…

    Oh right, hot dogs! Man, I haven’t had a good sausage in the longest. 🙁

  • bwjenkins

    Here, here. Well said.

  • RJ

    Buzz-Off and Roboto will definitely be 2 missed opportunities because in my opinion, those two characters need the 200X elements to make them awesome figures.

    If Mattel agreed to add two and only two more 200X influenced sculpts, Buzz-Off and Roboto would be best served by their decision. If I could add an additional character to the list, 200X King Hiss human form would make three.

    • If this was Facebook and I could “Like” this statement, I would. Those 2 heads are… wow… horrible. I wouldn’t put that on promotional fliers or other stuff trying to advertise this line, because I think you’d scare them away.
      It’s like Playmates’s “reissues” of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… the question is “Why release the original when you could have upgraded?” In the MOTUC Buzz-Off and Roboto, this falls into play. We all know that the original heads are not even up to par with the rest of the Classics body, why release it with no option for the upgraded BETTER head? If the marketing/management team actually read the numbers on those reissue Turtles, they would realize what a mistake that would be…

      • I’ve seen some of the dissenters cite that ‘nothing has changed’ or that this decision has made no impact. I look at Buzz-Off and find that opinion laughable at best.

        Sure, the 200x head might not have been sculpted, but I doubt it. I’ll concede that maybe the tooling for the helmet cost us the tooling for a 200x head, but I doubt it. I think that decision has already had an impact and it stuck it to one of the characters I wanted to see it on the most.

  • Yso

    I didn’t really want to say this but sure what the hell? yeah, its a save the characters tactic by offering the 200x versions later. they have 6 more years to fill and if the line goes south you have backups readily available. Granted 200X won’t save the line alone and you could probably see a dip in subscriptions in 2012. If anything though you see the demand increasing. Most people were fans of the vintage He-Man in the 80’s and thats what they remember. I’m sure I could spin this thing a thousand more ways like Bill O’Reilly but will stop right there.

    • I’ve thought about that, and if that’s the case – heck, that works for me. I wouldn’t mind a classicized Buzz-Off or Whiplash across the whole body.

      But I really don’t think that’s the case. Toy Guru said we could have the 200x Skelly sword and then reversed that call and deleted the post. He’s told us twice that someone higher up is stepping in when something gets too 200x. If we do end up getting 200x versions later, I don’t think this is part of a bigger tactic, I think it will be because that person relented or moved on.

  • Mose

    Is there a way to display all the comments? At first I thought my posts where deleted but from the looks of itmay have just been moved.

  • After reading this I have a lot to say! but ill make it short. My son and I both like the line. He likes the 200x and I like the classics. Let it be your getting two for one. I have too buy two ever time ( one for him one for me ). You loose one sale x 12 do the math!!!!! And that’s just us! PS I would like to see the classics Sorceress Not the 200X. But that’s just me.

  • First-rate blog post and actually will help with comprehending the subject much better.