Mattel Q&A Roundup for January 14

Wow. Mattel had no fewer than nine ten Q&As yesterday. Here’s a list for reference:

About 50% of the questions had something to do with quality control or distribution, but there were still some good questions and answers in there. Here are a few highlights.

5. Is the modern Dr. Fate figure from series 8 final in terms of paint scheme? Will he keep the yellow gloves and cape or will those be changed to gold?

We do not yet have a final figure for any of the wave 8 figures. The image you have seen online is the Horsemen’s painted prototype. But the plan is indeed to keep the yellow gloves and paint for the classic version and paint the modern version gold.

I had guessed this would be the case, but it’s good to have it confirmed. I’ll be curious to see the gold cape.

Kastor:  When the new waves are released will the previous waves not be available?  Or will figures be available as long as they are still in stock? And if it is the latter, will there only be one production run or will they continue to be made as orders come in?

Matty:  MOTUC figures will be available for about 1 month and then retire. We may bring some of the key characters back, but will change up the paint ops, packaging or accessories to make them a bit different the second time around. As it stands, it looks like He-Man and Beastman will sell out at about the time Skeletor goes on sale.

The word “retire” has set off another round of debate at He-Man.org. I still think Mattel has been fair and plain regarding how they were going to do this, and I don’t have much sympathy for those who underestimated MOTUC’s popularity. Some collectors seem to be expecting Mattel to be making these figures to order for the rest of time, but the industry side of things just doesn’t work that way. Making an action figure isn’t like producing a vanity press book.

As I’ve said before, I think it would behoove collectors to start thinking of these figures less in terms of a retail 6″ action figure line and more like Sideshow’s 12″ figures.

Now, that said, I agree with Scott Metzger: “[…] it’s a VERY BAD way of listing it on the MOTUC page, though. “Sold Out” is a much different message than “No Longer Available.” The latter definitely gives you a “gone and not coming back” feel that could discourage newcomers. And though I loath the thought of an online Smash Blade, I do think He-Man and Skeletor should be kept in stock or at least listed as “On Backorder” or some such thing to tell folks they aren’t gone forever.”

Q2: Will the “Crime Scene Evidence” continue with the new Movie Masters figures? If so can you let us in on what will be packed with them? Will we get any variant heads on the Goon? Will figure-scale accessories be included with any of the new releases? Is Harvey a chase version of Two-Face? Will either of the chase figures from the first two waves be shipping again in any upcoming cases?

A2: Wow, lots of questions in one question on this one. Lets see if we can get them all: Crime Scene Evidence will continue with the MM figures, but we will also look at adding new in scale accessories as well. We do have new goon figures in mind. We are releasing the Joker as a goon in Wave 4 with others possibly later in the year. Harvey Dent is indeed a chase version of Two-Face and yes, current figures will continue to ship in new case assortments with new figures.

With the exception of the basically-impossible-to-find chase figures, is there anyone who doesn’t wish DCUC had the same distribution and QC as Movie Masters? They’re everywhere, in good numbers, and the main figures like Joker and Batman will continue to ship in new assortments.

3. Will Mattel ever make large scale cloth costumed DC figures? (Not Barbie dolls, but like the Famous Covers figures from Toy Biz or the Famous Covers-like DC line that Hasbro did?)

Answer: We are looking at this as a possibility in late 2009.

Interesting! I’d have a hard time buying them, as I loathe cloth on toys–not so much for the “doll” aspect, but for the durability issues (perceived if not real). But a Four Horsemen-sculpted 12″ figure would be very tempting…

9) A question about Wave 8. You have Hawkgirl in this wave, which is really great. But did your decision on using Shayera Hol, instead of Kendra Saunders, who is the current Hawkgirl, have to do with the popularity of the JLU cartoon?

Doing Shayera over Kendra was not tied directly into the JLU cartoon. Shayera just happens to be coming out first. We will get to Kendra in time. The Horsemen wanted to do Shayera first and went with their call. They are amazing partners and often the specific styling on figures is a choice they make. We like to give them as much creative freedom as possible to create the best looking figures.

As someone who’s in the middle of watching Justice League/Unlimited and just starting to read Hawkman comics, I’ve been wondering about this myself.

Cool Toy Review: Will Mattel use influences from the original Mattel POP style guide for MOTUC She-Ra and other MOTUC POP characters that WERE in the original Mattel POP toy line? […] The style guide designs are arguably the most recognizable version of characters such as Adora, She-Ra & Catra (that the majority of fans desperately want)! A middle ground 50/50 classic toy & style guide design approach would seem to be a logical way forward. Hopefully Mattel are aware that the renowned MOTU & POP artist Emiliano Santalucia showed designs at SDCC this year using a mix of both the classic Mattel POP toys & style guide designs.

Mattel: We are aware of this style guide and are big fans of Emiliano’s work (he did all of the recent DVD covers for the 200X series). But for a variety of legal reasons, the deign influence for MOTU classic will remain updated versions of the early toys with today’s standards for detail, articulation and sculpting. One of the big influences in the Horsemen’s sculpting is the original package cross sell art and this does include style guides. One of the ideas behind the line is to give fans the toys Mattel couldn’t produce in the 80’s due to limitation in sculpting, paint and detail back then. Rest assured, when we get to doing She-Ra we will have fan interest in mind.

This has been said before, but I think it’s good to hear it again: MOTUC is based largely on the original cross sell art, and the idea is create modern figures based on that original art. It’s definitely not what everyone wants, but it is something a lot of collectors (including yours truly) have long wanted.

Man, those were a lot of questions and answers to look through. I skipped all the distribution and QC questions, but you could probably click on any two random Q&As and get the answers–they’re the same for all of them. And if you’re into JLU, you’ll have to peruse the Q&As yourself, because I tend to skim over those–my apologies! Just not my thing.

My next round of questions have already been submitted, so check back here around February 1 for the latest tidbits.

Comments now closed (5)

  • @Poe: Kastor said "I know from other collectors in Massachusetts that no Walmarts in the Boston and Attleboro area are carrying the line." Gee, do you think he was talking about US? 😉

    As far as the availability of MOTUC is concerned, I think this should serve as a warning shot to all who are considering collecting the line. It would be great if the figures would have long-term availability, but that just isn't economically feasible, and remember folks, as much as Mattel might want to do this for the fans, they're also in it to make money first and foremost. So I think it just cements how important it is not to wait. If you're a serious MOTU/POP fan, and a serious collector, $8 on shipping shouldn't be anything to fuss about. When considering the BS collectors have to go through going to brick & mortar stores and going head-to-head with scalpers, poor case ratios, and soccer moms, having these figures right at our finger tips and delivered to our doorstep is much more appealing than wasting time and gas on toy hunts.

    All the DCUC QC questions seem to be beating a dead horse. They KNOW, and they've also said its not something they can just snap their fingers and correct over night. Maybe I'm just jaded because I for the most part have had excellent luck with my DCUC. I think the most trouble I had was with the paint app on Despero's arm. There was some paint splatter or something on the hinge and I couldn't move the arm all the way up. I just used an exacto knife to remove the excess paint and it was fine. I do feel bad for those who have to resort to the freeze & boil techniques and those who recieve toys with wrong foot on the wrong side. When you're plopping $12 for a toy, you want it to be perfect. If I paid for a CD and it skipped opening right out of the package, I'd certainly return it. Of course those who buy online don't easily have that luxury.

    I think I've said enough for this post. 🙂

  • Let me just say for the record that I do not have a huge problem with Mattel's business plan for MOTUC. I understand that for the line to continue they need good sales numbers up front each month and can't afford a wait and see attitude. Nor do I have much sympathy for those who waited, since I was a little paranoid that they would sell out within an hour myself. However, I do understand why people are upset; they feel like they had their expectations violated. If Mattel had announced from the beginning that the product would be pulled after a certain period of time, or if the figures had just sold out normally, no one would complain. But the way it was done, so abruptly, people are somewhat justified in feeling that Mattel pulled the rug out from under them. Also Mattel may have lost just as many new customers as they will gain at the conventions, if not more. They will lose anyone who was on the fence but was going to order with Skeletor to save shipping, thereby losing three sales off the bat, to pursue new customers at the cons who presumably don't know much about the line. It seems like a gamble but perhaps one that was necessary to keep the suits on board with the line. I also agree with you Poe that He-Man and Skeletor need to remain available in some capacity for the line to continue to attract new buyers.

  • Thank you so much for posting a good "one place shopping" experience for the various interviews out there. 🙂

    Again, I agree with you on all the MotUC posts… You're a good man Charlie Brown!

    What did you think of that She-Ra head prototype from the 80s?! Wow!

  • Yeah, that head is pretty cool. It reminds me of some of the Spawn prototypes by one of the mainstream companies (Mattel, Kenner or Hasbro, I can't remember which). The sculpts were incredibly detailed, showing that even back then, sculptors knew how to do great, detailed work. The problem was mass-producing small-scale figures of that level of quality–the molding and tooling technology just wasn't there, or at least, not at an affordable price.

  • Griffin pretty much nailed it on the head.

    It doesn't effect me as I jumped on MOTUC right off, but Mattel bungled the way they handled it.

    Pulling the figures was a bad idea. I'm not even sure if the con story makes much sense either. By the time they sell you these figures at the con, guys like Skeletor will no longer be available, etc.

    Honestly I think Mattel is still eventually planning on getting the line into stores and people screwed now will rejoice later when they can get the same figures for about half the price, but "in the now" makes a lot of difference in fanboys.

    I guess I'll comb through for JLU news.