Mattycollector to Reopen ALL 2013 Subscriptions


Damn, it feels good to use that pic again. I love that pic.

From April 15 through April 30, collectors can subscribe to the remaining eight months of Club Eternia, Club Infinite Earths, Club Black Freighter and Club Filmation. All figures (including incentives) sold from January through April will not be included.

So this is…weird. I’d say it’s troubling, too – potentially suggesting that Mattel is having trouble making enough money off these lines – but we know that any of the subs that had targets were reached. As usual, all I can do is speculate. I’ve never had any idea what the hell was going on behind the scenes at Mattel. Maybe they’re just being nice?


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  • Yeah, this isn't a good sign for the future of the line. And I'm afraid that people are going to interpret it with whining and screaming, as usual…

  • Toys are more fun when we don't concentrate on every business move a company makes. How's about we just enjoy the ride, people? You subbed already? Great, then don't worry about it. I see this as nothing more than a nice way to get figures to fans that otherwise would have sold out on sale day. Not EVERYTHING has to turn into a Matty hate fest?

    • Well, first off, so far no one has actually made a negative comment regarding Mattel about this, at least not in this comments thread.

      Second, I wasn't trying to make a hate fest – at all. I did engage in some mild speculation that this could be driven by a concern on the part of Mattel over the lines' current profitability. But mostly I just wondered what was going on.

      My main for posting this, believe it or not, was to let readers know that if they felt they had missed out and wanted to buy a sub, they now have another chance to. I figured they'd want to know. A few Poesters have commented that I'm their only source for this sort of news.

      Moreover, I just thought it was interesting, and that's why I write this blog in the first place – to discuss things I find interesting. Really that's the point of any blog.

    • Mattel has a special knack for incubating hate fests. If you don't want to read anything negative then you best avoid this and every other fan site.

  • I don't think this is something that should incur anger at Mattel. If anything it's a positive. However, it might make one worry that these lines aren't doing so well.

    • You don't see the inherent negativity in saying it's "weird" and "troubling"? I've watched people again and again ask Matty to reopen the subs, saying it doesn't make sense to keep newcomers out of the line. (Castle Grayskull brought a lot of new collectors out of the woodwork. Just go look at the current secondary for core figures like Beast Man right now). I mean, the implication here (and it's everywhere, because, well, it's Matty, so it must be bad) is that something is awry: the lines are doing poorly, Scott is up to something, they screwed up, etc., etc.

      I'm irked about the Castle size change. I think it's a bait and switch. So I'm not without criticism. But I mean our default position on any occurrence in a Matty line as somewhere between skepticism and outright hostility. Can't we view something like the subs reopening as nothing more than a service-oriented gesture?

        • Mea culpa on the image – I just love it, hadn’t used it in ages and couldn’t resist. But I also used to use it in my Ask Matty Q&As and those weren’t (usually) focused on controversies.

          Anyway, I get your point. I stand by thinking it’s weird – it seems to have come out of nowhere, although maybe there was discussion on the forums or something. And I do find it a little troubling, because they’ve never done this before. It’s entirely possible they’re doing it to be nice, but I’m not going to censor myself if I think there could be another reason – one that might threaten a line I enjoy.

          But again, my main reason for posting this – and I honestly mean this – is as an FYI for anyone who might want to sign up now. I haven’t been as interested in MOTUC lately and have no interest in posting something solely to bash Matty and have it devolve into a comment bitchfest. I have more interesting things to work on (like an essay on the appeal of the 6″ scale, and an interview with the folks behind Armarauders).

          You’ll notice, however, I’m speaking only for myself, not my readers. I’m not going to censor them unless they get profane or personal.

  • my wantlist from this line is so crazy and i dont have ANY besides a megator i got on clearance off BBTS… the prices arent insane, but they are too steep for me. i preorded castle greyskull because i felt like it would be my only chance to get it. but i am starting to feel like we'll see those on clearance too in 2014.

    what does any of this have to do with the new news..? well i imagine its to target people like me that just havent jumped on the band wagon for one reason or another and bring in more cash for matty. i really doubt its a sign of the MOTUC apocalypse.

    MOTUCalypse? has anyone coined that yet?

  • Not subscribing was one of the best collecting decisions I made last year, so I don't think I'll be doing it now. It was such a relief to admit to myself that I just wasn't that into MOTUC, but it was more about getting a MOTU fix. I actually regret that I collected so long, but nostalgia + completionism is a hell of a drug. Now I need to sell/trade off a lot of my MOTUC, which I've already begun to do. Of course there are some figures I love and will keep (Mekaneck and Beastman, for nostalgia; Fisto and Draego-Man for awesomeness; the giants and beasts because they fit in well with my 200X collection).

    Honestly, I might have been tempted if Monsieur Mallah was available with the DCU sub, but lacking him, there is very little interest for me there.

  • Seems to be a lot more preemptive whining about negativity here than actual negativity.

    I think you could view this as either a positive sign for Matty operations or a really negative one. I'm curious to see how they address it when they start selling the 2014 subs.

  • When I wrote about their subscription model way back in 2009 — — I suggested that the subscriptions be open month to month to month to . . . you subscribe when you like, pay for what you get.

    I see Mattel opening subscriptions again as a sign that there's a problem, but since I suspect that Castle Grayskull is the icing on the line and it won't exist after this year I think opening the subscriptions as a good thing.

  • I, personally, have been watching the goofballery of Mattycollector this whole time. Even with all the madness and what sometimes looks like multiple, competing management teams, I did subscribe to the Voltron Club. It went off without any complaints, other than the frickin outrageous shipping cost / time to delivery. The MOTUC club seems waaay crazier to me. So, while I really want to collect a bunch of the figures in the line, I'm really glad I'm waiting until I'm around 45 to even start my new He-Man collection. I really feel for you guys that have had to put up with all this Matty nonsense. Also, [sarcasm] I really love the idea of a toy company threatening its customers with total cancellation if they buy their toys. Top notch.

  • I question why time after time we have been told that its impossible to open up subs like this due to production schedules etc but now they are able to do so. I think it's a great idea and you will get more subscribers as they can see more figures that are coming. I would like to know if this is going to happen again. That could both help and hurt the lines. One the one hand you get more subscribers at the half way point but how would that effect the sub window in July if people don't like the first couple of months shown and decide to wait for it to reopen. I assume we will be getting thermometers again and if too many people wait they might not go through. Hope they have some good sub exclusives lined up!

  • This re-opening is straight up a way to kill the remaining day-of stock produced for the 2013 items.

    The new subscribers will be sent the remaining items in the subs this year, which, since 2013 is set in stone production-wise, will sell off the remaining Matty 2013 day-of-sale stock.

    This will then drive up secondary prices for the rest of the items this year, which is turn is free PR for Matty; and the high secondary will mean that come 2014, subs will increase as speculators come back and buy multiples to sell on ebay/online.

    And since all the 2013 day-of will be gone, motu collectors who don't want to pay the markup will sub in for 2014, and then the ones who don't, they will sub up in spring 2014, and 2015 as well.

    This works well for only Scooter, who can go to his bosses this fall and say "look we sold through completely!" and get his raise and MOTU will get another year and go sub only for the rest of its life, (because they can say "in 2013, most of our sales were through the sub, so 2014 will be sub-only") and for scalpers/speculators, who will have a profitable 2013, but not 2014+ as everyone will sub and everyone will sell, so you'll get a flooded market again, like Icarius and tytus etc.

    Again Matty just wants 100% sell through of every item it makes and will steep to any low to get as close to 100% sell through as it can. That's not wrong on its face, but manipulating the market and your customers into a forced sale… its not an add-on, its a "forced sale", and that is unethical and wrong. No one is "forcing" you to buy this stuff, but your playing with people's childhood memories, and manipulating people's emotions is not very ethical is it? It sounds like something a villain would do, doesn't it?

    Its sad because Matty/Scott are just going by the urban-fashion marketing playbook that has been in vogue with PR people and marketing departments for the last decade, it's letting "the public" do your marketing for you. This may have worked well in 2008 but nowadays everyone, even 12yo kids, know this technique. Once you know the pattern, you see it in a lot of businesses (especially those based online) where the "cool factor" or "trendiness" is essential to moving stock. And there is a conscious reaction in people against it.

    By limiting supply available, which gets social media moving, then once its desirable, and people are paying high secondary prices, allow a way for resellers to get large amounts of product through warehouse or distro sales (in this case, the sub), since "everyone is talking on facebook about it" it inspires more amateur resellers to get in the game. And then count the money and hits and do it again and again gaining steam with every new item.

    Problem is that generally people don't really respond well to this type of predatory marketing after a while, and it only works in fashion because after a couple years people move on anyway. So there's little attention or a trail for customers to latch onto. Scott thinks he can scrub the internet past away and change history as he sees fit, but fans are a little smarter than that he's finding.

    I mean, making He-Man and the basic 8 available 24/7 would go a long, long way to making Mattel a lot more money and get new people into the line. And how many times in the last 6+ months have you read about parents wanting to buy these for their kids and being unable to do so? Almost every site that talks about MOTUC has mentioned it more than once!!

    I think doing the right thing, like He-Man always did(!), and being honest with the customers and not just saying anything to lock in sales. Do you want profit per piece, or large production numbers, you can't have both with toys anymore! Those days are long gone. Maybe fixing the shipping and QC issues, would increase the numbers far beyond what little is gained through this type of crap. Then Scooter, he wouldn't have to work so hard to move the units.

  • Can someone tell me if I decide to subscribe now, do I still have to buy the Fighting Foe Men?

    • The post mentions Karatti, and the subscription for May is Karatti and the FFM, so I'm guessing that yes, you'll get them if you subscribe.

        • wait, "have to?" why "have to?" GET TO! i truly don't get the beef on the FFM, they look more fun than most of the straight vintage rehash characters *staring cruly at jitsu as he types this* i'm a huge fan of the new in motuc, stuff that wasn't already in the line. more times than not, new has been the best stuff in the line

          'sides, if you truly don't like them, there's always the secondary market, there are always collectors out there willing to buy what we want to sell, sometimes for a tidy little profit, but usually, with pre-planning, a seller can at least match their expenses.

        • There really wont be – these will shift just as quickly as the Star Sisters, which is to say "Not at all." Also, I'm looking at it from the perspective of an international collector, who has to pay INSANE shipping rates on a toy of that size. They're the reason I didn't want to subscribe in the first place.

        • the star sisters are so far the poster child for not retaining value, but they're not the norm. scanning the secondary, the mean cost is about retail, or within a couple bucks of that. but you're also not counting on the fighting foe men turning out like teela or even beast man and increasing in value. just because you don't percieve the value doesn't mean no one else will.

          while i certainly sympathize with the plight of the international collector, we have the internet. there are connections ready made here, at the fwoosh, at IAT, at critical mess, etc… to help expedite turn around for unwanted pieces.

        • The problem is, that since the US Post changed the way they do international packages last year, there's been a huge exodus of people from the USA offering items for sale to the UK/EU/etc. So even folks on the forums who were once willing to send things for cost, or a small markup, either don't want the hassle and say "US only"; or their surcharges for the hassle of shipping are just way too high to warrant the toy.

          I know exactly what Doc Thomas is talking about. I split my time between here in the US and Europe. I used to have my stuff sent directly to EU from (my MOTU is all there) but last year the increase was just ridiculous. And Ebay, resellers, and some forum guys really took advantage of that this year. Not everyone, but a lot did. So it's not easy to make new hookups anymore, and online stores charge the same or more for shipping, for many the only option was to sub, and try to move the extras for whatever you can get.

  • Full disclosure, I do not, will not subscribe to any action figure sub Matty or otherwise if it has a blind component. Where else do we buy sight unseen. I'm also not a fan of using Matty to but any thing, to date I have only bought Dcuc 5 from Matty. However, that is neither here nor there. Mattel seems to either delight in being the days of our lives of the collecting world or they are poorly mismanaged.

    I think MotUC has some of the best figures out there right now. They just fumble PR so badly. Stop talking to fans too much, I also collect comics, see a lot of movies, and play video games. These mediums never (rarely) tell us too much about their products before release (what it is and when we can get it). Do they listen sure and Mattel should listen and consider. However they should not answer and respond so much.

    Everything I see and hear makes Scott seem like a nice guy. Still, he seems to like the spotlight too much. How many other line/ brand managers does anyone know? My guess is not many. Scott is a fanboy and he seems to want all the accolades and none of the critiques from fans. He picked his own figure for production, he makes promises and then when reality come calling he has to back pedal.

    Lastly, people can be negative or positive it's their prerogative. It is yours not to read it. I think Poe is doing us a service by giving all opinions (with in reason) a voice. I find Day Ravens opinions thought out and logical, even when I don't agree. I like seeing all sides including the crazy. We collect toys, I teach meth addicted teenage criminals with abusive parents. They have problems, we are talking about toys. Both sides lighten up and smile. 😉

    • I wish you could post that last paragraph over at and Action Figure Insider. Both sides of the story + a little lightening up from the Jihadists would go a long way.

      I'm sure Scott is a nice guy. But he's also *paid* to be a nice guy. Its a PR person's job to be "the face" a few times a year, and in today's age you're The Face 24/7 online. So to be the "bad guy"… you're not going to last long in marketing in 2013's jobspace. And Hasbro's Star Wars department in the early 2000s was pretty visible, engaging, and reasonably well known to fans, until around mid 00s. Scott is a fan, but neither one of us is him, and he's never talked about his online persona or desire for attention, so we can't (and shouldn't) speculate about his "desire for the spotlight"- it's just a part of online marketing, the guy in charge has to be out there and engaged. If he was hungry for the tiny, tiny spotlight our community gives, then I think we'd see a new video from him twice a week, and his Retroactive Continuity Posts… I mean "Director's Commentaries"… would never, ever have stopped. No one calls out the Four Horsemen or Gyloss guys for making their own designs, or online videos; they realize its part of selling crap in the modern age. Scott *should* be called out for Castle Grayskull and the lies that come out every year in June/July, not for doing videos online.

      And just because you call it like you see it, doesn't make it "negative" comments. I wish folks would use a little sense and not manipulate the words "positive" and "negative" to mean "agree/disagree with my opinion" because more often than not, that's the deal, people label others as "positive" or "negative" based on their own subjective views on a topic. If you agree, you're "positive"- if you disagree with them, you're "negative." Like so much today it's teenager high school BS that adults try to pull. Ugh.

      I (like many) just come here and Battlegrip for my Mattel news, because it's objective. When stuff is cool, it's presented as such; when shenanigans are afoot it's called out. I can't stand the poor attitude at the Org/ anymore and it's gone the other direction in AFI with the press release reposts and the heavy, heavy self-promoting moderation that makes it look like everyone wants to marry Mattel.

      I go 50/50 with Day Raven's comments but I'm sure he'd say the same about mine. And I'll say that Day Raven and the IAT gang all seem to tell it like it is, and be objective, which is kind of the point of reviews and comments online right? To get both sides of a debate? Not just to get free stuff for doing a YouTube video?

  • Since they are opening up the subs again does that mean I can cancel mine? They are violating the original terms right? I know I can just cancel the card but it would be nice to be able to cancel. I've just lost all enjoyment from MOTU and am selling off my enitre collection.

  • i had no idea i'd spawned such an audience. it's kind of flattering… no, that's not fair, it's really flattering. you guys are the best. 🙂

    that said, i don't see in here what i think is the primary cause of these subs getting re-opened: cancellation of existing subs. that's my guess, for motuc more than their other properties, i suspect the attrition rate, once ram man and king he-man were in hand, was atrocious. this helps sell that line back into relevancy. it's up to you whether or not that feels right, or if that seems good or bad… i don't necessarily think it's a bad move, if they indeed lost customers part way through.

    where i'm going to go and get all dayraveny on you lot is may. you're going to buy this thing on 4/15, and seemlessly get the figs on 5/15? how is that even possible? previously, they've been pretty up front about the lead times on the figs, so they can't adjust for production at all, not until well after the 2013 sub has run it's course, so yes, it clearly kills day-of sales right off. (and imagine what fresh new hell might emerge if somehow, they get more new subscribers than the existing production quota) that's a dick move, no matter what the reason. secondly, when has digital river done anything so easily and quickly? they haven't, not once to date. they have a 5 month lead in on the existing subs right now, and people still have problems in the first couple months. how are they going to get those new subs set up in their system in 1 month? it seems easy to us 'puter nerds, but we've seen digi rev's track record, they can f%ck up falling down a flight of stairs. may is going to be, for the new subbers, and perhaps even established subbers, the biggest nightmare we can conceive of. cthulu himself will emerge from the website, kill every end user waiting on a WSOD, and turn the remaining subvivors into flesh eating zombies.

    now, that said, i can't believe all the negativity i've read elsewhere, because whatever their reasoning, this is something we, including myself, have asked for before, mattel giving the customers more than one chance per year to sub up. and they're opening all the subs, so whatever conspiracies i think may be afoot for motuc, i have no explanation for black freighter or the others… until shown otherwise, and believe me, i'll be looking, i have to think that at least in part, they're trying to throw us a bone here. i'm not ready to start the slow clap just yet, but it might eventually be due.

  • The only figure that interests me is King He-Man, I wouldn't sub just for one figure and I can't justify buying him on the secondary market as he is around £80+.

  • As a cherry picker, I'm a little disappointed by this news since the new light/mini/partial subscriptions will be supplied using the existing allocation of "day of sales" stock (and possibly any extra stock as a result of cancellations). It's particularly disappointing as I've supported MOTUC from the very beginning when there was no subscription and when Mattel was happy to accept my money on a figure by figure basis.

    But, although the news is disappointing, it's not surprising given that MOTUC has been moving ever closer and closer to a subscription only model for the past few years. And it simply means that I'll buy less figures, which is probably a good thing since I'm running out of room for all my MOTUC anyway.

  • We should have predicted this with teh Fang man – 'no day of stock' Fiasco..

    I love the figs and am a subscriber, but the shenangians n PR are something like a bratty obnoxious kid working on strategy than a Multinational company being proffessional and handling a pretty popular brand / property

  • I don't know if I'll re-subscribe for the DC subscription in 2014. The quality control has been awful on my figures, more often than not, poor pain application and improperly assembled parts spoil my enjoyment of the sub. I could type a few thousand words about how bad Digital River is at what they do, but I suspect everyone here already knows about that.

  • I wonder if there have been a lot of cancellations after the "My Subscriptions" page went live. People changing their credit card info to bad numbers or expiration dates to effectively cancel the subs. Maybe if that is the case then they need to make up those losses some how.