Thursday, September 27, 2012

Time To Play The Mail-Away Game

Mail-away figure offers have always provided some additional fun for collectors.  The concept is relatively simple: collect a number of proofs-of-purchase "points" from packaging, occasionally some receipts, and a couple of bucks for shipping.  6-to-8 weeks later (usually sooner) an exclusive new action figure is all yours.  The famous Star Wars bounty hunter Boba Fett was originally a mail-away, as was the original G.I. Joe figure of Sgt. Slaughter.  It was always the kids with the astute and "with-it" parents that had the mail-away figures due to all the rigamarole of obtaining them.  It was well worth the extra effort.

Mattel has re-introduced this concept in their WWE line.  The company kicked it off in the summer of 2011 with a Toys "R" Us mail away promotion for the first (and so far only) Vince McMahon figure in the Mattel line.  This summer it was announced that the first figure of Triple H officially labeled "Chief Operating Officer" would be released in a similar promotion.

Obtaining the figure required three figures from certain Mattel WWE series to be purchased within a three-month span at Toys "R" Us.  Clip the three proofs-of-purchase, include the original receipts, as well as a check or money order for $5 shipping and handling and mail it all off to Mattel.  Simple enough.  Actually much simpler than finding three figures of any desirability in a Toys "R" Us store.  Visiting the stores at non-peak hours helps greatly, but it is still a daunting task to not walk away with figures other than John Cena, Randy Orton, or Rey Mysterio.

To their credit, Mattel created an online registration system that you must engage before sending for your figure.  This way a figure is reserved for you, in theory, upon arrival of your request, and e-mail updates notify you when your request is received, order is shipped, etc.

While I personally ignored the McMahon promotion due to already owning a plethora of "Vinnie Mac" figures, I couldn't pass up the Triple H offer.  Thanks to Ric Flair and other champions "stylin' and profilin'" in suits over the years, many wrestling fans, myself included, have it ingrained in their minds that "wrestlers + suits = class."  It's just the way that it is!

The figure arrives on your doorstep, within two weeks in my case, in a box large enough that the figure shouldn't be damaged.  It's a nice touch that both Mattel mail-aways have been carded.  The company could easily ship it loose.  The card is a smaller version of their basic figure packaging, but includes a picture and a full backer bio like any other Mattel WWE product.  Nice touches to be sure.

Trips is indeed in his "COO" suit.  The facial likeness is good and has not been used on any other Triple H figures to my knowledge.  The forehead wrinkles could be a bit more pronounced, but I'm not going to complain about that.  The trademark half-smirk is plastered across his face and works for a non-wrestling gear figure.

The head of the figure is also the location of my first complaint.  The now-gone ponytail protrudes from the back of Hunter's head, but has to be tucked inside the suit coat.  If it is pulled out over the coat, the head is constantly looking downward.

For being a figure in a suit, it has all the articulation that you would expect and maybe even a bit more.  He can stand, sit, throw a punch, and probably deliver a Pedigree.  My second issue with the figure is that it is too tall.  It looks like the problem lies within the legs, as for whatever reason they were produced just a bit too long.  My theory is that in order to include all of the articulation, the legs had to be made that long.  With joints in the upper thigh, lower thigh, above the knee, below the knee, and ankles, it's a theory that fits.

The best news is that if you're reading this entry "hot off the presses," you still have a shot at getting the figure.  Although the promotion was originally to end in early September, it has now been extended until early November.  That gives anyone interested a chance to try and find some half-interesting figures at Toys "R" Us before the holiday shopping season begins.  Good luck!

Is it worth it?  If you're buying three figures that you actually want (and want to open) in order to get the proofs-of-purchase, absolutely!  If you're buying three Randy Orton figures just to get the proofs, probably not.  It's up to you...and it might be time to play The Game.

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