You’ve probably noticed there’s no King Grayskull review in our MOTU Archive. There’s a simple reason for that – none of us bought it! We liked what we saw, but back then we weren’t interested in a new line after what had happened to MO2K – so we passed. Suffice to say, we’ve had a change of heart since then.
King Grayskull is an interesting addition to the MOTU canon. Eternia already had the teensiest bit of ancient history courtesy of the last handful of mini-comics and King Grayskull didn’t quite fit into that continuity when he appeared in the MO2K cartoon. The MOTU Classics bios have attempted to rectify the two histories – making King Grayskull & He-Ro contemporaries in the battles against King Hiss and Hordak – and intertwining Grayskull’s story with that of Preternia. You can read his two bios (SDCC exclusive & this release) on our Bio Page. As it stands now, King Grayskull has become the key to connecting He-Ro’s time period with that of She-Ra’s and He-Man’s in the Classics Mythos.
The SDCC version of Grayskull was available in a few different decos all pictured above. The standard figure was in his traditional colors (right), though the final product didn’t look as nice as that press photo. A bronze statue variant was available as a chase version at SDCC. And, finally, the “Spirit of Grayskull” was a very limited exclusive cast in translucent blue – only two pieces were released to the public (one in an SDCC raffle, the other in a charity auction).
If you’re looking for a review of the original Grayskull, Poe Ghostal has you covered. Each of us here at IAT have flirted with buying the original King Grayskull on eBay now and again, but we all wised up before we paid the crazy markup for it. It’s not a bad figure, but it has some issues that keep it from being worth it like the reversed shoulders, weak ankles, and his permanent upward gaze. And while I still want to pick up the Bronze Variant someday, I think this new King Grayskull has completely replaced my need for one of the original copy going forward.
Though it was created for He-Man, King Grayskull was the first figure to use the MOTU Classics buck. That means there’s not much new to see in terms of sculpt. Most of the figure is He-Man and the few pieces that aren’t are essentially the same as the original King Grayskull. There is one small change to make Grayskull more compatible with the rest of the line – the head has been made more easily removable. The harness is removable as well, but I haven’t seen the back of an original Grayskull so I’m not sure if the piece has been modified to accommodate the change – I’ll have to rely on my readers for an answer to that one.
The parts unique to King Grayskull are ones that I hadn’t had a chance to see up-close before. Most of them are rather mundane, but are central to getting his details right – the thicker boots, the aforementioned harness, and the cape. I like the look of the cape, but it got in the way a little too often while I was taking pictures. It’s a softer plastic, but, with the deep grooves (“folds”) sculpted into the middle of the cape, it’s a rather rigid piece. Since this version of KG doesn’t have the cape glued on, I found that it popped off rather easily. It works well as a display piece, but I can’t say it has a lot of play value.
The mold line across the front of his hair aside, KG’s head sculpt has never looked better. One of the things that kept me from buying the original on eBay was that the final toy didn’t look much like the one pictured above. The press photo features the hand-painted Four Horsemen version while the final product ended up with molded skin tone and eyes that permanently looked up. This version of Grayskull has a fully painted head like the rest of the line and the sculpt really shines because of the paint work. I feel like this figure’s face sculpt looks more like He-Man than He-Man.
It’s the paint work that really differentiates this quarterly version of King Grayskull from the SDCC original. In addition to the painted head, the grays are now painted in a fantastic silver that sells them better as metal pieces. I’m interested in seeing a regular He-Man in these colors at some point. Again, I have mixed feelings when it comes to the cape. I really don’t mind the red, but the brown was probably better suited to the figure. The trim at the top of the cape has been flocked in a soft white that gives it a texture reminiscent of a cotton ball. It’s thin, so you’re still able to see some of the sculpted detail, but it’s also a bit sloppy around the edges. It looks neat, but I don’t know that I’m going to like it long term. While I no longer feel the urge to hunt down an original Grayskull, I’d certainly like to run across a spare brown cape to give to this figure.
Articulation is fairly standard for a MOTU Classics figure. Everything works the way you’d expect except for the range of the neck joint being blocked by the longer hair and cape. I did end up with a loose ankle on the right foot as well – my only real complaint about the figure itself. Continue to Page 2…