MOTU CLASSICS CASTLE GRAYSKULL
At the end of 2013 Mattel released a Classics version of Castle Grayskull. It was the first of two play sets produced by Mattel; the second was the much smaller Point Dread. Fans had longed for a MOTUC Castle Grayskull since the inception of the line. It took a lot of support from the fans, much dedication from former Mattel brand manager Scott Neitlich and his team, and five years of waiting, but the iconic fortress finally appeared.
It's taken me a while to get around to adding a page to Vaults about the castle. It's purely coincidental that this page appears in the latter half of 2016 following the announcement that Mattel is ceasing production of the line and handing it to a licensee (Super7), but it's become apparent that Castle Grayskull could end up being the only giant play set in the Masters of the Universe Classics.
I've been a fan of the Masters for a very long time, but this is the first Castle Grayskull I've owned, so my excitement upon its delivery was unashamedly childlike. I think my first reaction was being impressed by the scale of the model. It's huge! But I was also very pleased by how respectful the design was to the 1980s toy. It's full of features which replicate the details of the original.
If you had to find one representation of the Masters of the Universe which even non-fans of any age could probably name, Castle Grayskull would doubtlessly find equal footing alongside He-Man and Skeletor. This version of the fortress is a worthy milestone in the continuing legacy of the Masters concept.
The cross-sell art on the rear of the box is pure nostalgia. I think most of the figures had sold out by the time the castle was released, but that's not the point. I'm sure many fans were thrilled to see these outline representations of the early figures printed on the box. Classics line figures like Gygor and Granamyr were nicely retro-drawn to match.
I love this battle scene. It, too, is very nostalgic. It has the same level of drama that we saw on the boxes of the original line's play sets and vehicles. It's an image which fits the Classics and pays tribute to the Vintage, but it also has a couple of touches from the 200X line. In the world of the MOTU, images like this have been as inspirational as the minicomic stories. It's a pleasure to see work like this again.
Did I mention the castle is big? I was trying to come up with a word to describe Castle Grayskull adequately. 'Awesome' seemed too predictably American for my taste (with love and a wink to my US visitors). In Great Britain we prefer understatement. So I went with 'satisfying'. That's how I'd describe this model. Satisfying like a good apple pie. (I gather you have those in the States too.)
I thought I should endeavour to show the scale of the castle by adding some figures to the photographs. The choices were deliberate: Spirit of Grayskull and Oo-larr in Classics terminology; Spirit of the Castle and He-Man in terms of minicomic nostalgia. The wavy crack you see behind He-Man is the side door.
This version of the castle has three levels. (The original had two.) The details are really good. There are a few little fittings on the walls into which extra weapons or accessories can be fitted. The diamond shape between the robot suit and the throne, for example, can hold a crossed pair of swords. The only feature I think is unnecessary is the mounting hole in the quarter-circle floor piece. This is for Wind Raider's stand.
Finally, a close-up on some of the interior details. I really like the 'wooden' floors and computer monitor. It's obvious a lot of thoughtful work went into Classics Castle Grayskull. I'm glad to say it is a triumph. All that's left to do is to find somewhere to display it.