Final Thoughts: Mattel’s SDCC Reveals

two-bad-motuc

Hey guys, I want to thank all of you – everybody who corrected my flubs, everyone who posted and brought the conversation, all you readers, and Mr. Poe Ghostal for giving me this awesome opportunity!  Remember to check out my regular column at Nerditis – Life In Plastic runs on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays.  Okay, self-shilling is over.

Mattel’s showing this week was going to be huge, no matter what.  With the company’s recent horrible financial fortunes, we have to wonder just what the future holds for these low-print run, low-profit margin fan-pandering lines like DC universe or Masters of the Universe Classics.  And we know that MOTUC is nearing the natural end of its lifespan, and the next two years have been redesigned to give it a grand finale (even if it survives past 2015, the idea is to wrap up all the vintage heavy-hitters by then).  So their showing this year is hugely important, and I’ll spend more time on it than DC.  But let’s talk Mattel at the Con…

DC Universe

I am utterly surprised that Club Infinite Earths is continuing.  Good for them!  The figure lineup seems to be good, especially with the two Doomsdays, but I can’t really say much more than that.  Someone else will have to enlighten me if there are any majorly-demanded figures coming up, please.  But overall, the quality looks fine.

Masters of the Universe Classics

And here’s the biggie.  This year and next year are make-or-break conventions for He-Man.  Last year was apparently the first time that they really feared not making the sub quota, and this year looks rough, too.  So, of the reveals…

Two-Bad – Great idea, excellent execution.  This guy is one of the few real biggies left in the line, as even peopel who missed MOTU when they were kids remember his crazy, crazy toy!  Glad to see it, and glad to see that his arms are normal.

Horde Troopers – I can’t say I’m surprised to see them (everybody knew it), but they look fine.  A lot like the vintage toys, not so much like their cartoon counterparts, and I can kind of hear the oncoming firestorm already.  But people will buy them.

Geldor – Also not a surprise, Geldor does nothing to me, but apparently a lot of people love this Mr. T knockoff, so he’s good news.

Sky Sled – Holy wow, just as Mattel has been saying “No more vehicles” because the Windraider flopped… WHAM!  And with the last box concept guy, too.  If  this succeeds, then we might get at the rest of the Battle Ram someday, too!

Sea Hawk – Not a surprise at all, but looks decent.  I think he’s too bulked up, but it can’t be helped.

StrongOr/Strong-Arm – Rounding out the Filmation sub is somebody else I do not recognize, but he seems to have a lot of nostalgia value.  That’s a great thing, and the response is positive, if not terribly loud.

Glimmer – The Great Rebellion lacks members at the moment, and after the Star Sisters, you’d be forgiven for assuming that they were done.  But now we’re getting Castaspella AND Glimmer!  And Glimmer is one of the most important She-Ra characters, so this is another huge plus.

Hydron – Speaking of important characters, Hydron is another faction leader we’ve needed.  Even if you don’t like the New Adventures of He-Man, it’s good to have him here.  I wonder if we’ll ever get Flogg or NA Skeletor.

Nephthu – This Egyptian guy looks kind of bland and turned people off, but his episode was awesome, and he’s got nostalgia value (he was even featured on X-Entertainment a while back).  I predict that people will warm to him eventually, just not right now.

Lord Dactys – Aside from a few spare heads and that lion dude, MOTUC has stayed pretty far away from the Millennium cartoon.  Making this guy is a pretty big leap on their part, but you know what?  he’s been highly-demanded, and I think he cam eout looking cool.  Hopefully he won’t be forgettable filler because of his source and lack of nostalgia factor.

The Unnamed One – I have nothing to say until we see this guy, but I assume that the hype for his appearance will be huge, like with Horde prime’s head.  Hopefully he won’t be painted flat red, though!

Modulok – Now, this is amazing.  Mattel has said time and time again that they couldn’t make this guy because of cost and logistical issues, but here he is.  Maybe he’ll end up fragile and have QC problems, and maybe not, but wow.  They had the guts to make Modulok!

Standor – Standor is a one-off joke character meant for Stan Lee’s personal convention.  I think he’s hilarious, but there is a metric ton of hate for him right now.  So this might not bode well.

Goat-Man – The travelling Con exclusive is a character who isn’t core, but people have wanted. And he looks a lot more badass than Strobo, too – honestly, this is another good move!

Scorpia – Not 100% confirmed, but come on, who else’s tail is that?  Scorpia isn’t just heavily-requested, I think that there will be riots when she goes up for sale.  Very good move, Mattel.  Well-played.

Plundor – Sweet Holy Moses.  Seriously.  I… I can’t… this… not the best…just… wow.  Let’s move on.

Castle Grayskull – Perhaps no part of the MOTUC line has caused more controversy, more fights, more broken friendships, and more attempted lawsuits than Castle Grayskull.  Ever since the budget cuts started, it’s been hell.  And now that we’re seeing an ALMOST-final version… well, I’m amazed at the positivity.  Sure, it looks awesome and better than the previous versions, but I didn’t expect the internet to change its mind and like this playset now.  Maybe it won’t be a complete bust.  Maybe.

So, there you have it!  My thoughts on Mattel’s crucial, earth-shattering performance this week – they had a few missteps (PLUNDOR?!?!?!?!!), but overall it seems that they understood how much they needed to bring their A-Game, and so they did.  Only time will tell if these figures live up to their prototypes, but they’ve gotten to a good start this year.  If they can keep it up, then MOTUC will survive long enough to “finish” the important figures.

 

Comments now closed (25)

  • I think it might be a little early to say that the DCIE sub is continuing, it's got to reach the first tier yet. I'm expecting a raft of 'SaveDCIE!' Facebook pages and articles to start popping up.
    I'm really on the fence this year, I bloody love this line and I really want my hook-hand Aquaman but having to put up with duds like Red Hood, Batzaro to get to him is hard on my wallet.
    Plus the whole Doomsday thing seems weird to me, I think I like the 'prison' version better!

    • I agree about Red Hood and Batzarro, but from what some trusted sources have said, it looks like DC made the change to the version of the Red Hood nobody asked for, not Mattel or the Horsemen. I'm satisfied with Aquaman, Ice, and Superboy, all fan-requested for sure. I'd be happy with either version of Doomsday. Incidentally, the retail DCUC-style lines are now dead, so the sub is all that is left. Hopefully it gets us one more year!

  • I like Plundor and Standor. They look pretty fun. If I wanted strictly vintage MOTU I can collect the vintage line- so I like seeing these other characters. I can sympathize with those who don't like them, but really, it's nothing to get so worked up about online. Toys are fun, and while some have dogmas and canon and drama, fun always wins to me over rigidity every time.

    I really don't want to hear about "saving the line" anymore. It's been sending fans who don't look beneath the surface into a panic. And it's been a steady thing every July for what, two, three years now? This is now three years of steady increase in product, followed by Matty cries of the line dying. The cheerleading is more than a little bit of a turnoff. It's just not true, no business would add products to a dying line. It's not going to die.

    I was all set to subscribe depending on what the exclusive figure is… since they don't want to tell me, I can't get behind the sub this year. As it stands I only want three figures that were revealed (Two Bad, Glimmer, maybe Modulok) and the exclusives. The minicomics last year were not so great, so that's not going to get me to sign up either.

    I get the game they want to play with keeping online chatter at a maximum at all times, but really, if I see what the exclusive is, it would sway me to sub again. Give me a few more names, or even tentative names. How many more new people are going to sub on an unknown versus a known? It's only the same fanbase coming back to the table 2014. If it's a sub-only model, then tell me what I'm getting, and add the classic Matty "subject to change" that is evoked with so much love. Since they won't, I'll gladly pick and choose. The extra $10-20 I paid on average for "sold out" figures in 2012 is far below the price of getting new figures you don't want, especially after Grayskull this fall- beyond the first quarter of 2014 I couldn't think of anything beyond an Alcala He-Man that I'd really, really want as bad as this year.

    • Well, if you believe that the line has never been in danger, nor is id dependant on the number of subscriptions, but this is all a big conspiracy to lie to customers and geet more of them to subscribe, please provide concrete proof of this, and then we will accept it. perhaps an admission from a current or former Mattel employee, or minutes from a baord meeting, or intercepted memos, or something proving it. The Conspiracy accusation has the burden of proof.

      • "We"? I hope you don't think you speak for *everyone*…

        Really, it's not a conspiracy. It's just run of the mill almost-dishonesty. Matty playing PR games with fans. Best Buy Salesmen School 101! It's hard sell sales tactics, tricky wording, and a lot of the controlled demand stuff, typical in many other products and hobbies today. Since the site started it's used that type of model.

        I don't blame him for trying his hardest, but you can't be rational and seriously think MOTUC has been in any real danger for the last two years. If it was, why would they have provided *more* funding support for stuff like Castle Greyskull, the 30th sub, the Filmation sub, the holiday item, Granymyr… no one gives a dying toy line more money. 200x showed they don't care about a "complete collection" If there was some real issue other than their warehouse costs, they would have killed it.

        And that old "burden of proof" thing on this topic… I never said it hadn't been in danger *at one time* and only said it's obviously not in danger now ;) Also, I never mentioned anything about numbers of subs. Obviously I have no proof, as Mattel doesn't release sales numbers of any type to the public. That doesn't make everything they say true.

        You think that I (or anyone else) have "intercepted memos" or even need that type of thing to see what is plain in your face? The "concrete proof" you want is right there in front of you man- the SDCC 2013 line: why would they make all these new products and subs and whatnot if things were so close to being cancelled? If the timeframe of paper-to-plastic Scott's provided before is accurate, then everything shown this week was in the works from 2011, 2012, or earlier as he's said most stuff needs a two year lead time…

        I am a skeptic when it comes to Scott Neitlich and the veracity of what he says when subscriptions are for sale. I don't think he's a bad person, I actually like his videos and such, but what he says and truth don't often match up based on past experience. I get why it's good for Mattel to do sub-only but I don't see how it does anyone else a favor. Especially fans outside of the US.

        It's frustrating for me as honestly I just want to buy toys and enjoy them, and not be made to feel I'm being done a favor, it's kind of the other way around!

        • That's not proof. If you watched the interviews where Neitlich was handling the 2014 stuff, you'd hear him constantly comment about how fragile they were – they weren't production models – those were the prototypes sculpted by the Horsemen. They have not gone into production for the 2014 line yet, just the remainders of 2013.

          Buyt seriously, unless there's proof, this sort of thing is pure speculation. Period. There really isn't any way around it. It's like saying, "I think that the government created all those hurricanes a few years ago." And if your proof is, "Well, the government lies and does secret stuff, so just look in front of you!" it… still doesn't hold water, y'know? And "the line has never been in danger, Mattel lies about all their numbers, and my proof is that it ha

        • "that it hasn't been cancelled yet," that's not enough to say definitively that it's a conspiracy.

        • I'm not offering "proof" to you :) I don't think saying "Mattel is being deceptive about the health of the MOTUC line in order to sell more subscriptions" is anything like SHIELD sponsored hurricanes or whatever you're talking about.

          Of course it's speculation… I said that these pieces were in production before 2012, not fully produced and waiting on DR's shelves to ship. We don't know when they were sculpted, or planned. They could have been sculpted days, months, years before the show. Who knows? Neither of us do for sure as there is no proof.

          Why do you need this Serpico style "proof" to accept this possibility? I can put two and two together. Too many things add up to be deceptive. Like the two previous times that subs were for sale in 2013, the monthly figure for that month had no day of sale. But unpopular guys like Plundor will have day of sale, and they know that over six months in advance. Or Stinkor and the reversed arms coming around the same time as major employee shifts on the line- or Frosta and black plastic coming the same time as they reported a big loss in profit margin (which they posted yet another big drop in profits this past Friday). You may not see those connections but a lot of others clearly do and say as such.

          I'm not saying "conspiracy" or claiming I have toyguru's secret notes or anything like that. Conspiracy implies more than one person are knowingly defrauding people. You're suggesting machete wound and I am saying bee sting. And also of how I'm tired of the hard sell from Mattel as well as fellow fans. I also don't have a tin foil hat on my head, and it's a little ridiculous to suggest that I do, when there are many, many others who feel the same way and have said as such. Neither am I saying that we should class-action Mattel because Glimmer wasn't out yet or whatever other silly character choice complaint.

          I get what you're saying, but I don't need "proof" that there's some dishonesty behind the scenes, it's well documented out there, a pattern of dishonesty, from the history of the line to Stinkor to today. I am in no way saying "conspiracy" and in no way trying to provide you with "proof", but I am saying there's an elephant's booty full of anecdotal evidence out there only an internet search away.

          Why is this speculation that Mattel is being dishonest so bad in your eyes?

  • I’m disappointed two bad wasn’t a 3-pack. Other than that, pleased for the most part with what we were shown.

    • Hell yeah, why isn’t Two Bad a three pack? Now we’ll never get Tuvar or Badra.

      • People complained about Three packs and Mattel in their infinite Wisdom decreed no Three packs…

        Now that doesn't discard the possibility of a Bounty Hunters two-Pack of Tuvar and Bhaddra… on 2015 or as a non-sub extra for 2014…
        We kinda have Half of their new parts. (I'm hoping for a Visor on Tuvar and a Snarling Face on Bhaddra so I can mix and Match with Two-Bad) I REALLY wish that Tuvar would get an open Right Hand (a la Marzo) so he can have his hand held stunner on it.

  • i think dactys was the high point of the reveals and the troopers and plundor the low points… and the lows are enough to keep me from subbing, so they failed in that goal.

    as for the guys above and the conspiracy thing… i would say this:one year, the guy in charge says "we could lose half our subscribers and we'd still be fine," and the very next year, not even a full year later, the subs are in danger of not moving forward, and the "lineup has to be radically changed." it's clear that things aren't adding up. we've been told the whole time that motuc is a niche market, on a tiny and fixed budget, yet in 2012/2013, we lost more than half the subscribers and they increased the number of SKUs? 2013/2014 we're hearing about wrapping things up, but they have revealed 2 100% tools already? (kinda, i know the UO isn't revealed, but scott did say he was an almost 100% tool) those are not compatible facts.

    • Plundor and the Horde Troopers are 2013 figures. Not subbing for 2014 won't save you from them…

      • well, there was also the fact that i'm done collecting in 2014. :) but what i meant to say above was, there wasn't enough good at the presentation to make me eat my words, neither for this year, nor next. with a stronger showing, maybe, perhaps, i could have been persuaded.

        and it's not that i don't like the news that the troopers and plundor are getting made (well, ok, i NEVER had any interest in plundor… i'm the wrong motu fan to sell the kitsch to, i like my motu alfredo.) it's that the execution is just atrocious. personally, i still think fisto is one of the best executions for the property, because we got all his equipment, we got his alternate look, in one package, for a premium price. THAT is what i expect of this line, especially after the price hike last year.

        the filmations look like cheap crap toys, there's no detail, they are light-packed with accessories, they are just every fear i have of that cartoony crap that doesn't even interest children anymore creeping into my classic sword and sorcery meets techno wizardry world that i love. and the troopers are just a mess of soft edges, lack of detail… again, ripped right from the cartoon and not intriguing or brought up to modern standards of sculpt and paint work at all.

        go back to mer-man, released when the line was still in infancy and supposedly on a really tight budget… he got two heads, a new neck collar, a trident, a sword, and armor, AND he got a spray ap that offered some highlights along his muscles. fast forward to the troopers… where's the shading? they reserved extra paint for the "battle damaged" version and even there, it's in tiny spots on an otherwise pristine body panel… people were just going apeshit when hasbro showed production photos of R2 missing his trademark grime and offering them essentially a clean body panel… for less money than the troopers! where is that vitriol or level of critique for these POSs? and what is more, R2 comes with as many accessories, but he's a single pack figure! i don't get how inconsistent toy geeks can be sometimes. i have nothing against horde troopers as characters, but CLASSICIZE THEM! as much as i hate that term, it applies here. don't pat yourself on the back for using the same neck ball everyone but ram man uses, that was so friggin dumb (from the pixel dan vid) i almost threw up in my mario batalis. it's not a mark of accomplishment to utilize the standardized build pieces of a buck line… it's exactly and only what you should do. quite the opposite, ram man should have been considered a fail for NOT using the male neck plug. that neck post could easily handle the hollow-headed weight of the extra large rondo hatton/lee marvin head cuz it's actually only nominally more voluminous and less massive than the standard male head. so whoopy, you used the regular parts for a new figure… some reasonable updates to the armor design and detailing would have gone quite far to swing my feelings. and sadly, they did it so right with dactys it made the troopers feel even cheaper to me.

        oh well. as a mini-comics/OG he-fan, i clearly wasn't their target demographic from the get go or by now, i'd have oolar sans page boy cut!

        • To be fair to Scott with the Horde Troopers head thing, putting He-Man and She-Ra's heads on the Trooper bodies was something fans have been requesting with those figures for years. So I get why he went out of his way to bother the swimsuit model to help him out ;) It was a little over the top though.

          You know, you mention how you're a minicomics/OG fan and that's where my tastes lie as well. Maybe that is why I'm so lukewarm on 2014 as shown so far too.

          Why are you out next year if you don't mind me asking? I've seen you posting around for years, man, don't quit!

  • I’ve Subbed.. Its 2014 where we’ll get the max coverage for all the imp figs.. ( and 2015 i hear )

    I can put up with 2 more years.

    Another factor is that there’s more and more ‘No day of’ figs, n i’d rather nt go thru the hassle.

  • I think this was their best year yet, completely ignoring the Stan Lee figure, which is its own thing and doesn't merit being included in the rest of the lot. The Filmation figures were great (people should/will come around to Nepthu), the vintage reveals were great, a solid 200X reveal (not my thing, but I can admit it) and freakin' Goat Man! He's by far my favorite reveal. So awesome. Even the Horde Troopers were looking better the next day. Not sure what was going on there before. My only qualm is that Plundor and Strong Arm are in the wrong subs and should be switched. I'm a holder of both subs, but I recognize the strong sentiment against Plundor and simply feel that anyone signing up for Filmation had a reasonable expectation that Plundor would be there. He's not one that should be forced on Eternia sub holders. But, ya know, oh well.

    Simply put, the haters were never going to sub this year, so it's easy to sit back and call it a colossal failure. Makes their smug innards feel all warm and knowing. I think Matty nailed it, from the timing and pace of unveils to the updates on Facebook and gentle teases of Scorpia, Blade and Loo-Kee (people are WAY overreacting on that guy — he'll come). Very impressed with them this year.

    Now, fingers crossed for a Teela 2.0 with Charger, toy colors MAA, mini comics repaints and Ninjor!

    • I've been hearing of this Scorpia tease, but I can't find any pics. Are there any out there?

  • I think everyone who is already collecting the line and can afford to should get behind it and sub. If you plan on cherry picking – there might not be a line for you to cherry pick, so most should do what they can to ensure this line stays active for the foreseeable.

    • I can afford to sub, and I collect the line, but I don't think I'm getting behind the sub this year. I would have signed up already, but for me it depends on what that exclusive looks like. That was the figure that would sway me to sub. Beyond Two-Bad and Glimmer, I can't even think of any characters at this point I would really want. The secondary prices are not really that bad all considering, and I bet a lot of resellers who balked on 2013 see how they missed out this year and come back in numbers. I love MOTUC and honestly if it went away (which it's not) I would be very sad- it's one of the best lines ever made- but it wouldn't be the end of the world by any stretch, there's so much out there already to collect from MOTU and other lines.

  • "Someone else will have to enlighten me if there are any majorly-demanded figures coming up, please."

    Isn't Huntress FINALLY getting a figure this year? Only about five years too late (if memory serves, she was in the original poll that resulted in The Question being produced). How both her and Wally managed to not show up until this late era I'll never know, especially considering some of the crap that was in earlier waves (Super Powers reduxes say hi!)

  • Wait I'm confused – Are you excited for Plundor or not?

    He was hands down the coolest reveal of the convention for me (Aside from Two-Bad).

    In fact, Plundor, Two-Bad and Strong Arm are basically the last 3 characters I really strongly wanted figures of. After those 3 come out and I get them, everything else released in the line for me is just gravy.

  • People hate Plundor that bad? I literally have one MOTUC figure, Skeletor, and wasn't planning on getting another until NA Skeletor or a Movie Skeletor was released, but that evil bunny looks awesome and immediately went on my buy list.