Twice a month, Mattel is kind enough to answer questions around the web on its lines, including WWE, DC, Masters of the Universe, Ghostbusters & More. Check out the January Q&A session sorted out by catagory!
Q. Has any progress been made on finding a way to release Nekron’s scythe? After snapping up all of Wave 20 and building Nekron, he still feels like he’s a missing a piece since his accessory is integral to his look.
A. Having to delete this accessory was not something any of us wanted to do, but the skyrocketing cost of labor and raw materials made it an unfortunate victim. We are looking into ways to release it since it is sculpted, but as of yet we have not found a way. Had the 2012 sub sold better we would be able to look into adding things like Weapon packs, but as of now, we only have enough subscribers to basically “keep the lights on” and are not able to add any additional items yet. We’ll have to see how day of sales go and more importantly now the 2013 sub sales go this July.
Q. Okay, since DC is now doing a pretty expansive run on the Watchmen via prequels, can those characters now be on the table for DCUC styling? We need our comic versions of the entire team.
A. We would love to get to Watchmen characters in time. But nothing is planned right now.
Q. Those new delux stackable WWE stands are really cool, is there any chance we can get these adapted over for DCUC? The stacking would be great for building a pantheon of heroes!
A. It is certainly something we can look into!
Q. Do you consider Frankenstein, whether in his Creature Commandos or Seven Soldiers look, an oversized character that needs 100 percent new tooling?
A. There are several ways we could tackle him, but we don’t have plans to announce at this time.
Q. Toyguru, there was a great article by ibentmymanthing on FWOOSH about the highs (Legion 12-pack) and lows (Modern Captain Boomerang over Classic, Wave 17) of the 2011 class of DC Universe Classics. Now that DCUC as a branded line at retail is over, can you name two “groups” or “teams” that you personally would love to have produced had the line continued on another couple of years?
A. From Toyguru: “I personally really want to finish the Doom Patrol and I know Corn Boy wants to get the rest of the Metal Men finished!!”
Q. For a long time now fans have been complaining about the female buck, specifically the skinniness in the limbs. Now that we have the sub, is there any chance that this buck could be re-done/modified to help improve the matchstick arms and undersized hands? I know it’s a tooling issue, but you were able to re-do the oft complained about teen buck recently, and seeing as how this buck could then be re-used many times over, I would imagine that the cost would be regained over time between both the sub and retail figures.
A. Yes, this is something we are always looking into if tooling and logistics allow.
Q. There seems to be a bit of confusion as to the status of DCUC/Club Infinite Earths multipacks. You seem to have ruled out multipacks at retail. Have you ruled them out as a mattycollector offering as well? Multi-packs seem like a more realistic way to get long-requested characters such as Flash Rogues like Heat Wave, James Jesse Trickster, Weather Wizard, Mirror Master, etc. Will we be seeing any multipacks online or in other venues in 2012?
A. Retail multipacks are always pending retailer interest. Multipacks online are not out of the question but we will have to see how 2013 subs sell this summer before tackling them.
Q. The Green Arrow and Red Arrow figures in DCUC Wave 20 were both excellent, but the bows with molded arrows are very limiting for display and posing. Why are other companies like DC Direct and Marvel Select able to produce regular bows and detached arrows and yet Mattel is not? Is there are scope for offering these in an accessory pack on Mattycollector or through some other avenue?
A. Mattel has much higher safety standards compared to some other companies and we are required to keep arrows in the string on accessories like this or they are classified as “sling shots” which we do not sell or make. One way we have found to avoid lodging an arrow in the string is to issue just the bow without a string like we did with the MOTUC Bow figure. It is certainly something we can explore for DC figures in the future.
Q. Why another Superman instead of a Flash figure in the BATB Stealth Strike Gorilla Attack set? This would of been a perfect way to release one of the “missing figures”.
A. This is a kid aimed product and Superman is a much better seller. If this was a collector sku, Flash would be a great choice. But the item is not aimed at collectors first. It is a kid/mom item first.
Q. Will older DCUC figures continue to be re-released as “All Stars” as part of the new DCUC line in 2012?
A. Yes, some slots in the All Stars line will be for older re-issues to help new fans catch up. All new collector figures can be found in our online Club Infinite Earth’s program on Mattycollector.com.
Q. Will future waves of Action League feature New-52 style DC characters, or will Action League remain a haven for more classic characters?
A. You can potentially see new 52 characters in all of our lines. They are not restricted to 6″.
Q. DC’s New 52 appears to be making many steps to broaden the exposure base of its characters, for instance, introducing digital combo packs, shucking high numbered books for ready-made collections and jettisoning continuity. Can we expect increased comic tie-ins, such as comic packs, action figure ads in the comic books or mail-in exclusive figures?
A. We do not have plans for comic book packs ins right now, but it is certainly something to explore.
Q. Will we see more DC Universe themed Polly Pocket figures and if so, will they remain a seasonal impulse item?
A. It is possible. Nothing to announce right now but the previous ones were big sellers!
Q. Are we getting a Superman line as the rumors have suggested??
A. Yes, we are working on a toy line for the new Man of Steel movie in 2013. We will have details to announce at NYTF in Feb 2013.
Q. Any plans on other women imaginext figures besides cat women?
A. Not at this time but you never know what the future will bring!
Q. With General Zod appearing in the next Superman film, what are the chances of getting him in his comic-appearance in the DC All Stars or DC Sub lines?
A. He is always a possibility but no plans to announce a Zod right now.
Q. Will the retail price of DC All-Stars be less than it is for DCUC, especially since it is now a lone figure with no CnC or (so far) accessories?
A. It is up to each retailer to set their own price. However, raw materials and labor costs do continue to rise and we will do our best to keep SRP prices as low as possible. Sometimes this means removing a base or a C&C piece to avoid cost reducing a figure.
Masters of the Universe
Q. Fans are happy to finally have Demo-Man in-hand, but we’re still left knowing next to nothing about the character. You know we’ll keep reading the bios, but are there future bios in the pipeline that will shed more light on Demo-Man or the Fighting Foe Men?
A. Yes, you will find out more in time!
Q. With interchangeable parts coming back into style, are Mattel and the Four Horsemen making a more concentrated effort to look for interchangeability in MOTU figures? Fisto is awesome, but his inability to part share with Roboto & Trap Jaw ended up being a drawback. Will future figures have that aspect more carefully considered so opportunities aren’t missed?
A. Fisto was never intended to share parts with Roboto or Trap Jaw. We leave these choices up to the Four Horsemen.
Q. Since Clamp Champ shares his armor with Fisto, will he also have the giant sword holder on the back or would it be possible to get a newly-tooled back piece?
A. We have not gotten to Clamp Champ yet but we tend to leave these type of choice up to the Four Horsemen. There is no rule in place that he has to use Fisto’s armor. Jitsu also shares armor with Randor (in the vintage line) but it doesn’t mean 100% they will also share armor in Classics. (if and when we get to either character). This is a choice the Horsemen make.
Q. It was mentioned that although the Wind Raider sold out, it didn’t move quite fast enough to be an impressive sell through. Isn’t it possible that this slower sell through, was a result of other purchases fans were making at the time? In essense, can’t a sell out still be successful, even if it takes a few days (weeks even)? Everyone doesn’t get paid on the 15th of the month, ya know.
A. A few days to sell out would have been great if we had a normal quota. But our quota was EXTREMELY small. The fact that it took three days to sell out only a very small handful of units is why it was not a run-away success.
Q. We are aware of many cost-saving strategies that have been intorduced into MOTUC, from reducing accessories on a figure like Draego-Man to the new smaller shipping boxes… these techniques have protected the 2012 sub-holder prices, but should sub-holders expect this to be the final year of $20 figures?
A. While we don’t know 2013 prices yet, we can bet they will not be at 2008 levels. Prices continue to go up due to labor and raw materials rising every year. We will do all we can to keep figures cost down but we do not want to cost reduce the figure itself and remove weapons or deco ops to do this. It is always a delicate balance.
Q. Masters that require less tooling have been coming fast and furious, while many who would need more unique parts seem to be more paced out to accommodate a larger production budget. Have you considered pricing the basic figures on a scale based on new tooling requirements? For example, Clamp-Champ, who only needs a head and accessory would be $20, while a new tool like Ram Man would be $25?
A. No, all basic figures will be the same price regardless of how much tooling they need. All of the figures roll up under one Profit and Loss statement and the low tool figures often help pay for the higher cost figures.
Q. Recently, you discussed the QC issues that have affected figures like King Hssss and Roboto, but have there been discussions as to how these QC-impacted characters will be re-introduced to the line now that the TRU sets are finished? Quarterly variants maybe?
A. Now that we are no longer doing reissues we would need to use a monthly slot for a new Roboto or King Hssss. If fans would prefer a fixed or updated version of these characters over an all new character as monthly sub spot, let us know!
Q. With the upcoming weapons rack, could you consider doing a hard plastic version of Man At Arms’ mace and Catra’s sword in their original colors?
A. The problem is the Mace is in the same tool as the armor (which is why it comes out softer). When we do Weapon Paks we actually have to take into consideration how many older (existing) tools are used. The more we use, the more expensive it is to produce the full pak. So if we did Man At Arms Mace we would likely also need to offer anything else that came in that tool in the same pack which means it would include the armor which means the mace would be of the same plastic. Kinda a catch 22 of toy making. The Mace is pretty much set like this due to having to share a tool with the armor.
Q. Do you plan on having figures other than Skeletor, He-Man, Battle Cat, and Panthor available on a regular basis? Teela seems to be a perfect candidate for this.
A. It is possible but no one is planned beyond those 4 at this time.
Q. It seems many of the other companies are no longer shying away from big playsets. Playmates just unveiled an enormous Sewer playset for their upcoming Turtles line, while Hasbro has a 3 foot long Hellicarrier coming in their Avengers line (as well as multiple large Star Wars vehicles currently in production or coming soon). With your 2 largest competitors showing that they aren’t afraid to tackle the large items, isn’t it about time Mattel stepped up to the plate and took a risk on larger items (like Castle Grayskull)?
A. If the Windraider and the 2012 sub has sold better we would have started looking into a playsets, but neither one did so the idea was put on the back burner.
Q. Have you ever thought of doing another spirit variant in the line? A spectral form of Demo-Man cast in green translucent plastic would be way cool!
A. That would be awesome! But no plans at this time.
Q. Now that the Rockers and Andre have both had their sale days on Matty Collector, can you give us an indicator as to the execution’s success so far? Does it look like Matty can be a viable outlet for all of those classic WWE characters that we still need?
A. We do have additional WWE figures planned for Mattycollector.com. Both items did well.
Q. It’s been mentioned that certain wrestlers might not get released as singles again in their proper popular redecos. Has Mattel considered doing a tag team style two pack or perhaps even a larger multipack, in lieu of doing another tag team and instead offer up a pack of characters repainted in fan demanded attires?
A. Yes we look at many options like this but nothing to confirm right now.
Q. Will there be an increased presence of gimmicks and action features in WWE, for instance, the Force Flex Lightning?
A. For the kid aimed product, yes. Collector product less so.
Q. Matty, PLEASE, PLEASE hook us up – it has been a long time since Nunzio Scolari came out and he just doesn’t look right all by himself. Is Tony a priority for a pack in for a not-too-distant-future figure?
A. Tony is a ghost pack in we want to get to. No plans right now but stay tuned!
Q. Stay Puft is turning yellow. Not just mine, but apparently everyone who has one. This doesn’t appear to be a “small quantity” like the Green Goddess, but the overwhelming majority of folks who purchased them are reporting the figure’s change in color. For some of us, we’ve only had this figure for a couple months as we purchsed during the October period to buy Stay Puft. Will Mattel be offering a similar refund program or replacement parts or something to compensate fans who paid a high end collectible price for something that has seriously degraded in value by no fault of the collectors.
A. We are looking into this with CPI but at this time are not offering refunds. We will continue to investigate however!
Tags: Club Infinite Earths, DC, DC All-Stars, DC Comics, DC Universe, DC Universe Club Infinite Earths, Ghostbusters, He-Man & The Masters of the Universe, He-Man & The Masters of the Universe Classics, Masters of the Universe, Masters of the Universe Classics, Mattel, WWE Figures, WWE Mattel