MOTUC 2013 Sub in Jeopardy?

Following up from the earlier post, there are two notable posts over on the Mattycollector forums.

First up:

Subject: MOTUC on the chopping block?

Q: With all due respect Toyguru, how could MOTUC possibly be on the chopping block when it’s the highest selling line on Is this an edict handed down by corporate or is this a brand decision from yourself? Do you feel Mattycollector could even exist without MOTUC?

A: In 2012 it was/is one of the hottest. But the 2013 sub has not sold the min yet. Until it does, it is on the block. We need sub support to continue it.


Subject: Can you do a sub meter for MOTUC?

Q: Like the one you have on DCUC? Clearly, we need it.

A: We’ll look into it. At this point we may need one. We were not expecting to which is why one was not prepped.

Before the reveals, I half-expected the 2013 MOTUC sub to have trouble. I thought the quality of the reveals, particularly Ram Man, would get it up to at least last year’s level. But it appears the somewhat lackluster selection this year, combined with displeasure regarding the 30th Anniversary figures (two hits and four duds) and, most important of all, the price increase have dealt a strong blow.

I’ve little doubt it’s the price increase that’s the biggest problem here. It seems to have priced out many international collectors, and I think they’re sorely missed. I know some fans are interpreting this as “scare-mongering,” but last year Scott did tell us the MOTUC sub was safe, even if the numbers were the lowest yet.

Of course, it’s worth noting that even I haven’t subscribed yet – I mean, me, Poe Ghostal. And why? Character selection and price. This year I’m getting Spikor and Mekaneck, two of the last figures I wanted aside from Ram Man. I’m not sure I want to pay $600+ for Ram Man and a bunch of figures that will likely be opened, reviewed, displayed for a few months, then placed in a ziplock bag inside a rubbermaid tote until they get unloaded en masse at Comicazi.

My toy budget is getting squeezed by other life concerns these days, so if I plan to continue collecting, say, S.H.MonsterArts and Ultra-Act, MOTUC just doesn’t make sense next year. That might mean I’ll have to pay some exorbitant amount for Ram Man – or maybe live without him. That’s the real crux of this for me – is it worth paying something like $200 for Ram Man, one third of the sub, to avoid paying that other $400? Because I can be damned sure I won’t be the only non-subscriber gunning for a Ram Man; and if sub numbers are as low as Mattel is intimating, Rammy will be a scalper’s dream. (And if you think Mattel will produce extra Ram Man figures so they can sell them on the day-of-sale, have I got a bridge for you.)

I actually suspect the MOTUC sub will go through no matter what, but it’s possible – perhaps even likely – we could see reduced tooling, accessories and paint applications.


MOTUC Bio Discussion > Dekker


Pic of the Day > Laser Beasts: #97 Sea Panic by chogokinjawa


  1. AmericanHyena


    How many of you who AREN’T subbing would change your minds if the three pack was dropped?

    • Harrig

      For me and I guess a lot of others it's price price price! To be honest, I don't even begrudge the VAT to an extent, but any courier has a customs clearance charge that typically ranges from £8 – £12 ($12 – $19 USD) which just makes the figures reach a silly price.

      Slap onto that a number of "meh" figures and that's quite a lot of cash.

      I personally would be up for an international sub payment to cover the $5 per figure and save the VAT and clearance fees, but I imagine a lot of people would not.

      I like the line up for the rest of the year, I like the god of sliced bread and I really like the Fearsome Foe Men… but the extra $5 has made a huge difference…

      and now Poe has filled my tiny head with images of Godzilla…

  2. Ronnie

    Technically, we- rather, you, I don't collect MOTUC- do owe Mattel. MOTU is a property that, from a business standpoint, they had no reason to believe had potential to make a profit. It's a 20 year old kids property that came and went and died. The last revival fizzled. MOTUC in the first place was a big risk for Mattel, especially the business plan.

    • So what is this, a charitable endeavor on Mattel's behalf? They wouldn't keep this line going if there wasn't profit to be had. There is most definitely goodwill from them on keeping it going as a small collector line that gives most fans what they want, but I disagree that we OWE Mattel and are obligated to buy every figure for their good deeds.

  3. Monkey boy

    Let the line fail. This is Matty forcing you to buy figures it knows nobody wants in order to get the ones you do. It’s a pure cash grab. It absolves Matty of the risk and unloads tons of plastic nobody wants so Mattel can rake in the $$.

  4. Anyone else feel like Toyguru is so used to so many fans kissing his butt that he's started to believe that we actually owe him and Mattel for gracing us with MOTUC figures?

    Maybe that's overly harsh, but his tone and general message above make me wonder…

    • Mario

      He's being realistic, pragmatic, & in the end, as much as he loves "his baby", he's doing whatever his bosses tell him to do. Does he have the firmest grip on tact? Probably not, but every time you see an interview with Neitlich, especially on camera, he's always dropping sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle hints of self-deprecation, as well as the understanding that he's become a polarizing figure. He knows he's the face of the line, & thus, knows that he'll be showered with both brown-nosing & hate-mongering alike. Say what you will about the guy, but he's no idiot, & I certainly don't believe that he believes himself to be "almighty".

  5. Price is rough, the loss of international business is rougher, the character/figure selection is roughest. I believe Mattel spoiled themselves with the subscription. In the end, I will by the subscription; I've hung on this long, why not ride the barrel over the falls…. WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  6. “I’m not sure I wan to pay $600+ for Ram Man and a bunch of figures that will likely be opened, reviewed, displayed for a few months, then placed in a ziplock bag inside a rubbermaid tote until they get unloaded en masse at Comicazi.”

    While I am unemployed and haven’t had spending money since March (stupid Pakistan!), I’m still foolishly optimistic that I’ll have a job and frivolous funds soon, and I’ve been slowly convincing myself that if that does come to pass, I should finally buy some of the MOTUC figures I’ve been wanting since 2008. (I don’t even have He-Man yet, which is just silly).

    I’m hoping that many collectors will grow so weary of Mattel’s nonsense that they’ll sell their collections; if enough people do it, I might be able to nab a couple-few dozen figures for slightly less than heart-stopping prices…

    • You can get most MOTUC figures (except the incentive figs) for slightly-less-than-heart-stopping prices now, practically.

    • Monkey boy

      Incredibly, I scored a griffin new in box from eBay for $29.99 with free, very fast shipping. Not sure if I got lucky or what but wasn’t Matty asking $33 plus expensive “shipping that involved strapping the package to a snail and sending it in your general direction?

    • Mario

      & even the "incentive" figures… it's not like Preternia disguise He-Man goes for big coin.

  7. muldertp

    I’m hoping that the sub doesn’t make it, at this point. Then I can get Ram Man on dos. I’m done being threatened and I’ll buy on my own terms, even if it costs more.

    • Zach S.

      Exactly. Mattel's tactics are old and tired. While I want every vintage character, and would be terribly disappointed if the line ends without them being produced, I'm tired of the way they treat their consumers.

  8. Harrig

    Just as a matter of interest, in the UK customs duty becomes payable when the value of an item exceeds £15 – at current exchange rates $25 works out at just about £15.99… so when you add shipping ($10?) then the VAT and processing costs £12, plus approx £7 for shipping, that is about £36 per figure ($56 USD), and customs and excise are pretty keen over here at the moment. I love the figures, but unless they can address this, it is just too much for a figure.

  9. ero

    The strong arm tactics are working on me, as I'm pretty close to pulling the trigger for the first time ever. But these 3-packs are what kill it for me. For the second year in a row, they've given us a trio of obscurities. I thought the Star Sisters would be too hard to swallow at $60. I can't imagine paying $75 for the pilots. And yet, I'm so, so close. I don't want the line to end. I still want a lot of the vintage guys, namely Ninjor, Horde Troopers (THEY should be the 3-pack) and Two-Bad. Aside from not caring even a little about King He-Man, I think the first four figures for 2013 are solid, so that's some small comfort. I come and go with the Filmation series, but the figure I keep looking at most since they were revealed is Fangman, followed only by the new Randor. Those two are beauties.

  10. I really hope that the line doesn't go down just yet… even though I haven't exactly been collecting it.

  11. This isn't a shock. This line is on it's last legs. Sure it's probably got at least two more years (remember nobody subscribed to DCUC last year and yet it still went through) but the bloom is off in a big way. This is the latest Mattel extortion tactic. It worked on me last year, but not this year.

    To quote my Planned Banter buds, "Ram Man, then I'm out."

    Seriously, outside of Ram Man, nothing they announced is worth joining the sub for. As I've said repeatedly, lots of these oddball figures are neat and something I might would have spent $20 on, but none I'd spend almost $25-$28 before shipping on.

    And let's face it, anyone who's had the sub, especially this year, knows what a horrible system it is. Gone are the days where you get one figure a month and you can budget for $30 to come out. Nope, this is the new Matty sub system, where you never know how much is coming out. Maybe it's one figure, maybe it's two and a giant item. Maybe it's a half dozen. You just never know, so you can't EVER truly be prepared unless you're constantly monitoring the MOTUC schedule.

    I just don't have the time, energy or money for that. And so many of these figures are absolute duds now. You can't even get rid of the Star Sisters for retail, yet I was strong armed into getting them because I was dopey enough to buy the sub. Lest we forget getting bilked for adding extra items to your order and having to pay separate shipping for that. Mattel's been hosing us on that for YEARS now and it's taken it's toll. Now that pretty much every line is a MattyCollector exclusive, guess what? People don't want to be locked into subscriptions where they are PUNISHED for purchasing extras or other items.

    Especially when it's figures like "Some guy you never heard of that Roger Sweet drew on a cocktail napkin in the 80's" and so on. With price hikes and obscure selections, it's over.

    The sub is just too big and too expensive. Can't go back to 2008 pricing? Maybe it's time to go back to 2008 subscriptions. I bet you they'd sell twice as many subscriptions if it were for 12 figures and not however many it's for now, plus all the non-sub items.

    I'm out, been gonna be out, glad to be going out.

  12. Misterbigbo

    This is 100% total bullshiat. I'll believe the little brand manager who cried wolf when, in a last ditch effort to increase sales, he reshuffles the 2013 roster to include the last heavy hitters the line had planned. If he cares about the line as much as he professes, then he won't let it whimper out.

    The stretching of this line by the too-frequent inclusion of obscure and unwanted figures has finally teamed up with QC nightmares, DR, and price increases to kill it.

    Don't subscribe. Let the line fail, and let Matty turn to Kickstarter to fund individual figures. Of course, that kind of thinking would be outside what I think Mattel is capable of.

  13. Red Palm

    It's going to be fun to watch all the angry MOTUC fans storm Castle Mattelskull, hungry for blood and Ram Man figures. Bring me the head of the smirky one! I feel it's time for a Skull Keg party!!

    I want to know who's coming with me? 😉

  14. jumper11

    If the figures are so difficult and expensive to produce, then why would a company risk lame ass figures? Shouldn't it follow that they'd manufacture sure bets?
    What'd be neat-o:
    "These are the top x number fan demanded characters. Lets make 'em, give the fans what they want, make money and be done."
    What it seems like:
    "Lets make uncertain and/or niche toys/characters, mandate expensive subscriptions, and slowly trickle out demanded characters. We can sustain interest and maximize profit."

  15. Jonathan

    I definitely thought the line was going to have some trouble, though I expected that trouble to be the lowest sub- ins to date, I didn't expect the line to be put "on the chopping block".

    I'm sure the price increase has a lot to do with it. I also think there is a lot of residual disappointment about this years roll out as well as QC issues etc. I also think that Mattel's decision to severely reduce the number of "day of" stock for cherry pickers has left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths.

    Honestly, though people are really kicking and screaming over these issues, I completely get why they're doing what they're doing, from an economical stand point. The 5$ price increase is a 25% increase but this is also the first time the price has been raised in 5 years. As I'm sure everyone's noticed, everything is getting more expensive, so why would any of us expect that the production of these amazing figures would just idle at a 2008 price point? I would rather have a 30% increase and buy a more expensive figure that has the same great quality as what we've grown to love than pay the same $20 and get a cheaper crappier version. As for the reduction of cherry picker stock, that's understandable too… and more so. This is an online exclusive collector toy line. They aren't selling to retail locations so there are no guaranteed sales except for the sales made through subscriptions. Plus, there's been a drastic drop in day of sales, lord, I think Spikor might even still be available. So, asking a company to produce an expensive line of figures based on possible sales with no guaranteed sales and a noticeably declining interest is ridiculous!

    Whatever the reason, I hope the sub comes through in the end, but I'm now 99% (as oppose to my 95% before this news) sure that 2013 will probably be the last year for MOTUC.

    • stack32

      I'd give Mattel a little more credit on not raising the price if they hadn't started with a 2012 price point back in 2008. They were way more expensive than everything else then and they aren't doing anything to make them a better value now. That money certainly isn't going towards quality.

    • Jonathan

      Ludicrous. I realize the line has had it's issues with QC and all, but the quality and workmanship going into these figures is undeniable. They are by far some of the best collectible figures on the market. Just being an exclusive collectible toy line that has lasted 5 years is a testament to that. $20 was an amazing price point for as long as it lasted and definitely NOT the most expensive thing out there, even Marvel Selects ( which in my opinion is a poor idea of a collector line ) are $24 at retail, and they are cheaply made and poorly painted. Or what about the Gentle Giants Star Wars 12" going for $80 ( which, though cool, are essentially rotocasted plastic statues ). Our collection at home ranges from 1950's 3 inch spacemen to fiber glass giant Planet of the Apes heads, we've been collecting for 20 years… not to sound arrogant, but I think I know something about quality. If you're mad about the price increase then be mad, but don't be so foolish as to complain that these are poorly made collectibles.

    • stack32

      Sure, if you throw out weak ankles, misassembled parts, and cracking torsos the quality is fantastic. They are well-designed and the 4H are great sculptors, but I think it's quite a stretch to suggest the "great" figure they come up with is the that actually ends up in the hands of collectors.

      I don't know where you see Marvel Select, but everywhere I look the current listing price is $22, even for something like the Hulk. And that's with unique sculpts. I haven't had any MS figures that feel cheap. The plastic they certainly seems to be of better quality than what Mattel uses for MOTUC and DCUC. There has definitely been some MS figures with dodgy paint jobs though.

      There's lot of other collectibles out there that are more expensive, but there's few that are more expensive if we actually talk about 6-7" action figures, which would seem to be the only worthwhile comparison. Marvel Select, NECA, Marvel Legends, and even Playmates now are producing collector figures that could be compared to MOTUC. There's differences in production numbers between all those lines and they all have issues, but to suggest MOTUC stands head and shoulders above anything else on the market seems ludicrous to me.

  16. I’ve found a way to get my sub, but this is truely disappointing. Loved all the reveals but the bully boy tactics in this modern day world of the Internet and fandom just doesn’t work. Ignoring the international customer base will have a heavy toll, but I feel they are too arrogant to see it and the sub will carry on and they’ll continue to ignore the issue. Custom charges are a bane in the UK and we have been harping on about it since the beginning. Head in the sand for Scott I think.

  17. Dead Man Walking

    It SHOCKS me that NECA can produce a single figure for a property like Bulletstorm, with articulation equal to MOTUC and paint apps exceeding it, and sell it at mass for $10, but Mattel can't sell 4H-designed MOTU figures on their own g'damn web store.

    • Bigbot

      The only time I've seen Grayson Hunt for $10 was when it was on discount. I'm pretty sure it was released at $15. Still a great value though.

    • jumper11

      I agree. A lot. NECA makes consistently awesome figures that are less expensive, and no drama. From what I've gathered, they do address QC issues fairly. To tie it in, they even helped the 4H produce their own figures when they were in a bind! They gave me a balrog, that would eat that old lady He-Man dragon alive, for only about 40 dollars more!!

    • Mark

      You always have to remember NECA and Mezco etc aren't run by idiots. 😉

  18. Jack Static

    Lets say the 2013 sub DOESN’T go through, do they have to pay the 30th anniversary constestants a cash prize?

    • 30th anniversary sub is this year, not next… Those 6 figures will come out regardless of how the 2013 sub sells.

    • Jack Static

      No no, i meant the prize for the contestants. they are given 2013 subs. Im pretty sure if i held a contest and couldn’t produce the prize offered i could be legally held responsible for SOMETHING

  19. Yet, on-day MOTUC sell out in minutes. And Mattel is threatening to make even less available. Geez, Mattel, maybe you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you. This is pure arm-twisting.

  20. Harrig

    You are spot on – the 2013 reveals had to really sparkle to get me interested, and as much as I like the end of 2012, the fighting Foe Men and Ram Man, it seems to have lost impact for this Brit – the possibility of a hefty customs charge with each figure and the price raise make this a lot of cash I could be sending into other passions…

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