Mattel Updates > MOTUC, DC subs, Draego-Man costs

Lots of Mattel-related stuff to discuss today. First up is this addendum to Monday’s Q&A:

3.) Gasha168 asks: Does the 23″ Voltron contain any diecast metal components at all, or is it pure plastic except for the springs and pin joints?

The Lions that combine into the 23” Voltron do not have any die-cast parts.  At the scale that the lions are being offered, if they were die-cast, the overall weight of the combined Voltron would be too much for it to be secure or stable.  However, we do understand that die-cast is a big fan request so this is something that we’re looking into for the future.

Next, we have a bunch of updates from Mattel regarding the MOTUC and DC subs. There’s a lot to cover here–this appears to be one of those times when Mattel comes surprisingly clean with us. I’ll reply bit by bit rather than a long speech at the end.

First off is this post from the Mattycollector forums:

Hey He-Fans and She-Ravers,

With so much talk over the DC Sub (and if we have enough subscribers) I wanted to check in with all of you on the MOTUC sub.

First off, as expected we have well passed our min sub order to keep the line going. (MOTU fans are committed!) BUT, I do want to let you know that we are actually at our lowest sub sale yet. Which unless we get a huge bump in sales this week, this means Shadow Weaver will likely be the lowest produced figure in the whole line! Wow.

So it appears MOTUC’s popularity is indeed waning. I’ve been thinking for a while now that Battle Cat/Trap Jaw would represent the high-water mark for this line. The simple truth is that aside from a few characters like Ram Man, the most popular MOTU characters–the ones that even casual collectors would want–have been done.

The high cost of the sub, is probably part of it too. But at least they did get “well” past their minimum order. That suggests the 2013, 2014+ subs still have a good chance.

Also, as stated a few times, we will no longer be doing second runs of figures starting with Man-E-Faces. We still have quite a few older figures already slotted for re-release each month in 2012, but they are all figure originally offered before Man-E-Faces. This also means NONE of the 2012 figures will go into a second run.

I don’t find this as troubling as the lower sub orders. Mattel has been increasing their regular production numbers for monthly figures for a while, and I think now there’s just less of a need for reissues. The early figures had much smaller production runs and thus, much greater demand for reissues. As long as monthly figures are selling for $30 on eBay, I think Mattel is safe not doing reissues.

Finally, our overall production is going to be a bit lower in 2012. We still intend for product to be available for “Cherry Pickers” the day-of the sale, but 1: we will have overall a bit less, how long this will last is anyone’s guess, and 2: Because production is based on part on the sub sales, with lower overall sub sales than expected, this means the day-of product will be even slightly less then we orignally intended with the original planned”slight reduction” (to control inventory).

Part of the reason for the initial reduction in “day of” quota is to maintain the secondary market so that those who buy the sub but don’t want all of the monthly figures will have an avenue to sell them off at a reasonable secondary market price. We’re not trying to create “Scal-por” but we do want to help out fans who may be turned off by the high price of say, the Star Sisters, and want to know we won’t flood the market with this pack giving them the option of selling it off one day if it is not their cup of tea.

Has a major toy company ever acknowledged that they have an interest in maintaining the secondary market? That alone is pretty amazing.

I’m not sure what I think of their rationale for the lower post-sub numbers, though. That will work fine for the Star Sisters, who I suspect many subscribers will be looking to unload, but it will also mean that popular characters like Kobra Khan will be a lot harder to get, since most subscribers will keep him.

In any event, what they say here does negate the “they can only produce so many figures per year” theory. They’re clearly stating they’re reducing the overall numbers of each figure in 2012.

SO….What does all this mean?

While in NO WAY is this message intended to be a “you must buy the sub!” post, in all fairness, consider this fair warning that the sub is your best way of guaranteeing all figures without a sell out and the ONLY way to ever get Shadow Weaver. (and hey don’t forget about the awesome Preternia map!)

Whether the sub is for you is a personal choice, I just want to make sure fair warning and all the info is out there for you to make an eductated choice for your own collection!

Hope this helps!


Next up, is this post on Facebook. (Why do we have to go to two or three different places for this? Why can’t it all be on the Mattycollector news page?)

More updates for ya He-Fans and She-Raves,

So we know a lot of you have been asking us to add in the six 30th anniversary figures into the sub program to save on shipping. We do not have things finalized YET but it looks like this will be able to go through starting with the March figure Draego-Man (Photog may still need to be purchased day of).

Well, it’s nice that we’ll be able to get the rest of the figures easily, but that means Fearless Photog day will be a nightmare. And don’t forget the reduced production numbers! We can only hope the casual fans are so turned off by this goofy character that he doesn’t sell out in five minutes.

But if all goes according to plan, we hope to offer a special 30th anniversary series “add on” sub around late Oct/early Nov. The sub add on should ideally include the 5 remaining 30th anniversary figures after Photog which includes Draego-Man by the Four Horsemen, the two Mattel characters, the Geoff Johns character and the winner of the new Create a Character contest! (five of the six figs)

Additionally, it looks like an upgrade we have been working on will go into affect in Feb/March 2012 which will combine all sub shipping on all brands even if you bought them at separate times!

So if you have one brand’s sub and still want to add another brand’s sub in a second purchase order, the Jan/Feb subs may ship separate, but ideally starting in March (if all works out!) we will combine shipping in one order for all subs, including the new 30th anniversary sub we want to offer in a month or so. (As a refresh, currently, only subs purchased together in one order will combine shipping. The upgrade we are attempting should ideally combine all subs together in one shipment, even if bought at separate times!)

We are still getting our ducks in a row, but what does this mean? Well, if you are hesitant to buy a 2012 Club Eternia sub because you know you will be buying the 30th figures “day-of” anyway, this new “add-on” sub should (in a perfect world) allow us to combine all subs into one order and save on your shipping (starting with the Feb/March figures, it may not be in place in time for Jan figures, i.e. Photog).

There is a lot of hedging in there. But based on this, I decided to roll the dice and bought a Club Infinite Earths sub. I figure either it will go through and I’ll get a Poison Ivy, or it won’t and I won’t have to pay the money. If the sub goes through and I have to pay double shipping all year, I will be pissed.

But given Mattel’s terror of lawsuits, my hunch is that they never would have said this if it weren’t 95% likely.

We will confirm all the details at Power Con in late Sept and are committed to continuing to improve things with new process and logistics in place to save you on shipping!

See you in the toy aisles and on!

Then there was this little tag at the end of that post:

Draego-Man in March should ideally be the first figure included in the new 30th sub we hope to sell in Oct/Nov. Also, please note image is a PROTOTYPE. He is coming in way more expensive then expected and we are exploring possible deco and accessory changes (with the Horsemen’s blessing) to bring him into cost.

When the predictable fuss started on, ToyGuru chimed in with this:

Guys, don’t freak out of Draego Man yet. We are still exploring options.

Honestly, as soon as I saw the images from the 4HM my first through was, “crap that is a lot of accessories and deco, how are we going to afford that!”

It is basically due to the huge amount of surface area he has with the wings/tail which results in more paint deco needed compared to the average fig. Nothing is changing YET. Terry and the Horsemen are still reviewing and it also doesn’t rule out that if we have to cut one or two accessories we can always look at finding ways to release them with someone else down the road. We’re not looking at a huge change, it just may be lossing an accessory or two. No one is cutting the tail or the armor or anything. Minor minor changes if at all.

We certainly won’t be offering multiple versions or changing the price. It just logistically won’t work that way. Not to fear, this won’t be a huge change guys! Hang in their while we review all possible options. We won’t move on anything without the Horsemen’s approval.


Pic of the Day > Bionicle Rahi – Giant centipede by thejang


Pic of the Day > Judge Gabranth by ArmoredFoe


  1. Mario

    F.Y.I. Poe; I just received a confirmation email that Mattel will be shipping all subs together, regardless of when they were ordered, so long as they ship at the same address & account number.

  2. Newton Gimmick

    The problem with the sub for the sub for me is that it keeps growing every year. And yet, it's still never "everything", because there is always bonus crap the sinks in. Which just means MORE money you have to spend.

    I have been sitting on the fence with the sub this year because it's such a huge financial drain. I'm really not surprised that this y ear has the worst sub sales, because the price is very high. The character selection is decent at best (that we know of) there are a lot of unknowns and last year's sub was pretty full of so-so character selection as well.

    Mattel has made great strides with this line, no doubt, but they've been pushing the sub more and more. The sub just hurts a lot of people's wallets. With the QC issues this year, etc, it's tough to lay out that kind of dough on a blind faith deal… UNLESS, like Poe, you're only collecting a little bit here or there from other lines.

    I'm juggling 4 or 5 pretty solid commitments to other lines. Which makes me less inclined to agree to continue to buy MOTUC, sight unseen for the sub's pricetag. Once I have to start weighing MOTUC against other stuff that I collect, the MOTUC sub becomes less and less ideal in my mind.

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