Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mattel Reflects On 2009 & It's MOTUC Line

Mattel has posted the following statement in regards to their Masters of the Universe Classics line on their Facebook page. (Via ToyNewsi)

What a breakout year it was for the return of He-Man and all his friends and allies in the first MOTU line aimed at the adult collector! To really look at the last year, lets take a quick walk on how this line came about.

Originally as we conceived and the best toy lines to put out for our audience, we knew we wanted to do a MOTU collector line. Our of the blue, during our planning stage the Horsemen brought in a prototype He-Man figure. The stars were lining up perfectly. We put him out at SDCC to see if their was buzz, and boy was there!

The original plan was to offer MOTU Classic figures in two packs similar to the DCU figures. Three two packs were planned out, He-Man vs. Beastman, Skeletor vs. Stratos and Zodac vs. Mer-Man. The idea was to release one every other month at a $40.00 price point. At the last minute we changed plans betting on this line being a success and the packs were broken up and sold as singles. (gulp - please be a success!) We even added one last character - Hordak - in hope it would take off and we could sell a baseline number of figures each month. Faker became an easy repaint for NYCC assuming again that the line took off. If not, we would have gotten at least to Hordak and that would have been it.

Well obviously the line was a huge success, enough that we planned out a full year of one figure a month ending with Adora in December, making sure we got in one POP figure in year 1.

But then Mer-Man ran really late and not only did Faker need to get bumped into a monthly figure slot, but it threw off the rest of the year so that Scareglow was no longer the Halloween figure and Adora had to get bumped to year 2. Not the end of the world, but it showed that we needed a system in place to guarantee at least one figure a month shipped.

Hence the "bonus figures" were born. Despite speculation that these figures were done to increase the number of MOTU figures we sold each month, Zodak and Goddess were chosen as extra figures as our insurance policy. They were relatively inexpensive to do and in case another figure ran late we could simply slot one of them in to guarantee one new figure was available per month.

Luckily we did not run into any more problems in 2009 and the remaining monthly figures all shipped on time. So Zodak and Goddess were released as "bonus" figures at the end of the year. This is why "bonus" figures will not be part of any subscription program. We need to hold onto them to insure there is at least one new figure per month if any slip ups happen in production.

We are going to continue to create a few back up variations of A level characters starting in Jan. with Battle Armor He-Man. If a "monthly" figure slips schedule, we will just slot in one of our back ups in its place. If everyone ships on time, the back ups will be offered as bonus figures about once a quarter. We'll do 3-4 in total in 2010, all variants of A level characters. And again, this will not be part of the subscription.

We're also very excited to be getting to larger scale beasts in 2010. You've seen Battle Cat and we have some great ideas to continue this line if he takes off. We'll have more to reveal at NYTF during collector night on Feb. 14th. (yes, we know this is before his on sale date - we're taking a bet again - gulp...)

There will also be a few more re-releases in 2010. Not every figure will get re-released and they will not be re-released in the same order offered the first time (despite He-Man, Skeletor and Beastman setting this up). We also hold a few of every figure for customer service each month. If these are not needed we'll bring any extra to SDCC. Many are gone in full, so we may only have one or two customer service figures at SDCC.

Our end goal is to get to every classic MOTU, POP, NA and new or majorly redesigned 200X series figure in the line; all in "Classics style". Right now we have a long term roll out in place taking us through 2016 with bios for every figure. Because MOTU has a limited number of A list characters, it was important to create this road map to insure the line had a long life to it (we didn't want to front load all the fan requests into year 1 and 2 and kill teh lein erlay). Of course a movie release or if Mattel is able to gain access to any additional MOTU characters things could change. It is a very flexible plan, but at least we have a roadmap to get us where we want to go and to insure the bios tell a nice full story revealed bit by bit.

All of us at Mattel couldn't be more excited about the future of the MOTU Classics line. And of course it would not be a success without all the fans. Your continued support and input is most important. This line is for the fans. We're working on ironing out all the shipping and ordering issues so hopefully this will be a thing of the past by January.

Look for some major surprises in Feb with at least 4 new figures revealed and some additional skus no one is expecting! - Oh, and we'll have images of Evil Lyn with all of her accessories including 3 additional ones not seen yet in early January.

Lastly, we will get to a re-release of King Grayskull with slight deco changes, but don't count on this until very late in 2010.

Well, this "State of MOTUC" is certainly a lot to digest. I think it gave us a pretty good insight as to what plans Mattel had for the line, and hopefully what plans they have for it as well.

  • Had the line not taken off we wouldn't have even gotten to Hordak.

  • Adora was originally slated for December, but Mer-Man delayed each figure by one month.

  • Bonus figures are "insurance policy" incase another figure runs late.

  • Matty will offer bonus figures about once a quarter, 3-4 total in 2010.

  • Large beasts in 2010, starting with Battle Cat, if he's a success more to come.

  • End goal is to get every MOTU, POP, NA and majorly redsigned 200X figure out in "Classics style".

  • Long term plan taking us through 2016.

  • Working on shipping & ordering issues.

  • Big announcements in February (4 new figures and Evil-Lyn with all accessories including 3 not yet seen.)

  • King Grayskull re-release late 2010!

Its nice to know Mattel actually has along term plan for this line, so hopefully contingent on its continued success they'll continue to roll out new figures every month! I'm also glad to know that the bonus figures won't be a monthly thing either. I'm very happy with Zodak and The Goddess, however buying a subscription figure in addition to bonus figures every month could become very costly. I'm certainly interested in what other large scale beasts they have in mind. I'm already setting aside cash for Battle Cat, and if Panthor is offered you can count me in. As far as any other large scale beasts, I will have to see them before I really make up my mind. Finally, I'm really looking forward to February! I'm excited to find out who the new figures will be, and also what surprises Mattel has in store for us with Evil Lyn, I'd love a second head with no helmet!

Happy Holidays!

Many warm wishes for a safe and Merry Christmas, and a happy and prosperous New Year!

Where does he get

Those wonderful toys?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Review - McFarlane's Twisted X-Mas: Rudloph

Rudy Reindeer is my second foray into McFarlane's Twisted X-Mas series, my first being 2007 when I picked up Santa Claus. Last year, instead of picking up another Twisted X-Mas figure, I opted for Frosty the Snowman from Round 2's Forever Fun Holiday Classics line. This year, I decided to go back to my roots and pick up Santa Claus' reindeer with a bioluminescent red nose, however you will notice that Rudy's nose is indeed not red nor is it glowing.

About Twisted X-Mas - "Inside the decidedly distorted mind of Todd McFarlane, the holidays take an entirely different twist. Forget the warmth of Christmas past - McFarlane's Twisted Christmas transforms the characters you thought you knew, and the results are undeniably wicked."

In this series, along with Santa Claus is Mrs. Claus, a Snowman, Jack Frost, and Santa's Little Helper. This whole wave had a lot stacked against it, first off, they're Christmas toys, which only really can be displayed for about one month a year. Secondly, they're ultra warped interpretations of these Christmas classics, who wants Santa Claus to be a zombie? I can't imagine the line has done terribly well, when they were first introduced they warmed pegs at my local Newbury Comics for MONTHS, and finally I think they were put away, only to be brought out the next year, and the year after. The price tag on my Rudy is dated 10/24/2007, so you know they haven't been a really in-demand item.

Packaging: Rudy comes in a clamshell packaging, nothing too fancy, but you instantly know its a "Christmas" toy when you see it.

Sculpt & Paint: Rudy is posed standing upright on his hind legs, his mouth wide open exposing all of his sharp teeth, and he's posed to hold his axe accessory. Rudy has a string of Christmas lights wrapped all around his arms and legs, almost reminiscent of barbed wire, he's also got a red leather harness with slay bells. On his arms and legs he's got a bicep plate on his right arm, gauntlets on both forearms and greaves on both shins. Finally, his hair on the back is braided, very reminiscent of a Predator.

Overall I'd say the sculpt is superb, the attention to detail is great, the hairs, teeth, and ornate designs on his armor really exemplifies this, even a little socket plug for the Christmas lights. The paint does a really great job blending the white with the dark and light browns, and the Christmas lights really stick out too.

Articulation: As one would expect from a McFarlane figure (is it really even a figure) there is minimal articulation. Rudy has swivel hips (kind of), shoulders, and wrists. Though, you really can't do much with this articulation. He won't stand without the aid of his base.

Accessories: Rudy includes a large axe, which is nicely sculpted, and a snow base with a little skull to aid to the creepiness.

Overall: Rudy is already a very hard sell, considering he's a twisted Christmas figure, and with the lack of articulation there isn't a lot you can do with him, however he's still a lot of fun to look at and its nice to have some company for 'ol Saint Nick. If I had not already owned McFarlane's Twisted Santa Claus I doubt I would have picked up Rudy. The attention to detail and great paint on the sculpt really help push it up above an average figure. Though Christmas only comes once a year, Rudy can terrorize your collection year round if you are so inclined!