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...