Mattel on MOTUC: Looking Ahead at 2014 & Beyond

I'll take any excuse to use this graphic again.

I’ll take any excuse to use this graphic again.

I’ll admit this is partly just traffic trolling, since any and all MOTUC Mattycollector news from Mattel’s Scott Neitlich, a.k.a. ToyGuru, seems to draw in the readers. Anyway, here’s Neitlich’s post on the state of MOTUC in 2014 – AND BEYOND.

He-Fans and She-Ravers,

Happy New Year, everyone! And welcome to the top of another exciting year collecting Masters of the Universe Classics on Mattycollector.com!

Here at the top of 2014 is a very interesting point in the line to take a moment and pause for reflection. Not only on where we have been, but on where we are going as well. We are now into our sixth year of the line (I know we had three releases in 2008, but 2009 was really the first full year). It has been a long and amazing ride. Never in my wildest imagination did I think we would get this deep into the line (almost to our 150th figure!) nor did I think I would have the privilege and honor of getting to head-up the line for this long. Truly a personal dream come true as a toy collector and MOTU fan myself!

As we enter 2014, we are clearly at a turning point for MOTUC. No longer are we looking up a big mountain wondering where the peak will be, but rather it is now the point where we are looking down the other side, celebrating the victory of making the MOTUC Castle Grayskull happen (that was all you guys, you know!) as well as the roadmap to “complete the line.”

Some longtime fans know that MOTUC was originally created and always had the intent of being the most all-inclusive MOTU line possible, incorporating characters from the widest variety of source material – from vintage toys to Filmation and mini comics. All sculpted and designed around the same “buck” (or shared part) system to create one unified universal look for all characters. When we kicked off the line back in 2007-2009, a long term roadmap was created that spread out the releases over many years to ensure that each year had a robust selection and we did not burn through too many hot characters too quickly, leaving far out (at the time) years like 2013 and 2014 with very little to offer.

This initial strategy has paid off very well helping to ensure recent years still contained huge fan-demanded characters like Ram Man and Horde Troopers, all deliberately held back for these years to keep the line fresh and hot.

But the inevitable happened and the cost to produce these figures slowly crept up, to the point that in 2013 we finally had to accept a price increase. Along with this, we heard fans loud and clear that the robust nature of the line was getting a little too robust and under the new higher prices more obscure characters like the Fighting Foe Men or Karatii might not be what most fans wanted.

And we listened to you!

As promised back in 2012 when the 2013 sub was sold, we reworked the original roadmap (which stretched out to 2017/2018) and combined the last few years into two “final” years that would be needed to complete all of the vintage MOTU, POP and A-list most fan-demanded figures from other lines such as NA, 200X, Filmation, mini comics etc. We dropped a lot of the “filler” figures and focused on getting the most demanded figures out there before prices rose to the point that it would cost more to make the figure than fans were willing to pay.
So that brings us to 2014…the first year of the “new roadmap.” I’m pretty confident that I can say we held true to our promise. With 60-70% of 2014 already revealed, I haven’t seen much chatter that the figures revealed thus far are “off the map” and new strategy. One of the more “frustrating” things about working in the toy industry is that it takes 12-16 months for any changes to happen. This meant even when we promised fans a new roadmap during SDCC 2012, it still meant 2013 had to be produced under the original road map/strategy of offering the most robust character selection possible. So there were still a few tail-end obscure characters that made it out in 2013.

That all finally changes!

Now we are finally at 2014, just days away from the first “revised roadmap” figure, Two-Bad , shipping to subscribers. Our goal for the next two years is to crank out all of the remaining MIA characters to ensure the vintage roadmap is complete by the end of 2015. As promised in 2012, we are keeping prices flat in 2014 to the 2013 prices, but it is likely come 2015 there will be a very small price increase (in comparison to the large price increase we had in 2013). But they key takeaway is that in order to deliver on fan expectations to complete the new revised roadmap, we need all the SKUs and slots we can get in both 2014 and 2015. Without a 2015 line, we will be a little short.

That being said, a TON of work from Mattel design, marketing and the Four Horsemen went into crafting 2014 and 2015. Both years add up to be two sides of the same coin. Half of the remaining figures will be offered in 2014 and the other half will be in 2015, should we hit the minimum quota to get a 2015 sub.
There are always going to be personal favorites who may not make the list (Filmation alone has hundreds of characters we have not gotten to!) but once all of 2014 and 2015 are announced and sold, I think for the most part fans will look at the two year line-up and be hard pressed to say “that figure/character should not have been released in lieu of this other one” (i.e., are we not going to release Rio Blast so we can do the Guy in Yellow shorts playing tug of war in the mini-comics? I don’t think so!).

This does not mean in any way 2015 is guaranteed to be the last year of Classics. But standing at the top of 2014, I do feel we are clearly looking down a mountain and not up one. For the most part, fans should have a good idea of who is coming in the next 24 months (just look at the vintage lines and see who has yet to be released!). But in order to pull this off and ensure MOTUC truly reaches its end-goal and full potential, we’ll need your help.

The 2015 sub buy-in is only seven months away and we will truly need full support to make this final year happen. Let’s not lose steam now and let a few figs remain in limbo. Mattel and the whole MattyCollector.com team want nothing more than to go out on a high note. So as we head into 2014 and into the revised roadmap that is here at last, let’s not lose sight of the importance of supporting the 2015 sub. We can only make these figures when we have an audience to buy them. And this line has always been by fans, for fans, driven by fan purchases.
This deep into the line, we are definitely hitting what I call 50% territory. There are a lot of figs set for the next 24 months that about 50% of fans love and 50% might be able to do without. Some POP fans want nothing to do with NA and the same the other way around. I see Madame Razz, for example, getting a lot of “I want her!” posts and just as many “please don’t make her!” posts.

But just as with the diversity of MOTU itself, finishing off this line will take all of us coming together. As an example, POP fans need to support NA figs to get their POP collection finished, and NA fans need to support POP figures to get their NA MIA figs made. I know this may mean not every figure will be for every fan. But this line is truly about coming together. If we all support the next two years, we all win. Should any one “sub” group of fans choose to bail, it will only hurt the chances of making us all happy.

So as we enter 2014, let’s unite. Let’s unite as a fan base and show the whole toy collecting world that there are no fans like MOTU fans. Together we can all make this happen. We have 24 months to go to lock this up. No fatigue now. Not the time to bail.

MOTUC has the very real potential of making EVERY figure from the vintage MOTU and POP lines, as well as A-list characters from other cannons and media. We can make this happen. We are so close now, it is not time to lose steam! It will take all of us supporting all of the figures to make every fan happy. The MOTU fan base in unlike any other toy or brand fan group. We support diversity and work together. When we started this line, we all thought it would be cool to get to six figures and an SDCC item. Now we are standing at an unprecedented point about to make the final leap.

The revised roadmap is finally here. All 2013 figures were part of the old strategy and the old roadmap. It is an all new ball game starting with Two Bad, Glimmer and Hydron this quarter. We have a few surprises left, and again, it does not mean 2015 is THE END. As long as we have support we would love to keep this going. But we do have a clear roadmap for the next two years. This is the time to be more excited than ever. We are so close to achieving a rarely accomplished goal in toy collecting – modern interpretations of EVERY vintage fig.

And one last thing to consider, as we head into 2014 and by Grayskull hoping we get to 2015, fans are going to get A LOT more value in their figures. The characters we have left, for a good part, have a lot more tooling needed. Giant wings, backpacks, tails, and a ton of new parts. If you compare 2014 and 2015 to what we offered in 2009, price value, figure to figure, fans are going to be getting a ton more. Zodac was a new head, armor and gun, Extendar is almost fully tooled and comes with a ton of accessories. 2014 and 2015 will be well worth the price of admission!

I couldn’t be more excited for the next two years and I am so glad to share this experience with all of you. Like we did for the Castle, together we can make this happen. It is all in your hands.

Good Journey!

Scott (AKA “Toy Guru”)

Comments now closed (23)

  • I did, though I'm not sure why.

    It's basically, "we're going to make all the vintage MOTU and most of POP and NA, but you have to buy every single figure and sub up for next year," which is basically the same message we've always gotten.

    Personally, I'm pretty well done already, but I wish them luck; I know there are plenty of folks who are still really into the line and want to see it as complete as possible.

  • So basically, it's just a long sub pitch and some early justification for the next price increase. At least he could have thrown in a "Thank you for continuing to buy our line" in that long post…

  • Once again, I feel guilty for being a cherry picker with this line, but I just don't want every figure they make, or to spend that much money. *shrug* As long as they keep making figures I'm after, I'll buy them. Overall, it's been a good run.

  • Can't read that geek's little messages anymore. Love the line, but he makes me hate it. Trying to protect what little pleasure the figures give me by cutting myself off from all the surrounding bullshit., most of which comes straight from this pencil neck and then propagated by the .org and a few others. Vile people, all of them. Actually kind of hope this is the last year, even if it leaves me a short a few characters, just to have it over and done.

  • Since DCUC died, I no longer have to worry about reading anything this man writes ever again.
    It's really rather nice…

  • i certainly appreciate the new years note! I can understand that some people have decided to move on from the line (but I haven't and in fact getting really excited to see the new figures!) but I'm just not going to dismiss this as others have done. Sure, he is mentioning a future price hike but those who've stuck with this line this year can not be disappointed by what we got this year. Mr. Guru has made many missteps along the way and we can second guess some decisions but man, as a subscriber, this is the kind of cheerleading i want to not only keep interest up but perhaps keep the line alive!

  • I like how he talks about how we're getting a 'lot more value' in our figures, right after picture surfaced of the production Blade figure with UGLY, primer-gray swords. What an ass. Want to convince me I'm getting more value in my toys? Paint their accessories, you cheap prick.

      • I 100% agree man. Call him dishonest, a liar, manipulative… but this type of comment only encourage Mattel and Scott to ignore any critiques. It's easy to ignore the legitimate points made when the criticisms also contain stuff like "You cheap prick" or "What an ass."

        • They already do ignore critiques. If they didn't, they would have painted the swords, since 'stop cutting paint apps and making things look cheap and ugly' was a critique we've all already made multiple times in this line.

  • I totally do not share the massive venom, here. 2015 is not exactly assured, since fewer and fewer desirable figures exist. So, for it to go through, Mattel will have to push a LOT harder. There's no sense to scream and whine and call him an ass for it.

    • The only one utilizing over-the-top rhetoric here is you. Scream and whine, indeed.

      • And THIS is why I need to not be a click whore and not even post this stuff. Mattycollector has really become a lightning rod – and that's to say nothing of that other sideshow going on at He-Man.org (the Val/Emiliano thing).

        • It's sad because there's a lot to actually talk about on these topics… but as adults, who respect the opinions of others. More and more I can't help but feel everyone else who watched the show all those years ago forgot the little moral tags at the end of each episode… what a shame…

          It's a hot button topic but then again it isn't 1983 and we aren't five years old anymore. People have to show each other the respect you'd want shown to you. You wouldn't know that by looking online though. 😉 A little maturity and even-headedness goes a long way in making a point. If everyone on either side of the coin was a little more objective and tried to see things from others point of view (Mattel, fans, the .Org stuff) there wouldn't be such drama all the time, and maybe the words"truth" and "He-Man" would go hand in hand…

    • To be clear, what I called him an ass for had absolutely nothing to do with what you're talking about. I have absolutely no problem at all with Scott, and Mattel in general, using as much energy and words as they like to try to shill the 2015 sub. That's their job.

  • I’ve concluded that, while some of Matty’s practice are certainly irritating, I don’t know enough about what Toy Guru has to put up with / do in order to get the line approved and feasible so I’ll refrain from bashing him personally. He seems like an okay dude that has more than he bargained for on his plate sometimes.

    As for 2015…I’m blessed enough that I have a job that I can afford it and any characters that I genuinely haven’t cared for have been few and far between so Matty has me for that at least.

    Having said that I do REALLY hope Tung Lashor and Rio Blast are in ’14 or at least the upfronts of ’15 (assuming like Club Infinite Earths anything shown at SDCC will at least see release).

    My $0.02 anyway.

  • Jeez, I thought I had to get involved in a comment to draw this much vitriol. Glad to know I'm not the only guy who can kickstart an argument. 🙂

    So, to keep things moving, it's poe's site, so if he says no, then no it is. But while Damien's language might raise the hackles his point is a solid one, and he's not the only person to have pointed out tat TG has a penchant for kicking us in the collective nuts, and asking for support before the twins are off his shin. You can't have photos release on a hotly desired fig that makes him look shoddy and concurrently ask people to start thumbing through their wallets for next year. Isn't the sub model already pitched like blackmail? How much worse can he make it? And incidentally, if one of us gets hacked about it and uses some choice language… Can we not offer the guy a polite indifference to his rage? Like I said, poe's site, he can language police, everyone else should be adult enough to can the passive aggressive retorts, no? We're all men here, let's not let a little ass get our feathers all ruffled.

    Lastly, the biggest thing I take away from the dayraven-sized post there is, if 2015 is about rounding out the last of the vintage lineup, and the vintage heavy folks are the primary customers, what is getting sold to who in 2016? He's in essence saying the line's over in 2015. Unless of course, you're an observant motucer and know that the vintage lovers are more vocal than numerous, since several of the vintage roster languished the site, while several of the new guys like vikor are regarded as line highlights. The longevity of a figure on their god forsaken store gas much more to do with the pack out and final execution of the fig than the characters pre-existence in the one.

  • Simply put: I feel there were too many nonsense characters and the prices have gotten too high. Shame as, overall, I loved this line. I just can't afford it anymore.

  • Scott Nietlich is single-handedly ruining this line, dividing fans and lying thru his teethe.

    This is supposed to be an Adult Collector Line. There are so many fans who understand the toy business, supply chain and business in general.

    The Devil’s greatest trick was convincing the world he didn’t exist. The greatest trick Scott is consumers that he is a fan by using the moniker “ToyGuru”.

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