December 22, 2010

If you have read other various ledger entries of mine, or follow me on Twitter, you know a few things for certain about me. I am a die hard obsessive Power Rangers fan, a big Doctor Who fan, I love my iPad, and I consider myself a nerd.  Though there is one other thing you've probably realized about me, especially this year.  I have an extremely strong discontent with Mattel and their handling of the Ghostbusters license.

Let me start with a few statements. First, unlike some others, I am not here to kiss Mattel's behind. Mattel releases all their Ghostbusters toys under the title of "Adult Collector" thus is totally  reasonable to hold it to a higher standard than children's toys.  Second, I do realize these are only pieces of plastic, and no at the end of the day I do not let any of this keep me awake at night. Next, I will give credit where credit is due and say that I feel Mattel has done a decent to good job on the 6 Inch Movie Figures, as well as the PKE Meter.  Finally, these views are coming from a guy who considers himself a big time Ghostbusters fan, not just someone who has seen the movies a few times and watched the show sometimes when they were a kid.  No, I promise you, I have seen both Ghostbusters films over fifty times each, if not more.  I have watched every single episode of The Real Ghostbusters at least 10 times each.  So yes, I am very dedicated and a stickler for detail.

I want to cover the points that frustrate me, and many others, so many times each year.  It all begins with the ordering of any Ghostbusters toy on mattycollector.com. Collectors know all too well that familiar white refresh screen with that smug idiot Matty face staring back to you.  For those that have not known this torture, I will explain.  All Matty Collector toys go on sale at 9:00 AM PST, usually around the middle of the month.  However when you go to the website, you are met with the "Please wait while this screen refreshes" screen.  This means that the Matty Collector servers are overloaded and cannot handle the number of customers visiting the site. 

Now on the day when all the Comic-Com exclusives go on sale, or the Cyber Monday sales, this can be expected. But this happens every single time toys of any kind go on sale on Matty Collector.  It doesn't matter if there is only one toy being sold that day, you will still be met with that refreshing screen, sometimes for over an hour or more, even in the middle of placing your order. 

Allow me to put this into perspective.  Mattel is by far probably the largest toy company in the world.  They release the two most widely collected toys, Barbies and Hot Wheels.  So one soon begins to wonder, if Mattel is so big and always brings in so much money, why on earth do they not pay to upgrade their site servers, or just buy more servers?  The answer is simple, Mattel not only doesn't care, but they are greedy as well and want to keep as much of their profits as possible.  This means continued aggravation on the part of the customers.  Even if this is the fault of their Order Processing Partner, Digital River, it still could be easily solved up buying or upgrading servers.

If that was not enough, I will supply you with another example of just how greedy Mattel is.  Recently collectors asked if Mattel would ever release a Ghostbusters accessory pack for the 6 Inch figures.  This would include something like Figure Stands Ghost Traps, Proton Streams, PKE Meters, just the small accessories to make collector's figure teams more complete.  What follows was Mattel's answer:

            We are actually specifically not going to do this. This line uses the pack-in ghosts and accessories to drive sales of the figures. If we sold the accessories separately we would lose sales on the basic figures as these accessories help drive basic figure sales. Also, we do want to consider releasing the basic figures at retail one day (perhaps when there is another movie) and by making the ghosts and accessories exclusive to the Matty.com releases, it gives us a way to scale back the figures for a possible retail release one day.

            So in other words, if you want the accessories, head over to Mattycollector.com now to pick up these figures! It doesnt mean we wont do an accessory pack one day, but it wont be for a long, long time.

Now if that does not scream GREED, I don't know what does.  I can understand not wanting to sell the individual ghosts that come with some of the figures, but the small things like the accessories?  Not to mention their answer literally said they want you to buy multiples of certain figures, just so you an get say four proton streams for you collection.  Sure pay $30 for an extra toy that all you actually want is just a thin piece of plastic that probably didn't cost $5 to make.  My advice to the greedy individuals at Mattel, go watch a certain episode of The Real Ghostbusters entitled "You Can't Take it With You."

Finally we come to the personal issue I have with Mattel's Real Ghostbusters toys.  I am sure you remember my rant and rave about how Mattel phoned in their Retro Action version of the Proton Pack, and just my overall disgust in this series of figures.  I still purchased the Comic-Con Exclusive Retro Action Peter Venkman, but I am anything but satisfied with him.  I simply bought him for the sake of collecting him.

Now we are about a month or less from the other Retro Action Real Ghostbusters figures seeing release at Toys R Us stores.  Some online reviewers have received early releases of these toys, and as such, have done online video reviews of them.  Some fair, others, well not to my tastes.  But even without having these monstrosities, I am going to countdown the ten things that Mattel has gotten wrong.

#10 - Poor wobbly rubber band.  The lower half of the figure bodies are attached with an elastic rubber band, making it difficult to pose the toys. So how are these action figures again?

#9 - Big Collars.  The collars on these figures go all the way out to their shoulders.  Look at the character designs from the show. The collars on the show are no where near as big as they are on these toys.

#8 - Belts.  The belts on these figures are black, the walkie talkie box is on the wrong side, and the belts just make all these figures look too skinny.  The show's belts were greenish gray & the walkie talkie box was on the other side.

#7 - When was Ray skinny? Ray was always portrayed as the more husky member of the team. It was never anything bad, but these figures make Ray just as skinny as the others.

#6 - Ray's Suit. Ray fittingly always looked like he kept the same movie colored suit, but this suit looks just almost a bit too orange.

#5 - Did Ray buy hair dye? When you look at all the episodes and photos of Ray from The Real Ghostbusters, you see his hair colored in the normal cartoon orange.  However, the Ray figure has brown hair.  Where Mattel saw Ray from the show with brown hair is beyond me.

#4 - Egon shrunk? Egon was always the tallest member in the team, and the original figures released by Kenner in the 80's got his height right in comparison to the others. But again with all these Retro figures using the same bodies, Egon is forced to the same height as everyone else.

#3 - They are busting with toys!?!? All the extra accessories that the figures come with are not based off of the actual show designs.  No instead Mattel based the designs off of the role-play toys that were released by Kenner in the 80's.  Seriously, I want Ghostbuster figures equipped with real Ghostbusting gear, not toys.

#2 - That Pack!!! Ugh, I have gone over that thing so many times it almost starts to give me a headache. Calling that thing a proton pack is sickening. Mattel put absolutely no effort what so ever into making that pack.  Heck if they would have even made it like the Kenner role-play toy, that would still fit the theme with the other accessories. But no, they took the lazy route.  And it is extra insulting to someone like me who has built a Real Ghostbusters style Proton Pack just for the love of the show.

#1 - THERE NEVER WERE GHOSTBUSTER MEGOS! These Retro Action figures are done in what Mattel calls Mego Style.  This is a flimsy kind of doll style of figure that was popular in the 70's.  The Real Ghostbusters came out in 1986, far past the time of the Megos.  This style does not fit The Real Ghostbusters at all.  What I wanted when I knew Mattel would make RGB figures, were updated five to six inch plastic Real Ghostbusters figures with more poseabilty and the normal accessories.  I had seen what Mattel had done with the Masters of the Universe license, and while I have no idea of what they have done right or wrong with that show's toys, they still looked like a good modern interpretation of classic toys.  Unfortunately The Real Ghostbusters toys could not get the same. No we got the lazy cheap route.

Will I be buying these Mego Retro Action Figures?  The only way I can see myself spending my hard earned money on these, is if Toys R Us puts them on sale of two for the price of one or, where they are likely headed, the clearance rack.  I think Mattel likes to lie and say they are all big Ghostbusters fans.  No they are fans of the first movie, as the six inch figures, PKE Meter and first set of twelve inch figures do show.  But when it comes to The Real Ghostbusters, odds are they have not even seen one tenth of the episodes, nor do they care about the show at all.

So that's my Mattel rant.  I am sure there are a few out there that feel the same way.  The rest are likely yelling at their monitors telling me to shut up and buy the toys or else, and you likely want to punch my lights out.  So if you fall into the later, I leave you with the words of Winston from “Robobuster”, “There are a lotta people ahead of ya.

Have a Nice Day


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