Oct 23, 2015

Mattel Q&A from the .org... Finally some answers!

Yesterday Skeletor's Love Child (the new Toyguru) made a rant that I dissected and published earlier. While writing that rant, a Q&A appeared on the .org, but seeing it was something separate from the King Hiss Screwjob, I did not touch it there...
Of course, I will touch the Q&A now with my thoughts on each answer. Right after the jump!

1. Long periods of silence have been occurring when issues come up, like with Teela/Point Dread and King Hssss torso. Yet transparency was a key word used by the new team at SDCC. Why the lack of communication on these issues?
The silence is due to us being extremely busy trying to work on product for 2016 and any remaining 2105 issues that need resolving. We are fully aware of everything that is going on and being commented on. But we are just a very small team. Sometimes it is hard to be able to respond.
But some of those issues WARRANTED that Mattel would speak up swiftly, which they didn't. It was them who brought the Keyword "Transparency" now it's biting them in the ass!

2. Why did MattyCollector remove comments/questions about the Point Dread set from the Matty forums and place them into a moderation queue? It gave some fans a negative impression.
It happened because the comments turned hostile, disrespectful and contained unsavory language. We did not make the decision to move the comments, the forum moderators did.
Passing the blame unto the moderators... Still using the Neitlich Playbook I see. It's funny that some non-profanity laden questions about PD Teela were deleted among the "bad ones".

3. Why the continued use of stickers instead of sculpted/painted details? This started with the Grayskull dungeon grate.
This is something that has been done in the classic product and will most likely continue when it can be used effectively. Most of the time it is due to the fact that cost reductions were required in order for the product to actually make it through to production, and instead of having no detail at all, a label allows for full color decorations as apposed to none. Paint ops are very expensive in production so we have to be very mindful as to where they go, and which ones are the most necessary.
Reasonable question meets reasonable answer. I may hate it but it makes sense.

4. There have been some complaints about the amount of detail in the figures being inconsistent, with some having much more than others, thus making some figures "stick out" in the collection. Why is the design detail and paint detail not consistent figure-to-figure?
This is something we are aware of and trying to make sure it stays consistent, but ultimately every character is unique, and with it comes a unique production cost. We wish every figure could be full of amazing deco, and oversprays and washes, and every little detail painted, but in the real world of toy production that isn’t always possible. We could raise the cost of the figures, but we feel that would be a bigger problem. 
This is a bit of a loaded question, but the answer was managed in a reasonable way. The reason I say it's a loaded question, because it would mean comparing Madame Razz against Blade... You can't make chainmail look good without making it detailed... That's all I'll say on this.

5. There is an overall concern for the quality of product going forward due to recent problems. Others fear that great looking prototypes will come out far different in production, like the Point Dread Teela figure. What can you say about these concerns?
We ask just to stick with us. We understand that there are certain issues with some figures, but it's not every product and every figure. That Teela figure was meant to be an added bonus to the Point Dread set, it was not meant to be a stand alone Filmation-accurate Teela. That set including the Point Dread Cave/Mountain, Perch and Talon Fighter had a lot of issues that had to be resolved and focused on and some things like Teela’s face went under the radar, and for that we apologize. But because of that we are more highly aware of the issues that are coming up and are taking steps to try and make sure that doesn’t happen moving forward. 
A big bowl of NOPE! Quality Control has decreased with many figures suffering from heavy Derp Eye syndrome, the team being a bit clueless and silent during issues. Teela is "Meant to be an added bonus" sounds of ♠ retconning right there. Battle Ram MAA was more of a bonus, seeing he was just a new Head. This Teela is 2 New Heads, New Torso Overlay, Crotch Overlay, and 2 new weapons. Way too many NEW things for a "simple added bonus" and with no visible pricepoint at the moment. (They touch that later on, but while reading up to this point PD's price is unknown) it stinks of bullshit! "It was not meant to be a Filmation Accurate Teela!?" Then WHY IS SHE IN THE FILMATION ATTIRE (with bad qc issues that ruined the Filmation Accuracy)... They had some issues and Teela's disfigured head flew under the radar!? THE FIGURE'S HEAD, which tends to be the most important part of a figure flew under their radar!? That will inspire a lot of faith in people... NOT!! Things that also flew under their radar, the ugly way her leotard looks... Seriously!? This is why people feel like the new team is stuck in Amateur Night mode! On the other hand ensuring that this won't happen again sounds like a good thing... We'll only need to see it happen before we start praising them.

6. Fans still do not know the price of the Talon Fighter and Point Dread playset and we're only a few months from its release. This can make it hard for folks who need to budget ahead of time, especially on a likely big ticket item. What is the price?
We believe this information was already shared but in case it wasn’t the price is $125 
No, it wasn't... I have to say, $125 is not THAT BAD... Remember that I was expecting to pay $250 for it at most and at least $175 without shipping. But after seeing the final product on reviews, the $125 tag doesn't seem THAT BAD, but I'll say that they could have gone cheaper if they are claiming Point Dreadful Teela is a "freebie".

7. Point Dread shrunk significantly from the first glimpses we got in a video by Brandon. Why were we teased something that was shrunk, and why did it shrink in size?
First off, what was “sneaked” to you guys was only meant to be a little glimpse at the things we were working on, and not exactly what was coming out. Secondly, many times things have to change from the initial sculpt/prototype that we get, either due to tooling limitations or safety issues. In this case it was both. We had to take out some size from the main base section in order to bring down our tooling cost (which is extremely high on large items that have lower run quantities), instead of taking it out of the main attraction which was the Talon Fighter. We felt this was an acceptable sacrifice.  

Mattel wouldn't have allowed that "sneak peek" unless the item WAS INDEED coming. The shrinking sucks ass, because it makes it pointless, but aside the "sneak Peek" bs, the answer is acceptable.

8. The added plastic/"stone" piece inside the upper portion of Point Dread to support the Talon Fighter takes up a lot of room. Why was this added and can it be removed once a customer receives the playset?
That stone section was something that had to be added to help keep structural integrity and support the weight of the Talon Fighter when it is placed on top. That section (which we tried our hardest not to add) was something that had to be added for safety concerns. Trust us when we tell you it looks 100 times better than what was first proposed. Yes it could be removed if the customer wishes to, but it is not something that is approved or recommended by Mattel.

 I think there could have been a better solution, but Mattel would not have gone for it... See the previous question where they say tooling is expensive. They did that because it was the cheapest solution, not the best one.

9. The floor sculpting on Point Dread seems different, and of lesser quality than the floors of Castle Grayskull. Why is the floor sculpt not consistent with Castle Grayskull, since this is made to attach to the castle playset?
Point Dread is an entirely separate set, and only the top half is meant to attach to the castle (which it does) just like the original toy. The bottom section is so that you can have a cool perch/display for the Talon Fighter even if you do not have a Castle Grayskull or if wish to display it separately. 
Either Dodging or Misunderstanding of the question. The question is about the QUALITY on the sculpt. The Planks on Point Dread seem less like 4Horsemen job and more like the Fisher Price Team.

10. The Point Dread computer appears to be out-of-place, and not styled to match the vintage cardboard design. Others feel it looked better in silver than black. Why the changes?
That is what was turned over by the Horseman and we have no problem with the design. It was meant to be more of a modular part that could work outside of the set, or any where you put it. We chose to change it to black to match the original cardboard design better.
But the Cardboard Design does not match the MOTUC computer and as you can see on the pic above, only the central control pad was black. The rest of the computer and equipment was silver. The rest of the black outlines are shadows from where the computer would be placed.

11. Some think the Talon Fighter is smaller than the prototype. Is this the case? And if so, why?
The Talon Fighter is exactly the same size as the prototype. See our previous response to Question 7 for what was changed in Point Dread.
Good, they did not shrink the vehicle...

12. Paint ops shown on the Talon Fighter appear to be of lesser quality than prototype. For example, the red seems just plopped onto the vehicle with no gradation between the red and the yellow. Also, some reports say the back is solid red and the guns have no paint ops. If this is accurate, what happened with the paint?
That is not accurate. Please wait and review the actual photos/product before making judgments based on reports that may be based on inaccurate information. 
But some of those comments HAVE COME PRECISELY BECAUSE OF PEOPLE SEEING REVIEW SAMPLES (Fwoosh! Pixel Dan, to name a few popular reviewers. Not throwing them under the bus. There's also the PD that was at Grayskull Con that revealed how Ugly that Teela was.)

13. There are still no official, detailed pics of Talon Fighter and Point Dread from Mattel. Will you post any soon?
Official pictures are shown when the product pages are released. Those should be shown very soon.
 Bad form, Matty! These should have been released a while back just to get us excited about Point Dread...

14. Will two figures fit easily inside the Talon Fighter?
Yes, maybe even three.
Old News, Fwoosh! Review revealed 2 Females in The back is possible!

15. Fans at Grayskull Con reported the Talon Fighter may have trouble balancing on the Point Dread perch. Is there any information about the proper way to display it?
It will securely rest on the perch, there is even a nice attachment system on the perch which helps it stay locked on. We don’t suggest any hard bumps when it is attached to Castle Grayskull, just because it is so top heavy. 
Matty misunderstanding the question once again. The Talon Fighter is having issues with balancing on POINT DREAD... No Castle Here... That makes it worrisome that it may fall while having it on display.

16. There does not appear to be a hole in the bottom of the Talon Fighter for a flight stand like Wind Raider and Jetsled. Why is this?
We focused on making it work with the perch stand and it was just something that we missed, and it was too late to add when we caught it.

 Fair enough...
17. The flat feet on the Talon Fighter differ significantly from the grasping position of the original. Some feel they don't match the aesthetic of the rest of the vehicle. Why were they designed this way?
We don’t think it was for any reason other than stability. It was a design choice the Horseman went with, and we think it works and looks great.
Again, a reasonable answer.

18. Teela's face sculpt appears to have almost no chin, her lower lip is too big, her face too round, and her nose mis-shapen. This is much different than early picture of prototype. Basic assumption is something very bad may have happened with the mold making process. What can you tell us about why she looks this way?
Human error. Sometimes things happen and we try to catch them all, but ultimately we can’t focus 100% on everything. We know the feelings towards that face sculpt, and will take that into consideration moving forward. Again that figure was meant to be a bonus add-in. You will get a proper Filmation great looking Teela soon. 
But that doesn't free us from getting the "bad" Teela. The minimum they should do is send a Free new head for those who buy Point Dread from them. That's a hint for a Detail-devoid HM&MOTU Teela IF the line makes it to 2017... Which does nothing about THIS Point Dreadful Teela... Mattel messes up and WE PAY for the fix!? Not going to bring this up...

but it was in my files... Products are NOT:
Lacking a reason for being

Bonus add-in for no real reason and she is cheap/sub-par/compromised but it's OK because we ARE getting a Filmation Teela in the future, but we'll totally have to pay for it!
21. In both an SDCC video and in writing on the "Ask Matty" forum of Mattycollector, Toyguru stated that the torso for the 200X King Hssss in the 2015 two-pack with Snake Armor He-Man would be included with another figure in the 2015 Club Eternia subscription. When asked about the torso at SDCC, the Mattel representatives seemed to have no idea what was happening with that. The subsequent announcement that it would be included as an out-of-sub figure enraged subscribers. They now have to pay extra for something they were assured by the brand manager would be included in their subscription at no extra charge. Some complaints were filed through the Better Business Bureau as a result. Many fans feel this issue has still not been resolved to their satisfaction. What can be done to address this?
We are still working on the figure. This is addressed in the previous update from today.
Before I begin to ramble on the reply, the post from the .org had no questions 19 or 20 posted...
But here's the thing: They dodge the whole Snake Torso was supposed to be part of the 2015 subscription with their non-answer...

22. Several figures, such as Queen Angella and Mara, had paint op problems, particularly with their eyes being misaligned, or "derpy" in the words of numerous fans. Also, the lack of paint ops on accessories, attributed to cost concerns by Mattel, has become more prevalent. And, paint opps such as shading/washes have decreased considerably on most of the figures compared to previous offerings. What has changed with the paint ops, especially with the female eyes, on the figures and why?

We are aware that the eyes have been a problem and it has been a problem on our side as well. We are trying to set quality standards with our factories as to what is acceptable and what is not, especially with the female eyes. We are working to make sure it is improved. If you are looking for a specific answer we have none. These figures are all painted by hand, so there is always room for human error. It's not possible to go over there and watch every single person on the factory floor.
Seems like Human Error will be the scapegoat of the day. It's Never Mattel's fault, just somebody else's...

23. Was anything missing from the Snake Mountain setup at the recent He-Man & She-Ra Day event in Hollywood? The interior seemed too spacious and empty in comparison to Castle Grayskull.
Yes most of the interior had not been included in that model which is the same model from SDCC. That is why it was only displayed from the front at SDCC.
OK... No issues with this here.

24. On Snake Mountain, the pictures reveal that Skeletor's Scrying Table was not assembled correctly. Would you assemble it and take photos for fans to see?
When we have all the sculpts and details finalized you will get proper photos of what is included. 
Sounds reasonable enough... Hopefully by then we'll have a price point!

25. Will the net be added to and included with Snake Mountain, so the trap door empties into it? It was shown on the original blueprint.

26. Fans were hoping the monster pits on the floor of Snake Mountain's interior would be sculpted items. Will they be sculpted, or will they be stickers? A sculpted pit was shown on the original blueprint.
That is currently still in development. A lot of things are still being figured out so we can not say yes or no. We don’t want to have another King Hssss issue on our hands!
 Or Teela, or Derpeyes, or a TG Castle Grayskull drama... Wait, they already said they're shrinking Snake Mountain...

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