Defective Masterpiece Grimlock...

Posted by Gcrush 
I bought a TRU Masterpiece Grimlock. It has two right shoulders instead of one right and one left. I called TRU to see about returning it. I wanted to make sure they'd have a replacement for me...

"Has it been opened?"

"Yes. That's how I noticed the problem."

"We can't accept returns on opened collectors' items."

"Can you exchange it?"

"No. You should contact Hasbro's customer service for a replacement part."

"Do you have any more of these in-stock?"

"Let me check. [On hold.] No, we don't have any more in-stock. You can try checking back on Saturday."

Since I didn't feel like driving back to TRU at the time, I contacted Hasbro's customer service via email. No reply yet. Anyone have experience with getting replacement parts through them? Will this be a fruitless endeavor?





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/11/2010 03:53PM by Gcrush.
Attachments:
open | download - GRIMLOCK1.jpg (257.6 KB)
I tried to get a replacement from Hasbro for Animated Arcee with her stupid hands that break when you put her swords in them and they told me that because it was a TRU exclusive they could not get me a replacement and I'd have to return it to the store. Or I could accept another item of equal value from Hasbro...

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
Shouldn't have called them, as they will give you any PR bull crap answers they can think of.

All you need is to locate a store that has some in stock, and go straight to that store for an exchange or a return. I bought 2 Grimlocks, with one being defective on a hip joint. All I did was repackaged it back in the box nicely, and bring it in to the store with the receipt. I just told them one of the leg is defective, and they took it back without another question.
mpchi Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Shouldn't have called them, as they will give you
> any PR bull crap answers they can think of.

Yeah, I kind of expected them to give me BS over the phone. I mostly wanted to see if they had any more in-stock since I had grabbed what was apparently the last one. It was just chance that I was near TRU, too, since none of their locations are really near the house. What a hassle.


Ginrai Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I tried to get a replacement from Hasbro for
> Animated Arcee with her stupid hands that break
> when you put her swords in them and they told me
> that because it was a TRU exclusive they could not
> get me a replacement and I'd have to return it to
> the store. Or I could accept another item of equal
> value from Hasbro...

Bummer. There's something cruelly humorous about them not having replacement parts for store exclusives. I wonder if it's a blanket issue - as in, they really aren't going to replace much of anything, exclusive or otherwise.

I'm dreading having to put Grimlock back in the box, too. The packaging was so unfriendly that it actually insulted my mother when I was opening it. Ugh.
I had the same problem with the Walmart Skywarp... two right hip joints. But Walmart's return policy is far friendlier than TRU's. BTW, for anyone wanting one of these that is in perfect working condition, I still have one up for sale... ;)

More serious than thou
B00
That sucks man, maybe you can find a re-pro part. It would be made of resin proby.

__________________
MoonBaseTom Season tickets available. Call now.
Haw. Here is what Hasbro had to say:

---
"Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding the Transformers Masterpiece Grimlock. We apologize for your recent experience and appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention.

The product you refer to is a store exclusive. Because it's an exclusive product we are unable to provide you with the product or obtain any replacement parts.

Since your satisfaction is extremely important to us, we will be pleased to arrange an exchange for you for a different product of similar value.

To help facilitate the process, a postage paid mailing label has been sent via email from [REDACTED] for you to use in returning the product to us. Simply package up your return and place the mailing label securely on the package. Drop it off at the Post Office window and it’ll be on its way back to us."

---

Pretty much as predicted. Classy. We want you to be happy, so we're willing to give you something you didn't want which is equal in value to what you wanted despite your happiness being defined as getting what you want as opposed to getting the value of what you want. If getting the value of what I wanted was equal to getting what I wanted then I would have been equally happy saving the $70 I spent on this toy. We have the technology and manpower to mass-produce tens of thousands of this particular item, but we don't have the ability to replace the one you bought.

Ah, well. I called the three TRU stores within a half hour of here and none of them had any in-stock. Nor could any of them really tell me if or when they'd be getting more. "You could try coming in on Saturday to see if we have any, but collectors somehow seem to know when we put them out and manage to buy them all up as soon as they hit the floor."

I'm going to give it a few more days of calling to check stock. If that doesn't pan out this turkey is going back in its impossibly complex package and going in for a refund.

It strikes me as ironic that the exclusivity and price of an item have negative linear relationships with customer service. I wouldn't have this problem with a $5 toy from Hasbro or TRU - I could easily track down a replacement almost anywhere or get one straight from them.
I had a similar issue with TRU once, though, where ordering some Star Wars figure from their website. They sent me a different figure of the same character. IT clearly wasn't what I ordered, and even though their website had the item in stock and available, they weren't about to honor what I purchased. I had to go through all sorts of trouble just to return a $7 toy. Customer service and TRU do NOT go together.

More serious than thou
Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm going to give it a few more days of calling to
> check stock. If that doesn't pan out this turkey
> is going back in its impossibly complex package
> and going in for a refund.

I decided not to even wait a few more days. If the figure was $50 it's goofy 1980s robot dinosaur charm might have won me over. But since it is around $75 I felt a lot less forgiving. The loosey-goosey hips joints were what finally pushed me over the edge. I'm not sure why they didn't make them clicky like some of the voyager-size figures, but I digress...

I found a "Toys R Us Express" store that's a lot closer than the full-sized joints. I returned Grimlock at lunch and here's how it went down.

"I need to return this item. It has a defective leg."

"Huh. We don't even stock this..."

[Glares.]

"...But you have your receipt, so no problem. Wow. $70, huh? You sure are dedicated."

"Not that dedicated. I'm returning it."

"Huh."

I'm pretty sure the guy put it out on the shelf. Hilarious. Well, so goes the story of the $50 toy with poor QC and an inflated price tag.

The end.
That's a real shame. Too bad about the joints and the QC issue. Maybe I just got lucky, but there were no problems whatsoever with the one I nabbed.

More serious than thou
The hip joint is very easy to tighten. unscrewed the hip, add a small piece of plastic film/food wrap on the hinge stem to add more friction, then put everything back together. Now my Grimlock hips are solid tight.

Too bad you can't find another in stock replacement. And I checked TRU.com, Grimlock is sold out. Bummer.
Footnote: I picked up a War for Cybertron Soundwave dood for abour $10. Aside from not having any babies it's a pretty good toy. This cheapie fix reaffirmed my feeling that MP Grimlock was overpriced by about 30%. If I saw Grimlock on sale I might pick one up again. But since it's a TRU exclusive that's probably never going to happen...
For what it's worth, my Grimlock is perfect.

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
Another footnote: Driving past TRU this weekend and I decided to stop in since I rarely head that way. They had more MP Grimlocks and after inspecting one I broke down and grabbed it. It's still over-priced, but the goofiness is too much to resist - like a modern-day Diaclone. And this one, on initial inspection, appears to be perfect.

I also picked up some kind of video-game Megatron for $10. For the price, it's phenomenal. There are so few well-done Megatron figures and this one does a good all-around job. When you put the clear purple missile in the cannon it pushes down these purple colored panels that make it look like the gun is charging. Nice touch. Recommended for toy-crack.
Gcrush Wrote:
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> When you put the
> clear purple missile in the cannon it pushes down
> these purple colored panels that make it look like
> the gun is charging. Nice touch. Recommended for
> toy-crack.

Animated Swindle has the same effect for his missile. Hasbro's just been throwing in a lot more detail and gimmicks the last couple years. There's generally been a great increase in the quality of the toys, sans a few QC issues as described in this thread... :(

More serious than thou
Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Another footnote: Driving past TRU this weekend
> and I decided to stop in since I rarely head that
> way. They had more MP Grimlocks and after
> inspecting one I broke down and grabbed it. It's
> still over-priced, but the goofiness is too much
> to resist - like a modern-day Diaclone. And this
> one, on initial inspection, appears to be
> perfect.

Right on, dude. Glad you finally found one.
mpchi Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Right on, dude. Glad you finally found one.


Yo, thanks.

Aside from price, I like the figure a lot. The clear and chrome parts... The doofy standing robo-rex body... The flamethrower in the mouth... It's a winning combo. I wish they'd give the rest of the Diaclone-a-saurs the MP treatment.
Yet another footnote: One of the few Transformers I had as a kid was Skywarp. Picked up a MP version no Ebay for cheapo. Compared to Grimlock, it's a bit of a let-down in terms of fit and finish. The lower legs are all wobbly and, well, the hip/tail design is dumb. Haven't transformed it yet as it already seems over engineered. BUT. The price. $30. Awesome.

This further cements my feeling that even though Grimlock is a better, more funky toy it is still overpriced by 30%. Thanks, Toys R Us.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Well...is that really a fair statement? I mean, we've talked about what's a "fair" price quite a bit on this board (regarding everything from modern gokin to designer vinyls).

From what I understand, Grimlock has substantially more diecast, chromed parts, and translucent plastic (all more expensive). Plus, it's got more overall mass (more plastic, in general). AND it was made more recently (recent spikes in raw materials for manufacture).

Add to all that the global economic fuckfest (toy companies not banking on such toys selling like they used to)...and maybe the price makes sense...

Anyway, Jon picked me up a Skywarp to give to my buddy--I refuse to touch the thing. I wonder if he actually ended up liking it or not after transforming it! :P
Anonymous User
I got a skywarp a little while ago (thanks fujikuro), Its a pretty darn good toy for $30. The construction doesn't feel the greatest and its fiddly. (this has pretty much been my opinion of all the modern transformers I've laid my hands on, which admittedly isn't very many) I can never get everything to line up perfectly in fighter mode. If i had paid full price or imported this piece I would be a little disappointed.
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Well...is that really a fair statement?


I still think so, with the caveat that all the stuff you pointed out is true. Here's why...

Skywarp comes with a stand, has way more tooling involved in the design, and originally sold for around $50. Which is the same price Grimlock originally sold for when Entertainment Earth was vending them at a convention for TRU. Then when TRU started selling them on-line, they were $60 with free shipping. By the time they got to TRU stores, the price had been upped again to $70 (also reflected on-line). In short, TRU jammed up the price because they knew they could charge a premium for an exclusive.

Which, if you compare their goods across the board with other big boxes, are often marked up artificially high. A Star Wars guy that costs $5.99 at Target or Wal-Mart runs you $9.99 at TRU. Why? Because TRU got them on the shelves a month earlier than the other shops. These days TRU is essentially scalping customers with their exclusives. That's nuts. The only time it's worth it to shop at TRU is when they're having a fire sale. Which, to be fair, they do occasionally.

Back to Grimlock... At $50 I'd give it five out of five stars for value. Take off an additional star for every $10 after that.

On a related note - I don't know how anyone justifies the cost of importing Masterpiece figures. It's fucking crazy. The base cost of MP Grimlock in Japan was already 7% higher than the total price for an imported 2010 Unicron including shipping. People gotta have some serious love for TFs to roll like that. Which may be why they'll shell out crazy big bucks for half-assed customs on Evilbay...
Sanjeev (Admin)
Ah, okay...I didn't realize they were being sold at one point for $50 in the US...so the $20+ jack-up at retail DOES sound like bullshit.

As for the Japanese market regularly dropping WAY more money for these same toys at retail, I honestly just don't get it. They have access to all the same toys we do, right? So their TF market ought to mirror ours. A large fanbase...with access to very inexpensive, but decent quality toys (TF: Animated, for example, which I hear is doing well in Japan). So why's their "high-end" market so willing to dump so much?

Ya gotta wonder if Japanese collectors (of high-end TFs) actually import US versions they way we get stuff like the 2010 Unicron or MP Rodimus (which apparently WILL be different from the US version)...
>On a related note - I don't know how anyone justifies the cost of importing
>Masterpiece figures. It's fucking crazy. The base cost of MP Grimlock in Japan was
>already 7% higher than the total price for an imported 2010 Unicron including
>shipping. People gotta have some serious love for TFs to roll like that. Which may
>be why they'll shell out crazy big bucks for half-assed customs on Evilbay...

I'll be the first to cop to the insanity of importing. The differences between the overseas/domestic versions do manage to fire up all of my obsessive impulses, though. Like, I know it's not that big a deal for the Takara anime-colored Starscream to have pointy wingtips compared to the Hasbro, or for the Takara Grimlock to have super-sharp claws and teeth compared to the rounded-out Hasbro version, but it's these differences that do eat at me. It's sort of like back in the day at places that used to exist like record stores that sell things that used to exist like rap/rock albums with the explicit lyrics taken out. That's what sharp claws/teeth are to me, man--explicit lyrics--the way the toy was meant to be. It's kind of like caring about the difference between a Singaporean Gakken Ride Armor and a Japanese Gakken Ride Armor with the spring-loaded missiles in the forearms--sure it's not healthy, but I can't help it either.

>As for the Japanese market regularly dropping WAY more money for these same toys
>at retail, I honestly just don't get it. They have access to all the same toys
>we do, right? So their TF market ought to mirror ours. A large fanbase...with
>access to very inexpensive, but decent quality toys (TF: Animated, for example,
>which I hear is doing well in Japan). So why's their "high-end" market so
>willing to dump so much?

At the risk of indulging in gross generalizations, it's because companies in Japan know what they can get away with, as do companies here. There's a rich recent history of very high-priced collectible toys being aimed directly at willing otakus. We have adult nerds here, too, but the phrase "high-priced" carries a different weight here. US TF fans complain about Transformers that cost $50. Can you imagine super-hero action-figure fans blowing the kind of money people do for Yamato Valkyrie and Medicom 1/6 collections (there's crossover, yes, but I'm speaking very generally)? The only brand here that indulges (and rarely, at that) in premium-priced items aimed at adult collectors is Star Wars, and even then, things like that huge Millennium Falcon topped out at $150, which is par for the course for SOC collectors and the like.

I mean, the very manner in which the Masterpiece TFs are marketed seems heavily influenced by the SOC line--e.g., opting for dramatic photo portraits of the toys on the boxes instead of box art, which has been standard for TFs for, what, nearly 30 years? So because there are all these other nostalgic diecast robot lines that command such high prices (and a history of otakus willing to pay for this prestige, illusory or not), by associating its toys with those of the competitors, Takaratomy can justify its own inflated prices.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/31/2010 04:48PM by gingaio.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Haha..."Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics". Haven't seen one of those in a WHILE! Good analogy. I totally hear that. Thing is, I don't think the explicit albums actually cost *more* than the edited ones. That's the only hiccup.

Don't get me wrong--I indulge in Jp versions at times, too. Obviously, I preordered the 2010 Unicron from a Hong Kong site as soon as the toy showed up online. Of course I coulda waited for BBTS or any number of other US-based online retailers...but because of my irrational love for the character, I wasn't about to risk potentially missing out!

Another example: I have the Henkei Convoy (the Japanese version of Classics Optimus Prime) and the D.I.A. Commander Fansproject armor. I coulda gotten the much cheaper Classics Prime and the Powered Commander armor, but I went with the Henkei for the chrome and nicer paint.

But for something like MP Grimlock--where I'm not very gung-ho for either the character or the toy--the US version is just fine. Obviously, there's a monetary aspect to this. Is the extra money for the Japanese version worth the extra bells and whistles (and, often, the chance to get the toy earlier than the US version)? Sometimes. And this varies for everyone.

Anyway, I totally agree with your comparison of the Japanese and US high-end robot toy markets. Robots are a ubiquitous thing in the States, but the prevailing attitude is that they're "just toys". There are a lot of adult collectibles made directly for the US market, but they tend to be artsy-er crap like busts/statues/figurines/whatever...
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I totally hear that. Thing is, I don't
> think the explicit albums actually cost *more*
> than the edited ones. That's the only hiccup.
>
True that. And that's the source of the pain.

> Don't get me wrong--I indulge in Jp versions at
> times, too. Obviously, I preordered the 2010
> Unicron from a Hong Kong site as soon as the toy
> showed up online. Of course I coulda waited for
> BBTS or any number of other US-based online
> retailers...but because of my irrational love for
> the character, I wasn't about to risk potentially
> missing out!
>
For the Takaratomy Masterpieces, I bought most of them from local stores/shows to keep costs down. Pay in cash, haggle a bit, no shipping costs. It adds up.

The thing that was interesting was when they repainted and repackaged that Leader-Class Starscream as a "Masterpiece," and, voila, doubled the retail price of a toy that had already been readily available. No clearer statement of, "We can screw you in the ass and get you to like it, too." I mean, at least with Unicron, they actually remolded the head and the paint changes were very significant.

Still, if I had any interest in movie TF toys, I would have gone for it...
Sanjeev (Admin)
Actually, if I didn't end up punting on that toy (the robot mode just proved too vomit-inducing), I probably would've sprung for the Japanese version: remember, they dumped the fucking moronic looking "tribal tattoos" in favor of a real-world color scheme for the actual F-35 aircraft. I'd call that a pretty significant improvement...close to being on par with the 2010 Unicron.
gingaio Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'll be the first to cop to the insanity of
> importing... but I can't help it either.
>
> At the risk of indulging in gross generalizations,
> it's because companies in Japan know what they can
> get away with, as do companies here.


Okay. It's not my thing, but I get it. I haven't felt the "collect 'em all" urge in a long time (if ever), but I know how it goes. And variation hunting, too. Those two points along seem to drive so much of the [secondary] market. It explains a lot.

And, yeah, I think you nailed it with the Japanese pricing. It's a prestige thing that just seems to work differently, on in a different medium, than in the US. I've mentioned this before, but the closer a toy gets to the $50 mark the harder it is to feel satisfied with it. Now, I don't collect statues and busts, but can you even buy them for less than $50? It doesn't seem like it. Yet a lot of American companies make their bread and butter off of that stuff. So...

I feel bad for JP Transformers fans. But perhaps they don't feel like they're getting fucked.
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Actually, if I didn't end up punting on that toy
> (the robot mode just proved too vomit-inducing), I
> probably would've sprung for the Japanese version:
> remember, they dumped the fucking moronic looking
> "tribal tattoos" in favor of a real-world color
> scheme for the actual F-35 aircraft. I'd call that
> a pretty significant improvement...close to being
> on par with the 2010 Unicron.


I randomly noticed that JP MP TFTM Starscream was on sale on Amazon JP for, like, $50 the other night.

Oh, and the photo reviews make it look much, much nicer than the American release. But they still left lavender paint in some areas. Lame.
Anavel Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I got a skywarp a little while ago (thanks
> fujikuro), Its a pretty darn good toy for $30. The
> construction doesn't feel the greatest and its
> fiddly. (this has pretty much been my opinion of
> all the modern transformers I've laid my hands on,
> which admittedly isn't very many) I can never get
> everything to line up perfectly in fighter mode.
> If i had paid full price or imported this piece I
> would be a little disappointed.


I forgot to AMEN this. My hands might be transformationally challenged, but the conversion process on this toy is awful. Nothing really lines up well because of how over-engineered it is and this sours both robot and plane modes. Of the other MP toys I've had, Optimus and Grimlock work well because they're basically the same as the original toy designs with improved fit and finish. Skywarp is not the same. They took the basic ideas of the original and then added too much. It would be a lot more stable and satisfying if they'd toned down the tooling by about 25% while focusing on smoothing out the original mechanism instead of layering it up. Like, why don't the wheels on the read landing gear clear the panels that house them? Nuts.

BUT. For $30? Yeah. It's got the perfect balance of price to nostalgia. Market dynamics aside, $100 for this in Japan is waaay too much.
I would say tranforming MP Starscream and friends is about as fun as transforming a 1/48 Valkyrie, which is to say not fucking at all fun.

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
Sanjeev (Admin)
Really? The 1/48 Yamato Valk is basically the ONLY Yamato Valk I ever bought (since sold it), but I actually didn't think it was too bad. In mid transformation, it was a little scary with the battroid front and back kinda floating loosely with that linkage in the middle, but I thought it was pretty straight-forward, fairly concise, and when finished (in either mode), it was solid.

Granted, I never transformed the MP Starscream (G1, not RotF) with my hands, but I watched someone well-versed in Valk toys of all sorts transform it in front of me. It looked painful to him...so I'm sure it woulda been lethal for me!
Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Like, why don't the wheels on the read landing gear clear the panels
> that house them? Nuts.
>
I don't know if this is due to Shoji Kawamori getting his plane otaku on when designing the seeker mold, but something weird happened from conception to production:



If they had gone with the above design, it would have been the bee's knees, at least aesthetically. The hip kibble kills the look on the production version, and is a main source of the wonkiness of the transformation process. The other things don't bother me so much--the torso transformation, the way the arms and canopy folded out--they all seem fairly intuitive and familiar to the way the G1 toy transformed.

But yeah, all the little bits and pieces that need to be slotted and fitted, all that can get pretty annoying.

The transformation of the 1/48 I didn't have that big of a problem with (swinging out the arms was the major problem for me), but primarily it's the feeling of fragility--the BP-8 for the valkyrie and the main wing hinges for the Masterpiece seekers, which are going to get stressed the more you transform the toy. Certain pieces need to be reinforced or replaced with metal, and weren't. If they were just a bit sturdier and a bit more simplified, as Gcrush said, these toys could actually be really cool and transforming them wouldn't be half as hellish.

I guess the take-home lesson is to keep Kawamori away from modern toy design.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/01/2010 05:57PM by gingaio.
Attachments:
open | download - Masterpiece Seeker (Ver 1).jpg (122.1 KB)
I wouldn't have bought an MP Starscream if it looked like that when it was done.

But the 1/48 is really bizarre to me while transforming. I have fucking wing flaps falling off on me, I can never get those flip out internal chest pieces to stay out (the things replaced by those plug in gray bits in the above pictures), and I am in constant fear of breakiing those chicken hands, and I hate the "spin the head around" step. Can never get that right without a lot of trying. I still like the toy, but transforming it is not fun to me.

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
gingaio Wrote:
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> If they had gone with the above design, it would
> have been the bee's knees, at least aesthetically.

That looks like an almost entirely different toy. Like, everything. It's all different. I can't be sure about the upper shoulders and chest block, but lower arms, hands, legs, feet, etc, are all clearly different. And look much, much better. I can easily see how that design clears up all the goofy-assed nonsense in the transformation. Wow.

They had to substantially re-design that thing to end up with the production model. And add a ton of tooling. What the fuck happened? Why would they waste all of that work?

Eh, I wouldn't be surprised if it eventually saw production a few years later...
Sanjeev (Admin)
Well, I said this before, and at the risk of sounding like a jilted otaku, I would have been all over an MP Seeker if it had just been the Classics basic layout, just blown up to 1/60 and tightened up (in terms of sculpt). Seriously...MP Convoy isn't much more complex than that!
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Well, I said this before, and at the risk of
> sounding like a jilted otaku, I would have been
> all over an MP Seeker if it had just been the
> Classics basic layout, just blown up to 1/60 and
> tightened up (in terms of sculpt). Seriously...MP
> Convoy isn't much more complex than that!

Yeah, that's what works about MP Optimoose and Grimlock. They hit the right balance between complexity and character design to produce a satisfying toy. If it ain't broke, don't let Kawamori (or Katoki for that matter) get near it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/02/2010 12:37PM by Gcrush.
Gcrush Wrote:
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> If it ain't broke, don't let Katoki get near it.

It was Kawamori. How dare you impugn Katoki's name!
Scopedog Wrote:
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> It was Kawamori. How dare you impugn Katoki's
> name!


Edited for clarity.
FYI
As on 11/02/10 the TRU in Birmingham had two Masterpiece Grimlocks.
MP Grimlock made me think about other diaclone-ish Transformers. I'd love to see MP Insecticons. That would be so hawt.
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