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How to fix Mattel's quality control screw-ups?


Xorr
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You know, hobbies are supposed to be fun. Really, isn't that the point of a hobby - to have fun?

 

So why does Mattel make it so hard? It's bad enough they have the suckiest distribution in human history and that I haven't seen half the waves anywhere in the 3rd largest metropolitan center in the USA. Now there's quality control issues too! After hunting high and low and finally having to pay inflated ebay prices to get figures because the stores don't get them, I end up having to fix the figures I pay for even when they're mint-in-package.

 

Black Adam. I got him on ebay for a song. Was so excited. Well, his legs are loose. Really loose. Does anyone here have a good method for fixing these loose limbs? I mean, when the hips want to splay out like he wants to do the splits, or when the leg kicks front and back if you shake him. Some figures have a very hard time standing. Others are ok, some are great.

 

So can anyone tell me how they deal with this, other than wanting to go to Mattel offices with a cement-filled aluminum baseball bat and pounding some sense into the idiots in Quality Control? There has got to be a method (and boiling won't work for this, since they aren't stretched joints). I've tried (with some luck) using an old method from my Toybiz Famous Covers custom days, which entails putting Krazy Glue on the joints and working it in until it stiffens. Usually works fine, but very tricky with figures that come without fabric costumes to cover any splotches or smears, which with Krazy Glue never come undone.

 

Any ideas?

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I'm a fan of using the very rubber band they come with. Snipping the clear rubber band and then working it around the loose joint until enough extra mass had been added to cause friction and keep the joints from going all willy-nilly everywhere. And once the joints are tight pull the band tight and snip it. Usually the end of the rubber band will get lost in the depths of the joint. This has worked for me for ankle, knee, elbow, ab-crunch, and hip joints.

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I'm a fan of using the very rubber band they come with. Snipping the clear rubber band and then working it around the loose joint until enough extra mass had been added to cause friction and keep the joints from going all willy-nilly everywhere. And once the joints are tight pull the band tight and snip it. Usually the end of the rubber band will get lost in the depths of the joint. This has worked for me for ankle, knee, elbow, ab-crunch, and hip joints.

 

 

that is a very interesting idea, pretty neat actually.

 

Also for some strange reason many of the Black Adam's were produced like that. It was a running error with that particular character. I have 4 of them loose and 3 of them have loose joints straight out of the package.

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[sarcasm]Tisc tisc, you sir are wrong for complainging about mattel they are a great company & sell lots & lots of figures, if you don't like them you should simply stop buying them & #$## off with the complaining because there is nothing you can do about it! Once again mattel is a GREAT company, quit being one of the complainers that is wrecking these forums!!!![/sarcasm ]

 

 

 

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:D

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Tell me something here: has there been a toy company/toy line in the last 50 years that has NOT had quality control issues?

 

The only one that I think anyone could recall is Lego--the rest have had some kind of issues at some point.

 

The reason being is that the toys are produced on foreign shores where QC is an issue of economics. The reason problems creep into a toy line is because the assembly-line process sees the volume of units before the individual units. It endemic of the system--there will always be the odd bad batch.

I can remember toys like Mattel's Major Matt Mason, and Big Jim--lines that are doubtlessly a few years before the time of the majority of posters here-- and wherein the toys would have QC issues. Every major to mid level action figure line has had some kind of QC issue--and I have collected at least something from each since the mid-1980's ( except for Power Rangers and Wrestling toys.

 

Personally, I do not mind doing fixes--except for broken plastic. Fixing joints, warped parts and paint fixes isn't hard, and it gives me opportunities to interact with the toy in ways besides just setting it up on the shelf for display.

I'll often tweak paint apps, simply because I can, and because it makes the toys look better.

 

My fix for loose joints: I run a bead of white glue (Lepage or Elmers) into the joint. I don't water it down, and I do not try to cement the joint into place. White glue does a couple of things--in that it DOES NOT do a couple of things: one being that it does not adhere to the plastic. What is does do is dry clear and solid, and acts as a bit of friction in the joint. I usually pick a pose, add the glue, let it set and then display the posed piece.

Often the joint will still move, but with resistance, and excessive movement will cause the glue to break off. That's good.......you WANT that--because if you want to re-pose the figure you can work out the glue and try it again. Also, if you need to get rid of the glue, running some hot tap water over it will cause the dried glue to dissolve.

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Honestly, the best method is to WAIT until the 2nd/3rd shipment of each wave arrives.

 

That way, the manufacturer has time to adjust for any problems/complaints.

 

For example, I heard LOTS of complaints about the WAVE 12 COPPERHEAD having terribly loose joints. Well, I got my shipment from MATTYCOLLECTOR last week. COPPERHEAD was the first one I opened, and his joints are nice and tight all over.

 

Patience.

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Tell me something here: has there been a toy company/toy line in the last 50 years that has NOT had quality control issues?

 

I don't recall ever really having an issue with TOY-BIZ MARVEL figures in the mid-to-late 90's.

 

However, when they released MARVEL LEGENDS, that was a different story altogether.

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Tell me something here: has there been a toy company/toy line in the last 50 years that has NOT had quality control issues?

 

The only one that I think anyone could recall is Lego--the rest have had some kind of issues at some point.

 

 

 

All my mini-figs have loose joints!!! I'm going to attack LEGO!!!

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Tell me something here: has there been a toy company/toy line in the last 50 years that has NOT had quality control issues?

 

 

QC has definitely deteriorated from the days some thirty years ago when I was a kid buying GI Joes and Star Wars figures and Toy Biz' Marvel Legends and anything from Mattel have been notable in the sheer crap shoot that they are in terms of QC. Anytime you buy one of these figures, it's a fifty-fifty dice roll you might be buying a flat out broken toy.

 

While Mattel's cheapness is a big part of the problem here, the adult toy collectors are also partially to blame. Mattel knows very few of these figures are ever going to be played with. Most collectors buy these just to stand them on a shelf. In fact, you MOC collectors out there don't even open them from their package! If these toys were put through their aces like the toys of our youth, we might be shocked at just how poorly they would hold up. I have Star Wars figures and GI Joes from my youth that survived being thrown down the stairs and nights outside in the rain and they're just fine to this day. Meanwhile nowadays, I have a Silver Banshee and a Starfire who's ankles have become flimsy just from holding up their own weight and now take frequent leaps from their shelf! The standards for durability have plunged! The plastic is horribly cheaper and the mania for excessive articulation have lead to delicate statues that rot just a little further every time you move an arm or turn a head on them.

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Arrow wrote:

 

Tell me something here: has there been a toy company/toy line in the last 50 years that has NOT had quality control issues?

 

Major Matt Mason, Colorform Aliens, Capt. Action, GI Joe, Marx Best of the West, Big Jim, Six Million Dollar Man, Evel Knievel, Fighting Furies, Shogun Warriors, Micronauts, Megos, Heroes in Action, Ding-A-Ling Robots, Zeroids, Sea Devils, Marx Vikings and Knights...yeah, I can name a few. :P

 

No, they weren't perfect, but man did they stand up to hard play, and they lasted! Sure, when Action Jackson first came out, his rubber bands broke constantly. We were banned from buying them anymore because my parents got sick of replacing them. But with the lines I listed above, I rarely ever came across one that wasn't up to par. The Marx Best of the West and Vikings & Knights were damn near indestructible. GI Joe rarely ever had QC issues. I had almost every toy ever made in the 60's and 70's as far as action figures go, and I can count on one hand the individual ones that had problems.

 

My father drove a car over my Marx Erik the Viking and he emerged unscathed. I buried GI Joes in everything from dirt and mud to snow and chlorinated pool water, and he survived just fine. Both GI Joe and Big Jim took regular dives out the attic window, and they emerged unbroken. I recently dropped a McFarlane figure off a bookshelf and it fell all of 2' onto a carpeted wood floor and it broke. Big difference there.

 

I've never seen such rampant poor QC in earlier lines. I went through and/or passed up at least 6-7 Black Canary figures till I found one that wasn't broken in the package (knees destroyed). I've got about 35 DCUC figures and about a dozen of them needed or still need work, mainly loose joints. So yeah, QC is a huge issue with Mattel now.

 

Rash wrote:

 

Honestly, the best method is to WAIT until the 2nd/3rd shipment of each wave arrives.

 

There is no way to tell that. Stores here may get their first wave months late, if at all. Same online. You can't just say "Hey, send me a 3rd shipment figure".

 

CapnJeffro wrote:

 

I'm a fan of using the very rubber band they come with. Snipping the clear rubber band and then working it around the loose joint until enough extra mass had been added to cause friction and keep the joints from going all willy-nilly everywhere. And once the joints are tight pull the band tight and snip it. Usually the end of the rubber band will get lost in the depths of the joint. This has worked for me for ankle, knee, elbow, ab-crunch, and hip joints.

 

Hmmm. Sounds very workable. But how do you get ir around the difficult spots like hip joints? Especially the ones that splay out at the hip?

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No, they weren't perfect, but man did they stand up to hard play, and they lasted!

 

QC has definitely deteriorated from the days some thirty years ago when I was a kid buying GI Joes and Star Wars figures and Toy Biz' Marvel Legends and anything from Mattel have been notable in the sheer crap shoot that they are in terms of QC. Anytime you buy one of these figures, it's a fifty-fifty dice roll you might be buying a flat out broken toy.

 

I disagree.

 

The reason so, is because plastic quality hasn't changed, but designs have.

Toys are not 5 points of articulation any more--something that contributes to them lasting somewhat longer in older toys. The complexity of modern toys, and the design aesthetic is worlds part from toys of the past. A 1980's era GIJOE look like it has Downs-syndrome compared to a modern 25th/ROC era figure, and it lacks several of the articulation points as well.

 

Toys of the past....they had their flaws. Major Matt Mason's or Gumby's wire inside might last a day, maybe two of hard play before it breaks. There were a whole shipment of those toys that went out sans wire.

I know because I was one of the unlucky kids to get 2 in a row from the same shipment that were missing the wire.

My mum told me the people at the store said that all the ones they had were like that, because people were returning them in droves. No internet back then to #@$#@ about it either, the only way to know the extent of a QC problem was from the point of sale. That was one Woodwards department store in the Vancouver BC region-- I have no idea if the problem was wider than that.

 

Big Jim--great toy, I still collect it, but the hips were/are weak. Broke several of those with just normal play, as a kid. The vinyl sleeve on the arms sometimes came improperly applied, I had a couple Big Jim figures a few years ago come straight out of sealed boxes that had the equivalent appearance of compound fractures-you could see the exposed PVC armature through gaps in the vinyl--something I remember seeing at least once as a kid.

12" GIJOEs would come with, sloppy paint, accessories unglued together, clothing unstitched, Kung-Fu Grip fingers improperly molded, rubber gear melting/rotting. It wasn't frequent, but it happened--no moreso than it does today--and I was buying considerably LESS toys then than I have as an adult, and I can report fewer problems now than then (mostly because I do not play with the stuff).

Most of the stuff back then would seldom Christmas day or birthdays intact.

 

If you want to pick on fragile stuff, try imports, like Japanese toys. Tons of sheered pins, plastic crumbling, unglued parts- just utterly bizarre QC issues. I have had Japanese toys ( Micro-man, Medicom etc.) taken intact from packages, and placed on display, and less that an hour later found them with parts fallen off. Not unglued, but literally fractured and and sheered off--and UNUSED save for a simple posing and immediate display. The stuff from over there is beautiful to look at, ornate in detail....but breathe on it wrong and you are hooped--and its always been that way.

 

My experience has clearly been different, I've found no difference in the level of QC in modern toys from the past. Most of the problems seems to come from the nature of assembly line production, and not necessarily the quality of the materials themselves.

I can say that I infinitely prefer modern toys to those of the past, in construction, materials, design, detail and articulation. Most toys do not age or date well, so if the next best newest thing comes along, I'm usually on board.

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I still believe the idea of "quality control" is a complete fantasy. It doesn't exist.

 

I get the impression that some people think there are employees who's job it is to sit in a room labled "quality control" and personally inspect every figure that comes down the pipe. Would Mattel (or any other toy company, for that matter) PAY people to do that? I don't see it happening.

 

They know people buy them and they crank 'em out fast! Quality control = fan-made MYTH!

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I still believe the idea of "quality control" is a complete fantasy. It doesn't exist.

 

I get the impression that some people think there are employees who's job it is to sit in a room labled "quality control" and personally inspect every figure that comes down the pipe? Would Mattel (or any other toy company, for that matter) PAY people to do that? I don't see it happening.

 

They know people buy them and they crank 'em out fast! Quality control = MYTH!

 

QC tends to happen on the assembly line, but it does happen. The struggle is having actual manpower do it, or investing in automation. With toys, its the cost difference that influences it. The head offices on this side of the pond really do tend to invest time and effort into making sure the products are MADE properly--hence the oft-seen running change "paint variations" in toys over the past 20 years.

Things like plastic quality, and toy engineering, those remain a constant concern with often a great deal of home-office oversight-and simply because they factor into safety issues.

Mattel had standards for their products, with regards to paint and such, but the recent scandal involving their CARS product was due to to incompetence and neglect in the Chinese factories. Someone over there, who was lacking some ethics stupidly believed that showing a bit more profit in the ledger books would get them in good with the head office, and the went cheap on their materials supplied.

Believe it or not, with the Child's Product Safety Act, QC is a bigger concern NOW than its ever been before, because there are now even more stringent standards applied. Simply put.....its the law!

Because "adult collectibles" like action figures still have a somewhat nebulous classification for import, the manufacturers have to abide by a higher standard just in case the law interprets their products as toys at some future date.

 

To that end, yes they DO hire people whose specific job is to ensure the products coming off the line are made properly. They do not test EVERY item, nor is it possible to, but like with food production, they do test batches.

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I still believe the idea of "quality control" is a complete fantasy. It doesn't exist.

 

I get the impression that some people think there are employees who's job it is to sit in a room labled "quality control" and personally inspect every figure that comes down the pipe. Would Mattel (or any other toy company, for that matter) PAY people to do that? I don't see it happening.

 

They know people buy them and they crank 'em out fast! Quality control = fan-made MYTH!

 

Mattel: Quality Control??? what quality control???

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Hmmm. Sounds very workable. But how do you get ir around the difficult spots like hip joints? Especially the ones that splay out at the hip?

 

Unfortunately, the hinge piece keeps the rubber band from being completely hidden, but I've had to use the clear bands on a few hips and it's barely noticeable as it loops over the tiny hinge piece. And, usually, I try to display the particular hip away from the front of the display.

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Tell me something here: has there been a toy company/toy line in the last 50 years that has NOT had quality control issues?

 

I don't recall ever really having an issue with TOY-BIZ MARVEL figures in the mid-to-late 90's.

 

However, when they released MARVEL LEGENDS, that was a different story altogether.

 

 

how many issues can you have with only 7 POA?

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I still believe the idea of "quality control" is a complete fantasy. It doesn't exist.

 

I get the impression that some people think there are employees who's job it is to sit in a room labled "quality control" and personally inspect every figure that comes down the pipe. Would Mattel (or any other toy company, for that matter) PAY people to do that? I don't see it happening.

 

They know people buy them and they crank 'em out fast! Quality control = fan-made MYTH!

 

i agree.

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Tell me something here: has there been a toy company/toy line in the last 50 years that has NOT had quality control issues?

 

I don't recall ever really having an issue with TOY-BIZ MARVEL figures in the mid-to-late 90's.

 

However, when they released MARVEL LEGENDS, that was a different story altogether.

 

This is a lie! It sometimes took forever to find a figure with a good paint job. I finally gave up on a Tarantula and finally just quit because the Marvel figures were evolving into 5 1/2-6 inch scale.

 

I never gave Legends a chance because the over articulation and horrid paint jobs turned me off.

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