So Toy Fair was this past weekend and as usual, there were lots of announcements, some previews and general industry news. I did not attend and honestly I didn’t update anything about the Toy Fair itself because I felt this year was probably one of the most underwhelming Toy Fairs in recent memory. However, there are a few things I would like to talk about coming out of the show.

– MattyCollector’s Facebook page posted up the entire Toy Guru presentation. It’s boring for the most part, but if you skip to the last part he does a Q&A. This is the most interesting part of the entire presentation and actually the most interesting thing coming out of Toy Fair for me.

– TG mentioned that the Mattel office Stay Puft also turned yellow. This has been a big issue of mine (after reluctantly plunking down the cash for Stay Puft) and one I’ve been pestering Mattel about. It sounds as though Mattel found out their Stay Puft was yellow once fans began to complain. The interesting part here is that TG does a blame shift and questions whether the factory didn’t follow their protocol or not. He also claims they are looking into it, but he doesn’t seem to indicate that there will be recourse at all. I’m not really interested in WHY it turned yellow… I already have that answer. They chose to make it out of a stupid squishy material instead of out of plastic, like people wanted. I don’t need the particulars. Give me a refund.

– Toy Guru also stated that Mattel is completely redoing the Digital River/MattyCollector system and it should be “90% perfect” and no more headaches. This is supposed to happen within the next three weeks or so. I have to wonder if this will be one of those instances where TG has stuck his foot in his mouth when they can’t deliver. Time will tell.

– Scott seemed a bit ready to “strike back” at fans who question him on forums and kept asking for hard questions, saying fans were nice in person. I found this very peculiar. He also clearly snaps at a guy who missed part of his presentation and when the guy asks about Super Powers Penguin, TG basically says he should have been paying attention. It was awkward. Likewise, he shut a fan down who asked about female figures and how they were often shortpacked and that perhaps they would sell better if they were more readily available. TG towed the old line that female figures just don’t sell. To be fair, I’m inclined to agree with him on that for the most part, but his attitude was so matter of fact about it that it sours his point a bit.

– In addition, TG kept reminding us how he’s “one of us” despite the fact that he doesn’t have to deal with any of the struggles that we do. Steve Jobs was a computer fan too, ya know. Doesn’t mean he was in the same boat as the guys standing in line for the new iPod after Apple released a new one three months after early adopters had already spent their money.

– Mattel is taking preorders on the ridiculous non-hovering hover board. Yes, Mattel has finally learned to take preorders, it’s just not on any of the items we’d like them to.

– The JLU figures will finally get released and as Scott pointed out so kindly, “they’re only $30!” I quit collecting JLU after YEARS and hundreds of figures when they reached $9, but I guess we’re at the point where $30 figures are a steal. That’s a truly scary mentality. He didn’t say that they were expensive, but a great opportunity for diehards, he stressed that they were cheaper than they originally said they might be, so it was like Mattel was giving us a deal. Again this just strikes me as a guy who claims to be such a fan, really seeming out of touch with most fans.

– Collectors are only 1% of Mattel’s sales. In case you forgot. Don’t pay any attention to the fact that they are having a collector’s night, Q&A session or have created an entire website built around catering to collectors. You are insignificant!

– Now here’s the kicker… Mattel did not think the Wind Raider sold well. So they’re going to MAKE MORE Wind Raiders and sell them during SDCC. Perhaps if you buy their new run of Wind Raiders, they’ll make other vehicles. WHAT?! I think we got our answer on the Wind Raider debacle. Mattel clearly pulled the item. Actually, I suspect that the Wind Raiders were not finished when they put them up for sale, but Mattel rushed them to market anyway. This is why so many had QC issues. Instead Mattel was waiting for the rest of their shipment so they claimed the item was “sold out”. This is why they have been so vague on the Wind Raiders. I’m sorry, but its incomprehensible that the item didn’t sell to expectations so they’re going to make more to see how those sell. I cringe when I see TG so clearly lying in person.

– Beyond that, I liked most of the MOTUC announcements, especially the Snake Men. The WWE Legends they revealed all looked terrible, particularly Bundy who’s suffering from a far too modern head scan. Bundy has lost 150 or more pounds since his “prime” and his face looks deflated as a result. The figure seems to reflect this, which is just odd.

– I didn’t see any other major toy announcements that struck me. I feel as though the overall Toy Fair this year was completely underwhelming. The neatest news came in the previews earlier in the week of the new Playmates TMNT stuff.

5 Responses to Toy Fair 2012 Thoughts

  • oansun says:

    I'll pipe in according to your structure, I believe we are in the same boat on all this info (and usually in general)

    -This Stay Puft thing will turn into a battle cry, I believe. Refunds are in order here.
    -The last time they gave us something that will "fix complaints" they took it down in, what one day? So, sorry that we are reluctant to believe these promises.
    – This is the part that I was taken back, he said "usually you are vicious on-line! Come on! Management is sitting in the back!" Did he seriously want to start arguments with collectors/customers IN PERSON IN FRONT OF HIS BOSSES? What kind of backwards, screwed up company is this? Did they WANT that kind of attention? This was crazy to me. I've never seen a company so willing to belittle it's costumers publicly. The Penguin guy? Sure, sometimes people miss parts or don't pay attention. Be a little courteous, he is after, basically a publicist. The female figure thing was very uncomfortable. Scott is super pissed, and it may be that us complaining so often is putting his job in jeopardy. Maybe, that's pure speculation, but that's the only thing that would turn a normal person to such behavior. That or he's really just an asshole. Which is fine, plenty of assholes are successful (you mentioned Steve Jobs, he applies here), but that attitude to a fan at a press conference is ridiculous behavior. " Believe me, I know from experience." Ok Scott, we believe you do, settle down, act like a civilized human being. Do you want to know why fans are polite/nice in person? The internet is anonymity, also most people don't like to type well structured responses (or very much at all). So short, curt message board comments are not real indication of a personality. This is what we all come to realize. Scott's being a real tough guy in this video, and ready to face his detractors, he thinks he's being a real hero in his head probably (this is all conjecture, I have no way of knowing, but it furthers my response). We all know this is what to expect on the internet, it's nothing new, don't treat it as such. Calm down, smile, don't argue. Nod your head, give a brief response, then count your money later, he probably makes much more than any of us (again, this could not be true at all, but he's the head of a brand at one of the biggest companies in the world so just an assumption). All of those exchanges were just bizarre to me, I would never act like that in front of my bosses.
    -I don't know, I'd be into the board if it simulates floating on carpet like ez slide stuff. I know it's not the greatest, but I don't hate it…YET!
    -Your thoughts on JLU were almost verbatim in my head when I heard that, for the same reasons.
    – It's so bizarre that they take so much time to tell us how insignificant we are to the market, and then blame us for toy lines dying because we don't buy EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT. Weird how that works, huh? So…if the Wind Raider were at retail for kids to buy, it wouldn't have done "just okay"?!?! Hmmmmmm. I still find it ridiculous that they announce anything at Toy Fair, isn't it for retailers and investors to see where the money and sales are going for the year, and how much of each product to buy? MOTUC, Infinite Earths, JLU, and Voltron (Ghostbusters too) are directly sold to the consumer. Why bother at Toy Fair, why aren't you waiting for SDCC or some other convention. Or, here's a weird though, how about on your own website? You now wasted money to advertise for brands that don't see space on retail shelves to compete and stay in market share to, who now? Oh right…collectors… Instead of all that money you wasted sending out your team, executives, and products to a convention it could easily have skipped, maybe that money can be placed to the brands that you apparently have no budget to tool an extra shield? I don't know the logistics of Mattel's corporate structure, or their advertising needs and market research, so again I'm guessing, but maybe that could help save a couple of dimes. If you announce the figures on the webspace you already pay for, and send them to the collector websites you don't pay for that are the only one's looking at it anyway. It's not like MOTUC is showing up on Dateline, or Good Morning America. If Toy Fair stuff shows up on those shows, it's for wacky bizarre things like toy helicopters that make sandwiches. Of course, I could be way off base here…

  • oansun says:

    -Your Wind Raider comments are all correct, we all know the situation, we can do our detective work to figure it out (maybe it;s all wrong though!!). If Toyguru is telling the company byline on this product, why not for every single question he answered snarky? This Wind Raider deal is too much, why not just do this for every toy/line that doesn't sell? Blame us, then make more available so we feel like we "saved the line." funny that he mentioned Club Infinite Earths when talking about the Hoverboard, he said if there aren't enough pre-orders they won't make it…like Infinite Earths. THERE WEREN'T ENOUGH! We saw the meter, it never came close, but we got the line anyway? How on earth does that work? What are they doing there? It's another dumb way of putting the entire burden on the consumer. How are they making money of Infinite Earths if it didn't meet their quota, then magically it was ok? Same with Wind Raider now apparently.
    – The Snake Men look great. Bundy is terrible, that is not a figure I would ever want. Arn Anderson though? Really? First off his figure is in WAY too good of shape, and who wants Arn by himself? Put him with Flair or Blanchard and put him in Toys R Us, or an online 2 pack. He's not the kind of character that will help sell the line or show how deep your commitment to "offbeat" characters. DDP is a great example of what SHOULD be in this type of line, I'm not saying I'm dying for a DDP, but he represents something good to the overall line and brand. Magnum TA would have been a better choice, to show what they wanted. I don't know, I'm going crazier on this than I had anticipated.
    – Love the Turtle stuff, the crazy Mantis bad guy and Wolf character (Razhar?)

    Looks like I ranted way more than I wanted. Sorry.

  • Newt says:

    I am totally with you here. The proto Arn looked pretty good, but Arn has the wrong body style and the wrong hair color. Even though he did have a blonde hair color during the Brain Buster days, he was not that blonde. I think Tully is coming though. So I suspect that's the idea there. Unfortunately, I'm content with my Jakks Arn head on a proper Arn body. So unless it looks better down the line, I doubt I'm picking AA up even though I loved Arn.

    The Bundy just looks bad and I think it's for the reasons I mentioned in the article. Bundy probably isn't even 300 pounds these days and it seems like Mattel didn't do any effort to beef him up to his prime proportions. Plus he has a screaming scan and I never did see his body but it looks like it's too small from what I could tell.

    You expanded upon my point quite well. Mattel seems intent to hammer home how little collectors mean to their lines and yet, here we are at Toy Fair, showcasing a ton of lines that aren't being sold to retailers. Boggles the mind.

    The Wind Raider thing got me the most, because it just made no sense at all. You don't make more of something you supposedly had issues selling the first time. A new deco maybe, but not a second run of the same item. Clearly they have extra stock or they didn't get the full amount of their stock the first time. I'm inclined to believe the latter.

  • Mark says:

    The TMNT and G.I. Joe toys are amazing, nothing else at TF interested me…..Bandai should have showed some new Thundercats.

  • plannedbanter says:

    Nothing could ever top the backhanded comments Mattel had about scheduling the Wind Raider near the holidays. Hey Mattel, it's hard to plan out money for that when you keep changing the price and seem to randomly pick shipping costs.

    I am apparently a lot happier with most of Mattel's announcements (especially MOTU) than a lot of people are. Frosta does look a little odd but I think it's a paint issue. The Horsemen do seem to like open mouthed smiles a lot lately, don't they? The JLU stuff is ridiculous, but it's been that way for a while. At least they took the last set of 3 packs to more than 2 conventions!

    The Star Wars Vintage stuff really impressed me but that's mostly because I'm glad to see that the figures are, for the most part, very difficult to improve on in the future. That's always been an issue with my SW collecting so I'm glad to see Darth Vader finally getting Ball-jointed hips.

    I was a little disappointed in Toy Fair this year but I think that's because we've been really spoiled in the past. I guess we'll see more Marvel Legends stuff at SDCC which makes me hopeful that Hasbro won't make the line a nightmare marathon like DCUC having 3 waves coming out on top of each other after a 7 month gap.

    Really the companies that impressed me the most were Diamond Select and NECA. The new minimates shown were great (I don't really care about the Expendables from a toy standpoint but they'll make for excellent customizing) and NECA is really doing a lot of great stuff with a variety of properties. I should probably pick up one of their Predator figures at some point since they're up to 6 series of them now. Fingers crossed for a super articulated T2 Arnold soon!

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