King Grayskull Review

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…

28 thoughts on “MOTUClassics.Com:
King Grayskull Review

  1. The last pic is hilarious!

    My King Greyskull was great except for his half swords. They had white stretch marks from being inserted itno the package and I didn’t help anyhting when I was getting them out. What really pissed me off about that was the it says IN THE MATTEL BIO that the swords were split after he died. So whyTF did they pose him that way?

    1. I already had a bit of contempt for the posed-sword-in-package situation, but this raises it to a whole new level of bile. Only more frustrating is Mattel’s continually pre-posing figures meant for “collectors” even though the “collectors” themselves have persistently told them that they hate it.

      I think I’ve heard Mattel claim that it benefits the MOC crowd, but I’ve yet to see MOC’ers praising it.

      1. I always wonder how many MOCers there are. I feel like everything gets opened eventually…

        R, you raise a great point – he’s pulling the swords apart in the package despite the bio. That’s weird.

        And whyTF is hilarious!

  2. I got King Grayskull in just before the weekend. I thought I’d hate the red cape, but it’s not so bad in person. And the new halfswords are great!

    Agreed on the Orb though. Lame and nowhere to go.

    1. I don’t mind the red at all, I do wonder what this one would like if we had a brown cape though.

      I got a new stand for the orb. I need to grab a pic of it.

  3. That last pic is just cold. Hilarious, but cold.

    I agree that this new Grayskull is a GREAT alternative to the SDCC version. I don’t regret having him, but even things like the new eyes make a ton of difference. The only thing you miss is the awesome packaging. I want to place the semi-translucent Power Sword in the old Grayskull’s hand in the packaging to see if it looks cool in the automated light. Damn that thing is loud…

    1. 😀 I thought the last pic was funny, poking at the Mattel canon. The morbidity of it didn’t really occur to me until later…

      I bet that sword would look cool under lights. I’m working on a new base for the orb and hopefully it will light up when it’s done.

  4. @noisydvl5 : awesome review!
    long time reader first time poster here..
    now that the KG review is about posting a review of the classics He-Man action figure?
    I am guessing you musta’ve bought one at today’s sale..

    1. Thanks for posting!

      I promise I will get to He-Man. I actually have an original and the first reissue, it’s just a long story that sort of turned into a running gag, but we do need to get him catalogued.

  5. The last pic is mean, but it’s hilarious! That is pretty much exactly the story in Mattel’s crappy bios.

    1. I messed up and had the sword split right then when it happened after, but yeah.

      There’s also that little matter of his not having kids yet.

  6. Awesome figure, but mine has loose ankles. I used a small clear rubberband to “tighten” it a bit, but the weight of the cape doesn’t help.

    Also, HM’s head looks great on KG’s body!

  7. My King Grayskull had two loose right ankles. Yes, two loose right ankles. Because he came with two right legs. I just got shipping confirmation that my replacement is on the way, but, come on, that’s just amateur quality control there.

    1. My original He-Man has two of the same leg, it’s annoying! I’m glad they were able to hook you up with a replacement, but it bothers me that they even ship obvious errors. I don’t begrudge a guy looking at thousands of figures but maybe a quick onceover before you put it in the box?

  8. I like the magic trick stand you’re using, although I wish it came in a different color.

    I’m actually using the blockish part from the GI Joe Weather Dominator for mine.

    The larger part is the base, and the orb sits pretty nicely on top. I think it looks kind of royal and the plastic swirls match the vibe of the orb. Also, the dark gray is nice and neutral, so it doesn’t detract from the orb. The only unfortunate thing is that it, just like the magic trick stand, is too low to the ground compared to these figures.

    1. Target has it in blue, but it’s also in red and black on Amazon. The Weather Dominator stand is a good idea!

      The height is an issue for me on the stand. I’m working on a new one now, I’ll post it when/if I get it done.

  9. Excellent review, as always! “Maybe if you’d done a better job…” HAH! I’m looking forward to my Grayskull arriving, now . . . except I only just got my Roboto a couple of days ago, so I may be in for a wait. Is the fur collar held onto the harness with a sort of tab-lock system? I ask because I’ve been thinking of customising my MOTU Classics with “soft goods” capes for better balance and poseability, and it looks like a tab is just visible on Grayskull’s harness when She-Ra’s trying on his cape.

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