Customer Service is key, aka Why I won’t be buying from Store Horsemen again

HeadPack1Today’s post is actually my third revision of what I planned to post today. Initially, I had planned for today, and the next few days to be reviews of Adam Power, the Power Soldier, the Elite Power Soldier, and the Variant Head Pack from the Power Lords re-launch. Some events transpired that have led me to decide that reviewing said figures is not in the best interests of me, the figures, or the makers of the figures.  In preparation for the usual review, I took some pictures which now serve no real purpose, so enjoy them here.  If you’d like to read a review of these figures, may I suggest these reviews from the fine folks over at ItsAllTrue.net. They are a reputable site, and one of my personal favorites. While I still don’t feel it’s a good idea for me to write reviews of these figures, I don’t feel my initial post about why I won’t be reviewing them is still appropriate. It was written before the situation was fully solved, and it was rather angry. So, here are my revised remarks about the ordeal.

AdamPower2As an avid action figure fan, I try to support the little guys. I’ve backed several action figure related kickstarters in the last year, and one of my favorite lines is Spy Monkey’s Weaponeers of Monkaa. I like the idea of new people getting into the toy industry and doing new and unique things. The Four Horsemen were some of the pioneers of small online productions, so I figured I should give them a try. If you’ve read my previous Power Lords reviews, you’ll note that I was quite a fan of the figures. That fact more or less remains true. The figures are still high-quality. My issue lies with the distribution.

The figures are all sold through an online store. This isn’t new or ground breaking in this day and age. Most of my toy purchases are online. It makes life a lot easier. You place an order, get a receipt, you get notified the stuff ships, and you can usually track it all along the way. If anything goes wrong, there’s usually a nice handy customer service section of the website to get things all sorted out. Not on StoreHorsemen.

ElitePowerSoldier2See, on StoreHorsemen, you place the order and you get an e-mail receipt. On the two orders I placed, this was then followed by an extended waiting period, where I received no notifications of any kind. Eventually, just as I was about to contact them, both times, a box would randomly arrive at my doorstep. The first time around, there was no issue. The box was there, and everything was inside. It was a little nerve-wracking, but everything worked out.  I liked the figures I got, so I placed another order. Once again, no contact was made to tell me when the items shipped, but I had gone through that before, so no worries right? The box arrived, I opened it up and… something was missing.

AdamPower3Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve had this happen with an online order. It’s not uncommon for someone to leave something out of the box. So, I did what I always do in this situation: I e-mailed them. They have an “email us” link at the top of the page, so I used that and sent a polite e-mail explaining the situation. Then I waited. After a week, I began to get worried again. A little searching around the web reveals that there are two e-mail addresses and the one I wrote to is for fan comments, not Customer Service. Okay, it’s a bit odd that they would put the fan comment e-mail on the top of the store page instead of the CS one, but at least I know now, right? So, I send an e-mail to the second address, once again politely asking for an update. Another week goes by. So, I post to one of the forums I frequent, asking if anyone knows of a better way to contact them. I get one response from someone who hasn’t received an entire order from them and hasn’t been able to get a hold of them for six weeks.

I send yet another e-mail, this time to both addresses, with a more forceful tone. Finally, after three weeks and a few days of waiting, I got a response. What it boils down to is that the item apparently went out of stock before my order was placed, so they had to cancel that one item. They said they had never actually charged me for it, and, in their defense, a quick glance at my bank account confirmed this for me.

So, aside from me missing out on a figure I wanted, everything is good, I suppose. But I still have a lingering issue. I was left hanging for three weeks thinking I was missing something I was owed. Yes, if I’d looked at my bank account I’d have seen the charge was less than I thought. That’s on me. Still, all it would have taken would be a single e-mail from them explaining the issue to me. That’s what 99% of online stores would do in this situation. It would have taken them a few short minutes and it would have saved me three weeks of worrying. These guys have built a reputation for being “fan-friendly.” They pioneered online action figure sales and smaller toy companies with niche lines. They have a sizeable fan base who think they can do no wrong. And yet, they can’t reply to a single e-mail within a month’s time? If you plan on running a business, you have to actually run it.

I don’t plan on buying anything else from them. This whole ordeal has tarnished the toys for me, and that’s just about one of the worst things that a company can do. Anyway, I doubt if this will have much effect. People will still buy from them. They’ll continue to do the same things. And my negative opinion will shortly be drowned out by hundreds of glowing reviews of their products. Life goes on…

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#0268: Ophidian Squad Soldier

OPHIDIAN SQUAD SOLDIER

POWER LORDS (FOUR HORSEMEN)

PowerSoldier2

Once again, I’ll be taking a look at the Four Horsemen’s recent revival of the 1980s toyline Power Lords. Today’s figure isn’t based on one of the figures from the vintage line, but is a new design created by the Four Horsemen to allow for some parts re-use between the figures: The Power Soldiers! The Power Soldiers are an army builder, built on the same base as lead character Adam Power. This time around, it’s the Ophidian Squad Soldier!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Ophidian Squad Soldier is part of the third set of pre-release of Power Lords, and is the third deco of this particular figure. Like the rest of the Power Lords line, the Soldier was available through the Four Horsemen’s online store. The figure stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and features 23 points of articulation (the extra point comes from the neck joint, to allow it to be swappable). The figure features a quality sculpt, just like Lord Power. In fact, from the waist down, he and Lord Power share all the same pieces. The torso and arms feature a nicely detailed sculpt to match the detailing on the legs. He also features a head sculpt, shared with all the basic Power Soldiers. It’s a really cool sculpt, with a neat featureless visor. The Power Soldiers were designed to be a less expensive item than the regular series figures, so the paint on the Ophidian Squad Soldier is basic. He’s molded in a dark blue plastic, with paint on his visor, logo on his torso, and his belt. It’s all cleanly applied, and the blue looks quite nice. He actually bares more than a passing resemblance to the vintage Cobra Commander design, which isn’t a bad thing. The Ophidian Squad Soldier features a staff and a rifle, which are the same ones included with Lord Power, but this time cast in dark blue.

PowerLords PowerSoldierWilson

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I ordered the Ophidian Squad Soldier at the same time I pre-ordered Lord Power. I had actually been meaning to pick up one of the Power Soldiers since the first “pre-release” came out, but I kept missing the sales. So, when I was ordering Lord Power and saw that this guy was still in stock, I decided to go for it. He’s a fun figure, aside from the same hip limitation that plagued Lord Power. If the Four Horsemen could make a change to the base body, that would improve the figures greatly.

#0267: Lord Power

LORD POWER

POWER LORDS (FOUR HORSEMEN)

LordPower1

In the 1980s, toymakers Revell, most commonly known for their line of models, produced their own toyline, known as Power Lords. The line was only a moderate success, but it built up a sizeable and quite loyal fanbase, and is often viewed as being rather a head of its time. A few years ago, the sculpting team the Four Horsemen, known for their work on Masters of the Universe Classics and DC Universe Classics for Mattel amongst other things, picked up the license to Power Lords, working from the original designs for the characters. The vintage line is probably best remembered for the main character’s two sided torso arms and head, which allowed him to “transform” but swiveling his torso. The new versions have foregone the action feature, instead making each look its own figure. I’ll be looking at Lord Power, the main character (well, half of the main character…). Let’s see how he turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

LordPower2Lord Power is part of the first series of Power Lord, sold on the Four Horsemen’s website, storehorsemen.com. The figure stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and features 22 points of articulation. Design-wise, he’s based on one of the two possible looks of the vintage Adam Power figure. Lord Power represents the powered-up design. The figure’s sculpt is quite nice, and incredibly detailed, especially for something in this scale. All of the red “veins” on his torso and arms have been sculpted in, which is a detail that could have easily been done with paint to save money. The lower half of the figure features a jump suit sort of look that has a nice, semi-insulated feel. Paint-wise, the figure is pretty decent. There are a few spots of slop or bleed over, but nothing too noticeable, and certainly not anything that ruins the figure. The biggest issues seem to be on the legs, where the red and orange don’t always stay in the areas they’re supposed to. Lord Power includes a staff, a rifle, and an extra helmeted head, done in the same orange and red on the figure’s legs. The staff and rifle are basic accessories for the line, and they’re pretty cool. The extra head is less for Lord Power, and more for his other half, Adam,LordPowerWilson to allow collectors to have both versions of the Power Soldier in Adam’s colors. This one is the “Elite” style helmet, which has more of a gasmask styling to it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I pre-ordered Lord Power from Store Horsemen a few days after the first series went up for sale. I never had any of the vintage figures, but I vividly remember the ads featuring a transforming Adam Power that graced the back cover of many a comicbook I owned. I always found the whole two-sided figure thing a little odd, so I’m glad to see a new take on the designs. Plus, the Four Horsemen presented their usual quality work on the line, which was enough to at least pull me in for Lord Power. He’s a pretty cool figure. My only real complaint is the lack of decent hip articulation, but other than that, I’m quite happy to have picked this guy up. After having gotten him, I’m starting to think about picking up a few other figures in the line.