Roboto's shoulders are on backwards

Mattel QC has done it again.

I'm still trying to decide how much I care about this, but over on fans have discovered that Roboto's shoulders appear to be backwards, much like the first-release He-Man. It looks like the Horsemen sculpted them to match the vintage figure, and Mattel screwed the pooch on the assembly.

Oddly enough, this was perfectly evident way back in the SDCC pics, but apparently no one caught it.



The shoulders are reversed on the Pixel Dan review as well, so I think we can safely assume every single Roboto will have backwards shoulders. And this time we're being forced to pay for defective products. At the very least, Mattel should allow fans to opt-out of the sub for this one figure and wait for a reissue.

What do you think? Do you care enough about this to not want the figure until it's been corrected?

I mean, this is pretty damned bad. Yes, you can say it's not really that noticeable - and that's kind of how I feel - but at the same time, remember, you're paying $30 for this thing.

I don't want to come off like some hysterical fanboy losing my shit over this, because I'm still not sure it bothers me much (although apparently the reversed shoulders on the He-Man caused them to rub and wear away at some points of contact, and the thought of that happening does bug me a bit). But given the subscription, there’s a principle-of-the-thing aspect to this that's really bugging me.

It's entirely possible that the sample Pixel Dan received was an early one and that this was caught and corrected at the factory before general production started. But they said the same thing about the bleed around Orko's ears, and it wasn't corrected. So you'll forgive me if I don't hold my breath.

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62 Responses to Roboto's shoulders are on backwards

  1. Dead Man Walking says:

    Definitely pissed off. People can complain about complainers all they want, but this is a manufacturer error, and customers should not be forced to pay for it to remain subscribers.

    • PrfktTear says:

      Aye, yup. I complain about the complainers, but I think this is something that is at least worth speaking up about.

      Personally though, I don't really care.

  2. Funny thing is that it isn't like there's no precedent for this. Remember the original MoTUC He-Man's shoulders?

    Matty QC at it's finest- from the people that brought you "floppy ankles Prince Adam"!

  3. Replicant says:

    Glad I planned on skipping him anyway.

  4. Philip Reed says:

    Maybe we'll get lucky and the backwards shoulders will drive some people to skip Roboto this week. Then I'll have a chance to get one; it's annoying, but as long as the backwardness doesn't harm the poseability then I can live with it.

  5. Frogster says:

    Hopefully TG will respond to this soon!

  6. busterhighman says:

    I hope Mattel allows subscribers the option to return/exchange their figures. In the case of any other manufacturer defect, an exchange or return would be expected. Maybe if enough figures were returned, Mattel would be forced to pay a little more attention to QC.

    • Poe Ghostal says:

      Actually, that's probably a really good idea. If Mattel doesn't do anything about this, we should plan a mass return for refunds. The overhead from paying for all that will really force them to pay much more attention to QC issues.

      Or it might kill the line. Either/or.

      • busterhighman says:

        It's easy to say that Mattel will just force subscribers to accept the figures as is, but the way I see it is that they kind of have to take them back if requested by a subscriber. The figure is assembled incorrectly resulting in a manufacturer's defect. Normally Mattel would just exchange defective figures from the overrun they keep on hand, but that would not apply if all figures are defective. Therefore, it seems a return of product would be an acceptable solution. Of course, although unlikely, the other option would be to just somehow provide corrected figures in a reasonable amount of time.

        Poe is right in that the amount of wasted overhead by Mattel from mass returns would go a long ways toward preventing similar problems in the future.

        • Poe Ghostal says:

          Yes. And that's probably the right think to do. I fear, though, that a disaster likes this might cause the end of the line, as an exec hears about it and says, "Forget it, this line is way more trouble than it's worth."

          On the other hand, maybe Mattel has insurance for situations like this.

          Still…you'd think that after the incident with the first He-Man release, they'd pay special attention to the shoulders. You'd think…

  7. Dlia says:

    Keep in mind these are supposedly the same factories that missassemble Apple Iphones and other electronics.


    Ask Matty answer: "We are continously working to fix this'll be be fixed promise. NOW BUY SOME MORE PRODUCT, LOOKEE CASTASPELLA!"


    • Philip Reed says:

      Not the same factory involved, since Mattel has revealed that they own their own factory (ies?).

      From Zimbio article: "Mattel says its situation is unique because it owns its production factories outside the U.S. and can do the required safety testing there."

  8. misterbigbo says:

    Mattel management doesn't care how it represents this brand. They won't give subscribers a pass on this one and get stuck with thousands of defective products. The best you'll get is a coupon for some future purchase.

  9. wilyjeff says:

    "Correctly constructed" was part of the 200X hyper-detailed anime style. That style is now retired. What you call "reversed shoulders" is actually a modern "Classicized" update of shoddy manufacturing from the 1980s.

  10. Mountain-man says:

    Man, shouldn't someone have a checklist for this shit? Pretty basic level stuff to go over a figure part by part before it goes into production.

  11. JediCreeper says:

    *sigh* again!? now.. I don't have a sub.. but I love Roboto and was going to get him.. but waiting for a reissue that might not come or getting an effed up fig.. frankly, I'm not sure which sucks more…

  12. Andrew says:

    I can't really figure out what's wrong from the pics, and if this misassembly was evident back in comic-con and you guys are only losing your shit now, then yeah, you do sound like a bunch of whiney fanboys.

    I'll probably sell my Roboto - even with this there's probably gonna be people who won't get it from mattycollector who'll still want it.

    • FakeEyes22 says:

      I'm reading this alot, how the figure was shown months ago, therefore it's the fans' fault. That's kind of insane to me. For one, the protos are often assembled at the cons, with the rushed setups understandably causing mistakes in construction or display, like Buzz-Off's wings. This was the first glimpse of an actual figure, and it seems wrong. It's a tiny detail, and I'm amazed it was spotted at all, let alone months ago in con photos.

      So I guess as a fan who just realized he has a career in quality control, let me apologize to everyone for Roboto and other minor problems. I was too dumb to realize my responsibilities and I really dropped the ball on this one. We all did.

      I'd say that the "whiner" berating has gotten a bit out of hand lately. Sure, there are plenty of unreasonable fan demands, but this is a case where most people, like myself, seem to simply hope this isn't an error that causes damage in the long run, and are more resentful of what the error represents.

      My sub starts in January, and things like this shake my confidence. I have committed to paying them for 12 months, for product I haven't even seen yet, but I am doubting their committment to hold up their end of the deal. Mattel sure as well wouldn't allow me to accidentally pay $19.95 for a figure one month, so I should be able to expect the same.

      I can understand human error on the first He-Man. It was a new thing, learning the ropes, whatever. IF the same thing has happened again…wtf? Are the rules now to just poop out whatever and play clean-up later? Of course not, since their clean-up involves an opportunity to purchase a non-defective item later at full price.

      Let's take a look at Gygor's armor. Inside the arm and leg guards there are an "L" or "R" stamped into the plastic. Many toy lines do this on places that are obscured once the parts are assembled. It's simple, right? Maybe not, but I'd think it would be standard practice once an identical error happened! Something's got to be done with the communication at least, even if the Horsemen need to carve or sharpie letters into parts or duct tape sword holsters to Prince Adam's effing face. It's really a minor, understandable mistake, but they add up and become unacceptable when concerns are dealt with and excuses are given for anything that interferes with the widest profit margin possible. They can work out a way to exlude as many accessories as possible in the 2 packs(Hawkman's got a sword-less holster!) but manage to repeat a previous production error? I guess I'll go F myself then.

      My rant is meaningless because I'm totally buying his Robotic ass anyway. I doubt his reissue will be anything more than leftovers from this run, right? Hopefully Dan's is uniquely assembled.

  13. busterhighman says:

    I can't see a mass return ending the line. Mattel has the line planned out until at least 2016 with supersized figures, bonus figures, vehicles, army builders, and who knows what else. They have to be making a nice return on investment or else they wouldn't put as much effort into the line like they are. Too much to lose now by just canceling the entire line. Plus they could probably just resell the returned Robotos to non-subscribers that would want them either way.

  14. Too-Man-E-Faces says:

    I really couldn't care less.

    And if people wouldn't continually put their fingers on the the fact of the reversed shoulders of first issue He-Man and Skullface, it would again have slipped my mind by now.

    As to Robotos shoulders: even if they have been attached the wrong way I really cannot see any harm this fact may cause the figure. The design still looks OK to me. I cannot make out any abnormal anatomic impression, apart from the figure being transluscient with some funny colourful gears being the figures vitals and the fact that until two weeks ago I couldn't tell his eyes from his mouth anyway…

    As annoying as mixed up shoulders might be for some people, I really don't see why to proclaim the MOTUC apocalypse again.

  15. Thrawn says:

    I still can't tell that my first issue He-Man's shoulders are reversed. So tentatively this doesn't bother me too much.

    What does bother me is that I'm paying for an error (even one I can't tell). Vehicle manufacturers have to issue recalls on their defective products. I think another coupon for free shipping would be a nice consolation by Mattel.

    /I'm not holding my breath.

  16. NotNateSinlao says:

    Thanks for the head's up..mine will be going back.

  17. dayraven says:

    like poe, i think the principle is more important than this particular fig, if they think they can sell us shit, they will. i'll fire mine back at them if it doesn't have proper shoulder alignment, and i'm not dropping a red cent on shipping either. if they expect me to blind-purchase an item, they can damned well get said item right.

    that said, let me ask, since the arms sockets look a tad shallow, and we know that at least trap jaw had pop-off arms, has anyone asked if roboto can arm swap too? that would certianly provide an easy fix to the problem.

  18. JimPansen says:

    Nearly everybody has already planed to buy the rerelease because of the second removeable hand.

    So nevermind.

    One reason more to justify the purchase of a second Roboto 😉

    • Americanhyena says:

      Did they confirm a re-release is getting a second removable hand?

      Honestly I never would have noticed this and if anything like that it makes the arms look different.

  19. PrfktTear says:

    Also at this time I would like to take a moment and remind everyone that Roboto should not be exposed to water/humidity as it will fry his circuitry. In addition, it is advised that you do NOT play with your Roboto in the sand box, because tiny granules of sand will find their way inside and screw up his gears. Mumma told me so back in the day, but I didn't believe her, and when I took my Roboto outside and his gears got jammed, she didn't have any sympathy for me.

  20. Damien says:

    I'm typically at the forefront of saying 'complainers need to stop nitpicking.'

    But in this case, it's not a matter of personal taste or likes and dislikes. This is a defective figure, if indeed they all have the incorrect shoulders. And since it does affect the final product, well – return it.

    Even if it kills the line, which would be insanely unfortunate, the fact of the matter is that no one should be forced to pay for defective product.

    While I hope Mattel caught this issue before the figure went into full production, I really doubt it.

  21. Reilly says:

    I wouldn't be bothered about the shoulders if it didn't happen for the second time on the line, already. Or if we didn't get figures with loose ankles, bad paint apps or wobble heads all the time.

    As much as I hope for it, I doubt that Mattel caught the mistake. If they did, I'm sure Mattel would posted a huge proclaimer, bragging about how well they did their job by correcting an error even though it wouldn't be necessary since nobody noticed it yet.

  22. Baena says:

    Maybe I'll get an "error" figure with the shoulders in the correct places. LOL! 🙂

  23. The Flash III says:

    Wow, it must be nice that this is a big deal for MOTUC fans, when DCUC fans have been wondering how a whole wave has disappeared and can't get an answer.

    • dayraven says:

      who in their right mind gives two hills of crap about DCU anymore? you got all the heavy hitters, quit yer whining!

      • The Flash III says:

        Wave 14. People are getting their wave 15 orders from BBTS and finding them at Kmart, but wave 14 is nowhere to be found at good old Wallyworld. All Toy Guru has said is that there were "logistics issues" and it is "delayed."

        • dayraven says:

          i guess i understand kind of… but in theory, wave 14 is still coming no? and there haven't been photos popped up of production samples that are made incorrectly, right? so it's not exactly an analogous boat.

  24. Damien says:

    Forget a 'missing wave.' DCUC has been so plagued by the most miserable quality control on the planet that I've all but stopped buying any of those figures.

    When I used to order entire cases, it was so bad that fully half or more of the figures had QC issues – exploding joints, horribly twisted limbs, incorrect limbs, broken joints, extremely messy paint, etc.

    I've actually never encountered a toyline as poorly run, QC-wise, as DCUC. Maybe people don't complain about it as much anymore because people have just given up. Doesn't seem like Mattel has any interest in fixing the massive amount of problems.

    • Reilly says:

      For me, Toy Biz' "Lord of the Rings" toyline still tops any other in terms of quality control. I've bought about two dozen figures, and half of them lost limbs literally two minutes after getting out of the blister. Even my Spawn figures (back when McFarlane Toys really did make toys instead of statues with a few cut joints) didn't suffer from broken joints as much as my LotR ones.

      • Damien says:

        That's weird, man. I have a maybe-70% complete collection of TB LotR figures and the only QC issue I can recall is Elendil's cape ripping away from his rubber breastplate.

        Poor figure design, on the other hand - the line is full of that.

    • The Flash III says:

      I agree there have been a lot of QC problems - mostly frozen joints in my experience, so maybe I've become numb to it. Aside from one figure's hand coming off, I haven't had any that were permanently disabled/disfigured, though. It would be nice if more of the DCUC issues were addressed, but, as you said, Mattel doesn't seem to be listening.

      • Damien says:

        Some people have definitely had better luck than me. I think I may actually be the unluckiest person where DCUC QC is concerned.

        In fact, all this time later, I'm STILL trying to find someone with a spare left arm from Cyborg so I can fix mine (he was a rare 'exploding arm' variant).

  25. Newt says:

    I think Mattel should offer refunds to those who want it. Unlike He-Man (Where I still can't tell the difference) it's pretty clear these are on backwards. His wires should connect at his arm and they don't.

    It looks awkward now that attention has been brought to it. I'm usually whatever about these little nitpick items, but this one seems pretty heinous if the arms are indeed on backwards.

  26. Lovable-Bill says:

    If no one would have mentioned it, I never would have noticed.

    Count me as one of the few who are not put off by this at all.

  27. Heli says:

    I'm sure this return will be almost as massive as the She-Ra and Orko returns. That'll teach Mattel.

    PS Did Poe finally cave and admit that these figures cost 30 bucks and not 20? One of us! One of us!

  28. Barbecue17 says:

    Here are my top 5 guesses for the response we'll get:

    5.Imagine there is a machine that the Robot figure is dropped into for quality control. One button says good quality control and the other says Classics quality control. The Classics qc button was pressed.

    4.I was looking at a 200x Roboto online, and I realized that the shoulders on that figure correct. The higher ups have asked that we reverse the shoulders of the classics Roboto to make sure he is differentiated from the 200 version.

    3. Design decisions like reversed shoulders are left up either to the boys in Jersey or the children in China.

    2. Do you want correct shoulders or do you want Catra and Ram-Man?

    1. Want to know why Roboto has incorrect shoulders? Keep reading the bios!

  29. Matty's Bane says:

    The mods at Matty are closing threads that have anything negative to say about Roboto's shoulders. From one mod's comments it look like Mattel is well aware of the problem. I think Matty is purposefully being silent on the issue. I think their plan is to keep as many people in the dark about this as possible.

    • Frogster says:

      I saw that they are closing threads. I sure hope they are braced for the crapstorm headed their way if they continue burying their heads in the sand instead of addressing it. Noticed how they skated around the Goddess's QC problems as well regarding her fragility.

      • Damien says:

        Last I heard, they didn't really skate the issue of GG. They did say, however, that it wasn't the plastic but rather incorrectly assembled hip joints, or something.

        Not totally sure I buy it, but they did attempt to address it in one of the Q&As.

        • Matty's Bane says:

          Yes, they admitted to the GG being defective. They essentially shipped thousands of defective figures to their customers and admitted to doing so. Too bad they didn't actually do anything to fix the problem. It looks like they are about to do the same thing with Roboto!

  30. FakeEyes22 says:

    The new screencaps in the thread show that the fit looks a little wierd aside from the circuits. I can't say if it wouldn't still with proper assembly, but there is a recessed curve in the shoulder where the tricep should be. I'm fine with the minor wire thing, but I hope it doesn't get scraped off by the tricep.

    The Mattycollector monitors seem to be telling posters to F off as they close "panic inducing" threads, despite no official answer. I'm not fond of fans being told they're being stupid just for noticing it, or just being told outright that they are wrong. There is quite a bit of discussion about this, but it's generally pretty rational. Heck, Poe's reaction is more extreme than most and he's certainly not grabbing torches and pitchforks.

    It sucks to be ToyGuru right now, he's got to be frustrated at everyone on earth. We've got a figure with an action feature and so few paint apps to slop up, and us crazy fans still discover a way to nitpick. It's a valid nitpick, but we look like crazy fans again, while Mattel looks clumsy. There's not much to be done. It's not like a bunch of packaged Robotos that are in North America already can be swapped out for a figure that isn't.

  31. Mysterious Stranger says:

    "It’s not like a bunch of packaged Robotos that are in North America already can be swapped out for a figure that isn’t."

    Quoted for truth. If you honestly believe Mattel is going to scrap a run of 10-15,000 figures because of a simple mis-assembly that doesn't seem to affect function/articulation or cause a safety concern you are deluded. It will be addressed in the re-release and that will be it. You can send your figure back all you want but you're only going to get either A) another figure from the same run, likely with the same "defect" or B) a refund. Sure if they get enough returns it will encourage them to look at QC more closely but that's about it. Its not like they are going to have Digital River sit there and open figures, reassemble them correctly and repackage them.

    Voice your concerns, return your figure if you feel that strongly but don't expect a widespread correction to happen right away.

    • FakeEyes22 says:

      Yup! Those are your options. The bonus/replacement figure system is in place as Mattel's insurance if something goes wrong early on in the process. Opening a bunch of shipped and packaged figures isn't going to happen of course.

      It's because of this that I think it's definitely fair to talk about the problem and point it out to Mattel without being told that it doesn't matter. It probably doesn't matter that much, but it is wrong. I'd just like them to acknoledge and learn from it. I can honestly even understand to a degree since a mothly production of a different item is different from retail waves. My understanding is diminished somewhat by several issues popping up right before what looks like a really great and ambitious year that could complicate matters more.

      I think the only solutions are to offer a discount/coupon for next time, or figure out a home-fix Apollo 13 style and post instructions.

      The discount isn't likely, but it seems like a good way to ensure a quick sellout. Otherwise, reissues will be leftovers.

      Home-fix…not likely. This is the worst figure to try to fix! Assuming a hot water-pop trick worked, his chest will be a fish tank! Crack him open and you've got gears everywhere! It'll be madness!

      Seriously, I doubt they'll do anything. You're right, it's neither unsafe or broken. I'm a bit tired of fixing these things myself, so I'm going to buy it and accept it. If I get obsessive and work out a fix, I'll spread the word.

      • dean says:

        If I buy one I may try to cut his deltoid off the shoulder ring similar to how Buzzy Fret prevents paint rub.

        Granted, I would not be removing the shoulder from Roboto's torso as I have no desire to crack his chest open.

        We'll see.

        I probably won't buy him; even though he was the figure I was most looking forward to for the rest of 2010.

        I do not wish to reward Matty's incompetence.

        I wouldn't buy a new "insert product" if I knew it was not assembled properly.

  32. dean says:

    No, Matty will not correct the issue, even though they are "one of the world's most ethical toy companies".

    The Horsemen however, when they had a bad run of figures, tried to make it right; even though it cost them time and came out of their pocketbooks. They got quality figures made and offered the defects at a deep discount. Makes me proud to buy the 4H's personal product.

    Guess that's the difference between being a corporate entity or being a little guy. The little guys actually have honor.

    The 4H rock…Matty, not so much.

  33. Israel Ramirez says:

    Who cares?

    I honestly don't see what the big deal is. If you really have to look hard to pick this nit, then it's a pretty small not.

    If it makes you feel better think of it this way: It's a fricking robot. Robots are manufactured and as such are subject to manufacturing errors.

    This one got past QC at the Eternian factory.

    • dayraven says:

      did the lawyer just say the details are insignificant? i didn't just read that, there's no WAY a lawyer just said that the details are insignificant. i couldn't possibly live in that world, right?

      "If you really have to look hard to pick this nit, then it's a pretty small nit."

      aside from fixing his typo, i had to reread that like five times for it to sink in… as firstly, the photos above seem pretty obvious, such that one might note that it doesn't have to take hard looking, just looking.

      • Israel Ramirez says:

        I didn't say the details are insignificant. I said I personally didn't care about the shoulder issue and it wouldn't detract from my enjoyment of the figure.

        We live in an imperfect world, where HUGE problems assail us from all sides. In the broad scheme of things, this one just isn't that important TO ME.

        Again, your mileage may differ.

        Also, if the problem was THAT obvious, someone would have spotted it sooner, probably at Comic Con.

        Of course NOW it's obvious, especially with arrows, circles and diagrams pointing it out from every angle. 😉

  34. Jesus Santillan says:

    See Gygor's shoulders(Left,right)it's the same.

  35. Matty's Bane says:

    Good news everyone! Matty has decided to make things right by offering a promo code for Roboto. Enter the code VASELINE during checking out to receive some bonus special loving from Matty himself.

  36. tolb says:

    You know what's funny about this whole thing? Its a legit issue with the QC and yet the Matty mod (and her outspoken friend on Facebook) choose to turn a blind eye to it. There is video evidence of this issue and it ca be seen in broad daylight but they just want to drink the Kool-Aid without noticing. And its understandable because I'm sure they can delay the figure just like with the guards pack to make it right but its too close to sale day. But this and the sheath on Adam (included on Adora but missed on an SDCC exclusive) is just hard to understand how these things are botched. Matty is as incompetent as the 2008 Detroit Lions.

    And on top of that you got others who think its alright to have the figure released. You can notice it, its right there. This is like saying Barrack Obama is white. The Mattel fandom at large and th' diehards are clearly screwed in the head. Jaded toy fans my ass.

  37. Poe Ghostal says:

    Well, the subscribers who ordered fast shipping should start getting their Robotos today or tomorrow, so we'll know soon whether the production figures have the problem.

  38. Cythagen says:

    Got my Roboto today.

    Unfortunately, the shoulders ARE reversed. On the upside, it doesn't look like anyone should be too concerned about any of the pieces scraping or impeding his articulation.

    Dismayed as I am with Mattel's continued QC incompetence, I probably wouldn't have even noticed this had no one pointed it out.

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