MOTUC Q&A's From Around the Net (12/15/2011)
This is the final bi-weekly Q&A for the year! The Q&A's return 1/15/2012
Many fans have expressed concern that the more foam-like parts on certain figures, such as Snout Spout’s trunk, will rot or decay over time more quickly than the more traditional thicker rubber used for bendy parts would. Did Mattel do any tests to determine this foamlike material’s long-term durability compared to other types of plastic?
All of our figures, no matter what the material, go through extensive internal simulated aging and humidity testing. If product does not pass, we do not ship it.
Heli asks: Some time ago, it was reported that the 200X Skeletor swords would be making an appearance in the MOTUC line, but we haven’t heard anything about them lately. Are they still planned? Can you give us an indication of where they might appear (i.e. packed in with a Skeletor variant, in a weapons pack, etc.) and when?
They are still planned for 2012 but we are not ready to announce how they are coming yet. Stay tuned!
Jukka asks: For Scott and 4Horsemen: Do you have a favourite Filmation-weapon that you would like to see in MOTUC-line?
“I’d love to do the Diamond Ray of Disappearance. It was the very first magical object and I think it would be a blast to do that in Classics one day!. The Golden Discs of Knowledge would also be fun!”
1.) It seems that many of the Swiftwind figures are arriving with production errors involving the front legs. Some are correct, but a large portion seem to have either 2 right front legs or 2 left front legs (in case you aren't familiar with the problem yet, check out this thread at the He-Man.org forums- http://he-man.org/forums/boards/showthread.php?t=217547
). Back when the King Hsss shoulders error was discovered, we were told that there would be no exchanges for correct product since no correct product existed. In the case of Swift Wind, correct versions are out there so at least some were manufactured correctly. My question is this- Will fans who received incorrectly assembled Swiftwinds be given the opportunity to exchange theirs for ones correctly assembled? And if so, is there any way that a team outside of standard Digital River customer service could be brought in to handle the problem (since DR seems ill-equipped to handle just about any customer service issue)?
We are well aware of this issue and yes, fans can exchange and defective product through customer service. Overall it was a VERY small number of Swiftwinds that were affected by this production error.
2.) The "Mad Matty Monday" sale and the Black Friday/ Cyber Monday Sale saw a large portion of the MOTUC product available at discounted prices. It would seem that seeing so many items being sold at sometimes half the cost of their original retail would deter folks from "buying early". After all- Why pay full price for something that will be sold at 50% off months later? The leaves us to question the benefits of being a subscription holder, since it is fairly obvious that if you are patient, and can hold out a for a while, all of these figures will eventually be made available again for quite a substantial discount. Don't you feel that sales like these (while great for newcomers and folks that missed out on certain figures early on) are detrimental to subscription sales... which are supposedly at their lowest point yet?
Starting in 2012, production will be much closer to the sub sales (with some limited stock still available for day-of non sub holders). While there may be some sales, we don't expect a sale as expansive as the 2011 BF sale again in 2012.
3.) Another question regarding the Cyber Monday sale- Why was the decision made to trickle items in and out of the sale instead of just having all the product available at a certain time? Many folks couldn't spend the entire day refreshing the Matty site just to see what product would pop up... And those of us that did were forced into separate orders if we wanted to grab certain items before they sold out. What was the benefit in handling the sale in this manner?
It provided a little more chase for fans on Cyber Monday and added to the shopping experience.
4.) Is there any chance we could get a repaint of the 200X-style power sword in bronze in an upcoming Weapons Pak? It would be really cool to stick one with the bronze version of King Grayskull to make it more accurate to the "Powers of Grayskull" MYP episode.
We certainly can look into this. Cool suggestion.
5.) Many questions (like more international shipping options or earlier shipping for subscribers) are usually met with the same answer… something to the effect of "we are looking into this" or "we are constantly exploring more options". My question is this- Can we start instituting some kind of timetable for improvements and corrections to longstanding issues? It's all well and good to hear that you are looking for ways to improve, but until it actually happens, that's just more words... and in some cases, we've heard those same words for going on 3 years now.
We can't promise an exact time table as things are always in flux but as repetitive as the answer is, we are working on this actively and hope to have solutions as soon as possible.
Pop Culture Network
4) The Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales saw MOTUC figures reduced as low as 50% in price. The Halloween sale had 6" Ghostbusters figures reduced to as low as $8. Even Mad Matty Monday saw customers receive the likes of Gygor, Molar vs Skeletor 2 packs, SDCC exclusive King Grayskull and even Club Eternia exclusive Wun-dar in a few cases. Can you explain to the customer base(who is being vehemently blamed for 2012 Club Eternia subscription sales being the lowest total since it's inception in 2009) what the incentive is to be a subscription holder? When it is fairly obvious that if you are patient, and can hold out a for a while, all of these figures will eventually be made available again for quite a substantial discount.
The various sales we had in 2011 are a bit of a one time thing. We don't expect to have similar sales each year. Starting in 2012, we are GREATLY reducing production quota across the board beyond the subscription number for all brands. There will be some day-of sales, but these sales will have much more limited stock then in the past to help manage inventory and avoid the need for large sales each year. This actually helps reinforce the sub program as it is the best way to guarantee your figures going forward. There may be sales in the future, but likely not anywhere close to what we did in 2011 in terms of variety or discounts. Hope that helps!
5) Since back in the day Fisto was renamed Battle Fist and Flipshot has been renamed Icarius because of copyright, Would the fact that Clawdeen is the name of a character in Monster High doll line affect whether or not you'll be able to do her in the future and name her Clawdeen or is this all by passed by the fact that Mattel owns both properties?
In the case of the 2002 Fisto (vs. Battlefist) or Flipshot (vs. Icarius), that was due to other toy companies having the rights to those names at the time. For Clawdeen, the name is owned by Mattel currently, so even if it is used on another Mattel product line it is clear for us to use if we need for MOTU. This is very similar to how Mattel's Uno line has a Roboto toy or how Mattel's RC line had a Tri-Klops toy a few years back.
2. Rather than stringing them out into two quarterly variant slots, has Mattel given any thought to taking characters who are a bit of a tough sell on their own and packing them together in a 2-pack? Like intead of Battle Armor He-Man and Skeletor being two releases, making them one?
This is something we have thought about and you may see it down the road. Nothing locked in right now.
3. You guys have mentioned that you have a pretty good roadmap of where things are and were in Eternia in the MOTU saga. We've been reading the bios and piecing it together, but do you think there will ever be a time when you can reveal the MOTU bible of sorts? Like either on the website or perhaps in some sort of special book. Just so we can all read the story without having to try to infer between the gaps and hunt down the obscure details.
Yes, we do hope one day we can get to something like this. And by the end of 2012, there should be enough info out there that the bios will start to fill out and the timeline will be much clearer. The mini comic will also help a ton in clearing up some time line questions!
4. We've seen more sales on MattyCollector this year than any year prior. To fans this has been a great thing, as they've been able to pick up missed figures or some extras at a great value. That said, should folks be concerned about these sales or is MattyCollector just now finally starting to have them because it took a few years to build up a back catalogue of leftover products?
These sales were in part our way of reducing inventory in prep for 2012. Starting in 2012 our production runs will also be much smaller and much closer to the sub number. There will be some day-of sales, but with a lower overall quota then you have seen before. While we will have some older product too, it won't at all be like it was in 2011 and there may not be the same type of extensive sales in 2012 like you saw in 2011.
3- Was the Black Friday Mattycollector sales a success from a sale standpoint? Will we see sales like this in the future?
It was a big success. While we may do similar sales down the road, it is not something that should be expected on an annual basis. In 2012 our production quotas are going to be much closer to the sub holders so there will less additional stock and less of a need for clearance sales going forward specifically on the MOTUC brand.
4- There have been some reports of leg problems with Swiftwind, can you comment on if this is rather isolated or not?
All toys are hand assembled and there will always be some human error. We have looked intot his issue and it is relatively small (in terms of the total production of Swifty) number of units and we are happy to replace any defective product.
5- When can we expect the next batch of reveals, is it at Toyfair?
Yes, likely at Toy Fair in NY
MOTUClassics.Com: Taking it account the vintage-inspired Snout Spout’s one-day sellout, has Mattel given any thought to a “Battleground” type release that incorporates more modern, but classicized elements like the tusk anatomy for the head, the hooves, or even a handful of armored/techno body parts that would be more complimentary to his current head sculpt?
No. While we will include some Classic-sized version of 200X armor and weapons we won’t be doing 200X versions of figure’s heads or bodies. All the looks for MOTUC will be based on the Classic look which is a modern update on the vintage design.
MOTUClassics.Com Asks: Speaking of cybernetics, is a new basic buck that features a slightly more armored/techno look possible? It would’ve greatly improved figures like Snout Spout and the upcoming Snake MAA, but would adding armored/technical bits to the basic buck skew to close to hyper-anime detail?
If a figure calls for more parts with tech on them we certainly could do it. We tend to leave these type of choices up to the Four Horsemen.
Kastor's Korner: Can the Snake Mountain figure stands include a waist clip instead of foot pegs? It seems like a more practical approach, given the ankle joints' lack of support on some figures. If multiple waist clip stands were included in each set, they could be used for the Grayskull stands as well, which seems like it would increase sales of both stand sets!
Matty: No, the stands will not include a waist clip. But cool idea!
Kastor's Korner: It was great to see hard-to-find figures come to special sales like Black Friday, but what becomes of excess Subscription figures like Preternia Disguise He-Man? While it makes sense to not sell figures that are intended as gift with purchase incentives, is there a leftover stock in limbo, or are these figures explicitly made to order?
Matty: The Subscription figures like Wun-Dar, Preternia He-Man or Shadow Weaver will never be sold to the public. They are only available for sub holders. Production is run to the number of sub holders so we don't have excess stock.
When can fans expect to get their first look at the upcoming Granamyr figure?
Likely not until SDCC 2012 similar to when we revealed the Windraider for fall 2011 at SDCC 2011.
How many othern characters do you plan to release before fans can finally get their hands on NA versions of He-Man or Skeletor?
You will need to wait and see! We do look forward to getting to both of these variants in time.
The Ultimate She-Ra Guide
Chris asks: It has been stated that there won't be Filmation-style variants of He-Man, Skeletor etc in the Classics style, but would you consider doing variants of characters like Clawful, Tung Lashor and Multi-Bot who had distinctly different cartoon guises?
Matty: It may be more that the Horsemen will now be looking at Filmation as well as an overall influence for each sculpt in their method of creating the ultimate classic version of each character. With so many characters yet to do, it is unlikely we will tackle an all new Clawful in the near future, but hey, you never know what could happen in time.
USRG ask: Shadow Weaver was frequently referred to as the 'Mistress of Dark Magic' in the Ladybird books. How cool does that sound?! Is this something you could use as her tagline?
Matty: We just got in packaged samples of her and her tag line is "Evil Mistress of Dark Magic!"
Alex asks: Is it possible to include Adora's night gown outfit from The Secret of the Sword, perhaps with a future Force Captain Adora variant (like Marlena's removable dress)?
Matty: Possible? Sure. Planned right now? No.
Ealo asks: With the recent overhaul of Digital River's customer service process, will European buyers be offered the chance to pay their sales taxes at the time of purchase? Many American companies already offer this.
Matty: This is something we are actively working on.
Rilee asks: Will the Create a Character contest winner feature the original artwork on the back of the packaging (next to the bio)?
Matty: Likely we will have Mattel artists draw the character much as Bruce Timm drew the final image of Fearless Photog back in the day (along with all the vintage context finalists). But hey, you never know. It may depend on who wins and what the entry looks like.
The sites listed below are the sites who want to participate in the Q&A round-up in these threads and on the He-Man.org homepage news entry.
Be sure to check out their sites! There's a lot there to see in addition to the Q&As.
ElkkThunders Toy Room
The Ultimate She-Ra Guide
All other sites haven't gotten back to us yet about participating, or have asked not to be included which we completely understand and respect.
So, please do not post the actual questions and answers from any site not listed above.
But you are welcome to post a direct link to their Q&A, and discuss the info here in this thread.