So this year I did not renew my Masters of the Universe Classics subscription. That noise you hear in the distance if the sound of my GF shouting with glee. She has come to hate Matty’s monthly raiding of our checking account. It’s interesting that I decided not to subscribe this year, when last year I was very close as well. Last year, Ram Man was the deciding factor. I desperately needed a Ram Man and he had the power to pull be back off the edge of not subscribing. What made the difference this time around? Let’s find out shall we!

Ram Man... Thankfully missing from this year's subscription drive.

Ram Man… Thankfully missing from this year’s subscription drive.

Let me preface this by saying, despite whatever you might think, I am not a Mattel hater. In the past few weeks Matty has gotten some snark from me in regards to their handling of the MOTU line, but I honestly don’t think they’re the worst thing ever. Truth be told, I love a lot about the line and always have. I’ve never gotten into some of the more radical conspiracy theories or felt like the company was out to get me in some grand scheme of evil. Yes, I posted last week about how I thought they were intentionally limiting certain figures, but I truthfully believe that and given their history of doing that exact practice with false sell-outs and such, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it’s a possibility. Hopefully you agree, whether you believe that’s actually the case or not.

Lastly, I promise not to keep writing about the He-Man subs, but given the amount of responses recent topics have gotten versus some of my other content (that’s often a lot more work) I figured it’s worth mining for a bit longer. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m a bit lazy and terribly busy as of late and this is an easy topic to get some good discourse going.

Part 1The List
Before I re-upped my Club Eternia subscription this year, my GF challenged me to write a list of ten reasons why I should. She argued that if the line was worth it, this wouldn’t be that hard of a challenge. While some of the limitations she placed upon me were a bit over the top (I couldn’t list particular figures as a reason) it did get me to thinking about my allegiance to the MOTUC toy line.

While realistically I totally could have subscribed and told her to shove it, I thought it would make for a fun experiment. I originally planned to post 10 reasons why I wanted to subscribe on this website, followed by 10 reasons I shouldn’t. As you may have already figured out by now, neither came to fruition. The biggest problem was that I could barely come up with more than one reason why I should.

The crux of my argument for getting the subscription for another year was that “I like some of the figures”. It was specious at best. So I decided to look at the figures that are included in this year’s sub and evaluate which ones I like, which ones I wanted and which ones I never would have bought. The tally told me something very interesting. The numbers told me a lot about my MOTUC habit.

WANTED
Ram Man
Fang Man
Mantenna
Horde Troopers

NEVER WOULD HAVE BOUGHT
Netossa
Karatti
Fighting Foe Men
Octavia
Castaspella
Geldor

LIKED BUT 50/50 ON IF I’D HAVE BOUGHT
King He-Man
Snake Face
Clamp Champ
Jitsu
Lord Dactus
Plundor

Even if you split the 50/50 figures, literally, I would still have bought a lot less had I not gotten the subscription. This is multiplied when you realize that the Fighting Foe Men were a three pack, that I definitely never would have bought.

Now this does not necessarily mean that I don’t like a few of these figures I was forced to buy. A couple of them are pretty neat and I’m sure some of the ones coming down the pipe might be really cool in hand… But I wouldn’t have purchased them willingly. Some of them I wouldn’t have even bought for $10 at Big Lots.

I do not have attachment to every MOTU character. Even vintage ones. While a cool figure can win me over, there are lots of guys who still do much of nothing for me. Even popular characters like Jitsu and Clamp Champ are not high on my list of likes. I realize this sets me apart from a lot of other folks, but it is part of the reason that I just don’t care anymore.

Another real issue is the stuff I haven’t been able to get this year, but that I want, yet aren’t entitled to as part of the Club Eternia subscription. Strobo is the most obvious. Here is a guy I love, but haven’t been able to purchase. I also want Sky-High. Again, call me crazy. Perhaps I will score him, but having to pay separate shipping and such just makes the whole point of having a subscription moot.

In a nutshell, there’s just not that many figures left that I even care about, certainly not a year’s worth and that would even be if Mattel did nothing but my top picks and hit homeruns on them all.

Part 2The Mystery
Every year the subscription has a Club Eternia exclusive that you get for joining the club. Unlike most clubs, this figure isn’t free, but he is a rare and more limited figure. Most of these figures have been fun exclusives, but in the past few years they’ve gotten weaker and weaker to me.

All the price of a real figure, but with extra suck!

All the price of a real figure, but with extra suck!

Preternia Disguise He-Man is one of the largest piles of plastic crap ever created, but he came so early in the line that few people noticed. I hated him and avoided the sub that year like the plague, largely because I didn’t want that figure. Last year’s King He-Man had a lot of potential in my eyes, but I felt he was largely a wasted slot.

This year Mattel decided a new strategy in that they would make their exclusive a mystery. Every year I’ve subscribed, the exclusive has always been a heavy factor in my determination. The entire idea of a mystery, just annoys the crap out of me. To make matters worse, it’s a mystery figure who’s also a mystery character.

Mattel just gets to make this guy up. Now Mattel made all of these characters up at some point, but their track record with recent creations hasn’t been that stellar in my opinion. While I’ve heard some neat theories, such as this figure would be based on Snake Mountain, it’s not enough for me to feel confident throwing $30 at. I mean, I might expect something as cool as Snake Mountain Man and end up with something like Cy-Chop!

I doubt I’m the only person who feels like their commitment to the subscription is heavily tied to who the subscription bonus figure is. Wun-Dar is still my favorite sub exclusive for the record. To me he was the perfect balance of what was needed and I was really excited to find out who this year’s sub exclusive was. It very well could have swung me onto the side of buying the sub, but not knowing who it is and having no idea what they look like just doesn’t work for me.

I find they whole mystery aspect just perplexing. If Mattel feels that the line is spoiled by people getting to see the figures months in advance, perhaps they should stop sending Pixel Dan the figures 6 months before they go on sale? Maybe that’s just me. Most of the “leaks” are Mattel’s own fault. And it’s not like this figure would even be a mystery, because as soon as one person gets it, they’re going to spray it all over the internet like a fat kid with White Castle diarrhea.

MOTUC is ending

Part 3Fatigue
It honestly feels like we just did this whole subscription drive thing yesterday. I don’t know if it’s because everyone and their brother is doing some sort of Kickstarter campaign or because I end up pre-ordering and subscribing to so many toy clubs these days, but I’m tired. I miss being able to go out to a store and actually find stuff I want to buy.

This is not something that is inherently Mattel’s fault. I suppose it’s just the nature of the business, but I’m beginning to wear thin. The other problem that Mattel has with MOTUC, is that I don’t really even know what I’m subscribing to. I know a few of the figures, but as mentioned above, it could realistically be a lot of things I don’t want. Most of the other clubs or pre-orders, I at least know what I’m paying for.

Part 4Variety
There are simply too many things fighting for my dollars these days. Whether it’s my addiction to vintage figures from my youth, expensive imports or branching into new areas like designer figures, there’s just so much more fighting for my cash than there used to be.

I mean, NECA is making a Spider Gremlin and an ED-209 for crying out loud! Figuarts is making incredible Power Rangers figures and Godzilla figures! Everywhere I turn, someone is resurrecting an old property or making a new version of a great toy.

In a lot of ways Masters of the Universe has become an antiquated thing. Are the figures cool? Sure, but there’s so much stuff out there right now that is vastly superior in every way. It’s just hard for me to justify spending $30 on a single MOTUC figure when I can spend about the same and get so much more. The days when MOTUC was the hottest thing on the block are long gone and with companies willing to take risks on other things, there’s just a cornucopia of stuff I want to spend money on… And sadly a very limited amount of money and space for me to use on all of it.

Part 5The End?
And so I didn’t subscribe this year. I hear they may open it back up for a bit, but I doubt I’ll cave. Last year I was so worried about Ram Man, but this final year really did me in. There’s just too little that I want, too much dissatisfaction with what I’ve been given and far too many other things that command the attention of my wallet. With Mattel offering fewer answers than ever, I’ve had to officially move myself into “cherry picker” status.

Could MOTUC get me back? Possibly, but unlikely. I may jump on some mini subs but I just don’t think I’m willing to commit to anymore $500+ subscriptions for Masters of the Universe Classics anymore. Ultimately, these were the deciding factors that helped me realize that the MOTUC sub just isn’t for me this year. I’m glad it went through, but I’m also glad I’m not locked into it anymore. It’s the end of an era, but I’m not shedding any tears over it.

17 Responses to I Didn’t Subscribe to Club Eternia and Here’s Why…

  • Interesting list.

    I think the only thing that I would agree with you on would be the mystery of the sub figure as being a negative (although I’d never thought of the idea of a Snake Mountain man- two heads could be Serpos and the Wolf head).

    • Newton says:

      It’s a rumor I’ve heard and it sounds neat. But it’s all SOUNDS and before I commit to $500 worth of stuff, I need something more concrete.

  • _RZ_ says:

    Great article here, and fantastic points. Part 2 (“The Mystery”) was one of the big factors that pushed me away from the sub this year. The exclusive is the one figure that is always the most expensive for cherry pickers, and if I just saw what it was, it would be more fuel to the fire in favor of subscribing. If it was something I liked, I would have probably subbed again, despite the No DOS drama.

    For me there was a “Part 5”: “The Marketing Methods.” It’s sad because usually I don’t pay attention to what Mattel does or says, and when I started collecting the line, I didn’t think that fans were really serious and being overdramatic about the problems. But when the “No DOS” line of speak became a clear focus of their sub campaigns this year, and other fans fell for it, and the venom that said fans put online towards those who disagree with them, it really pushes far more people away than bringing them to the table with their money in hand.

    I don’t understand why Scott and Matty keep using these “hip” marketing techniques, like “the availability scare”, “the mystery box”, or “the timed sale” from the early-mid 00s that, when first used, gave many designers and companies a lot of business. But it’s been shown that these types of angles that, when repeatedly played, creates a sense of mistrust from the consumer over time. And they stick to the playbook so hard it’s transparent what’s going on. Confidence in DR and Matty was low in 2009 and the way they handled (or didn’t handle 😉 ) that situation for three years speaks volumes about the thoughts they have about their customers. I watch TED talks, and collect japanese vinyl toys too, Matty. The PR moves are really not as well executed as they think, and it rarely (if it even ever did) brings new people to the table, and the “scare” is the only thing keeping many at the table this year. I mean, having the toys at Big Lots got just as many new subscribers as the scare tactics drove away, from what people say.

    Could MOTUC get me back to sub in 2015? Maybe. The toys are awesome, they sell themselves. People have this kind, friendly perception of the He-Man brand, and it hasn’t been shilled to death like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, etc. People get very excited when they first see the MOTUC line, they get less excited when they see the price, even less when they read about all the issues online, and finally don’t get into it or buy any because it’s incredibly expensive to get basic figures like Teela, Man at Arms and Beast Man. If they stopped making it an “all or nothing” proposition, and to be frank, stopped making the exact same mistakes they’ve made with the property three times previously (which is being overly greedy with a line with dwindling interest.) I don’t see either of those things happening, ever, so I will gladly cherry pick.

    The acquisition of money is not a justification for dishonesty or tomfoolery. You can’t have watched the show and all those morals at the end and still support this type of stuff, it’s completely at odds with the spirit of the show. There is no way around it, it is not in the spirit of the MOTU line to sit there and let people tell untruths in order to make money, or so “I can get the toys I want.”

    • Newton says:

      I definitely agree that some of the marketing strategies are very outdated. I love that they have finally started to do pre-orders, but even that seems to be done in strange fashion. I think that definitely is part of my fatigue aspect. It’s just exhausting to constantly have to hear how if I don’t buy this or do that, the toys will cease to exist. Whether it’s a reality or not, it’s just tiring.

  • MST3KFan says:

    I subbed this year, but it’s because I do want Two-Bad, Glimmer, and Modulok. I know with this year we’re getting most of the remaining figures that need to be made with them attempting to split things for the next year (ex: Snake Men members Tung Lashor and Squeeze)

    However, this is my last year for sure. Why? After this next year’s sub, Skeletor’s main team will be complete, the Masters are main members are already complete, the original core members of the Horde are done, and with next year the basic ‘core’ members of She-Ra’s Great Rebellion will be done for the most part as well. Really, we are down to the minor characters that came out in the original toyline’s waning years and…New Adventures.

    Now don’t get me wrong, the figures the 4H have done for New Adventures have been really good, but again…New Adventures. Meh. Just give me a NA Skeletor and I’ll be good.

    As you point out Newton, other things toywise have interest now. I too, am collecting Figuarts Power Rangers. I have gotten quite a few of the ones not released in America like the Dekarangers (Power Rangers S.P.D.) and have pre-orders on future ones.

    In all honesty, if I was still collecting G.I.Joe (Hasbro has kind of killed that line) or really big into Transformers like I used to be (only picking and choosing with new stuff like Trailcutter), then I wouldn’t have subbed for another year on MOTUC.

    Really now it’s just MOTUC, Figuarts, and TMNT. I’m really trying hard not to get into the Star Wars Black 6 inch figures line…

    • Newton says:

      You bring up an interesting point with GI Joe. Had Hasbro not killed Joe, it would still take up most of my dollars. Once the 25th line ended, I pretty much gave up. I was hoping after ROC, things would go back to normal, but they never did.

      Oddly enough, I’m buying KREO GI Joe stuff now, because they’re actually making the characters I’m interested in and not just repaints of the Rock.

      • MST3KFan says:

        G.I.Joe is like a bastard child to Hasbro. They want to acknowledge it, but have difficulty doing so in the right way given they’re military toys unlike transforming robots or lightsaber wielding guys fighting white armored soldiers.

        Occasionally they make some more awesome figures like Lowlight or Lifeline, but they’re either out in a later wave that no store outside of online will ever have, or are so hard to find in a store, you’re still better off trying to order online.

        At least their G.I.Joe figure subscription actually SHOWS all the figures you’ll be getting in a year unlike Mattel with their BS excuses on why they can’t show the entire year of MOTUC figures.

        • _RZ_ says:

          To be fair, G.I. JOE line and that sub is a different beast in a number of ways and has its own set of problems. I wouldn’t say they treat it like a bastard child, they just spent $130 million plus on a sequel to the movie! Right now there’s just a big disconnect between the hardcore joe audience and stores ordering the product. The first Joe movie started a trend of constantly renaming the basic line and making it very, very confusing for retailers and fans.

          The Joe sub has to show everything because Joe fans won’t subscribe to an unknown, especially at the prices they charge. Also, Joe is not so big overseas as Hasbro’s other properties. There are a lot of socio-political issues that go into that: America’s wars and interventions, the figures cost way way too much (EU$14-20 which is around US$18-26 per figure), many parents today not allowing their children to play with soldiers, budget lines like True Heroes and The Corps taking away their market. These are just a few things and probably a big part as to why Joe doesn’t get the budget/attention of Transformers or Marvel.

          Stores won’t order Joe figures because of the very poor performance of the various lines over the last few years. You can’t blame them for it. Hasbro shot themselves in the foot with their case ratios (making the standard army builder 30th ann Cobra Trooper one per case, and not rereleasing it, was incredibly foolish, for example) and buyers stopped ordering for their stores. How many times can you have pegs full of Destro or Cobra Commanders no one will buy at any price before you stop ordering them for your store. That has happened repeatedly since the 25th started. And if you talk to some people, they’ll say the TV series and reissues in the 25th line didn’t do well either and hung around warming for years.

  • clark says:

    You make some very good points. I’m with RZ, in that the heavy handed sales tactics actually drive me away more than they make me want to buy. However, I subbed this year, although I have never subbed before.

    That mostly has to do with the fact that I happen to be more interested in MOTUC figures right now. My collecting habits are cyclical, where I’ll buy a lot of a certain line for a while, then move to something else, then go back (glyos is the exception, I’m always looking for more of them). With MOTUC, I stopped buying them regularly about 2 years ago, I think I picked up 5-7 figures that entire time. Now I’m interested in them again, and decided to sub.

    I’m interested in Two-Bad, because I had him as a kid, but he does not look all that impressive, just your standard fair. I’m really excited about Blade, Hydron, and hopefully we’ll get Rio Blast, Ninjor or Tongue Lashor too. Also, I’ve become more interested in PoP figures lately, and they said they’ll be a few of them next year (I’m hoping Angela will be in 2014), so I’m looking forward to that.

    All in all, they just caught me at the right time to get me to sub. This is the first year I’m confident I’ll have the money to afford it, and I’m not planning on unloading any figures, I plan on keeping whoever they release.

  • Wes says:

    In fairness, ten reasons is a lot of reasons! I don’t know that I can come up with ten reasons to do (or not to do) ANYTHING. Your girlfriend just really, really hated that sub. 😛

  • Nate says:

    Really good article. I decided not to sub this year either after a few years of subscriptions. While my reasons weren’t identical, we have a lot of the same reasons. I don’t hate the He-Man line, but it’s no longer a top priorty for me.

  • “they’re going to spray it all over the internet like a fat kid with White Castle diarrhea.” Great post but that one sentence would’ve made it worth the click

  • John Gaither says:

    Am a Johnny come lately with the Masters Classics but being not one that needs to have a complete collection and have the budget to buy a sub i will just take my chances and get any figures i want 3rd party via ebay or toy re-sellers. Already manage to get 12 figures i want at great prices and trade so i think am going the right way. : )

    • Newton says:

      I will be curious to see if this was a mistake on my part or not. I’m guessing that even if I end spending a bit more on a few characters, I will save money overall. If I end up being wrong in that, perhaps they’ll have me subbing next year. We shall see!

      • MST3KFan says:

        Well, it comes down to whom you still would really like. This next year has shown we’re so far getting Two-Bad, Glimmer, Hydron, Modulok, and hints at Blade (from the live action movie), and Scorpia. And then them mentioning we’ll either get Tung Lashor or Squeeze in 2014, the other in 2015. Also, Extendar has been mentioned along side Dragstor I recall in a similar fashion.

        I know people have posted huge lists of who’s left and it’s mainly POP and NA that have a lot of characters left to be made. There are also a lot of Filmation characters people still want left to do (I would at least like a Lizard Man or Evil Seed) not to mention beasts like Stridor.

        I doubt we’ll see any more vehicles after the Sky Sled since Mattel wants to get this line done and over with now, but you never know I guess.

  • Beth, the GF says:

    “While realistically I totally could have subscribed and told her to shove it…”

    Heh.

    I am not opposed to the subscription, I am opposed to the way it is run.

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