Ask Mattel > Answers for June 15, 2011

1.) Josh asks: The WWE figures utilize the basic, elite, and defining moments methods of selling figures and different price points. Would this model ever be considered for DCUC to get more “deluxe” versions of figures? For instance, a Superman with a cloth cape or even a Clark Kent outfit; A batman with cloth cape and accessories.

Always a possibility but nothing is planned right now.

2.) Chris asks: Regarding WWE,the knee and elbow pads restrict movement. Would it be possible to switch to a more sponge like material that would allow free movement but retain it’s natural shape?

We will need to ask out design staff on this one. We will post an answer when we have the full info!

3.) Will the Batman: Legacy line include more modern versions of Batman characters, such as Dick Grayson Batman (who has never received an action figure), Damian Wayne, or Stephanie Brown Batgirl?

You will need to wait for SDCC to find out!

4.) Many fans have expressed great disappointment with Mattycollector’s latest shipping changes: extremely late (domestic) shipping, items shipped in yellow envelopes rather than the boxes used up to this point, and so forth. Is something being done to examine this, or this is simply the new reality due to rising shipping costs?

Starting next month we will be offering additional shipping options (at various prices). The envelopes were our method of keeping shipping costs to a minimum but if you are interested in faster service and different shipping methods we will make that available at an additional charge.

5.) As many fans have noticed, smaller companies such as NECA offer licensed action figures with extremely detailed & unique (i.e., no re-used) sculpting and equivalent or greater articulation than DC Universe Classics for the same price or, sometimes, even less. Many collectors don’t understand why this should be the case, as economies of scale would suggest the higher production numbers of DCUC figures, plus the tool re-use and generally less detailed sculpting, should make them cost less than the figures from these smaller companies. What’s the reason for the high retail cost of DCUC?

Mattel has much different price structures compared to other consumer good companies and much higher safety standards compared to other toy companies. Both of these contribute to our suggested retail prices.

38 thoughts on “Ask Mattel > Answers for June 15, 2011”

  1. Some of Mattel's safety standards are ridiculous. Once again, Catra has to a super squishy hand for safety reasons, while Vikor and He-Man can have a sharp pointed sword I can potentially stab my eye out with.

    It makes my head hurt.

  2. What people don't realize is that NECA only puts out maybe 1-2 figures for each of their "lines" so they only have to pay licensing fees for that one character. Take their God of War "line" 4 figures, all Kratos, all the exact same sculpt with a few added parts for the Golden Fleece version.

  3. Slightly off topic, but I see looking over at Infinite Hollywood that Matty has taken the Retro Action line round the back of the barn and shot it.

  4. Mattel has much higher price structures compared to other consumer good companies and much different safety standards compared to other toy companies. Both of these contribute to our suggested retail prices.

    There we go. Fixed.

  5. "The envelopes were our method of keeping shipping costs to a minimum but if you are interested in faster service and different shipping methods we will make that available at an additional charge."

    Were buyers aware of this before they were purchased? Because it sounds like they weren't, and this company tried to grab a few bucks from their already way high shipping cost.

  6. @ Fengschwing:

    I expect the 20 dollar price point is what killed off this line.

    I find this extremely funny although also very sad, funny because they think if we add these logos, its gonna turn into pure gold.

    And sad because I still need WW,Superman,Flash and Martian Mannhunter and now will probably never see them at retail.

  7. I'm concerned with the answer to #4. I have a sub and still got my stuff shipped in an envelope. That's not what I agreed to when I signed on for the sub. If I hadn't planned to open the damaged Catra anyways, I'd be pissed. I guess we'll see what tomorrow's shipment brings for this month's figures (box or envelope).

  8. I feel like all of these questions have been asked before…and #5, what were we expecting them to say? "uh, cause we can…and you suckas pay it."

  9. Except #1 & 3..the first question is a great one. They should really consider that format for DCUC. Although, they'd probably just repackage the old Batman variant figures from the early Batman line, and call that the Basic line…

  10. @ dayraven:

    Outside of the T-800 endoskeleton the Terminator figures are only articulated at the neck, arms and waist, the Predator line features heavy re-use between figures and variant heads as do the Gremlins and Gears of War. Bioshock only has about 4-5 figures in the line. I'm not trying to knock NECA, They make some very beautiful stuff and it has only gotten better over the years. I do buy the Player Select stuff and some others but, my point stands, outside of the Gears stuff they rarely go past a few figures in a line, and if you look at most of their stuff it's mainly just one or two.

  11. @ PhigmentSuicide: Mold re-use is one of the ways they save money, but I generally think they make pretty good variants. Case in point: their SDCC "Gort" Predator, which is the standard Predator wearing the original prototype mask and features a new left hand and a skull-and-spine accessory.

    Also, their Predator 2 figure will have ball jointed hips and double-jointed knees, so I've got my fingers crossed that they revisit the classic Predator and those to him as well.

    But yes, the lack of good leg articulation on the Terminators is a major bummer. Dude.

    I'm really wondering if we'll see a Stephanie Brown Batgirl, given that Barbara just got the title back. And as of right now there's no sign DCUC is going to incorporate any modern looks into the line, despite rumors to the contrary. I guess we'll see at SDCC.

  12. Monkey boy wrote:

    @ Thrawn:

    Mattel shouldn’t even need safety standards for an online only line catering to adult collectors.

    Speak for yourself sir. I could have easily caused a fatal injury to myself if not for Mattel's stringent safety practices. 🙂

  13. @ Poe:

    I really want a Stephanie Batgirl, Damian Robin, Tim Red Robin, and Todd Red Hood (any version) as they along with Bruce, Selena, Nightwing and Oracle are in my mind the modern Bat Family. I'm not an avid reader, but I know these guys were never really together like this, but that's what I want on my shelf… that and Jim Gordan… and Alfred…

  14. @ muldertp:

    If they do what they've done in the past, the June figures "should" be coming in a shipping box.

    To my knowledge, they only ship single figure orders in the bubble-lined envelope.

  15. Instead of worrying about their buyers safety they should put that care into their quality control.

  16. Okay, I've never ordered from Mattycollector, and don't intend to, so this caught me by surprise. They really ship action figures in envelopes!?

  17. @ Barbecue17:

    That does seem to be more accurate.

    I don't know what Mattel's safety standards are, or how they compare to other companies. I just wish their quality standards were on par with other companies.

    The comparison to NECA or other similar companies and their lines gets at the question of economies of scale. Sure, there are different license fees to consider — but that's just one factor. It is baffling to me how smaller companies can put out quality products in production runs that are presumably (no one ever talks actual numbers) a small fraction of the DCUC that gets cranked out – and be around the same cost- or less than the cost of DCUC.

  18. I can't speak to NECA's financials, but smaller companies tend to overextend themselves in an effort to keep up with the big companies. For instance, in NECA's toys sucked in quality, nobody would buy them…so, they put tons of effort into making the sculpt, paint, etc top notch. Also, if they charged what these figures are really worth and should go for on today's market, few people would buy them. They put the effort into their product because they have to, to stand out. NECA is just trying to compete with Mattel in the marketplace, not the other way around. Mattel has a business model they stick to and it makes them more money than NECA.

  19. @ PhigmentSuicide:

    And Mattel figures don't use heavy re-use? The ghostbusters line basically has one figure with different heads, and DCUC, MOTUC, and movie masters all have tons of re use. Fact of life.

  20. I would hope NECA and the others are making money on their products.

    But yeah- that is what it comes down to (or at least how it appears): Mattel is unabashedly reaping a higher profit margin than the little guys.

  21. I'm curious; it seems like almost every WWE question gets "we'll ask the WWE team about that and get back to you" as an answer; do they ever actually get answered somewhere? I'm not personally interested in WWE stuff, so I don't seek them out, but it seems like you guys who do like the line just get blown off all the time.

    Also, as to safety standards, last time I checked, it was Mattel products that caused all the lead paint recalls and legislation, and it is only Mattel that gets to have "in house but firewalled" safety testing. I don't get how their commitment to safety is costing them so much more than anyone else.

  22. @ Monkey boy:

    I never said they don't re-use parts, I'm simply addressing question 5, wherein it's asked why NECA seems to be able to do full new sculpts, as opposed to re-use. It's as clear as day that DCUC and GB use a buck system, I'm not arguing against it, I'm merely saying NECA also does it, pretty much every company does. As Poe said it's to save costs. My point seems to have been lost, the major point I was trying to make was the fact that NECA generallyonly does a few figures per license and thus there lines wouldn't be as expensive to produce as a line like say DCUC or even Marvel Universe.

  23. @ Megaduce Flare:

    That relieves me a bit…thanks. I don't understand their need to cut costs this way. Will they make that much more money screwing sub customers than they will lose from customers dropping subs for the poor service and quality next year?

    @ Jay:

    Yes, last month, they shipped my lone sub figure in a huge bubble envelope and it was smashed pretty well.

  24. I saw some WWE questions get answered on Fwoosh…it seems like any design questions get ignored…

  25. @ Heli:

    I’ve never had them get back to me on the WWE questions and I’d say there was close to a dozen or so that they’ve said they would get back to me on. Hence my comment earlier, because you’ve only got about a 50/50 chance of the WWE team answering your questions.

  26. @ Zach S.: They answer WWE questions. It's not that they never answer. It's just that about half the time they say that the design team isn't around and that they'll get back to you with an answer. To my knowledge they've never actually gotten back to anyone.

  27. Actually the WWE design team works really hard to answer the questions… The only problem is that they have to wrestle (as per the e-mails from the anonymous guy in the Matty suit) actual WWE wrestlers. If they win, then they are allowed to answer.

  28. @ Newt:

    The baffling thing to me, then, is why they're not around? Doesn't "Matty" have two weeks or a month to answer each set of questions? Once again, it seems like they just foist this job off on some intern and give him a day to crank out some answers using the standard script.

    I'm going with your original post; that design team must have the best vacation schedule ever. Or Mattel doesn't really give a crap about "Ask Matty," but that couldn't possibly be it.

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