Ask Mattel > Final Edition

Here’s PGPoA’s final (for now) edition of Ask Mattel.

Barbecue17 asks: What does Mattel consider a legitimate QC issue that would warrant figures to be delayed or exchanged in mass? For some figures who customers have perceived as having problems, these have been responses from some Mattel reps: “Mossman is not a bath toy.” “It’s not a big deal! Reviewers didn’t notice the backward shoulders.” “The figure is not defective, it just is not working as perfect as we will like.” Recently, we have seen widespread QC problems with Swiftwind’s legs. How defective or “not working as perfect as we would like” would a figure have to be for Mattel to take action on a QC issue? Missing limbs?

We don’t have a specific rule for this but we do replace any defective product so if a figure is assembled incorrect you can return it for a corrected item.

Mysterious Stranger asks: What is the future of the “Action League” line? I’ve been collecting all the Green Lantern related characters and am only missing Kyle Rayner. What are the odds of him being released?

The Action League line is going strong with more to be revealed at NYTF. No plans for a Kyle quite yet. Stay tuned!

The_Fun_Has_Been_Doubled asks: We’re 20 waves into DCUC (More if we count DCSH) and The figures STILL are prone to breakage at the soft piece connecting the leg to the crotch. (The piece that is supposed to make the leg swivel forwards and back) When are you going to fix this consistent issue? (Reason #1 why I did not subscribe to Club Infinite Earths.)

We are constantly working on improving quality and will pass your note to design.

Black Arbor asks: You never really answered the question of what line the Super-Powers Penquin will be in. Could you clarify?

That is because we are not ready to reveal this! Stay tuned for more!

Rich asks: In 2011, we saw 6 female DCUC figures (Dove; Star Sapphire Wonder Woman; Saturn Girl; Stargirl; Superwoman; Star Sapphire) We saw 5 new MOTUC female figures in 2011, and by March 2012, we will have a new 5 already! Poison Ivy has been announced but not shown for Club Infinite Earths, and a repaint Supergirl has been shown for the All-Star line. Can we hope for more female superheroes in 2012?

Yes, there will be more females in 2012 for sure!



MOTUC Bio Discussion #45 > The Faceless One


Pic of the Day > Z.O.M.B.I.E. by nanoFatato


  1. tribsaint

    ….The freebie becomes the pay and the toy companies the employer. That at least causes the perception (if not the reality) that the way to get a "toy raise" is through positive reviews. The ethical lines for this new "citizen journalism" seem very blurry across the Internet. Yo and his gang (Poe included) are really top bananas and it’s a shame that they don’t make a decent wage for doing this. I always tell people there are only two reasons to do anything for the money or the love the game. It’s not clear which reviewers are doing it for at many sites.

  2. tribsaint

    In my opinion price is probably the #1 aspect in gauging a toys overall worth. I mean I have the iron man series titanium man, bought it at TrU for 18 bucks, I like the figure but it took me along time get to a happy place concerning the figure becuase I paid to much. In comparison I have 2 recent battle star galactica 80s series figures truly to of the worst figures I own but I have so bad they're good kind of love for them, mostly because they were 5 bucks, if I had paid more I’d hate them. When the price is free good feelings come easy. I think part of the problem, for sites and companies when it comes to freebies is the fact that everyone reviewing is an "amateur journalist" if you will. Most are collectors first and reviewers second, and because of the lack of financial gain a fair and balanced reviews are hard to come by. ……

  3. Valo487

    I was suddenly struck with an understanding why AFI would be so pro-Matty, it’s a lot easier to be positive when you get your stuff for free. Mattel’s screw-ups certainly wouldn’t bother me as much if I didn’t have to pay the bill.

    • Caaarrrrlllll

      A pair of 30" Anti-Monitors will also keep lips planted firmly to kiester… 😉

      …maybe someone also wants to step into a job working for them? I've seen it happen many times before, in other industries: the move from "indie" blogger to actual employee.

      anyway, back to fun stuff and not all this sad, crooked, depressing crap.

  4. George

    Poe you have always been good when I bash on Mattel, at least to me; I can testify to that.

    On a side note, I don't know Toy Otter's full credentials, (and I hope this isn't just hating/jealousy talking) but I really don't consider working on Wendy's figurine lines warranting an "Action Figure Insider" title.

    I've created some Batman stage levels on Cartoon should I start my own blog about how the video-game industry works-I think not.

    That said I'm not attacking the man personally I hope, which is why I used Toy Otter and not his real name…the impulsive troller in me comes out when I read stuff like-"unlike you, we do have a view inside a lot of these companies" I'm mean come on.

    Call me cynical but the whole denying of freebies makes for good reviews, is just illogical. I find it hard not to think something is good when I get a free sample of it at Sam's even though its simple stuff like crackers. But whatever I'm not a food insider so I can't be considered legitimate, even though I eat food daily.

    • Valo487

      Exactly, I've gotten some bad, bad service at restaurants before, but when the manager came over and gave us one of our entrees for free to make up for it, I walked out with a pretty positive opinion about the meal overall, because even if we had bad service, we didn't have to pay for it.

      Wait, that sounds awfully familiar…..

    • ridureyu

      Well, that's because their service is responsible, and seeks to repair any problems they may have caused.

      Why is that familiar?

  5. Valo487

    I just think they’re doing their readers a disservice by putting their “spin” on anything. It’s one thing to try to bring some positivity to the hobby, but announcing that you’re deleting any comment from someone with a mattel vendetta is just childish and insulting. I don’t know too many people with a mattel vendetta, but I know a lot of people that are very frustrated by how Mattel is treating them. As far as AFI is concerned though, there are no legitimate grievances I guess. That’s why I quit posting there, after I was told by someone that since I wasn’t driving around looking for DCUC every day I didn’t have a right to complain about the distribution.

  6. Valo487

    In regards to the answer to question 3, all I can say is wow. Glad I sold all my DCUC.

    And I recommend everyone read the post that cccaaarrrlll linked two, it is nauseating. AFI may as well post “A Subsidiary of Mattel” on their site from now on. One of the moderators there actually posted this: jason geyer
    2/1/2012 at 3:41 pm
    Just a heads up; I’m deleting any more comments by folks with Mattel vendettas. Take it somewhere else. I really don’t care what you think about AFi, or Mattel, or what’s going on with them. Start your own blog if you need to be heard, this ain’t the place for it.

    So now they won’t even allow people to DISAGREE with them, because everyone has a Mattel bias. So if you’re upset about the way lines YOU PAY FOR are being handled, just know this: You aren’t dissatisfied, you’re biased according to AFI.

    • Caaarrrrlllll

      and take note, they've redacted it *heavily* since I linked it. They've removed 2 out of 3 of my comments, as well as at least 3 or 4 others, including some choice and telling words from Jason himself left in reply to a question about their ties to Mattel. I would not be surprised if the comments are pulled altogether before the end of the day today.

      Wow. Not picking or trying to start beef with AFI in any way… but wow. This is why I love Poe and MWC and battlegrip sites. These guys don't do this type of thing, ever…

      People should really think about who/what they're reading in this hobby from now on, big time.

    • Huh. That makes at least two controversial AFI blog posts (though I don't think discussion was curtailed on the Lenzi post).

      I've never really spent a whole lot of time with the AFI guys in person, although I've run into them at various conventions and Toy Fair last year, and I know they're friends with the great guys at Spy Monkey Creations.

      I think it's clear the folks behind AFI are closely tied to the industry, both personally and professionally. I think everyone understands that, so they're not misleading people. (I still think they came out looking bad on the Anti-Monitor thing; I do think Pickett won fairly, but in those circumstances I would have raffled it off on my site or something.)

      I'm always against censoring discussion, however. PGPoA has had a troll now and then that I've banned, but it was always due to either profanity or personal attacks (against me or other commenters). There have been plenty of screeds here against Mattel that I've let stand–people can say their peace.

      Of course, no one's ever really accused me of being too cozy with industry players, either. With one brief exception in December 2010, I've never received any free samples. I wouldn't turn down free samples if I got them, but I would be honest (hence, I'm guessing the lack of free samples).

      I found Jason's comment that "freebies have nothing to do with anything. Mattel sends all the sites review copies. It doesn’t really impact what we write" a bit disingenuous; the fact that multiple sites receive review samples (note that "all the sites" does not include Michael Crawford, ItsAllTrue or OAFE, arguably the big three toy review websites) doesn't in any way suggest those sites write objective reviews. That's some fallacious logic, if that's what he's suggesting.

      But to be fair, AFI doesn't really "review" toys anyway–they just put up pics, as far as I can tell.

      And I'm not going to make some sort of First Amendment argument about AFI censoring their posts. It's their own private website, they can do what they want. I think it makes them look bad, and it certainly won't help the very perception Jason's trying to argue against in his comment (that they're too cozy with Mattel), but again, it's their prerogative.

      I have no problem with Geyer's posting his opinion, and frankly, I–more or less–agree with his point. I accept that there will be QC errors like the missing missiles on my Wind Raider. What I take issue with is the terrible customer service. I should be able to easily obtain a replacement, even if I have to send the original back. I would hope Jason wouldn't argue with that.

    • Monkey boy

      Crawford may not get free matty products, but he does get free hot toys. Lucky bastard. He could make a living just reselling the toys he gets for free after he reviews em.

    • Valo487

      I agree Poe, in that I think they have every right to say whatever they want to say and run their site however they choose, it is their site after all. What I take issue with is the attitude they have which always seems to be a veiled way of telling us "You're wrong." The link cccaaarrrlll posted doesn't come across to me as an attempt to restore some positivity, which I agree the hobby needs right now, but rather an attempt to send the message that "Toy manufacturing is harder than you think, so maybe you shouldn't complain so much." What? You mean mass-retail manufacture isn't easy? Gasp and swoon. But see, I did think there were people working for those companies, who might even be paid to deal with these issues, and since the fans' money goes toward paying their salary I'm not especially interested in hearing about how they had to do a little extra work when the fans are footing the bill.

      It's their site to do with as they wish, but I stopped posting there a long time ago when it became clear that no matter how much Mattel screwed up, or what fiasco they had created for themselves, you could count on AFI to either not cover it at all, give it only the vaguest of lip service, or spin it back on the fans and imply that we were the problem. I don't have a "vendetta" against Mattel, but I will say they screwed up if they did screw up, and when a major toy-related site seems content to ignore these issues and then remove any comment that draws attention to them, that's just cronyism, and I find it laughable anyone at AFI would even attempt to pretend they're not biased themselves. If we all have a vendetta against Mattel, I guess AFI is on a Mattel crusade.

    • A.J.

      As someone who's a music reviewer, it's interesting how differently free samples of review material are treated in comparison to toy sites. In the music industry, record labels are expected to send out free copies–they budget for them. Though certainly they can sweeten some people with tricked-out freebies, no one would ever claim that receiving promo copies of a record would automatically warrant a positive review. In comparison, toy companies send out promo copies to a select few sites, who tend be very effusive in their praise on the whole whenever they received them (I have seen some pretty objective reviews of free toys, but those are sadly much fewer than there should be).

    • I'm working on a larger post about the issue of freebie review samples, and this is something I plan to touch on. If you can get enough clout in your chosen field, like, say, IGN for videogames or the New York Times for movies, you get free games/movies repeatedly no matter how poorly you review them, simply because you're the 500-lb gorilla and so forth.

      That's just not the case with toy reviewers–no one has the sort of clout. Michael Crawford probably comes the closest, and I think he's pretty fair with the free Hot Toys he gets (it helps a lot that they're usually awesome, of course). But even he doesn't get free stuff from Mattel or Hasbro.

      I need to think this through a bit more, so I'll expand on it in the aforementioned article later on.

    • A.J.

      What I greatly appreciate about Crawford (aside from being a great reviewer) is that he always takes the retail price into account, which is especially important when it comes to Hot Toys dolls. That's very respectful as a consumer.

      It's not even an issue of there not being one player in the online toy website game big enough to have clout to get freebies and consequently being able to be as objective as it needs to be–it's more that toy freebies are viewed as a Very Special Thing on the whole. I mean, I write for a second/third tier review site, but we get shedloads of promo copies for everything, and in my field of criticism even tiny blogs will get sent free material. That doesn't happen with toy sites. Coupled with the collector mentality, where the goal for many is merely to possess an item, and if they do they are happy, the result is it's easy to get toy sites to toe the line with the right nudging. Not to crap on AFI more than has already been done, but though I visit the site daily, I don't afford it (and to a similar extent, The Fwoosh), the same respect as I do your site, OAFE, ItsAllTrue, Crawford, etc. i expect OAFE to tell it how it sees it; I expect AFI to tell me why I need to by multiples of JLU Stripe in order to prove I'm a "real fan".

  7. "We don’t have a specific rule for this but we do replace any defective product so if a figure is assembled incorrect you can return it for a corrected item."

    Except Poe's!

    So… we can replace our reversed-shouldered Roboto and King Hiss figures with corrected versions?? Ha! What a b/s answer!

  8. Newton Gimmick

    Apparently I've had my final Q&A too but not by choice… Because I sent mine in on time last time, but didn't get a response. I perhaps wrongly assumed it was going to be used for this time, but low and behold, nothing again. I assume it's a logistical issue.

    I guess we'll see if the next Q&A I get to participate or not. Kinda miffed that my questions were skipped twice for no apparent reason. Or maybe I was too harsh in them. I dunno. Frustrating none the less.

  9. Caaarrrrlllll

    Take note, AFI has posted this "jem" of shilling the other day:

    wow… just… wow.

  10. ridureyu

    How fitting that the last one had a non-answer to a specific QC complaint.

  11. Black Arbor

    Thanks for asking my question Poe. It's a shame you won't be doing more Q and A's.

  12. The_Fun_has_been_Doubled

    Attack of the non-Answers! Good thing that Poe is no longer asking questions… Too much headache and Mattel still doesn't care. We'll pass a note… That won't fix half of my DCUC collection that is unable to be posed in dynamic poses without breaking their legs… Also OVER 20 WAVES AND THEY STILL HAVEN'T FIGURED OUT THAT!?

    They have a replacement policy that automatically refunds you instead of replacing the item with a corrected one…

    • fengschwing

      Now that Club Infinite Earths is happening and is a collectors line available online only, I wonder if they'll continue to 'dynamically pose' the figures in the trays?
      It's not like they need to bring in the 'moms' any more is it? And MOTUC never needed it.
      I bet they keep it up.

    • Nik

      Considering Ghostbusters was never a retail line (outside of one TRU exclusive) and they constantly and annoyingly dynamically-warp-inducingly-posed them… good luck with that.


    We should send in the same questions to see how redundant the answers stay.

  14. Paul

    You should replace it with Lambast Matty.

  15. Fengschwing

    Yep, not going to miss these…

  16. Barbecue17

    I'm surprised Matty didn't respond to my question with: TLDR.

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