Quick note about the 2013 Matty subscriptions

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JJJason's picture
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Fujishig wrote:
Don't say DC is dead... Sad

How do non-diehard-toyfans find out about this stuff, anyway? Do they advertise the DC subs in comic books? Or do they advertise the MOTUC in the He-man comics? Magazines? If you need bigger and bigger numbers, and you're going to give a short window to subscribe, you'd think you'd need to get the word out there early, but if I were just a casual fan collecting DCUC at retail, I'm not sure I'd know that the line has pretty much ended at retail and the only way to get new figures is to go to mattycollector and hope enough people subscribe...

It's sort of a paradoxical question. Would non-dieheard toy collectors ever do something like commit to buying 12 plus figures six months before they recieved the first one without knowing what half of the figures they will receive overall would be?

As for the DC sub, it hasn't climbed out of the thermometer ball yet and hasn't moved in days which means there hasn't been even a 5% increase toward the goal. Between that and all of Mattel's and the Horsemen's efforts going toward saving the MOTUC sub, I'd say the DC sub is deader than Julius Caesar.

I don't like it any more than you do, but then I wasn't willing to re-sub after seeing the SDCC reveals, either, so...

-JJJ
hopes Super Powers Penguin actually makes it out at retail

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JediJones wrote:

Announcing all core characters for 2013 is not a way to make the subscription succeed, it's a way to admit the toy line has failed. Because that will obviously mean there won't be a 2014 for the line. They don't need a subscription if they're going to do that because they can already predict how those characters will sell. The only way MOTUC succeeds is if it can continue producing a wide range of characters. It's easy for any toy line to just produce the top 10 most wanted characters, but if nothing below that is selling well enough, then the line can't keep going.

I would be very disappointed to see the MOTUC line have a final "hurrah" at this point. This is a really fun toy line that has the hugest opportunity to introduce the most imaginative new characters as high quality action figures since the original TMNT line, alongside remakes of the classics. My imagination didn't die in the '80s. I still want to see new characters that never existed before. I'm tired of seeing other lines remake the same characters over again but "now with ankle joints!" When so many toy lines are dominated by constant variations, resculpts, and new costumes for their "main heroes," MOTUC is one line where you can see something new and unexpected each month.

I think your point regarding collectors' diminished financial capacity is well-taken but, when it comes to the above, I think we're seeing the remaining market is indeed largely for the core characters from the vintage line yet to be made for Classics. I don't think you'll find many people who would touch a 2014 subscription if Two Bad, Horde Trooper and a few other key characters were announced for 2013. I think that tells you the line has pretty much run its course, as it is, and I don't think that reflects failure. I think it means people can see the end zone and they don't want the goal posts continuously moved with more stuff like the Star Sisters and Sir Laser Lot.

MOTUC was never meant to go on indefinitely. Toy Guru said just the other day the original plan was to end it in 2016. That's obviously not going to happen now and I think it's a combination of costs going up, disposable income going down, and collectors becoming fed up with having to eat figures they don't want in the hope, not even the guarantee, of getting the figures they do want.

I think Toy Guru over-expanded the scope of the line in the hopes of drawing it out, minimizing his tooling costs, and making Mattel more money. Nothing wrong with that, really, but we've clearly reached a point of consumer push-back and I think it's time to explore other options apart from an all or nothing subscription.

That's not working anymore.

-JJJ

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So much respect for the Horsemen and all the toy-bliss they have brought us. But, this has just gotten to become so fricking, [email protected], that, well, it's just sad, at this point. Would have loved to see Ram Man become a reality, but I'm not spending $500+ for that to happen, and that's the reality for the average 30+year-old adult toy collector out there. He's the only remaining MOTU character we want to pick up (maybe Jitsu as well, for some), and we (or I, okay) have our sights and budgets set on other, upcoming, 80's properties releases this and next year (TRU Masterpiece Optimus Prime, Masterpiece Soundwave, Masterpiece Cassettes, K-Mart AT-ST/pilots/ewoks, TRU Speeder Bike & Biker Scout, Hot Wheels Elite K.I.T.T., etc., whatever). Point is: I have a wife, two kids and a mortgage. Toys are a hobby and a luxury. I have really enjoyed the MOTUC line and all that it has brought us, but, in the end, like the original line itself, it is just a toy line, that will live or die in the marketplace. Sorry, MOTU fans, but there just isn't enough of us super hard-core fans who will, or really CAN, bail out this line to completion (whatever that is, again, for most of us, it is just Ram Man).

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Just my opinion, but I think, sub or no sub, you'll see Ram Man released. There's just too much interest in him not to find a way to release him, and too much horrible PR to deal with if they don't.

I've said this all week, but I can't imagine Ram Man isn't tooled. Mattel would be insane to show such an essential character, and schedule him so early in 2013, if he wasn't. And if he's tooled, he'll get a release. There's no way Mattel would let that money go to waste when it's obvious that's the one figure everyone wants.

If Ram Man is not tooled, then the SDCC reveals were not actually advertisements for what's coming in 2013, but basically Kickstarter rewards, which is the way DST used to advertise their sci-fi lines. They called them pre-orders, but they were really solicitations for customers to provide the capital to make the figures. I don't think that's what Matty's doing with Ram Man.

I haven't said anything about scare tactics or lies, so far, but I do think Scott is using Ram Man as a false pretense to leverage people into the sub.

-JJJ

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Just read the 4H begging article on Facebook. Not convinced. TG has backed himself into a corner and doesn't know how to get out of it.

Subs were never even the initial sales model for this line. IIRC the line started with individual figure sales and then a sub was created when fan interest in a more convenient method of buying the figures was raised. Ironic that it's now the other way around and marketing for the line is all about forcing subscriptions.

If this is really a "love letter" to MOTU and this project is only a small blip on Mattel's radar, then why the need to force feed unwanted characters to subscribers? Break the sub model and go with pre-orders. Japanese companies often use a pre-order method to gauge interest and/or viability of a product, I don't see how that won't work here. The numbers for some figures may be a lot lower but if that's what consumer interest in that specific product is, so be it. Either sell it or cancel it. Seems to be just greed powering the company. Slushhead needs to sell as much as Stinkor. Why?? Let the consumers decide.

If they really need to go the sub route to convince the higher ups, then MORE decision power needs to be given to the fans. A list of predetermined characters wouldn't even cut it, imo. Coz in that situation you're only going to get either yes or no. Make the line more involved in polling. Something like pre-determine the distribution of slots (7 x classic, 2 x NA, 3 x POP etc) and let fans decide how to fill them.

Oh, funny thing to note, I've run into Digital River quite a few times as I'm in the web industry and... they're pretty reputable, OUTSIDE of Matty. Maybe Matty just doesn't pay them enough if they keep screwing up.

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What gets me is their constant shifting of releases. Sure things happing like last min tooling and what not but some months were just brutal. Look at September there are 2 regular figures coming AND a multipack where as next month there isnt even a regular sub figure its a 30th figure....WTF?? It gets hard to manage your expenses because there is no constant pattern.

Im going to sign up for next year's when I get paid, I want Ram-Man more than anything for the line and if it were to end as long as I get him I would be fine. Yea the Horde and Snakemen would be incomplete but I wouldnt mind knowing that they just didnt get released insted of being replaced with Filmation versions of figures we already have! Bottom line TG just needs to grow up

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Excellent analysis, Dare. I agree completely.

-JJJ

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I'll just leave this here in case there's any interest a'tall...

http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/blog/jjjason/mattycollector-2013-subs...

-JJJ

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Very well written JJJ.

To me, the price increase is a non issue. I realize the cost of raw materials continues to rise. Why shouldn't everything else? That being said, I'm only going to be more selective w/how I spend my money. If the toy is of quality construct, I have no problem laying down the cash. I've already been paying for higher quality toys from Japan for over a decade & they certainly cost more.

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Very well put, sir. And I can only hope that your "gut feeling" will be, more or less what unfolds. If it all up and ended today, I cannot see why Matty wouldn't try to recoup some kind of profit from Ram Man (who, like you, I think is in production and ready to go).

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They are already doing exactly what the Japanese toy companies do, they're taking pre-orders on the 2013 line to determine if they can go ahead with it. Because of balancing the mix of mold re-use and new parts, this thing has to be sold as an entire entity up to a minimum quantity, especially if all figures are going to be sold at the same price.

The idea of taking pre-orders on 20 individual toys all with their own prices is a logistical nightmare. Would all 20 be put up now and need financial commitments all at once? Most people would never do that. Or would one or two a month be offered, meaning that if they didn't go through the line could be skipping months at a time with no releases? Big gaps in production is not a way to keep people interested in a toy line.

Polling fans to decide the whole lineup for the year is totally unworkable because of the mold re-use. Most likely fans would pick the most expensive characters to make with the most original parts. Mattel could never predict the accurate price to make the figures if they don't know in advance how many original parts would be needed. Not to mention the research and approval needed to figure out what figures are viable for production. That would have to be done way in advance on many more figures to make a poll possible.

It also defeats the purpose of keeping the line going. The line cannot continue past another year or 2 at the most if fans pick all the most popular characters to make now. Mattel knows which characters are the most popular. They don't need a poll to tell them that. If the sub doesn't go through, they can come up with that lineup easily on their own.

The subscription didn't serve a purpose in the first year or two of the line when the core characters had to be produced to get it off the ground. Now it serves a very valuable purpose of locking in support for a MOTUC line of great variety and diversity. Mattel could never take the risks on some of these characters without fans committing up front. So they're pushing the subscription as a service to the biggest fans, who have already subscribed and want this diverse MOTUC line. It cannot happen without support for the full year locked in now.

One thing I disagree with is them producing less of figures for day-of-sale, if that's true. OTOH, it seems this year they picked the right amount because we haven't really had any instantaneous sell-outs that I can remember. But it would be a mistake not to produce a lot extra of figures like Ram Man for non-subscribers. Not everyone will be a completist in any toy line, and any toy line is wise to make more of the more popular characters for people who are less hardcore.

Another reason the price increase is certainly hurting subscriptions is because dealers probably cannot make a profit anymore with this 25% increase. I wouldn't be surprised if the vast majority of the decrease in subscriptions came from dealers. What could happen ironically then is that the subscription might barely make it through, and then with fewer figures hitting the secondary market and being offered on Matty, the eBay prices could spike up again.

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JediJones wrote:
They are already doing exactly what the Japanese toy companies do, they're taking pre-orders on the 2013 line to determine if they can go ahead with it. Because of balancing the mix of mold re-use and new parts, this thing has to be sold as an entire entity up to a minimum quantity, especially if all figures are going to be sold at the same price.

The idea of taking pre-orders on 20 individual toys all with their own prices is a logistical nightmare. Would all 20 be put up now and need financial commitments all at once? Most people would never do that. Or would one or two a month be offered, meaning that if they didn't go through the line could be skipping months at a time with no releases? Big gaps in production is not a way to keep people interested in a toy line..

The Transformers Masterpiece line contradicts most of what you state here, in my opinion. This line thrives using the 80's generation versions of the characters, not the ones you might say are helped by movie and cartoon tie-ins. Sideshow and Hot Toys also contradicts the statement above. No one knows who is coming next and when, yet these lines have lived longer than MOTUC. One might be tempted to incorrectly infur that their high prices are the result of their business model, but Transformers MP, Sideshow, and Hot Toys prices merely reflects the cost of making their elaborate and complex offers. MOTUC is tied with Marvel universe for reuse of parts; hardly an elaborate or complex offering.

JediJones wrote:
Polling fans to decide the whole lineup for the year is totally unworkable because of the mold re-use. Most likely fans would pick the most expensive characters to make with the most original parts. Mattel could never predict the accurate price to make the figures if they don't know in advance how many original parts would be needed. Not to mention the research and approval needed to figure out what figures are viable for production. That would have to be done way in advance on many more figures to make a poll possible.

NECA and Marvel Select contradict these points. They both have licensing fees and use original sculpts almost every time. Mattel reuses a tremendous amount of parts and has no licensing fees. While we will probably see prices go up for NECA and MS, I'd be surprised if it was to $25 a figure. You might argue low production runs for Mattel, but then I'd have to counter with Mattel choosing a poor business model. I don't recognize 75% of NECA's characters yet somehow they made it to retail. Marvel Select used the comicbook store/Diamond model and they did just fine.

JediJones wrote:
It also defeats the purpose of keeping the line going. The line cannot continue past another year or 2 at the most if fans pick all the most popular characters to make now. Mattel knows which characters are the most popular. They don't need a poll to tell them that. If the sub doesn't go through, they can come up with that lineup easily on their own.

So if I'm interpreting this correctly, Mattel knows what the fans want (hense "all the most popular characters") and have decided its more important to keep the line going then to give the fans what they want. I think that's called putting the cart before the horse.

JediJones wrote:
The subscription didn't serve a purpose in the first year or two of the line when the core characters had to be produced to get it off the ground. Now it serves a very valuable purpose of locking in support for a MOTUC line of great variety and diversity. Mattel could never take the risks on some of these characters without fans committing up front. So they're pushing the subscription as a service to the biggest fans, who have already subscribed and want this diverse MOTUC line. It cannot happen without support for the full year locked in now.

Repectfully this is more contradiction. How could the subscription not serve a purpose in the first 2 years when Mattel had to issue mostly core characters to get the line/sub off the ground..ie the first two years worth of core characters served the purpose to get the subscription off the ground. Mattel has had 2 years of a line with great variety and diversity and that has obviously failed. Now it's time for the remaining core characters to keep the line/sub alive for the next 2 years. Every line has its limits, and every character (core or obscure) has it venue. Core characters to the sub, obscure characters to the conventions and online toy store exclusives.

JediJones wrote:
One thing I disagree with is them producing less of figures for day-of-sale, if that's true. OTOH, it seems this year they picked the right amount because we haven't really had any instantaneous sell-outs that I can remember. But it would be a mistake not to produce a lot extra of figures like Ram Man for non-subscribers. Not everyone will be a completist in any toy line, and any toy line is wise to make more of the more popular characters for people who are less hardcore.

I believe the "danger" the line is in now clearly shows Mattel who their true core market is: "people who are less hardcore." Evolve or die. Any marketing exec in a fortune 500 company will tell you if you don't know who your market is, then you are dead in the water.

JediJones wrote:
Another reason the price increase is certainly hurting subscriptions is because dealers probably cannot make a profit anymore with this 25% increase. I wouldn't be surprised if the vast majority of the decrease in subscriptions came from dealers. What could happen ironically then is that the subscription might barely make it through, and then with fewer figures hitting the secondary market and being offered on Matty, the eBay prices could spike up again.

Toyguru said in a podcast last week that dealers are actually a very small segment of their ordering/sub base. I believe he even said we'd be surprised at their low numbers.

People want to buy into the line, but with the price increase, the margin for accepting unwanted figure choices has vanished. THAT is the primary lesson Mattel doesn't seems to understand. The one blatant example I'll use for how out of touch Mattel is with character choice is this: Last year the Star Sisters three pack flopped. Nevermind the fact that Mattel chose to come out of the three pack gate with an extremely obscure choice, but after that blinding example, they repeat the mistake again in 2013...AT A HIGHER PRICE. To me, these mistakes ring of personal favorites being made and not fan centered choices. The first three pack should have kicked off with a generic 200xish Snakeman trooper, a horde trooper, and a newly colored (but with a new head) place guard. Perhaps some form of "Eternia camo." Hell, they could have just used the MAA buck again and threw in 2-3 new heads with 2-3 new rank chest plates and some new weapons. Of course not every figure would have been for everyone, but what you would have seen is people trading different figures from the pack to build armies of the figures they liked most.

I admire your tenacity to defend a product you love, but look around the boards. You "hardcore" collectors are outnumbered by us "less hardcore" fans by a great deal. Mattel needs to put away the pipe dreams of their personal choices and the idea the line can go one forever and face the reality of the situation.

As a side note, I was on the fence that personal choice was driving Mattel's character selection to any degree until I read the 4H's plea that was sent out earlier this week. In it, they name a number of characters that they indication all us fans are clamoring for and want to see badly. Most of them I had to google in order to see who they were and with each search I could not believe anyone wanted these E list, unappealing characters. Of course it dawned on me then that these where the characters the 4H wanted to sculpt and see made into figures. They are the best in the business, but that doesn't mean I have to like or be forced to buy their choices. Star Sisters? Yea right. I'd buy a three pack of Arctic Destro and two Renegade Cobra Commanders, one in neon colors, before I would ever want a Star Sisters three pack.

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Mr Anon#62, you have the nail hit exactly on it's head, driving it in perfectly. This should support what the market wants, not what a small minority of hardcore fans want. Ideally, everyone gets what they're looking for, but in dire straits, please the majority, not the minority.

I consider myself a very casual MOTUC buyer, but I have about 30 figures consisting of a mix of classics as well as some original pieces like BG Teela, Vikor and Photog. I'm fueled to buy these by a nostalgia for the early waves of MOTU, a love of sword and scorcery fantasy, and intriguing designs on some that I do not recognise (Optikk, Photog). Do I think the line needed Vikor, or Optikk? I really like them, but no, this line could frankly have done without ventures into TNA or concept art. Demo-man, Horde Prime, Slushhead, Snake MAA... they're a great bone to throw to hardcore fans as one-off items or exclusives. I thought this year's SDCC item was a great idea. Non-essential, yet very much a part of MOTU history.

But when these types of characters start creeping into a blind subscription, I'm not surprised most people are starting to turn away. I barely recognise some of 2012's sub characters, and 2013's proposed line-up so far is WORSE. Really, the only one I think is a must-buy is Ram-man. I'd buy Dragstor, Extendar, Mantenna, and I want Double Trouble to go with Man-E-Faces. Mosquitor is a maybe. Who the heck are Fang-man, Dekkar, Netossa, and the fighting foe-men? I've never heard of King He-man. These are what Mattel thinks MOTU fans want? No wonder numbers are down. It's like if Star Wars had a sub full of calefares.

This line isn't Transformers. You don't have dozens of releases where you can sneak in a small handful of obscure homages. Mattel needs to make each piece of the sub count. The unpopular stuff and ego-tripping created characters should be LUXURIES, not main courses.

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I want to "Like" these last 2 posts so bad it hurts.

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Dare wrote:
Mr Anon#62, you have the nail hit exactly on it's head, driving it in perfectly. This should support what the market wants, not what a small minority of hardcore fans want. Ideally, everyone gets what they're looking for, but in dire straits, please the majority, not the minority.

I consider myself a very casual MOTUC buyer, but I have about 30 figures consisting of a mix of classics as well as some original pieces like BG Teela, Vikor and Photog. I'm fueled to buy these by a nostalgia for the early waves of MOTU, a love of sword and scorcery fantasy, and intriguing designs on some that I do not recognise (Optikk, Photog). Do I think the line needed Vikor, or Optikk? I really like them, but no, this line could frankly have done without ventures into TNA or concept art. Demo-man, Horde Prime, Slushhead, Snake MAA... they're a great bone to throw to hardcore fans as one-off items or exclusives. I thought this year's SDCC item was a great idea. Non-essential, yet very much a part of MOTU history.

But when these types of characters start creeping into a blind subscription, I'm not surprised most people are starting to turn away. I barely recognise some of 2012's sub characters, and 2013's proposed line-up so far is WORSE. Really, the only one I think is a must-buy is Ram-man. I'd buy Dragstor, Extendar, Mantenna, and I want Double Trouble to go with Man-E-Faces. Mosquitor is a maybe. Who the heck are Fang-man, Dekkar, Netossa, and the fighting foe-men? I've never heard of King He-man. These are what Mattel thinks MOTU fans want? No wonder numbers are down. It's like if Star Wars had a sub full of calefares.

This line isn't Transformers. You don't have dozens of releases where you can sneak in a small handful of obscure homages. Mattel needs to make each piece of the sub count. The unpopular stuff and ego-tripping created characters should be LUXURIES, not main courses.

Just a minor point from someone who doesn't collect the MOTUC figures (I have Conan and Valeria - aka Vikor & BG Teela. That's it). I have a friend whose wife collects She-Ra stuff. She flipped out when I gave her a complete vintage Netossa. Apparently, it's a rare, high price, highly sought after vintage POP figure. The rest you listed - I don't know who any of them are either.

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You can't compare NECA and DST to Mattel. They have entirely different business models. Yes, Mattel could if they were so motivated set up a division that operates like those companies, but they don't want to - the return on their investment would be tiny compared to just throwing that money into more Barbie and Hot Wheels.

And even NECA is moving to a system of bucks and reuse -- look at the movie figures they do now. 2-3 basic Predator bodies have yielded, what, 50 different figures now (ditto McFarlane and Halo)? Characters like Ash, Freddy, Robocop - they make one buck and sell about 6-7 variants reflecting slightly different looks.

Also, Mattel isn't run by fans the way a company like NECA is. Randy Falk pursues licenses he as a fan knows are solid, while at Mattel, fanboy Scott Neitlich has to give higher-ups a powerpoint presentation to explain why fans are likely to buy more than one Horde Trooper.

I think Mattel messed up by not showing pure vintage figures as the lure for 2013. Last year, Sorceress/Fisto/Khan got me to subscribe for the first time. This year, I don't care about Fang Man or Netossa - though there are very vocal fans who do. Still, I'm in - there are still many I want, and so many extra parts that I can mix and match with some of the figures I don't want (adding extra Vykron armor, alt heads, etc.)

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New video up from Matty in which Scott backs completely off the notion MOTUC will be cancelled if the sub minimum isn't met. Now, the talk is back to fewer figures at a higher price point.

He's also pledging ALL core characters in 2014 though, even then, says the line won't be complete at that point. He also says they're going to drop the concept figures going forward because of the higher price point. To me, that's an admission they know most people don't want half of what they have to buy with these subs. Once you admit that, aren't you sort of admitting you're forcing people into subsidizing other people's toys?

The saga continues...

-JJJ

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You definitely can't compare Hot Toys and Sideshow to MOTUC. And their prices have skyrocketed as well in the last couple years from $100-150 to maybe $100 more than that per item. By bringing those companies up, you're backing up ToyGuru's alternate plan to make fewer MOTUC releases at higher prices. That is the only business model that makes sense if the sub doesn't go through and that is the Hot Toys and Sideshow business model.

I actually agree with you that MOTUC could be successful at retail as a TRU exclusive, which NECA releases basically are since they're not sold at any other major retailer. But we were told TRU wasn't interested. It would be easier to move the minimum quantity through TRU. It's harder to get that many people signed onto an online subscription model. But circumstances have suggested this is the only chance we have.

The hardcore MOTUC fans who buy every figure absolutely deserve more consideration than casual fans who pick and choose. Mattel makes more money off their loyalty. So if Mattel has a chance to give them the diverse toy line they want than they ought to go for it. They are not a minority, they will end up pushing the sub over 50% at the current pace so they're at least a slight majority. Most likely, casual fans will get the remaining big name characters one way or the other, but you're getting fair warning that you might have to pay a lot more. I'd rather pay $50 and get 2 figures than pay $50 for only one, even if I have to sell a 2nd unwanted figure to get some of the money back. And I do think it's the fans, not just the toymakers, who want most of these characters (at least the ones based on history, not newly made-up ones). The 4HM's choices are not out of left field but are shared by fans.

Bottom line is everyone wins if the sub goes through, both the hardcore fans and pickers-and-choosers. So this shouldn't be seen as a battle for one or the other. Slamming the desires of the hardcore fans is pretty cold, since the casual fans will definitely get the main characters like Ram Man eventually whether the sub goes through or not, but the sub is the only chance the hardcore fans have.

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If "pickers and choosers" are definitely going to get the main characters anyway, according to you, why is the sub the only way for everyone to win?

Also, the only fans I've seen attacking other fans are the ones who want the sub. Not saying that's what you're doing, but I've seen it elsewhere. Those who aren't subscribing aren't "true fans" and so forth.

To me, this is not about fan versus fan, it's about Mattel versus logic. It should be be clear to everyone by now the sub is not viable when it's the only option. Don't forget, that's how this thread started, with Mattel hinting to and then telling people the sub was going to be the only option for their 2013 lines. When people started to push back, you started hearing all the doom and gloom about wholesale cancelation from which Scott backed way off today.

MOTUC and DCUC are, as you like to point out, diverse lines. That's precisely why the sub only option doesn't work. You can't tell people they have buy 12 figures, more than half unknown to them at the time of purcahse, or else have access to zero figures and expect a prepondrance to choose 12 figures. That doesn't make sense. Also, as Dare has pointed out, it's ludicrous to expect and demand Slush Head sell the same numeber of units as Fisto or else no one gets anything.

There is not a big enough market to blindly support the character choices Mattel makes at the the prices they're asking. That's basically it. The controversy, to my mind, stems from Mattel's refusal to evolve into a more plausible model, insisting instead on using ham-fisted spin and daily, contradictory videos from someone who appears to have no power of persuaion whatever rather than trying to create real solutions to any of their current or past problems.

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Hmm now there is talk that Jon Chu is in talks to direct the Masters of the Universe movie. Right around the time that the talk has been all about the line ending....Interesting. Much like Hasbro I can see Mattel shifting all its focus to a movie line

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Perhaps sadly, I'd be in for Goddard movie figures, even if they didn't have actor likenesses.

-JJJ

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In a response to a question on the Matty boards, Catra's Wrath said the MOTUC figures we see at SDCC are NOT tooled. So, now we know Mattel is, in fact, selling these figures the way DST used to sell their sci-fi lines. They're using prototypes to generate production capital.

Does this shock anyone else? We know for a fact that's not how MOTUC started so, at some point, Mattel shifted the budget structure to a total reliance on past purchases as an indicator of future market intent.

How on Earth did anyone think that would be sustainable until 2016 given the price increase, character choices, and blindness of the sub?

Talk about smoke and mirrors...

That's why the subs are the only way Mattel is willing to go. There's literally no money for tooling otherwise.

Unreal.

Or maybe I'm just completely naive.

-JJJ

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Anonymous (not verified)

JJJason wrote:
In a response to a question on the Matty boards, Catra's Wrath said the MOTUC figures we see at SDCC are NOT tooled. So, now we know Mattel is, in fact, selling these figures the way DST used to sell their sci-fi lines. They're using prototypes to generate production capital.

Does this shock anyone else? We know for a fact that's not how MOTUC started so, at some point, Mattel shifted the budget structure to a total reliance on past purchases as an indicator of future market intent.

How on Earth did anyone think that would be sustainable until 2016 given the price increase, character choices, and blindness of the sub?

Talk about smoke and mirrors...

That's why the subs are the only way Mattel is willing to go. There's literally no money for tooling otherwise.

Unreal.

Or maybe I'm just completely naive.

-JJJ

but this level of idiocy falls right in line with the way mattel handles everything. their wwe line is being killed by their over-production of 2 or 3 characters(see he-man/skeletor from 200x or supes/bats from dcsh... oh, and 2 of these 3 characters have barely been on tv over the past year). dcuc was run into the ground with mind-numbingly dumb waves like the rainbow lantern and super-friends wave and endless repaints.

none of what they're doing with motuc comes as a surprise to me. well... i'm kinda surprised in that they keep doing flat-out dumb stuff over and over.

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I love He-Man. I want Fang Man. But getting a misglued Shadow Weaver and Matty never responded to my customer service inquiries is causing me to not renew.

http://www.toymania.com/node/8995

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Anonymous (not verified)

So.....then that means they could cut the Fighting Foe Men three pack and replace it something decent or simply not make it and thus lower the sub price. My money is on sub subcribers still being forced to buy it because its someone at Mattel's personal choice.

Rob
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I believe you are naive in this case.

The way the line has been handled from the beginning, with short production runs and very conservative increases shows that it has been a line that lives on the edge. I have very little doubt it has always had a thin margin to go from being made to being cancelled. The subscriptions gave it some breathing room, but now that seems to be getting smaller.

i would have been very surprised to hear if anything had been tooled already that was new. Mattel is not interested in spending money on this line if they don't have to. The tooling would be upwards of $50 k for Ram-man ( this is a conservative guess), so I can't see them agreeing to that without a guarantee for a return on that investment. While the overal amount isn't a lot to Mattel overall, the amount will be a lot to assign to this line.

It makes perfect economic sense because Mattel is a mass market toy manufacturer. This line is a drop in a drop in the bucket of what they make, so they will put very little into it. They expect a certain return on every line. When they don't get it, they cancel them. To the upper management they simply make a commodity. it doesn't matter to them what it is, just that it makes money.

-Rob

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Again, I understand the whole thing about sales and the line being on the edge (even though I seem to remember it was touted as doing well last year). But if there's little demand for some figures, and if people don't want to blind subscribe because they don't want to be forced to get certain figures, why force them? I'm fairly sure something like Ram-man and a few others could survive a preorder campaign like the Superboy/MM one and get sufficient numbers to make a profit.

Rob
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Fujishig wrote:
Again, I understand the whole thing about sales and the line being on the edge (even though I seem to remember it was touted as doing well last year). But if there's little demand for some figures, and if people don't want to blind subscribe because they don't want to be forced to get certain figures, why force them? I'm fairly sure something like Ram-man and a few others could survive a preorder campaign like the Superboy/MM one and get sufficient numbers to make a profit.

They probably can survive a pre-order campaign. The question is, would they be allowed to do it? I know they have in the past, but it may no longer be on the table for them.

You are correct, they said last year was very good. Even so, I believe the line was still looked at from the upper management as not worth the effort.With that, combined with a significant drop-off I think it makes it harder to sell the pre-order idea since there seems to be declining sales for a variety of reasons.

-Rob

Anonymous (not verified)

Straight from the Matty forums.....

"Fang Man is coming in March 2013! This all-new figure straight from the Filmation series will come with cartoon-accurate accessories like the Time Tablet and have an articulated jaw and tongue. This is Eric from the Four Horsemen’s favorite character so you know he put a lot of love into the sculpt!"

So everyone in the 2013 sub gets Fang Man because Eric from the 4H wants to see it made. Not Two Bad...Fang Man. This also seems to contradict all the figures shown at SDCC were just mock ups.

http://forums.mattycollector.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/2361004165/m/1921094767

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Fang Man was already announced right on the Matty sub ordering page. I have personally seen a lot of people ranking the Filmation characters as their most wanted figures on He-Man.org, so it's not just a pet project for the 4HM. Mattel struggled for a while to get the rights to do the Filmation characters and people want them to capitalize on it. Me, I just like cool-looking figures. I don't care if they've been made before or not. Any version of Mekaneck is one of the ugliest figures I've ever seen so I definitely rank Fang Man above him.

"The schedule to date includes Netossa™ (January), Jitsu™ (February), and Fang Man™ (March), and “quarterly” items including the long-awaited Ram Man® (February) and a Fighting Foe Men™ 3-pack (April). All names and release dates are subject to change."

I'm not sure why anyone would expect to see anything other than prototypes at a convention or at Toy Fair. They're always prototypes unless they're final production figures which are almost always shown in package if they're available.

The MOTUC sub is up to 64% as of Monday. I think DCU was not much higher than that last year and Mattel signed off on it, so I now have no doubt that MOTUC is going to go through. There is going to be a boost in the final days of subbing which will push MOTUC close enough to the top. Plan accordingly if you're interested in the sub exclusives, privileges and discounts. Hard to imagine DCU making it again though.

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Just looked into it and the DCU subscription thermometer ended at 62% last year. 10 days later Matty announced that it would go through anyway despite not hitting its target. We now know MOTUC is at 64%. Since there is no outlet at retail for MOTU, it's hard to believe they won't make it go through. Like they did for DCU, they may just raise prices for non-subscribers.

"The next morning: thermometer is at about 62% and the link is still live to purchase subscriptions."

http://www.thefwoosh.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=70621&start=2190

"As you know, we did not hit the number of subscribers we were seeking for the club, but we know that there are some very passionate DC Universe fans, so we found a way to make the program work."

https://www.facebook.com/notes/mattycollectorcom/dc-universe-club-infini...

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Rob wrote:
I believe you are naive in this case.

The way the line has been handled from the beginning, with short production runs and very conservative increases shows that it has been a line that lives on the edge. I have very little doubt it has always had a thin margin to go from being made to being cancelled. The subscriptions gave it some breathing room, but now that seems to be getting smaller.

i would have been very surprised to hear if anything had been tooled already that was new. Mattel is not interested in spending money on this line if they don't have to. The tooling would be upwards of $50 k for Ram-man ( this is a conservative guess), so I can't see them agreeing to that without a guarantee for a return on that investment. While the overal amount isn't a lot to Mattel overall, the amount will be a lot to assign to this line.

It makes perfect economic sense because Mattel is a mass market toy manufacturer. This line is a drop in a drop in the bucket of what they make, so they will put very little into it. They expect a certain return on every line. When they don't get it, they cancel them. To the upper management they simply make a commodity. it doesn't matter to them what it is, just that it makes money.

-Rob

If you want to reiterate the line's insignificance in the eyes of Mattel corporate, that's fair enough. I think the point a lot of us are trying to make is, given the financial tightrope we know MOTUC must walk, is a mostly blind sub as the only option the best way to ensure its success?

I think all evidence points to no.

-JJJ

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Brer Dan 2 (not verified)

Last year I bit and bought a MOTUC, MOTUC 30th Anniversary and DC sub. It was my first time buying a sub, but I have always loved the fun obscure characters of DC and so many of the MOTUC seemed cool (Shadow Weaver, Fisto, Draego Man right up at the top)--and *most* of the others seemed like ones I could live with.

As the course of the year continued, I would get a figure I love, followed by two figures I was "meh" about. To some extent I am ok with that--but when you add in shipping and I am paying some $40 a figure, having a two-to-one "meh" ratio wasn't ideal.

Regarding MOTUC, I would probably get a sub IF I could just get one core figure per month. For me the tipping point is being forced to buy the quarterly repaints (which usually are very "meh") and the oversized items. I am not set on only characters I know (I had never heard of Procrustus or the Griffin--and both are ok to me)--but when you take the possibility of "meh" and jack up the price to some $70 to $90 once shipping and tax is paid....I start to draw the line. The Star Sisters is a "meh" to me, so many of the 3oth Anniversary ended up being "meh," and the Fighting Foe Men are the same way. I just can't commit as much money as the line demands when there are so many cases of "meh" or unknown. Drop the extras and just do 12 solid standard figures, and I'd do it.

Regarding DC, the character choices have killed it for me. Few people want more Rainbow lanterns, and those fill out at least 3 of some 18 or so spots over the two years. Again, the oversized figure was a total waste--an great sculpt of the wrong costume at a completely unusable scale--$50 totally wasted. No line is going to be 100%, but when you are asking people to take risk--make the amount of risk reasonable. Too many unknowns for too much money. Drop the oversized figures and drop the Rainbow Lanterns....and then I'd budge.

So, as much as I love both lines, I'm not willing to sign on for any sub this year. A smaller committment I can do, but commitments of $500 with so much unknown--just too much.
Just my thoughts

Brer Dan

Anonymous (not verified)

Is it just me or do you guys think matty is playing us trying to boost sales on motu ??? They have been playing this "not enough" card and wont let us see a percent or run some kind of meter to show us what they need.....I my sel have bought two subs for motu and every one I know that collects that didnt last year has bought this year.....so im not so sure about there bs !!!

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Brer Dan, there are no quarterly repaints in the 2013 sub, just 12 figures and 4 oversized. And of course there's no 30th MOTU optional add-on. It sounds like in addition for MOTU they'll have a floating convention exclusive of a Zodac redeco like the three JLU 3-packs last year and then whatever they have for SDCC, but those two won't be in the sub.

ToyGuru announced the MOTU sub is in the mid-80% now. He's still saying they have to hit 100%, but realistically to me there's little doubt it's happening now whether they get one more order or not.

MOTUC 2013 sub:
This includes 12 monthly figures (12 @ $25 = $300), 4 beasts/variants/multi-packs (1 each at $25, $30, $50, $75 = $180), and a $25 membership fee for a total of $505 plus shipping/taxes/fees.

NYBangleVal (not verified)

"Drop the oversized figures and drop the Rainbow Lanterns....and then I'd budge."

the DC sub won't have oversized figures next year aside from the club exclusive, so that part has been taken care of by Mattel for you already. I just signed up today and I really hope it goes through since I want a Phantom Stranger, Elongated Man, Mallah, and Wally figure in my display and I really don't mind the Rainbow Lanterns either. I just am dying to know which DC females Mattel has planned for next year and I hope we can actually get them.

Val

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So u think the line won't happen Jedi ???

LYT
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You know that Mattel is somewhat desperate because they actually got Digital River to offer a statement of semi-apology.

I have to say, this is the first year I've subbed, and the only real disappointments in the main (non-30th) sub were the Star Sisters (whom I knew about going in, and my fiance likes anyhow) and Filmation Randor, who's not that huge a letdown because I don't have the vintage-style one. I just think it's lame because they had the rights to do any Randor look before, and were planning a 200x version who'd have been way better.

Not much of a customizer, but I plan on repainting Fang Man's eyes when I get him.

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Mockingbird, no I said there's little doubt it's happening now. Which means I am confident that it will happen.

As for the DCU sub, I have to say as an enthusiastic supporter of it last year, and who likes almost every 2012 release so far, the 2013 lineup looks extremely underwhelming. They feel like pictures of those cancelled prototypes that sometimes come out right before a line ends, that are dull-looking and made with such obvious reuses of existing parts. I kind of think Mattel doesn't care much if this one goes through or not now that they have the DC Unlimited lines starting at retail, so they put the bare minimum effort possible into it. I think they're saying if this takes no effort at all and people still buy it, we'll do it, but otherwise we'll put our effort into the new retail lines which will have more payoff.

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I am really excited about the Watchmen line, but if they could do that massive LOSH boxed set, Watchmen certainly would have made sense as a boxed set. They could've handled that one as an advance pre-order like the Young Justice 2-pack and the Hoverboard. Doesn't seem to be much point in spreading out a limited 6-figure line throughout the year.

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I renewed my DC sub & signed up for the Watchmen sub Friday night. I really want both subs to go through, but I'm not holding my breath.

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Nebraska wrote:
I renewed my DC sub & signed up for the Watchmen sub Friday night. I really want both subs to go through, but I'm not holding my breath.

If the thermometer is remotely accurate, the DC sub doesn't have a prayer.

The sad part is, the Mattel spin will be fans weren't interested in "collector" 6" DC figures when nothing could be further from the truth. Ask 100 DCUC fans if they want the line to continue. Then ask how many of those 100 have signed up for the 2013 sub. The numbers won't be anywhere near each other.

Within that gap lay all the problems with the MattyCollector model. Lack of interest in the product isn't one of them.

-JJJ

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LYT
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Irony is, they could probably have EASILY sold fans on a JLU sub.

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I'm not going to subscribe to MOTUC just for Castle Greyskullman. If I get him, I get him. If I don't, oh well. Life goes on. It's just toys.

LYT
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It's too late to subscribe for Castle Grayskullman anyway. He's part of last years bonus add-on sub.

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Anonymous (not verified)

They should have rolled the Watchmen line into the DC sub this year with a promise to finish the team by the year's end. Watchmen is only 6 main figures anyway, not enough to really carry its own line. Then every year after that, announce a theme within the DC line (or better yet let the fans vote) to let the fans know what's coming. JLU, Young Justice, Batman...all could be themes within the line while still offering a variety outside the theme. Drop the quarterly figure and just add a new slot every two months (regular figure cost, not oversized) for the theme on top of the regular line itself. This would only increase the figure count by 2.

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I admittedly am not up-to-speed on the entire Matty Sub debacle, but from what I have seen, it really feels like Matty is putting the gun-to-head here.

If the subs aren't getting the buys, then so be it. Times are tough and action figures aren't exactly high on the priority list for everyone.

It almost feels like loyal collectors are being berated for not the Sub not being successful enough...if the lines can't reach mass release appeal than whose fault is that? Is it the fault of the Collector?

Having The Four Horsemen now pander to Collectors is just wrong all the way around.

Just my opinion and admittedly, I have not followed every statement, argument and such. I personally lost interest at the beginning between announced figures, dig river issues and the constantly changing rules and dates.

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Well I bought my Subscription for the DC Sub today. If it goes through great, if not, no biggie. While i'm not thrilled with alot of figures in the sub so far this year, it wasn't enough to scare me to not try next year's sub(if it goes through). I just don't want to be stuck with superman and batman lines over and over at retail. Don't get me wrong I like characters from Batman and Superman i just want an opportunity for that saint walker and larfleeze amongst some others if they get made. Digital River still scares the hell outta me even if they say they are fixing things.

Anonymous (not verified)

It appears the thermometer has suddenly doubled in size. They were probably lying earlier to make it look really low. They could still be low balling us, in hopes of getting to Level 2 where they will "consider" all new sculpts (but have the excuse of "it's a year later and it's just not feasible now.") Even if they don't make the target they'll probably do it anyway and make the excuse "we'll just have to do more day-of sales." I have no problem subscribing, saves me a lot of hassle so I was going to do it either way but all the b.s. and scare tactics are pathetic.

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Perfect example of why I think Scott is a factor in all this. This is a post from earlier today on the Matty forums about the MOTUC sub:

Since people still have till midnight tonight to subscribe lets let last minute fence sitters and resellers do their thing. Don't post %'s today as everyones on edge and You still will have to crunch the numbers and post a Messeage to us fans one way or the other First thing Tomorrow Morning as to if we will have a fantastic 2013 year with figures or that we fought the good fight but still didn't make it. posting where we are at what % today before all the numbers are in just makes everyone more on edge. -Overlord Of Evil

So, clearly this guy is nervous, and he may not want to discourage remaining undecideds from subscribing at the last minute if they see the percentage isn't close enough to make their vote count, as it were. Either way, he's clearly an enthusiastic supporter of the line.

Here's Scott's response:

If you don't want to know the precent updates,don't read em!

Uhh...

-JJJ

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