Toy collectors can be such a touchy lot. We wait a lifetime for a toy line to come along – in this case a great movie accurate Ghostbusters line from Matty – and then suddenly it feels like the carpet is pulled out from under us. So, what do we do? Well, some of us accept it. Others cry and scream but, in the end, if a line is approaching its end then there’s nothing we can do.
A couple of years back, Mattel started the Ghostbusters line and it was beautiful. Starting off with Egon – I remember the night I first saw the images.. iI was like a ten-year-old again. The line grew, slowly, until we finally had them all – exclusively bought through Matty’s site – then the repaints happened. Ready To Believe you (GBs in labcoats) figures, GBII figures.. it was endless. True, there were ghost figures in MOST of the releases and we have slowly been getting supporting figures like Louis Tully, Walter Peck and Vigo, but there was much unrest among the fans.
Matty even tried an ill judged venture into Real Ghostbusters Figures which died almost as soon as the principal characters were released. Then, last year the subscription service – pay a fee and get all the figures straight to your door without worrying about availablity online – died when the numbers weren’t there. The fact that the ‘exclusive’ figure in the first year’s subscription was called ‘marshmallow mess Ray’ (essentially the same figure we had twice only with white paint on it) didn’t help.
This, it seemed was the beginning of the end. So, in came 2012 and the line is continuing. It kicked off strongly with Vigo, then last month it was the ‘Rookie’ from the video game (?)… basically a GB with goggles on that you could pretend is you. Novel, but still. But now, with SanDiego Comic Con (SDCC) just around the corner, Matty have really put the boot into the fans.
How? Well, the Dana figure (pictured below) that was promised since last year, has now been announced as an SDCC exclusive. So? Well, this means that they’ve hiked the price from$22 to $25. And on top of that, they have removed the previously shown paint from around her eyes – now to non-collectors this means very little, but let me explain the issue. Firstly it means the figure is less movie-accurate and secondly it means that, despite the figure being more expensve, they are cutting production costs. The other problem with the action figure is that, well, there’s no action. It’s a nice sculpt, but it’s pretty much a statue in both its poses.
However, these asthetic issues aside, the big problem is that we collectors who have been loyal from day one (I have not missed one figure in the line, including the props, RGB and 12inch figures – in fact I often double-dipped because I mostly open figures now to enjoy and display) are being, pardon the expression, screwed over if we can’t get to SDCC. And it means that we may end up ebaying the figure, which is below-par, for an estortionist price just for the complete collection.
On top of that, we now have no official third figure for the 2012 line and certainly no 4th. And with Matty promising to reward those that had signed up for the subscription originally but no word on what it’ll be, the fans are seriously disappointed.
When I started this line I had dreams of hoards of ghosts and monsters, all the secondary characters that made the movies so special and a movie-accurate Ecto-1 (please!) an maybe even some of the spooks from the RGB (imagine Sandman!). The fans wanted these and would certainly have paid. And I know likeness rights are a pain, which is why I had no problems with the re-tools and re-paints because in the end it was allowing us to get what we wanted… now the question is, will we get all these things or an extensive collection of four men in different suits?
Matty, please don’t think I’m having a go, I’m not. I want to keep getting this line, I’m willing to pay the prices (customs charges have doubled the cost several times on me because I live in the UK), I want to still be collecting in five years, giddy at the announcements of who’s coming next, but you must remember Matty that we are fans and your customers and deserve to be clued in and treated properly.
If we can get this all going then we’ll all have a beautiful friendship, because after all… who ya gonna call?
All images copyright of Mattel 2012