Scott Metzger, one of my favorite He-Fans, posted this fair question over on the Mattycollector forums:
Okay, the uncertainty with Keldor’s release brought up a question that I thought had been answered:
If a regular monthly figure misses it’s release date, one of the bonus figures is supposed to be plugged in for that slot on Matty. But we have been told numerous times, especially when the issue came up as the 2010 subscriptions were being hawked, that such a substituted figure would not be part of the subscription.
So, if Keldor had to take the place of, say, the September figure, there would have been no subscription figure for that month, if I’m interpreting the above right?
Here’s TG’s reply (text after the jump).
For the sake of explaining this, lets pretend that the September figure is Sweet Bee.
Keldor was planned as a “bonus” quarterly figure who would be ready for June avail. If “Sweet Bee” had slipped schedule, Keldor would become the new September figure and their would be no June bonus figure. This would not matter as the bonus figures are not tied to the subscription so no one is loosing out on anything committed to. “Sweet Bee” would then get slotted in down the road as either a monthly figure or a bonus figure when she was ready.
This is why we don’t announce who the monthly figures are until about 3 months prior to release (most of the time). Things change ALL THE TIME that are well beyond our control changing up the release schedule on us. It is the same reason we don’t do preorders. We often do not know when a figure will truly be available until very close to the release date.
Here’s what bothers me about this. The bonus figures have all been some sort of repaint/retool of an existing character — Zodak, the Goddess, Battle Armor He-Man, Keldor. While they’ve all sold out, the fact that none of them are likely to be reissued anytime soon–except perhaps BA He-Man–is evidence of their relative unpopularity. Down the line we’re inevitably going to get some bonus figures that are even less popular–perhaps Thunder Punch He-Man or New Adventures He-Man, or Dragon Claws Skeletor (or as I call him, Sports Bra Skeletor).
Let’s say a regular monthly figure–which would most likely be a new character, e.g., Ram-Man–slips and is replaced in the subscription by New Adventures He-Man. Ram-Man meanwhile becomes a later “bonus” figure. Now subscribers are on the hook for yet another He-Man retool, while they’ll have to scramble to get Ram-Man.
That, suffice to say, would suck for those who don’t want every single figure (I do, but that’s not the point here). ToyGuru did say the slipped figure could become “either a monthly or bonus figure”–I just hope Mattel realizes it would have to be a monthly if it’s to come out in 2010, or they’ll have another Gleek/Battle Cat-level mess on their hands.
On a side note, yes, TG’s argument about pre-orders is weak. Collectors of other toy lines pre-order plenty of stuff months and months in advance. (I pre-ordered the Diamond Select Creature from the Black Lagoon last week, and that won’t be out until September.) If, for example, Mattel is set to start production on a Ram-Man figure, they can offer pre-orders for a week just before the figure is scheduled to go into production (or a week before they sign the deal with the factory for whatever number of Ram-Man figures) and people will be happy to pre-order and wait. I bet they’d even be willing to pay up front, which doesn’t happen with the sub (outside of Wun-Dar).
That’s not to say I’m pushing for pre-orders–I’m fine with the subscription personally, and I hope the 2011 sub is all-inclusive. But I’m not against pre-orders either.