The impossible is finally here! When Mattel first geared up for MOTU Classics, when it was just the wee little fighting men coming out once-a-month, there were a few items, key to MOTU lore, that fans immediately started thinking about: Battle Cat & Castle Grayskull. Battle Cat proved to be relatively easy, and pretty magnificent, but the Castle seemed impossible. We were told it was a long shot. We were reminded again and again of the obstacles. It would be complicated. It would have to be huge. It would have to be expensive.
Five years after picking up that first He-Man figure, the Castle is finally a reality. The process was definitely complicated. It is huge. It was expensive. But, on the whole, to give out a summation here in the opener, it was worth it.
These last few years, my shelves have more or less become a shrine to the 80s. You’ll catch some glimpses in the pics (the Castle was simply too large to shoot traditionally, I apologize in advance for the quality of some in the gallery images). There are modern figures of Shipwreck & Snake Eyes. Optimus Prime & Soundwave. DC Classics updates to Super Powers. Marvel Legends has well-covered the Secret Wars line (it wasn’t hard).
Most of my 80s loves are represented on those shelves by a key icon that represents the property. Thinking about it that way, the Castle simply had to get done. It’s perhaps bigger than even He-Man, certainly most of the villains, when it comes to representing MOTU. Who doesn’t know or remember Castle Grayskull, even if they can’t name any of the characters? What did Mattel put on the 30th Anniversary logo last year? What do they use as their SDCC backdrop? And the packaging graphics? The Castle is MOTU. It represents it in a way no other playset from another line really represents that property. Thinking about it that way, I can’t believe it might not have gotten made. It just feels like it had to happen. I’m glad it did.
The better part of that is that it’s just a great toy to own too. The Four Horsemen’s sculpting work is typically impressive and that carries over to the Castle as well. In some ways, I know the vintage one can never be replaced, but the sculpt is what gives this one the best change. The softer lines in the vintage Castle gave it a more leathery look (though I never cared at the time!). The MO2K castle while technically impressive was too uniform, almost computer rendered. This Castle looks made out of stone. The details are crisp and sharp throughout on the exterior.
The interior is still just a relief of this fantastic outside; doing real internal walls would be excruciatingly I imagine, but the crispness on the outside keeps the softer inside from looking too out of place. Plus, there is so much greatness packed inside with terrific sculpting on the monitors, floors, etc. that I didn’t even think about the interior walls for awhile.
The paintwork is top notch, another way that sets it apart from previous Castles. The vintage went mostly without. So do the MO2K version, ironically, at least if you had the first version that didn’t even paint the crest/shield on the door. Duh. That’s not the case here. The external supports & roofing are finally brown. The door is fully painted. The Castle finally looks truly impressive even closed up. (Because I had to use flash photography, the Castle does appear a little differently in some pics. The greens might appear brighter than they are for example, that’s mostly just my inexperience with using the flash, so please bear with me.)
Inside, there’s plenty going on, almost too much to cover. I tried to hit all the notes in the images if I miss something here: the working elevator, the spots for weapons storage, the training device, the throne & working trap door, the removable skulls on the elevator, the rear entrance which can be used with Scareglow’s key, the turret laser & flag, just about everything from the original is included, minus that Weapons Rak that was sold a few years ago (though we did get a handful of new weapons). There are a couple things like the winged batpack that I’m not sure what to do with, but it’s neat. Continue to Page 2…