Monday, November 8, 2010

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics: Roboto By Mattel

I was on the fence about Mr. Roboto, here (c’mon – you would’ve said it too). He’s a great concept and definitely stands out among the other Masters, but those primary colors just don’t do it for me.
So here’s what I decided to do:
I used it as a test subject. You see, Mattycollector.com is having a special sale (They call it a “sale” despite the fact that nothing is marked down, it’s just re-offerings of old stock; but what do you expect from those people?) on 11/29. They haven’t revealed everything that they’ll be offering that day, but they have announced that as the date for the Battle Cat reissue. And I want a Battle Cat. The problem is that I’ll be at work that day. Somehow or another I have been extremely lucky all year long and have been off on the days that Matty has put up their products. This is the first time since last year that I will be forced to order using my phone, and traffic since those those on-sale dates appears to be up about a billion percent.
I was recently informed that phones might be a more successful way to order from Mattycollector on the on-sale dates. This sounded like ridiculous bullpucky to me, but since Roboto was a figure I didn’t mind waiting for a reissue on I thought I would give it a try to see what I would be in for on 11/29.

So on October the 15th, rather than waking up and running downstairs to the computer like I normally have to (I may be off, but I am usually working a night shift the day before for some reason); I reached over and grabbed my phone to place my order. And rather than taking upwards of forty-five minutes like a normal Matty order, my order was paid for and confirmed in about fifteen minutes. I guess Evil was right about the phone thing.
Robot arrived a week later, but I held the review off until now because it didn’t seem all that Halloweeny.
First Glance: Roboto isn’t jaw-droppingly awesome like some of the other Masters Classics, but it does have charm. There’s just this old-school 80’s toy look about it. Those chest gears are awesome.
Sculpt: I never had the original Roboto when I was a kid and I’m not even sure if they made it in the 200x line. My point is, I’m not sure if that red jaw-looking piece moved or not. It does on this version and it’s pretty neat. I think the black space behind it is where its soul would go if it had one.
Roboto’s torso is obviously the best feature. It rotates 360° and has separate gears in the front and the back that interact and turn as you spin Roboto’s torso around.
Roboto shares the lower portion of its body with Trap-Jaw and Optikk, which is fine. If it works, it works.
And now we come to the big problem. Or not, depending on who you’re talking to. A few days before Roboto went up for sale I read that its shoulders were on the wrong sides. People were all super-pissed, but the mellower collectors were willing to think that the sample that was used for the review that identified the problem was an aberration and that they might not all be like that. Lord knows we wouldn’t get any confirmation from Mattel. Since I was doing my phone experiment and honestly thought I wouldn’t end up with one this time around anyway, I wasn’t too worried. Even if I did get one, the way that the MOTUC are sculpted makes it not a huge deal, especially on a non-human. It is noticeable, though and I wouldn’t want it on a figure I was super-stoked about (like Trap-Jaw or Vikor).
And then - in a total shitbag move – Matty acknowledged the error the day after the Roboto run sold out:
"Well there is no way around it. Roboto did get assembled with his shoulders swapped.

What can I say. These things happen. I could mention the hundreds of things we do catch and correct before going to production, or all the time we spent making small tweaks based on fan comments such as Skeletor's purple feet or trying to see if both Roboto's arms could be detached (which we didn't have time for but we really tried on!), but none of that changes that in the end a mistake was made.

I see nothing even remotely like an apology there, and certainly don’t see anything in the way of compensation for a defective product. Typical Matty. If you want to read the whole thing, go here.
Oh, and thanks to whoever sent me this one (I think it was Evil): Shortpacked
So how do the shoulders really look now that I’ve got one? Well, they look wrong, but it honestly isn’t a huge deal. Especially not on a robot. My problem is with Matty’s attitude. Their stance is basically, “Well, if you want one you’re going to take it like that; because what else are you going to do? Suckers.” Which is true to form for that bunch of customer no-service douche nozzles. But they’re right. We’re all suckers and we’re not going to stop buying over a little thing like poor quality control or ridiculously high prices or a poorly designed retail website.
Design: Roboto’s weird. I mean, it looks like Roboto, but those primary colors are just off-putting somehow. It is detailed very nicely, with each gear being a different color and plenty of detailing everywhere else. I’m not crazy about its purple crotch, though.
Accessories: Roboto has a good number of accessories. It has four different attachments for its right arm (though it has just now occurred to me to wonder if you can switch out its left hand, as well [I checked when I got home – no]). There is a hand, an axe, a claw and a blaster. The hand looks just like the left one, but more right. 

The blaster is a nice counterpart to Trap-Jaw’s in that Roboto’s looks more 50’s sci-fi and less sinister. The axe and the claw both have some nice detailing. The problem is that the three weapon attachments are made of a very soft plastic that warped while the toy was packaged. This is actually a much bigger problem for me than the shoulders. Also, unlike Trap-Jaw, there is nowhere to store the extras on Roboto.
Packaging: The standard Masters of the Universe Classics packaging. It looks nice and makes the figures look even bigger than they are. You also get a bio on the back that is sort of a composite of each character’s history.
Overall: I like Roboto just fine now that I’ve got it. Those gears in the chest are just mesmerizing and it does look very nice amongst the other Masters. While they don’t bother me that much, the shoulders have to be considered unacceptable and the warping of the soft plastic hand attachments is kind of not-okay, too.
2.5 out of 5
I don't normally use ".5s", but I felt I needed to here. I don't feel like Roboto is a fail, but Matty definitely fucked up.
Roboto sold out on Matty and I would say just wait for the inevitable re-issue rather than attempting to track it down on the secondary market. As always you can get it at BigBadToyStore.com. I’m sure there are other retailers offering it, as well.
Until next time, stay creepy
-Phantom

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