Ask Mattel > Answers for Mid-March

1.) The Batman : Legacy figures look great. Regarding Two-Face: will he come with an alternate, non-coin-holding right hand (hopefully one that can hold a gun)?


2.) The Movie Masters figures tended to be in a slightly smaller, more “realistic-to-humans” scale than DCUC. Will the Arkham Asylum figures be closer to Movie Masters or DCUC, in terms of scale and style?

The Arkham figures will be a bit closer to Classics in “heroic” 6-inch scale.

3.) Nicholai asks: Simply to dispel rumors, is Mattel committed to finishing teams like the Doom Patrol, Metal Men, and the JSA who don’t receive any love in waves 17 and 18?

We will do our best. Only time will tell, but that is our goal.

4.) Damien asks: WWE Question: as far back as Elite 1, fans have noted that the coats included with Undertaker and Edge render their figures nearly immobile due to the coats’ stiffness. Why are these coats still being used (and new ones in this material being made now for Elite Miz) instead of using something softer like Defining Moments Shawn Michaels? Elite figures of Undertaker, Edge, and now Miz cannot be posed in their ‘entrance poses’ in their entrance gear because of this issue.

Subsequent molded accessories have been made in a softer material, so if you compare the Edge coat from Elite 1 to the one used in Elite 8 you will notice a big difference. We try to replicate the entrance gear as accurately as possible, which in many cases means using a molded accessory rather than a soft good to capture those intricate details.

5.) Barbecue17 asks: This year, because of the subscription, I have committed myself to spending $350 (not including shipping) on action figures I haven’t seen. That is a lot of money to pay for toys that other than a few SDCC reveals, I haven’t even gotten a chance to look at. So when I have already shown this level of committment to you, why can you not work something out where as a subscriber, I can choose to opt in to purchasing products that are outside of my all in subscription? I’m not asking to sign a blank check to Mattel, but how about sending an email to subscribers 6-8 months in advance, allowing subscribers to choose to opt into purchasing products that are outside of the all-in subscription. Some of us subscribe because work/school/sleep schedules do not allow us to be available during sale times.

This is something we want to offer. It is just about getting the logistics to work out to try and save on shipping. We are looking into it.


Pic of the Day > アクマイザ by


Pic of the Day > Belial by GogDog


  1. AJ

    I laughed aloud at how blunt the response to the first question was.

  2. jackstatic

    Idk how a pre-order system would work. Personally, since I'm buying all of the figures as is, the sub works nicely for me. Sure, i'd love to have my all in sub really be ALL IN (not including re-issues of course, just all new product) but I just have this feeling like there'd be one or 2 figures that dont do well on pre-orders and mattel cans the entire line, as of now, the least desirable figures are guaranteed to sell just as much as the most desirable. You can't say with any amount of certainty that it'd be the same way with a pre-order system anymore then i can say it wouldn't be. So why change the way it works? obviously the subscription system is working favorably for mattel, thus they haven't changed it, and ya know what? Id rather get my figures then have the line cancelled. Do I think it sucks for people who can't get a certain figure? Sure. I had the issue with the original king grayskull (which Mattel actually eventually shipped me for free), and I didn't get a Tytus, but do to a screw up I traded a battle cat for a tytus, so I essentially made out on that trade. There's issues with the line, but nothing I haven't been able to fix myself for what its worth. Quality Control is a bigger issue imho over how Mattel sells the line at this point anyway

  3. CrazyTrain

    How about they try to fix the existing subscription first? I have to fight Matty now to get my subscription figures because they can't credit the correct card anymore. My card expired in October, they used the correct card until last month when they decided to use the expired card. Must be logistics causing the problem. Anyone want to join my new band, The Logistics? Sorry for the rant.

  4. Nicholai

    Well nothing concrete, but I'm glad my question got asked. I'll have to wait until wave 19 to see what is really planned from here on out I suppose. If they're just going for a couple of theme-d waves and then back to a bit of the Doom Patrol, Metal Men, or JSA in 19 that'd be great. My fear is that they thought to go in some other direct and even if there is a push to go back and finish some teams up it may have to wait until waves 20+.

    My big want out of the JSA is Jay Garrick. Others like Sandman (Golden Age or Modern) would be great, but we need a Jay to go with Alan Scott and Ted Grant. It would be pretty terrible to not finish up the Doom Patrol or Metal Men considering how small they are for teams and how many we already have.

  5. Paddy Fitz

    @ Poe:

    I pretty much disagree with all of your theories on the viability of a preorder system.

    I don't know the specifics of the Sideshow example, but I can't accept that preorders don't inform production runs to some extent. Either way, a preorder isn't open for an infinite amount of time — it'd be up to Mattel to control that window, taking into account vendor capacity, etc.

    On committing to preorders, that doesn't seem to be an issue for this fanbase. Mattel has suggested that this line is produced based on subscription numbers, with a small overrun for impulse buyers or those unwilling to commit to a year's worth of product sight-unseen. How would a preorder system change that emphasis? If anything, production runs would increase, as you'd have the built-in subscriber base AND the non-subscribers jumping in on preorders, and keep the potential for additional impulse buys by selling a quantity of overruns.

    If your theory on factory orders is accurate, then it's easily solved by running preorders for an entire year's worth of product at once (in December, say) and leaving the window open for at least a month. If a figure's in danger of not making production due to low orders, keep customers informed of that to encourage them to buy more. It's possible that Mattel would be less than honest in that communication (similar to the "almost gone/sold out/gone for good" scare tactic nonsense currently employed), but anyone who falls for that crap at this point has no one to blame but themselves.

    All that said, Mattel seems bound and determined to manage this line as conservatively as possible, trading real growth of its core market for simple tricks to drive interest, so I don't expect to see much out of the box thinking. Their publicly-stated reason for not being able to manage preorders ("what happens if a figure slips schedule?!?!") is ridiculous, though — if I preorder something in December that's due to ship in June, but doesn't ship until August, I'm not going to care much. ThreeA products rarely ship on time, but no one seems to mind. That's apples and oranges to an extent, though, as ThreeA's scheduling challenges are due mainly to quality concerns. Imagine if Mattel delayed shipping on preorders to make sure quality was top-notch before releasing products — now THAT's a pipe dream.

  6. Scott

    I think it's more likely (and better IMO) that subs would drop into a "pile-of-loot" or whatever they end up calling it, along with orders placed on sales days, and then you can request shipment. Only time will tell, I guess.

  7. Scott

    @ Poe:

    I'm not saying that the question wasn't clear, but often it's the answer that counts. I'm sure we both know that sometimes their answers seem to completely misunderstand/ignore the actual question.

  8. Poe

    @ Scott: I thought B17's question was pretty clear–it didn't mention anything about saving on shipping.

    I read Mattel's answer to mean that they're trying to find a way for an opt-in option to work that would combine the sub renewal orders with the opt-in products so that the subscribers don't end up paying shipping for a second (opt-in product) order.

    @ misterbigbo: Pre-orders are tricky things. People often point to Sideshow's 12" figures as an example of a successful pre-order system, but as far as I know those aren't produced based on the pre-orders–the pre-orders are limited and eventually sell out, rather than having a "window" like the Mattycollector subscriptions.

    Many action figure and toy lines have been cancelled because the pre-orders were insufficient. But I think in many cases, had the toys been produced, they would actually have sold in enough numbers to turn a profit. People need to be willing to commit to a pre-order, and the number of people willing to do so are always going to be less–sometimes significantly less–than the number of impulse/casual buyers.

    I also suspect that to save on costs, Mattel works out its production numbers deal with the factories as far ahead of time as possible–the whole economies-of-scale thing. So the subscription is more like one really big pre-order. Doing pre-orders on a figure-by-figure basis might raise the production costs.

    So here's my question: would you be willing to pay $30 per figure (not including shipping) if you were able to pre-order it rather than committing to a subscription at $20 a figure?

    Now, I DO think Mattel should release the entire planned list for the sub for a whole year before offering it. They get some benefits by not doing so–publicity with each new figure reveal, for example, and there are probably plenty of fans who would take a chance on a sub, fearing they'd miss some beloved character, who would NOT buy a sub if they knew said beloved character would not be in the sub for that year.

    But once in a while, it'd be nice if Mattel did the thing that was fair, not the thing that would make them the most money/publicity, and listing the entire schedule for the year's sub (even if they have to warn that one or two figures could slip and be replaced) would be a good step.

  9. Scott

    @ Poe:

    I don't think that's even what Mattel's talking about. In the last Q&A on another site, they said they were looking into a pile-of-loot type option. I think the above answer is referring to "sav[ing] on shipping" (to quote above), not the opt-in part.

  10. misterbigbo

    Paddy Fitz wrote:

    If they can logisticate themselves into offering subscribers the option to add additional items to their subscriptions, then there’s no reason why they can’t move to a preorder model for every item, which is what they should have done instead of subscriptions in the first place.

    Though I thoroughly agree with you, I think Mattel likes the current sales model, as it draws media attention to the line monthly, moreso than quarterly or biannual pre-orders.

    Now, if they could combine their current plan with pre-orders; that would be great. Periodic figure reveals like they already do, then open pre-order windows each month. Media attention would still buzz about each month's pre-order, and we wouldn't have the hell-on-earth noontime rush if they opened the pre-order at midnight and closed it a week later.

    Of course, they'd be out the guaranteed income that you subscribers gave them. So, thanks for that.

  11. Barbecue17

    I'm satisfied that my question did not get a flat "due to legal reasons…" answer. I'm satisfied that the response seemed positive. Thanks for using the question, Poe!

    Glad to hear the Arkham figures will be closer in scale to the DCUC figures.

  12. Poe

    @ Paddy Fitz: Hey hey, let's not go crazy here. Baby steps.

  13. Paddy Fitz

    If they can logisticate themselves into offering subscribers the option to add additional items to their subscriptions, then there's no reason why they can't move to a preorder model for every item, which is what they should have done instead of subscriptions in the first place.

  14. Poe

    dayraven wrote:

    ah logistics… is there nothing you can’t ruin?

    It's hardly ruining things if we actually get the chance to opt-in to non-sub items. I didn't think they'd even try to work this out.

  15. dayraven

    ah logistics… is there nothing you can't ruin?

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