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Thread: TG Blog #1 - King Grayskull - Secret Origins

  1. #1
    Heroic Warrior KUZEH's Avatar
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    TG Blog #1 - King Grayskull - Secret Origins

    Anybody seen this?

    http://forums.mattycollector.com/eve...7/m/5171096837

    Pretty cool IMO!

    ---------------------

    I’m a toy fan. That’s no secret. It’s pretty much the reason I applied to work at Mattel. I’m also a big movie fan (I was a film major in college, well at least one of my majors was film, I’m an overachiever sometimes). One of the things I love about movies is hearing the behind-the-scenes info and the DVD format was perfect for this because it gave us “Director’s Commentary” with insights and secrets behind some of our favorite films.

    In honor of the 30th anniversary of MOTU, I thought it would be a blast to take a look back at MOTUC (circa 2008 – current) and create a blog reflecting on each figure released to date. It is rare for one brand manager to work on a single line as long as I have so I’m in a cool position to share ramblings on both the origins of the brand and a look behind each figure. I don’t remember every detail of every figure, and I’m sure as we get closer to current releases I will have more clarity. But for now, much like getting the director’s commentary on a DVD, this blog is my attempt to offer that same concept but for a fantastic collector toy line – Master of the Universe Classics!

    Each entry will focus on one figure, starting with King Grayskull from SDCC 2008 and going all the way up to the current monthly or quarterly release coming out this year. I hope by the end of 2012 to be caught up with all the figures. There won’t be an exact rollout of these blog entries as I’m going to write them in my “spare” time. But look for them every so often as we take a trip down memory lane and reflect back on the greatest collector toy line of them all, MOTU Classics!

    So where did it all start?

    Well, back in 2007 I was new to the Action Play Marketing group. I had just moved over to the group from the Hot Wheels packaging team where I was a writer on basic cars and track sets. I was moved over to the Marketing team to help start up more robust collector lines as I was a collector myself (in addition to helping to launch the DCUC line with the WB group!).

    One of the first things at the top of my list was somehow through **** or high water getting a MOTU line up and running for collectors. MOTU was my favorite line as a child and getting to work on a MOTU line (or line extension) was a dream job. Basically I wanted to make the MOTU line I always wanted, meaning highly articulated, fully detailed and huge character selection. Yes, that sounds 100% selfish, but remember, as a fan myself my plan was that if I was pleasing myself (as a HUGE MOTU fan), likely I was pleasing most fans (not every fan obviously) but I used my own “requirements” for what a collector MOTU line should be as a jumping off point.

    First stop was SDCC.

    We were a year off from SDCC 2008 and I really wanted to find some way to bring MOTU there. The 200X line had “ended” about 4 years earlier but we still had all of the tools and molds for this line at our factories. I was a HUGE fan of this show and the line (I remember waiting in line at SDCC myself for a Keldor and She-Ra figure and being very upset I only walked away with one She-Ra the year she came out. So much for having a second one MIB!)

    A lot of folks were a bit unsure whether we could launch a MOTU line without any new entertainment and relying on collector interest only. Others were very supportive of the idea. In the end, what we decided was to try one figure using shared tooling.

    There were quite a few characters that never made it into the 200X line and the original idea was to just pick up where the retail line ended and keep pumping out 200x style figures using what shared tooling we could use. Very early on, King Grayskull became the character we wanted to do as he would be a great SDCC item since he was “He-Man” but was not really “He-Man,” appealing to both hard core fans and ideally casual new buyers as well.

    The original idea was to use the 200X Ice Armor He-Man body buck since it had the cape and boots we wanted. A new head would give us this figure perfect to “close out” the 200X line. King Grayskull was not originally intended to be the start of a new line but rather the “final” figure in the 200X line (or if he hit perhaps the start of a 200X collector line).

    Design started looking over the concept and management approved King Grayskull as the SDCC exclusive for summer of 2008. We reached out to our vendor to dig up the old Ice Armor He-Man tool and were about to call the Horsemen to ask about creating a new head.

    But then fate stepped in.

    The Horsemen showed up at SDCC 2007 a month later with an all new concept for a He-Man figure they created on their own independently. You all know what I’m talking about because we slipped it into the display case just to see what fans thought!

    This was a highly detailed, fully articulated figure that used the proportions of the vintage line but updated with today’s standards (set pretty high by a certain 6” Superhero line that was legendary and marvelous).

    The best part about the Horsemen’s new pitch was the figure was designed to heavily use shared parts. I can’t overstress how important this is for a collector line. Tooling is INCREDIBLY expensive. So finding a way to incorporate shared tooling from day one was the only way a line could work. AND what was great was the vintage line was based on shared tooling, so reflecting that in a collector line actually worked without it looking like the line was going cheap.

    The sneak peak in the case was a huge hit with fans at SDCC 2007 and we quickly came back to El Segundo and scrapped out plans to use the Ice Armor He-Man buck and instead thought, “what if we used this new buck for a whole new line of MOTU characters?”

    Now at the same time, we were starting up Mattycollector.com (my major project for coming over to the marketing group). If we could get this new MOTU shared parts line up and running it might be the perfect backbone to this new online distribution model.

    We hatched a plan to use the new buck system to premier King Grayskull at SDCC 2008 as planned, with the idea that if we reflected the vintage line and created basic human, beast (Beastman/Stratos) and reptile (Skeletor) bucks, we could make a variety of characters with minimal new tooling (heads, capes, weapons, etc…).

    I’ll go into detail about the first 6 characters when I get to their blog entries, but for now, a look at how King Grayskull came about.

    We had very little assets and very little time. The packaging group came up with the idea of putting him in a castle-like package and even adding in lights and sounds for that extra Comic-Con affect. Yes, he would be a 100% tool, but we were looking at him as an investment that if we tooled King Grayskull, we would essentially have He-Man and the base for countless other figures.

    The dice were rolled and we took a risk!

    I remember getting the first early sample back and plunking him down on my desk. Wow. We did it! The first new MOTU figure in almost 5 years and boy, was he amazing! I completely credit the Horsemen with the amazing look. Keeping those buffed-up proportions from the vintage line was a stroke of genius. While the original idea was to use the limited shared tooling from the 200X line, having an all-new buck system and starting an all-new line actually made way more sense (especially to upper management) because it gave us the chance to make ALL of the characters again, not just the ones that didn’t make it into the 200X line (like King Grayskull).

    At NYCC in February 2008 we announced the figure as an SDCC exclusive with the idea that there was more to come and a whole new MOTU line with “the best distribution ever” and “MOTU would be back on shelves everywhere.” This was my first experience of fans misinterpreting what I meant. A lot of fans took this to mean store shelves everywhere. I wasn’t yet cleared to announce Mattycollector.com as the distribution model (as that was a reveal saved for SDCC in a few months).

    What I had intended to mean was MOTU would be back on “your” shelf. Meaning the shelf you keep your collection on at home. And by the “best distribution ever” what I meant was anyone in any country could order these online. (As opposed to a retail-exclusive line. If MOTU was, for example, a TRU line, if you lived in a country without a TRU you were out of luck!). Online distribution really meant the widest distribution possible. I honestly never intended to mislead fans and customers and this was a good key learning to watch what I say as everything I say will be picked apart and possibly misinterpreted! A lot of fans were upset when they learned at SDCC this would be an online line, but I think over time it has worked out. Not having to rely on retailer interest has actually been a great move for this line and what has allowed us to do items without thinking about retailer shelf space.

    Anyway, regardless of a few early communication issues, King Grayskull was off to a great start. We even came up with a concept for a “chase” version at the show to help generate more PR and noise by doing a bronze statue version (for the record, this was the suggestion of some of the web masters at He-Man.org who have been a great resource, especially in the beginning when we were getting out feet wet!).

    The figure and package really came together nicely. We no longer had rights to use the actual voice from the 200X series in the toy, but luckily we had a recording from a talking figure from 200X that was a sounds-like voice that we owned. The sound studio deepened the “I have the Power” call from this toy to make it more “King Grayskull” and the package was set.

    We brought King Grayskull to SDCC 2008 and he was a huge smash. This was also the show where we announced Mattycollector.com itself and that there would be more MOTUC figures coming later that fall. (I’ll get more into that in the next blog entry.) We also made sure to produce a few additional units to sell online to kick off the website. Unfortunately, due to not thinking holistically, the electronics we used in the package prevented us from shipping King Grayskull outside of North America. This was never something we did intentionally, but when you are trying to make a cake sometimes you break a few eggs. This was a big one. We really wanted to cultivate an international audience so it killed me that we had this restriction.

    But in the end, despite a few missteps, we had a hit. King Grayskull wound up being the perfect figure to kick off the line since, as I said above, he “was He-Man, but was not He-Man”. He was a figure that was not in the vintage line, but was being done in the new Classics style as an interpretation of what an updated hypothetical vintage King Grayskull would be as updated through the new “Classics style.” Just as the 200X line was a reinterpretation of the vintage line, so was the Classics line. All characters would be in the same Classics look, regardless of where they were from, the vintage line, 200X, POP, NA etc… One all-inclusive line for all figures in a new style. How awesome.

    King Grayskull sold out pretty fast online and it was soon clear that we could proceed with a whole line. But how to do them? Singles? Two packs? What would the packaging look like? How deep in character selection could we go?

    The future was wide open and no one at Mattel was more excited then I. A skinny little kid from Connecticut who played with MOTU when he was 4 was now helping to make figures. Wow. A dream come true no matter how you shake it. For the very first time, MOTU had actual MOTU fans running the line. We were in for one heck of a ride.

    SdN
    (AKA Toyguru)
    Por el Poder de Grayskull!!!...
    Ya tengo el poder!!

    My Feedback thread!!

  2. #2
    Heroic Warrior hlinhk128's Avatar
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    That is an awesome idea!!! I love hearing about all the back stories involved in what happens with this line.
    Gaping holes in my collection: Regular old Teela, Weapons pack 1, Power & Honour book 1, SDCC artbook (maybe)



  3. #3
    Evil Apologist of Mattel Count Marzo's Avatar
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    Wow that is definitely awesome. Another fun MOTU thing to look forward to! Props to Mr. Toyguru for taking the time to do this!
    -=EvilCuntMarz=-
    BLK FLWR!!!!

  4. #4
    Heroic Warrior fireball13z's Avatar
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    Very cool read, cant wait to hear more.

    behind the scenes stuff on DVDs is my fav part of buying movies
    the ignore list is my new best friend

  5. #5
    Heroic Warrior bribri4u's Avatar
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    So freaking cool!
    Wants Crita Veena Angella Mermista Peekablue Tung Lashor EvilSeed LizardMan Prahvus Saurod Gwildor Ninjor Ssquueeze Sagitar Calix Tuskador Perfuma Spinnerella Dragstor Vultak Dylamug Masque Sebrian DreeElle Montork Miro Blast Attack MultiBot Granita Hawke Hunga Kittrina Quakke Butthead Hoove Darius Spinwit Nocturna Kayo Lizzor Artilla Vizar Staghorn Lodar Twiggets Rotar Twistoid Sunder Drissi Caz

  6. #6
    USF Bull chuc98's Avatar
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    What a great idea! A great initial entry too! Can't wait for more!
    200X fan? Classic fan? What does that mean? I'm a MotU fan!!!

  7. #7
    Heroic King Of Zumba mk476's Avatar
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    That was a great read!

  8. #8
    Heroic Warrior Marvelous0ne's Avatar
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    So he is now recapping info that he posted here on He-Man.Org 4 years ago? But again, it's a story that he loves to tell! Remember, I stood in line for Keldor.... CHECK!
    "I mark the hours every one, Nor have I yet outrun the Sun. My use & value unto you, are gauged by what you have to do."
    Enscribed onto Hermione Granger's Time Turner from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  9. #9
    Hover Robots in MOTUC! RockinHard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvelous0ne View Post
    So he is now recapping info that he posted here on He-Man.Org 4 years ago? But again, it's a story that he loves to tell! Remember, I stood in line for Keldor.... CHECK!
    Hatin' on TG.. ..CHECK!
    My seller/trader/buyer feedback:
    http://he-man.org/forums/boards/showthread.php?t=195461

    MOTUC Most Wanted: 1) Skeletor's Robot Knights 2) Stridor 3) Night Stalker 4) Tung Lashor 5) Squeeeze 6) Lizard Man 7) Roton 8) Multi-Bot 9) Ninjor 10) Dragstor 11) Saurod 12) Blast-Attak 13) Karg 14) Gwildor 15) Lodar 16) Mask of Power Demons 17) TC Skeletor 18) FF He-Man

  10. #10
    Color'licious! JVS3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvelous0ne View Post
    So he is now recapping info that he posted here on He-Man.Org 4 years ago?
    I'd say look at it as a starting point for his blog stories.

    Heck, as many times as I've told the CrossGen bankruptcy story that screwed the 2002 comic, I'm always surprised at how many people don't know about that and still want to hear it. It may be the same here with the MOTUC "early beginnings" story.
    Please check out my gallery on Deviantart
    And here's hoping for the return of Power-Con!


  11. #11
    Heroic Warrior chaosMonkeyPoo's Avatar
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    This has the potential to be a really cool project for Scott. I wonder how often he plans to post new entries...

  12. #12
    Heroic Warrior
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    Somehow he'll find a way to mess up and wind up apologizing like he always does.

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    Heroic Warrior fireball13z's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvelous0ne View Post
    So he is now recapping info that he posted here on He-Man.Org 4 years ago? But again, it's a story that he loves to tell! Remember, I stood in line for Keldor.... CHECK!
    you do know that not everyone has heard that story right?
    the ignore list is my new best friend

  14. #14
    Heroic Warrior
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    Got to be honest, I'm looking forward to this.

  15. #15
    TWIGGET ENTHUSIAST! Swifty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockinHard View Post
    Hatin' on TG.. ..CHECK!
    Exactly. This is really getting pretty tiresome.

    As someone who wasn't actively participating in these forums 4 years ago, I very much enjoyed reading this and am looking forward to the follow ups. It's a fantastic idea.
    IT'S TIME FOR MOTUC TO GO GREEN INCLUDE THE TWIGGETS IN 2015!!!

  16. #16
    Casual Fan slackrguy's Avatar
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    Good for him and good for us because it is a neat idea. I admit I did not know that story.
    Ask not for whom MOTUC is made, it's made for thee.

    If you have to disclaimer your like, then you don't really like it.

  17. #17
    Evil Overlord of Spandex CptSpandex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swifty View Post
    Exactly. This is really getting pretty tiresome.

    As someone who wasn't actively participating in these forums 4 years ago, I very much enjoyed reading this and am looking forward to the follow ups. It's a fantastic idea.
    Agreed!

    Enough with the anger and vitriol. This is a great idea.

    Also, I've been a member of these forums since before the 200x days, but I drifted away after the 200x and just recently have come back (life gets busy sometimes). Anyway, I have never heard this story, and chronologically it makes sense to start with the first figure and some background on how the line began.

  18. #18
    Heroic Warrior labrat1881's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSpandex View Post
    Agreed!

    Enough with the anger and vitriol. This is a great idea.

    Also, I've been a member of these forums since before the 200x days, but I drifted away after the 200x and just recently have come back (life gets busy sometimes). Anyway, I have never heard this story, and chronologically it makes sense to start with the first figure and some background on how the line began.
    I'd love to hear these stories.I just find it annoying that some posters here are so immature.

  19. #19
    Heroic Warrior Marvelous0ne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JVS3 View Post
    I'd say look at it as a starting point for his blog stories.

    Heck, as many times as I've told the CrossGen bankruptcy story that screwed the 2002 comic, I'm always surprised at how many people don't know about that and still want to hear it. It may be the same here with the MOTUC "early beginnings" story.
    Sorry, but the issue I have is between Toyguru and Scott Neitlich. One is Brand Manager, one is a fan. Right now with all the issues that still are plaguing the line from QC issues to Digital River. The Brand Manager persona is first and foremost I see! I rather see him deal with the issues that many are complaining about and feel that need to be dealt with. It's that person I have choice words about. Which would get me BANNED for life here! So seeing this person as a fan, it's hard to do! If he can get Mattel to get these issues resolved in some fashion. Great! I won't be as much as an ass when he posts stuff. But if refuse to take it... Well a comment that RGD used recently! After all, if everyone was a forgiving and allowed these issues to go ignored like some do. Things would probably be a lot worse with the product. Also I will say this! I have no problem with others reading his blog. All I was doing was posting an observation. Hell, I will probably read it just to add fuel to the fire! LOL! Anyway, until Toyguru does right by me, I will make comments about his comments and actions. It's the only way I can voice my opinion and try to get the issues changed!
    "I mark the hours every one, Nor have I yet outrun the Sun. My use & value unto you, are gauged by what you have to do."
    Enscribed onto Hermione Granger's Time Turner from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  20. #20
    Heroic Warrior orbles's Avatar
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    Some people are like a disease on these forums. They are taking their fight against TG and Mattel and infecting every thread they can. I have been around for the past couple years and I found this blog to be an enjoyable read.

  21. #21
    Heroic Master of 200X MegaGearMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvelous0ne View Post
    Sorry, but the issue I have is between Toyguru and Scott Neitlich. One is Brand Manager, one is a fan. Right now with all the issues that still are plaguing the line from QC issues to Digital River. The Brand Manager persona is first and foremost I see! I rather see him deal with the issues that many are complaining about and feel that need to be dealt with. It's that person I have choice words about. Which would get me BANNED for life here! So seeing this person as a fan, it's hard to do! If he can get Mattel to get these issues resolved in some fashion. Great! I won't be as much as an ass when he posts stuff. But if refuse to take it... Well a comment that RGD used recently! After all, if everyone was a forgiving and allowed these issues to go ignored like some do. Things would probably be a lot worse with the product. Also I will say this! I have no problem with others reading his blog. All I was doing was posting an observation. Hell, I will probably read it just to add fuel to the fire! LOL! Anyway, until Toyguru does right by me, I will make comments about his comments and actions. It's the only way I can voice my opinion and try to get the issues changed!
    While TG might be the most visible target, I don't think it's Toyguru's fault. Blame Mattel if they continue to let this happen by not stepping in and fixing matters, either by replacing Digital River with another more competent company OR by boosting MOTUC's budget or resources so that TG can try to take even more precautions with QC issues. Seriously, if the man keeps telling his bosses that there is a problem and if they ignore him because MOTUC isn't Barbie or Hot Wheels, then we really have a problem here.

    The Blonde Teela (Battleground and Alcala Teela) Thread
    The Cloak and Dagger Evil-Lyn (The Real 200X Evil-Lyn) Thread
    MegaGearMax's 200X/MYP Screen Grabs

    Oo-Larr Sagitar Cloak and Dagger Evil-Lyn 200X Prince Adam 200X Sorceress Ninjor Tung Lashor Sssqueeze Angella Perfuma Mermista Evilseed (MYP)

  22. #22
    Heroic Warrior Paul Justice's Avatar
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    Yup there is always one... or few. But I think this is a great addition to the 30th Anniversary of things to look forward to. And I applaud TG for attempting this, knowing that every word he says will be picked apart. I love the behind the scenes of things MotU and it's a little refresher of things he mentioned before. Despite all the things TG does for the line on his personal time, (like Power Con for example) he is still adding more. Thanks TG, I too hope this blog catches up by the end of the year. "Rise Above Hate" Scott

  23. #23
    In disguise! Barbecue17's Avatar
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    Great read! I think this is a great feature and look forward to getting a new entry every few days. I'd heard some of this story before, but other parts were new to me. I think its interesting that the line was originally intended and embarked upon with the idea of continuing the 200x figures. That was new to me.
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  24. #24
    Heroic Warrior bamf1980's Avatar
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    Loved it. Can't wait for more!

  25. #25
    Heroic Warrior
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    There were quite a few characters that never made it into the 200X line and the original idea was to just pick up where the retail line ended and keep pumping out 200x style figures using what shared tooling we could use. Very early on, King Grayskull became the character we wanted to do as he would be a great SDCC item since he was He-Man but was not really He-Man, appealing to both hard core fans and ideally casual new buyers as well

    Am I the only one ****** off about this? I mean why couldn't they finish the 200x line as planned.. Then start the new MOTUC line.?

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