Mattel's distribution woes

It seems that the new Mekaneck figure from Mattel's revamped Masters of the Universe line is finally hitting stores, nearly two months after it was due out. Theoretically he was supposed to have joined Ram Man, who was out in early September. Now that Mek's finally shipping, there are indications that he's being packed one per case.

One per case? If this is true, Mattel needs to take a long look at its demographic and consider whether it's alienating the larger part of its consumers by limiting these secondary characters. The stores around here only have He-Man figures. No Beast Man, no Man-At-Arms, no Stratos, and certainly no Ram Man. Just He-Man. Yet we've already had one He-Man variation, and many more are on the way. Meanwhile, collectors fight over the five or six Mekanecks that are available per zip code, or run up ridiculous prices on eBay.

There's a good chance that Mekaneck, like Ram Man, will become more plentiful as the weeks go by. However, the nature of Mattel's distribution, both in quantity and timing, does not encourage my hope that Teela, Tri-Klops, Trap-Jaw and Orko will be out by Christmas, as they're scheduled to be. One thing cheers me a bit; in a recent chat session on, Jeremy Padawer of Mattel had this to say:

Regarding the case ratio: two things have happened that we expected but maybe not at the levels that they are occuring. First, the adult collector base is much larger than anyone might have ever believed. And, second, the kids have jumped into collecting secondary characters at a faster pace than predicted. As the line moves forward, there will be more secondary figures on shelf.

Let's hope that's true. If I don't get my Tri-Klops and Trap Jaw, there's gonna be hell to pay.

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