Monday, April 23, 2012
Here We Go Again...
Stinkor's Mismatched Forearms
MOTUC fans just can't seem to catch a break this year. It seems like the last 6 months have brought a constant string of problems for those that collect the line (production delays, Digital River issues, bad QC, etc, etc, etc). And with each month bringing a new (or old) problem to the forefront, I realize my excitement for the line is diminishing more and more.
So here we are in April. Even though my sub shipped later than it was supposed to, and folks with day-of sales saw their orders shipped before mine, AND I never received any notification e-mails... it still seemed as if we might escape this month without any major problems or issues. My order was set to arrive Monday, April 23. For the first time in months, I had a smidgen of excitement about their impending delivery.
Then I decided to go online and check the forums Sunday night to see what was cooking in the He-Man world. In the midst of all the negative feelings surrounding the line, I've tried to distance myself a bit in the hopes that some of the enjoyment of these figures will return for me. Yeah, I know its the ostrich syndrome- Bury my head in the sand to avoid seeing what I don't want to see. But this is MOTUC. I WANT to enjoy this line. I NEED to enjoy it.
But I was looking forward to Draego-Man showing up the next day, and I thought maybe, just maybe, it was okay to tread back into the waters of fandom.
That was a mistake.
Turns out that another problem has cropped up. And the response from the powers-that-be has my fanboy tank right back at "E". The engine just died, the low fuel light is blinking, and there is nary a gas station in sight.
So just went wrong this time? Glad you asked.
As we all know (or should know if you are on this page), the MOTUC line introduces three new figures in May: Toy Guru's 30th Anniversary character The Mighty Spector, Slush Head from "The New Adventures of He-Man", and my personal favorite of the bunch- Stinkor. While the figures were first revealed last year at Power-Con, final samples are just now making their way into the hands of reviewers... and one of the three has changed since his initial reveal. Care to guess which one? Here's a hint- It's Stinkor.
Check out this picture of the Stinkor (credit goes to The Fwoosh for all the pictures used in this write-up) prototype shown at Power-Con last year-
Looks great, doesn't he? Although he reuses parts (like all MOTUC), there are enough new bits here to make Stinkor much more than just a Mer-Man repaint. Especially useful are the newly sculpted forearms, which combine the look of the old "finned" gloves with a new furry elbow bit.
Now here is a pic of the final version of Stinkor-
Notice anything different? Let me help...
It appears that Stinkor's forearms were switched sometime between the 4H prototype and the final production piece. Meaning that his left forearm has been attached to his right bicep/fist, and his right forearm is on his left bicep/fist. Check it out-
Obviously, since the musculature of your inner forearm isn't the same as your outer forearm, this piece probably wasn't intended to be interchangeable by the Horsemen when they sculpted it. The 4H know their anatomy... so when they sculpt a body part, it is sculpted as an accurate (albeit dramaticized) representation of its living counterpart. They then leave it to production, hoping that the final version will reflect it accurately. Of course, sometimes stuff happens when it leaves their hands...
To be honest, with the forearm being a newly tooled piece, I should have expected something like this. Roboto's reversed shoulders? A newly tooled part that was switched before production. King HSSSS' reversed shoulders? A newly tooled piece switched before production. Stinkor's new forearms? A newly tooled piece apparently switched before production.
So what happened? Is this indeed another screwup at the factory, and if so, what will Mattel's response be? Well, Toy Guru chimed in with an answer over at the Matty forums-
Basically, Stinkor has so many shared parts (Mer-Man head, Beastman body, Mekaneck armor (and yes we know we haven't done him yet) that we wanted to make him pop on shelf a bit. We did the same thing on BG Evil Lyn (swapped her arm bands) and it went over really well with customers so we did the same here with Stinkor. Pretty cool huh!
Uh-huh. Sure. Okay.
Something smells funny here... and it ain't Stinkor.
I'm not calling Scott a liar. That would be the old, negative James... and we are trying very hard to make him go away. But there are many reasons why this statement doesn't ring true:
-Basically, Stinkor has so many shared parts (Mer-Man head, Beastman body, Mekaneck armor (and yes we know we haven't done him yet) that we wanted to make him pop on shelf a bit.
Wait... so in a line where parts re-use is a linchpin in capturing the vintage feel, you suddenly felt the need to mix it up a little? Why here, why now? We've been told again, and again, AND AGAIN that you aren't going to reinvent the wheel with these figures- What you see with the vintage counterpart is what you'll get in MOTUC. We all know it, we've all become accustomed to it, we all accept it. So why in the world would you all of the sudden decide that Stinkor needs to "pop more"? And if you did indeed decide to switch him up a bit, why is it on ONE OF THE ONLY NEWLY TOOLED PARTS ON THE FIGURE!?! The 4H already took care of making the forearms look different in their initial proto by adding the furry elbows. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that one would need to switch them to make them "pop", since they are already new parts! I guess the desired effect was reached though; they do indeed "pop"... but not a in a good way. They now "pop" out to me by looking totally wrong, since (again) the inner and outer muscles of a forearm ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE.
-We did the same thing on BG Evil Lyn (swapped her arm bands) and it went over really well with customers so we did the same here with Stinkor.
Sorry, but that just isn't true. BG Evil-Lyn features swiveling forearm guards- not a part that was simply "switched-out" as you imply, since switching a left forearm for a right forearm DOES NOT WORK. Even then, if you did indeed just switch the forearms over (which you actually didn't do), the difference on the female buck would not be as noticeable or as detrimental as it is on the male buck, since the musculature isn't as pronounced.
-Pretty cool huh!
No sir, it is not "pretty cool". Not "pretty cool" at all. It is a mishap at the factory that you are trying to cover up as a "gift" to the fans. It was not what the 4H intended, it does not look right, and it is not cool. And your response absolutely stinks (no pun intended this time) of corporate BS to try and cover your mistake. I can take mistakes. I can take screwups. But don't spit in my face and tell me it's raining. That just makes a mistake feel ten times worse than it is.
So there goes my excitement for Draego-Man and TP He-Man's arrival. I now have Stinkor's wacky arms and Scott's response on my mind... For every step forward that we take with this line, management is right there to put us three steps back. I feel like Charlie Brown going to kick the football, with Matty poised as Lucy to snatch it away... then tell me a story explaining why taking it away was good for me.
By now, I'm sure a few of you are thinking things like "oh, it isn't even that noticeable", "there are more important things to get upset about", or "quit complaining- it is only a $20 figure" and that is perfectly fine. You are entitled to your opinion. To me, the figure is incorrectly assembled and the response to the situation is laughable. To so blindly accept such mediocrity is really hard for me to understand. If you went to McDonald's and ordered a Cheeseburger with no pickles, and they gave you a plain hamburger loaded with pickles, would you just sit down and eat it because the guy at the counter said "oh, well.. this is the hamburger you're getting... too bad"? No, of course not. You'd want another, and deservedly so. You are a consumer and you are entitled to get the product delivered to you in a correct manner.
A cheeseburger costs a buck. MOTUC are currently $22 plus shipping.
I really don't know what else to say at this point. I've always thought I'd keep buying this line until there weren't any figures left to buy. But the last few months have me looking at ways to get out of my subscription. I no longer want to blindly hand my money over to a company that is willing to sell me a product that they know is incorrect. I want to support the 4H, I want my kids to have the He-Man figures that they love, and I want those last few characters that I NEED on my shelf (Gwildor, Rammy, and Saurod)... but I just don't have the gumption anymore to be "all-in". Matty sucked that right out of me.
And I wonder how many of you are feeling the same...
Posted by James Sawyer at 10:24 AM
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Mattel sucking the fun out of MOTUC? I know that feeling. As a "dirty" cherry picker, these issues are a grim reminder of why I should not subscribe. I miss the days when the complaints were about stylistic stuff rather than Quality control issues!ReplyDelete
Here, here. I decided against this year and was almost fooled by Matty's insistance that day-of quantities would be lower (for fear of not getting staples like the Sorceress, Fisto, Kobra Khan and Stinkor). But I had no problem picking them up day of. Without having the last couple of month's figures revealed yet, Stinkor is probably the last I'm getting this year and now that experience will be somewhat diminished. Thanks for pointing this out and keepin'em honest. Love your videos and hopefully I can do this one day with my son when he's old enough. You seem like a great dad. Cheers and good luck.ReplyDelete
This isn't a major screw-up by Mattel in my opinion, but it's very annoying. Considering we have reported problems of Snout Spout's trunk splitting, switched legs on Swift Wind, cracks on Photog's lens, restricted arm movement for Kobra Khan, and newly discovered cracks on Roboto's torso, it's just one more thing to add to the list. All of that is just in the last 6 months and it doesn't take into consideration the numerous customer service issues people are having with Digital River. It's just one more thing to add on to the pile of issues people have had with this line. I hope it gets better soon.ReplyDelete
If Mattel doesn't do something substantial about this, I doubt that there will be enough 2013 subs sold to keep the line going, meaning that MOTUC will die, and it won't be the fans fault. They should release a 2012 sub bonus pack of a Snout Spout head with a plastic trunk, Stinkors correct forearms, and a King Hssss torso with corrected shoulders. Hssss shouldn't even cost tooling thanks to Draego-man, right?ReplyDelete
But Mattel won't. There's a reason why the successes of the Intellivision and the original He-Man line (to say nothing about the purchase of The Learning Company in the '90s) cratered to the point of nearly ruining the company: Mattel has chronic management problems, much of it focused on the marketing side of things. I'll be so bold as to say that Mattel wouldn't even exist right now if they didn't have Barbie and Hot Wheels. In fact, just from the SDCC clip from last year, I fully expect Toy Masters to blow open this dirty little secret, seeing as how we can expect the producers of two He-Man cartoons (one of whom is an absolute legend in his field) to rip Mattel a new one.ReplyDelete
I'm willing to pay a licensed polygraph expert to administer a lie detector test on Scott at SDCC. All he has to do is agree to it and name the time and place. I'll take care of the rest. If he's telling the truth about the forearm swap being intentional then he will pass and restore our trust in him. I can't register on He-Man.org because my yahoo and gmail emails aren't good enough for them, so pass the word on. I challenge Scott to a lie detector test!ReplyDelete
I also want to add some weight to your belief that the swap was another factory error. This part swapping problem goes beyond MOTUC and into DCUC. Random figures from DC Universe Classics have had swapped or duplicate shoulders, biceps, forearms and knees since the beginning of that line. Just about any Toys R Us right now has a Green Lantern Clasics Manhunter Robot with reversed shoulders and a Green Lantern/Sinestro two pack with a reversed forearm Sinestro. It's a recurring mistake this company can't seem to stop making even after years of practice. So like you said, with this long history of errors, it's hard to believe the Stinkor swap was done on purpose. And yeah, the Horsemen don't need help from anyone when it comes to making a figure pop.ReplyDelete
I would also like to propose a name for this current controversy. Stinkorgate.
John Atkin here. Well, someone at DIGITAL RIVER must really not like me or something, because I got two emails yesterday telling me to contact them because they were unable to charge my credit card. I called them an hour ago, and they claimed that the bank was not letting them bill my card. I asked if my subscription was cancelled yet, or was still ok, and she said it was cancelled at midnight.ReplyDelete
I called my bank, and they said that they received no requests for money from Mattycollector/DR. I called Digital River back, and they said they would look at my credit card info to make sure it was correct. The woman said my info was fine, and so I asked if they were trying to bill my old credit card, and she said she didn't know (but that she didn't think so.) So what gives? I suspect their computer is billing the old card despite what they say, because the bank said they had no record in April for requests from Matty. Now I have too wait 5 business days to know if my subscriptions will be honoured (again).
Oh, and I never got my Fistos, and I have 2 subscriptions. WTF?
UPDATE: I actually got a phone call from Digital River this afternoon (a first!) Sounds like they were using the security code from my old card on every-other bill. No idea why, but I assume it was a computer error. Hopefully it all works out this time, and there will be no more disruptions in service. Still not sure if I will get those two missing Fistos, but I sure hope so, as that was part of the subscription.Delete
Like everyone posting here, I am frustrated with these mistakes that keep happening. That said, I won't be cancelling my subscription, and I will be getting another sub next year. This year is the only year that I have experienced any problems with MattyCollector in my 4 years dealing with them, so I won't be jumping ship just yet.
As for Stinkor... man... I hope they release a DC two pack or something that has him with corrected arms. No way they will fix the problem now, as the figures are probably all carded. If they did fix them, that would be great press for them, so hopefully they actually consider doing this. It will probably help them keep costumers, rather than loose them. If it ships "as is" I will be customizing me Stinkor to fix him.
I would LOVE to support the future of the line by being a subscriber. But with all of the QC issues and DR incompetence, I just can't do it. As many of you do, I collect as many lines as possible given my finances can't afford to pay for poor quality and customer service. I would rather distribute my toy budget to companies who fulfill their obligations to the consumer. It sucks saying this because as much as I love GI Joe and Marvel Minimates, He Man defined my childhood and I would hate to have to stop buying this line. I go to Matty on the day of sale and have always snagged my figure. To hear that subscribers don't , when they should be first in line is why people stop collecting. From what I see on Amazon and EBay, those scalpers have no problem getting their share of figures. And oh yeah, as far as Stinkor is concerned ? Count me out until they offer a corrected version. The same for Roboto (another childhood fave, are they targeting me ?) Love your site though, let's keep pushing until someone at Mattel gives!!ReplyDelete
I totally agree. I am tired of Matty apologists. Well, put.ReplyDelete
Hey man, I hope that even if you are less excited about new products that you will continue to do videos on the remainder of the old figures. I love hearing what you and Blaze have to say. Keep up the good work. Hopefully the reveals at SDCC will restore everyone's desires to collect MOUC.ReplyDelete