Stinkorgate, Cont’d


Stinkor by soundofdesign, on Flickr

UPDATE: That discussion got way out of hand way too fast. I welcome free speech and I want people to be able to express their opinion, no matter how I much I disagree with it, but I insist on civility. I will accept any and all criticisms about being a tyrant, bully, bad journalist, head-in-the-sand-ostrich or whatever to enforce it. It’s my site and I won’t accept name-calling or general meanness.

To be fair I wiped out all previous comments, but they’re still open if anyone wants to restart the conversation.

I said I wasn’t going to get too involved in this one, and for now I’m sticking to that, though I’ll probably have my say when I review the actual figure. But I thought I’d highlight two things. First, here is the Four Horsemen’s final word, via their Twitter account:

After seeing a photo, that’s definitely not the way we’d intended the forearms to be positioned. Not sure what happened or why. […]we’ve finished it, they have every right to do so. They’re the ones assuming all of the financial responsibility & risk. The bottom line is that this is Mattel’s property. Not ours. If they decide that it’s best to alter something like that after…

I can appreciate the Horsemen’s diplomatic answer here – no suggestion of a production error. But James Sawyer at isn’t equivocating in his take on the situation:

[…]since the musculature of your inner forearm isn’t the same as your outer forearm, this piece probably wasn’t intended to be interchangeable by the Horsemen when they sculpted it. The 4H know their anatomy… so when they sculpt a body part, it is sculpted as an accurate (albeit dramaticized) representation of its living counterpart. They then leave it to production, hoping that the final version will reflect it accurately. Of course, sometimes stuff happens when it leaves their hands…


[…]so in a line where parts re-use is a linchpin in capturing the vintage feel, [Mattel] suddenly felt the need to mix it up a little? Why here, why now? We’ve been told again, and again, AND AGAIN that [Mattel isn’t] going to reinvent the wheel with these figures- What you see with the vintage counterpart is what you’ll get in MOTUC. We all know it, we’ve all become accustomed to it, we all accept it. So why in the world would [Mattel] all of the sudden decide that Stinkor needs to “pop more”?


I’m sure a few of you are thinking things like “oh, it isn’t even that noticeable”, “there are more important things to get upset about”, or “quit complaining- it is only a $20 figure” and that is perfectly fine. You are entitled to your opinion. To me, the figure is incorrectly assembled and the response to the situation is laughable. To so blindly accept such mediocrity is really hard for me to understand. […] You are a consumer and you are entitled to get the product delivered to you in a correct manner.


Review > Destructor 2011 SDCC Exclusive (Futurama, Toynami)


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  1. Valo487

    I don’t believe for one second Mattel did this on purpose. I think it was an error, they realized it before we did, and decided to pretend this was intentional to avoid having to admit they messed up again. We’re approaching sub-season again soon, I don’t think they wanted another QC issue fresh on anyone’s mind.

    • Agreed! There's no way this was a genuine decision to make the figure "pop". It just sounds so preposterous!

  2. Monkey boy

    I believe Mattel might have done this purposefully, although such a decision is way less forgivable than if it had been yet another production error. If you’re a company with a line that has become known for production problems like this, the last thing you wanna do is futz with switching things around ON PURPOSE. It’s just going to make your customers crazy. That said, I am totally capable of believing Mattel is that out of touch with their fan base to think that switching forearms intentionally is a good idea.

  3. carl

    This part of Sallah’s post is perfect…

    “To so blindly accept such mediocrity is really hard for me to understand. […] You are a consumer and you are entitled to get the product delivered to you in a correct manner.”

    Why is that so tough for people to understand?

    Why is it wrong to be angry when it doesn’t happen.

    I’m a commercial artist, and understand that things go wrong.

    Its the dishonesty (and general acceptance of dishonesty) that is 100% wrong.

    I like TG and I love this line but please realize how scary you sound when you support the line no matter what. Eventually we’ll be sent a broken unpainted arm for $50+s/h and if you complain about it you’re a jerk or whiny…

    • Monkey boy

      The sad thing is a dollar just doesn’t go as far as it used to. I’ve bought hot toys figures for $150 and had stuff broken or poor quality. But sadly it just seems like that’s the way of things. It’s like we’re payin for design and concept, but not quality or durability. Almost makes me yearn for the days of toys with 5 POA and minimal paint apps that I could leave outside for days. Almost but not really.

  4. Brad

    Ummm…this sure has evolved into a nice little clusterf*ck.

    I’ve purchased several MOTUC figures, and have been pretty happy with just a few of them. My Man-E-Faces seemed to be shoddily constructed and sloppily painted.

    My Vikor was just about perfect in every sense of the word, and my He-Man and Skeletor are fine, although He-Man’s Beck-like floppy ankles do prevent him from standing up very well.

    My Count Marzo and Chief Carnivus were floppy, sloppy messes, and were sold with Man-E-Faces on eBay…and I kinda quit after that.

    I know I’ll be ultimately disappointed with most of these figures due to the constant Q/C issues, so why waste my money?

    I hope ToyGuru can salvage things and make up with the collectors, but it looks like that ship has sailed and may be taking on water.

    And he seemed so damn confidant and genuinely happy on RGD!

  5. Frogman13

    Talk of collectors quitting a line because it is so deletiriously mismanaged is ridiculous – heads should roll at the toy company in question.

  6. paul

    I'll say this about Mattel – I'm glad the people who work on the WWE line are not the same idiots who work on the other properties. Scott is a nerd and must have lockjaw from how often he's shoved his foot in his mouth. DC hasn't exactly done Mattel any favors with their bad decisions and crappy movies, but I have no doubt the Mattel people behind the DC stuff would find a way to screw up any line.

    Again, I don't know how the WWE stuff turns out so great. The only issue I have with the WWE line is the stuff that pops up on MattyCollector. Overpriced and you can't combine shipping because the old stock gets pulled when something new goes up.

  7. clark

    So the one day that I can't check your site because I'm stuck in a conference, things get so out of hand that you have to wipe the comments? Darn it.

    I do find the part of Jame's article that says that Scott should have just fessed up that this was a mistake because he "can take mistakes" and "can take screwups." Well, that puts him in the minority. Mistakes and screwups have people griping online all the time!

    I probably shouldn't point that out, because I am sharing the boat with people who are bothered by this forearm switch. However, I've kept quiet about all the other issues before (mostly because they were on figures I wasn't planning on getting anyway). I'm upset about this because this particular figure happens to be one of my most-wanted, and he has a white stripe preventing me from just switching the parts around myself.

  8. I just…. sigh.

  9. The_Fun_has_been_Doubled

    Mattel SHOULD avoid stirring the hornet's nest… With all the issues with reversed body parts, having a figures with REVERSED PARTS ON PURPOSE is a tad ludicrous! I just hope there are no more weird issues before the 2013 sub time…

  10. Frogman13

    Kelektor: I think the Green Lantern toy debacle almost did for Neitlich. After that DCUC was taken from him I think.

    • AFOS

      That's not true. I remember an interview with Scott at the Comic-Con or Toy Fair before Green Lantern opened that he moved from DCUC to Green Lantern. On the latest RGD podcast Scott talks about how Mattel deliberately moves people around regularly. MOTUC is small enough that he's been allowed to stick with it.

  11. Kelektor

    We’re paying premium prices for a boutique figure from a boutique class online vendor (or more on the secondary market) and still we are treated worse than economy class clients.
    My arithmetic over time has speculated that with its Spartan tooling policy and over the odds pricing, MOTUC has perhaps kept DCUC and other mattycollector lines afloat over the past three years. So an incorrectly assembled figure is a big deal. In these erratic financial times, a very big deal.
    The Four Horsemen have been cited by Scott Neitlich and other Mattel spokespeople over the past years as saying things they never said or hinted at being responsible for problems that were not problems when sculpts left their workshop. 4H are savvy, but overall meditative craftsmen – but how much more should they take from Neitlich and Mattel before Mr Lawyer gets a call? Look at how Neitlich blithely treated Emiliano Santalucia. If he is that baroque and bullying in public – what careless arrogance is he guilty of behind the scenes? His “Director’s Commentaries” are audacious to say the least. Eric Treadaway first proposed MOTUC after making prototypes of such for Toyfare for years, yet Neitlich claims bragger’s rights?!
    Time for this spoiled, credit hogging and deluded man to leave Mattel. Stinkor’s ludicrous handling could be the final straw for fans.

    • Gary

      I, for one, would be more than interested in seeing the numbers behind your arithmetic. Because from my understanding, several important variable costs have risen — some dramatically — since MOTUC came into being: the cost of raw materials (plastics, etc.), the cost of Chinese labor, and the cost of shipping. Going your speculations, Mattel must have a ridiculous margin on a small-run line like MOTUC to keep the mass production DCUC afloat. But then again, that's all your "arithmetic" is, isn't it: rampant speculation.

    • Again, let's try and minimize the name-calling and character-aspersion-casting, including Scott Neitlich. I was annoyed with the way he handled the whole Wind Raider thing in regard to me, but I don't wish the guy ill. And I actually like the Director's Commentaries.

      You can state you're unhappy with specific ways he's handled the line and its PR, but I don't know that we can really speak to his ego…well, beyond the fact that he included one of his own creations in the line, though I still wonder how much of that was a cost-saving measure. And yet, I can't say that I would have been able resisting doing the exact same thing in his spot…though I probably would have run it past the Horsemen and gotten some honest feedback. Scott may have done that for all I know, though.

  12. "Well, if it isn't my old friend, Mr. McCraig! With a leg for an arm, and an arm for a leg!"

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