Friday, August 3, 2012

One More Thing About The Masters of the Universe Classics Situation

Side Note: This was originally the intro for my review of Spikor, but as tends to happen with me sometimes (a lot) I ran off at the mouth enough to post it as a separate article.
Also, please do not take any of the following to mean I don’t think you should subscribe or that I am trying to dissuade anybody from subscribing. These are all my own personal reasons for being frustrated with the line. I do not want it to end. I hope that all of the people who love the line and can overlook the problems I have get their toys all year long. But I simply cannot (as of right now) justify spending over six hundred dollars on what Matty is currently offering. If you can, do it. I’ll be jealous every month.
Just to be clear, I fucking love the Masters of the Universe Classics toy line. But I am so damned sick and tired of all the issues that go along with collecting it. Seriously you guys – it as much a source of stress for me as it is a joy. If I could pay thirty bucks apiece for these guys and have them just show up at my house without ever having to think about it, I would totally do it. But sadly, that isn’t the case. Every month these wonderful, odd figures cause one more gray hair on my head. Or beard. And I’m tired of it.

Before I get any further I feel like I need to address the current MOTUC subscription situation. If you don’t know, it was revealed shortly after the subs opened up that the numbers for Club Eternia were shockingly low this year. ToyGuru has posted many commentaries and a few videos about this and most of them have been just shy of begging (or threatening) for people to subscribe to keep the line going. Apparently the higher-ups at Mattel are ready to axe the whole MOTUC line if the numbers aren’t good enough; and not just the 2014 line – ToyGuru even suggested that the 2013 line could see further price increases and a reduction in figures being released. To be fair, these videos have gotten more positive and informative as time has gone on.

Personally, I was doubtful. I had made up my mind a long time ago that if there was a price increase on the Masters of the Universe Classics figures I would have to stop. I’ve always felt that $20 plus shipping (working out to $28.70 apiece for me depending on what was being offered that month) was too much. Like, too much to the point where I was kind of ashamed to be spending that much on them.
You also have to understand – and you know this if you’ve been reading Needless Things for any amount of time – that I am a sucker and that my brain can justify all kinds of dumb shit. So when I say I made up my mind, what I really meant was that the line was going to have to be pretty darn good and then I’d probably keep going anyway. But I’d give quitting some serious thought.
At San Diego Comic Con 2012 it was announced that regular single figures were going from $20 to $25. It was also announced that Netossa, Fang Man, and the Fighting Foe Men were going to be part of the 2013 subscription. I decided I was done. I mean, I decided I was going to have to decide to be done. But maybe not. I’m still deciding. But man – that’s $125 (plus shipping) worth of DO NOT WANT right there. Allow me to break it down for you:
I have derided Netossa as being the absolute bottom of the MOTU barrel many times. Not only is she a stupid-looking character, she has the most groan-inducing name of a line of hundreds of characters with groan-inducing names. Also, she is an insanely minor character when compared to many other Princess of Power characters that could have been produced – Castaspella, Princess Glimmer, Fluttershy, Mermista. Those names all spring to mind and I don’t know shit about POP. I will say that Netossa's face looks really good.
I’m actually pretty okay with Fang Man. Like I said before, I don’t have the most extensive knowledge of MOTU characters in the first place. So it doesn’t really bother me when Matty sneaks in a character I’m not all that familiar with. As long as they look cool I don’t care where they come from. But therein lies the problem with that new Filmation deal. Fang Man is a Filmation character who appeared in one episode of the old cartoon (which I just watched). He’s almost too goofy looking. But not quite. Just like Granamyr; who I’m still on the fence about (although after seeing just how huge he is in one of the latest videos from ToyGuru I am more tempted). Both of those characters are a bit more cartoony than I like. Clawful – who I sold on eBay for a massive loss – and Whiplash – who I passed on entirely – were the same way. Actually, Clawful was way over the line. Just terrible. My problem with Fang Man comes from what he represents – the possibility for even goofier-looking Filmation characters. I’ve been brushing up on the old episodes via Netflix and there are a shit-ton of stupid characters to choose from. I don’t want to be obligated to buy any of those. And I’ll get to the whole obligation problem in a minute.
Finally there’s the Fighting Foe Men. Honestly I have no problem with these guys, especially since Mattel is including Evil Horde armor. But this seventy-five dollar set of three figures is almost a slap in the face. You see, the designs come from the box art for a series of Masters of the Universe model kits. These are the pilots for three vehicles released in that line. Vehicles. That we will never see. Matty could have released a 3-pack of Horde Troopers instead. Three identical figures, maybe with a few interchangeable armor pieces and a bunch of different weapons, but essentially three of the same figure. And that would have been awesome. That would have been something’s customers (not fans – customers) have actually been begging to see for years. But no – we get these weirdos. I don’t dislike them, but it’s the principle of the thing. I may not mind the more obscure characters, but Matty has definitely made one too many decisions along these lines over the years. It’s probably a big part of the reason why MOTUC is in danger now.
I am also suffering from extreme shipping fatigue. I am sick and tired of my figures taking so damn long to get here and I am not paying more to make them arrive in what would be an acceptable amount of time. This is such a huge issue for me I feel like it deserves more discussion, but that’s it. Well – it also pisses me off that everybody I know in my area with a sub gets their stuff a day before I do. What the fuck?
Those are basically my reasons for not subscribing to Club Eternia in 2013. Those and how amazingly off-putting the initial appeals from Scott Nietlich were about the death of the line. I’ve been a subscriber for two years now and have honestly had few problems that weren’t directly related to Digital River. I don’t need ToyGuru sanctimoniously blaming me for the death of the line because of a price increase that I cannot even begin to justify.
Here are the things Matty could have done to get my money:
Announced the potential lineup for the rest of 2013. I don’t know why Nietlich is such an ass about this. One minute he’s talking about how the line has been planned through 2016 since the start or how figures take two years to develop; the next he’s stating that they couldn’t possibly announce twelve months worth of figures in July of the previous year. This doesn’t make a lick of sense to me. I don’t understand how they can create a binding contract with customers based on nothing, but can’t produce a list of potential figures with the notice that they are subject to be changed. I would sign up for that. I’d much rather have a sort of half-assed idea of what I was getting then none at all. Just the fact that ToyGuru has suggested they’re going to stop dicking around with concept characters and finish out the core line in 2013 and 2014 is almost enough to get me to sign up.
Offer something better than King He-Man as the sub Exclusive. He’s not bad, but he’s totally disposable. Wun-Dar had more value to me, and he was a fucking bread toy.
Fix the shipping problem. I know there’s no shaking Digital River, but the cost of shipping is fucking ridiculous. I do not understand how every other vendor on the internet has shipping that is faster and cheaper. It pisses me off every single month when I get that invoice and I’ll be more than happy to not endure that stress anymore.
I guess that’s it. And the ridiculous thing is that I’m still not sure I’m not going to subscribe before the deadline. The closer it looms, the more info ToyGuru spills, the more tempted I am. I really do love these toys.
Actually, the truly ridiculous thing is that I’m not subscribing to the DC Club Infinite Earths. I totally dig everything that was shown from that line for 2013 and the rest of the 2012 sub is – get ready for it – almost… excellent. As much as I disliked Atrocitus and Metron and Rocket Red is an utter piece of shit (though that shouldn’t stop you from bidding on the one I’m trying to sell on eBay!), I quite like Jay Garrick and Starman. And seriously – the rest of 2012 is killer.
But there’s that pesky price increase that ToyGuru insists is necessary. I still balk at paying $15 for domestic 6” scale figures. I’ve finally accepted that it’s just how things are, but I don’t like it. And now Matty wants me to pay $26.70 (shipping, folks – it’s there no matter what you say about it). The figure price has gone from $15 to $18 and I just don’t like it.
Plus that little thermometer on the sub page is never going to fill up. Not by Monday night, anyway.


  1. I agree with you here. If Mattel isn't going to make vehicles for the FFM, they shouldn't make 'em. Also, why wasn't the Phantom Stranger in DCUC? Nietlich said he's been done for two years now, so why'd we get buried under blackest night/ brightest day figures?

    1. I didn't even know about the Phantom Stranger thing, but we've gotten a ton of figures that were supposed to be DCUC slots. Granted, I'm not complaining about that idea - this is, after all, the continuation of that line. But a little more effort would be nice. That being said I do dig the 2013 lineup a lot. So much that I just subscribed, which is probably an exercise in futility.

  2. i've read these complaints a thousand time but when the line is in danger i think people are obligated to stop complaining & do what they can to save the line. and that means: if you aren't going to buy a subscription you should be encouraging others to do so. because every person who buys one will translate to one more figure being re-sold so that cherry-pickers can get what they want & the line will continue. i just bought mine this morning & i hope others will too. i'm a completist, so my figures stay with me, even the terrible FAILmation figures.

    1. I will NEVER stop complaining! What the heck would I write about?
      Look - I've got complaints about every toy line I collect. And I really am torn up about the MOTUC situation. It is likely the most fun out of any I have collected, but it is also the most expensive value-wise and the most frustrating. It's not like the problems are simply that they aren't getting to the right characters in time or that they're doing weird variations. It's frustrating that a line that clearly is interested in fan input and interacts more with the customers than any other brand fails to deliver so often in so many ways. From logistics to the aforementioned character selection, Matty's decisions are baffling.
      Having said that, I did subscribe again. Because I do love the line. So poop on you, mister. (just kidding)
      Oh - and as far as the cherry picker thing, I didn't even consider that an option. For me it was quit the line or subscribe. Matty made it quite clear that cherry picking would be nigh impossible in 2013 and I am NOT dealing with their damned website on sale days, not to mention there would be days where I was stuck at work and would just miss out entirely.
      Now, whether or not Matty's low day-of stock claims are true is another issue, but we are forced to take them at their word at this point.

  3. Ah, quit being such a baby! Instead o' complaining like hell about your problems, just find ways to fix 'em.

    1. These aren't my problems, they are problems inherent in the Masters of the Universe Classics toy line. And I'm not sure how I could fix quality issues, the release of ridiculously obscure characters, or poor shipping methods.

  4. Mattel just doesn't care about MOTU anymore. They fought the battle with the child protection organisations, they squeezed the nuts off the profitability of it, scrunched it up and threw the brand in the fucking bin.

    You can stick a fork in it, it's done. -They've made some money off collectors, but it's becoming too arduous to keep up at this low a level of commercial energy.

    The issue I have with all this subscription stuff, and hunting the nigh-hidden back store of the Mattel collectors website, is that it's all unnecessary.

    Mattel *knows* how to sell a toy line. Or at least it used to. The problem with MOTU, today, is -as I said, Mattel just doesn't care.

    1. Honestly at this point the shipping is my biggest problem. It costs way too fucking much.