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Thread: Recent Design Choices in MOTUC

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    Heroic Warrior King Tamusk's Avatar
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    Recent Design Choices in MOTUC

    I know what I am about to discuss has been spoken about before, but I just read something that got me thinking about it again. While I don't necessarily agree with the way MirrorBlue presented his/her argument, or even some of their examples, Scott's answer did make me ponder some things. Here was the original Question and Answer on Ask Matty:

    http://forums.mattycollector.com/eve...7/m/3711085897

    Scott's example on how Terry made Shadow Weaver "richer purple" was a revision that worked really well, in my opinion. And, personally, I'm fine with the red snakes coming out of Snake Face's chest. However, he continues to say, "When you change a figure into an articulated toy made of plastic, colors that worked in a prototype often don't work in a toy. That is Ruben and his design team's job. And they work hand and hand with the Horsemen to come up with the end result."

    This brings me to Bubble Power She-Ra, a figure that's paintmaster had bright white applied and so did the final figure. I always saw this as an improvement on She-Ra 1.0, partly because collectors and fans commented on how gray the original figure's whites were. If it was possible to maintain the white portions of her figure, something that started with the Four Horsemen's paintmaster and was eventually executed by Terry and his design team, then why isn't it possible for Frosta, a SNOW queen and Netossa to maintain the white applications as originally seen in their Paintmasters?

    Scott continues to say, "Not every choice will work for every fan, but that is all part of the creative process." The issue with this is, there were several instances where collectors, fans, and toy reviewers stated their concerns that Frosta needed to have her WHITE paint application from the moment she was revealed at NYTF. Up until SDCC, adjustments were still being made on her in regards to her face deco. With the concerns of white paint being stressed between these conventions, how could it seem like a logical design choice to go with gray when it is apparently possible to execute white? Even without the public being vocal....snow is white; brilliant white, even. That's a no-brainer. Plus, there was already the experience with She-Ra and the white VS gray on her.

    So, you can see why this particular response had me confused, because things just don't add up. Obviously, I don't have all the facts. If Scott or Reuben see this, please feel free to explain the thought process on this by addressing these questions.

    And, if anyone else has opinions regarding this, please share them. But, please do so in a respectful and productive manner. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Got Filmation? shadowfall1976's Avatar
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    What the hell does paint have to do with getting a paint sample prototype to work as a figure? The paint doesn't affect articulation or how a figure is put together.

    "Not every choice will work for every fan, but that is all part of the creative process."

    Um....how about when it works for almost no fans? Like Black plastic, Stinkor's forearms & Frosta's blunders....

    Maybe it should say "it's our ****, we'll do what we want, and if it ****** the fans off....oh well, we throw them bones every so often, they can deal with it"

    Stick to the damn 4H designs, and colors, it works. I'll give them Shadow Weaver, but even the paint sample was still good, all they had to do was tone it down a bit, not go all Orko on her.

    "It's their job" to screw things up when they see fit is more like it....Tell me how was Stinkor's correctly sculpted forearms affecting the final design so that they had to be changed to POP....they were new forearms, despite having the Skeletor gloves, they were furry, and new, therefore the figure did not need to POP....just as stupid as the inclusion of the Clawful mace with the WP#3 in almost the same color, when something else more "fan demanded" could have been included.
    Last edited by shadowfall1976; January 11, 2013 at 04:39am.
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    Translation: if we think it'll look cooler, then we trump our consumer. We are the professionals here. Glad Bill decided to be the honest one here.

  4. #4
    Cheap Repaint FAKER II's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be surprised if the real reason Frosta was such an off white is because the factory had a bunch of that exact color laying around and offered a slightly cheaper rate to produce her with that color.
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    CRITAcal for MOTUC 2015!! Barezz's Avatar
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    I wondered after Netossa was revealed if the gray color on Frosta was to avoid having 2 figures released so close together that were so similar in color scheme.
    It is spelled "Crita", not "Critta". Misspell her name and Crita will knock the "T" out of you!

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    Got Filmation? shadowfall1976's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barezz View Post
    I wondered after Netossa was revealed if the gray color on Frosta was to avoid having 2 figures released so close together that were so similar in color scheme.
    Netossa is only like a shade or 2 lighter than Frosta....in person, it's less noticeable. I mean, you can still tell a difference....but it's less noticeable. But still, Frosta should have been whiter. And really what difference would it have made if they were similar? I mean one figure clearly has a much notable difference, not to mention their outfits are much different.
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    CRITAcal for MOTUC 2015!! Barezz's Avatar
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    Oh I don't have a problem with it and wouldn't have cared in the slightest if they both had the same colors and whites. I just wonder if this played into the decision. It doesn't make any sense, but neither does a green Clawful mace in the latest Weapons Pack.
    It is spelled "Crita", not "Critta". Misspell her name and Crita will knock the "T" out of you!

    Also...get her into the line!

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    I agree with the OP.

    I don't understand at what point in the design and manufacturing process fans are meant to be able to voice their concerns and have their concerns addressed.

    I know that Mattel were able to change Snake Man-At-Arms to reflect the majority (?) opinion of the fans regarding the 200X armoured/technological arms and legs. And I have a vague memory that they were able to correct another figure based on fan feedback, but there are plenty of other instances where Mattel seems to ignore or openly contradict fan feedback, including:

    - dark blue translucent hair for Frosta. The proto-type was show with painted light blue hair (like Filmation). Fans requested a translucent cape similar to Jewelstar's cape. Somehow in the "design" process this ended up being translucent hair.
    - mid grey paint for Frosta. Fans were vary vocal about the "bright white" on Bubble Power She-Ra and raised concerns about Frosta's "white" fairly early on. However, despite clearly being able to provide "bright white", Frosta ended up mid grey.
    - no slits for Netossa's skirt. Granted, I don't recall anyone raising this as a particular issue, but after the issue being present with She-Ra V1.0 (which seemed to be the primary motivation for releasing BP She-Ra), it's surprising that fans still need to ask for closely fitted skirts/longer tunics (like Dekker) to have "slits" in them to facilitate a wide range of movement.

    It's all pretty confusing for me. Toyguru doesn't want to hear suggestions about unannounced figures, but once a figure is announced and show then it's (usually) too late to make any changes. I appreciate that fans are unable to reflect sculptural or even accessory decisions once a figure is revealed, but surely paint application is an area that can be tweaked during the process.

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    I don't like bleach whites on action figures. They usually always fade, become yellowed, and are very easy to get grimey and forever stain. I feel this is the real reasoning behind the design team choices on the matter. I'm not saying I like the way Frosta turned out, but I do prefer figures to sport 'off-white' more often than not.

  11. #11
    Heroic Warrior King Tamusk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colder Soldier View Post
    I don't like bleach whites on action figures. They usually always fade, become yellowed, and are very easy to get grimey and forever stain. I feel this is the real reasoning behind the design team choices on the matter. I'm not saying I like the way Frosta turned out, but I do prefer figures to sport 'off-white' more often than not.
    But if any figure was supposed to have brilliant white paint applications, it should have been Frosta. I mean, she is a Snow Queen. Gray is NOT the right design choice, I'm sorry, it just isn't.

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    Heroic Warrior Wulff's Avatar
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    You're never going to please everyone. I like Frosta the way she is.

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    Five words: gray costs less than white.

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    Heroic Warrior King Tamusk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wulff View Post
    You're never going to please everyone. I like Frosta the way she is.
    But, they could have. Two design choices on her were made that went against what fans were asking for.

    Gray instead of white
    Translucent hair instead of translucent cape

    They listened to people about Snake Man-At-Arms, which received critical feedback after it's debut, and ended up changing most of the figure. Why did the feedback on Frosta regarding white paint and her cape get ignored; especially when the figure was still being worked on from February through July? If you look at early production photos, her cape IS translucent. Why did they change that, it's what people wanted? Same thing with her white deco. Several times, people stated her paint looked gray and it should be white. It was even brought up during a SDCC interview.

    Yes, you can't please everyone, but this doesn't even seem to try. It doesn't make sense at all. That's why I'd love to hear Reuben's thoughts on the whole thing.

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    Ray of Sunshine Lookie's Avatar
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    Don't forget about the unpainted back on Frosta. Design choice or cheap out?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lookie View Post
    Don't forget about the unpainted back on Frosta. Design choice or cheap out?
    Design choice to cheap out...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barezz View Post
    I wondered after Netossa was revealed if the gray color on Frosta was to avoid having 2 figures released so close together that were so similar in color scheme.
    I'd be willing to bet that is exactly the case.

    Now, logic would presume that Frosta would be the one to get pure white as she is a snow-based character. But I believe the reason that Neotessa had more white whites was actually because of anachronistic beliefs about race in toy lines.

    In the 80's, if you recall (specifically thinking the Hasbro/Sunbow properties, where I know some of the creators who have verified this as fact) most villains were white/Anglo-Saxon/etc. I actually know of one instance in particular where a writer was given the ability to make a new villain for a series and was going to make them black (simply to have more racial diversity in the show) and I have seen the actual memo where they were told they would have to be Austrailian or English because they would not allow someone of color to be shown as a vilian (basically, over-compensation or reverse-racism).

    Now, when it comes to Neotessa, I believe that same type of thought process was at play. First, I completely knew that she would be one of the first "true" PoP figures to be released, simply to increase racial diversity in the line (which is not a bad thing at all). That said, pitting her so close to Frosta and their similar color schemes, I have since presumed that they didn't want them to look too much alike, and even though logically if they were going to use different whites, because of the character herself Frosta really should have gotten the "white white", but somewhere along the line they gave it to Neotessa to avoid the remote possibility that someone would take offense to a dark skinned character getting off-white instead of white-white trim.

    I completely admit this is utter speculation on my part, but based on my knowledge of the decision making behind toy releases like this historically, it was the first thing that came to mind and it seems to follow based on the evidence presented.

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    Heroic Warrior Mern-Ra's Avatar
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    Like most, I agree that they did a great job on Shadow Weaver but failed on Frosta--and not just specifically the white parts of her outfit, but overall she was just too dark; the hair and everything just has a kind of dark wash.

    And yes, the Clawful mace still infuriates me...I get that it was supposed to be for Dekker, but then why not make it match the repainted Clawful shield in that same pack? And speaking of Dekker, since they gave him that Man-At-Arms mace that has a more 200X techno look, why in the HELL did they do it in regular MAA colors instead of Snake MAA colors?!

    And the part of Scott's answer the OP linked to that is just plain insulting is where he says The Four Horsemen produce non-articulated statues. He's been saying that for years and it's driven me crazy for years because it simply isn't ture. Sure, the 4HM prototypes may not be immediately ready for production and I'm sure do need some tweaking, especially in regards to saftey standards, but they DO sculpt the articulation because they've been doing this a long time, are the best at what they do, they make their OWN toys with articulation similar to MOTUC, and they just always go the extra mile, so I really have never understood it when Scott's said that.
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    Heroic Warrior Rodster6's Avatar
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    I'm glad Frosta has translucent hair and a solid cape, I think it looks great. Really wouldn't have liked a translucent cape.

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    Heroic Warrior AuraBoyX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by King Tamusk View Post
    But, they could have. Two design choices on her were made that went against what fans were asking for.

    Gray instead of white
    Translucent hair instead of translucent cape

    They listened to people about Snake Man-At-Arms, which received critical feedback after it's debut, and ended up changing most of the figure. Why did the feedback on Frosta regarding white paint and her cape get ignored; especially when the figure was still being worked on from February through July? If you look at early production photos, her cape IS translucent. Why did they change that, it's what people wanted? Same thing with her white deco. Several times, people stated her paint looked gray and it should be white. It was even brought up during a SDCC interview.

    Yes, you can't please everyone, but this doesn't even seem to try. It doesn't make sense at all. That's why I'd love to hear Reuben's thoughts on the whole thing.
    They listened to people about Snake Man-At-Arms because it was such a blatant rip-off/cheap-out in what they originally presented and when they were called on it they simply couldn't come up with any good excuse and had to change it - that reveal was quite frankly insulting and I am glad they listened and changed him.

    I bet they were testing the waters to see if they could repackage all their excess stock with a new head and accessory and sell them at full price - but the fans would never stand for it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by King Tamusk View Post
    But if any figure was supposed to have brilliant white paint applications, it should have been Frosta. I mean, she is a Snow Queen. Gray is NOT the right design choice, I'm sorry, it just isn't.
    Agree 100%. Frosta should be brilliant white. The gray is disappointing.
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  22. #22
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    After so many years of buying Hasbro and Toy Biz product, I've learned to live with "good enough" when it comes to action figures. MOTUC collectors are spoiled I tell ya!

    Quote Originally Posted by AuraBoyX View Post
    They listened to people about Snake Man-At-Arms because it was such a blatant rip-off/cheap-out in what they originally presented and when they were called on it they simply couldn't come up with any good excuse and had to change it - that reveal was quite frankly insulting and I am glad they listened and changed him.

    I bet they were testing the waters to see if they could repackage all their excess stock with a new head and accessory and sell them at full price - but the fans would never stand for it.
    The original SMAA idea had the dual purpose of presenting fans with a vintage colored MAA. It was a teeny bit more than just re-packaging/heading the figure. Still lazy though. Just saying...

  23. #23
    grumpy old dragon scott metzger's Avatar
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    THere's no doubt in my mind that the "design choice" for Frosta was based on cost. The notion that they grayed up Frosta the ice queen and left Netossa a brighter white to keep two similar color schemes separate is reaching to the point that Mr. Fantastic would say "ouch." If that were the concern, the logical choice would be to dull Netossa, because the white isn't as important a part of the character's identity as that of a snow person. I think the notion that there was some cheaper gray paint available to cut the cost is the most likely reason.

    Truthfully, it brings to mind the scene in "Operation Petticoat" where they need to re-paint the submarine, and they don't have enough of either red or white paint to do the job. Cary Grant tells them to mix them together, and he is informed he isn't going to like the resulting color...
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott metzger View Post
    If that were the concern, the logical choice would be to dull Netossa, because the white isn't as important a part of the character's identity as that of a snow person. I think the notion that there was some cheaper gray paint available to cut the cost is the most likely reason.
    Exactly, which is why I speculated above.

    I don't know about you, but in my experience paint (unless it has additives like metals, etc.) generally doesn't have a huge cost difference between colors. I know Mattel will do anything to save a cent or two, but if anything white would be cheaper as it tends to be a "base" color. But again, most paint costs the same one color to another.

    This was an intentional choice.

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    Heroic Warrior sirsniffy's Avatar
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    I am still a bit upset that they made such a poor choice with Frosta's coloration (including the hair), but I painted mine, so it's not as bad. Color fixes are not as bad as part fixes (Forearms, obtrusive parts, etc).

    While we're talking about design choices, I am a bit disappointed in Leech's head. I think that 4H should have gone with Filmation Leech head. What we got is something that looks pretty awful. It looks really silly and extremely large. Even the 200X version of Leech looks better than the horrible design we got. He looks like some deformed crocodile. I would have gone with the more rounded, smooth looking Filmation style head.

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