The Facts: Castle Grayskull
Dimensions: 18 inches tall, 26 inches long (open)
Accessories: Halberd, mace, sword, rifle, two weapon racks, 2 banners, battle trainer, laser cannon w/ mount, 2 computers, throne, ladder, flag, and 5 floor pieces.
Non-Scalper Price: $75 dollars
* Castle Grayskull is a pretty impressive piece and I had to use a different background than my usual backdrop to photograph it. It's about the same size as the vintage Grayskull and while it looks quite similar there are clearly some differences. The overall design is the same but the Origins Grayskull looks less "organic" and haphazard than the vintage toy. I'd argue there's just a tad more Filmation influence here, particularly on the color. The splotches of brighter green, possibly representing moss, are pretty cool and add a bit more flare to the piece. The dome on top of the skull is wider and the skull's features are more even.
* The door is given brown paint apps for the wooden planks while the "metal" parts are all painted with a great, shiny silver paint. It looks really good and is one of the first places where you can clearly see the improvements on this new version. Also notice that the door is raised off of the ground a bit here whereas the vintage toy's door sat right above the ground.
* Here's a close up of the face of the skull. The paint apps still look natural but they're cleaner and less haphazard than on the vintage toy. I like how the vintage toy has varying paint apps but some of them really vary in quality. This is pretty good look that captures a very iconic portrayal of Castle Grayskull.
* When you look closely you can see that the details on the bricks are quite sharp. The sculpting is really good all around here, much nicer than on most of the figures. There's also some sort of colored flecks added into the plastic that gives off just the slightest bit of...sparkle? I don't know but it's kind of a cool effect that definitely seems more inspired than just plain green.
* The back of the castle is also quite similar to vintage toy although the main turret now goes all the way around on the top (on the vintage toy you can see the floor panel when Grayskull is closed.
* There are also paint applications here including a brighter greenish coloring on the turret and some brown paint applications on the roofs that are visible jutting out from the castle walls.
* Castle Grayskull folds up just like the vintage you and it locks securely in place. It has the swinging hasps, kind of like the MOTUC Grayskull, and the front and back halves connect together nicely. There are even some very durable pegs that connect in the front and back to help keep it closed. The quality on this set is really nice. The plastic feels very sturdy and durable, not brittle in the least.
* You can display Grayskull closed, open with the halves at a right angle, or fully open like shown here. The MOTUC Castle Grayskull was limited to only being displayed open at an angle but I've always liked having the castle fully open with both front pieces on display. It's a simpler toy than the MOTUC but more versatile in some ways.
* To enter Castle Grayskull you can use one of the Power Swords (or slightly point object, really) to pull open the lock. The lock actually has a spring on it so once you open the door the lock pops back into place, meaning you won't have to manually reset it.
* The jawbridge looks great and it's nicely sized for the Origins figures. No stooping needed to get through the door! The cracked and worn teeth of the bridge look pretty cool, too, definitely adding to the atmosphere of the set.
* As far as I'm aware this second weapons rack is a new piece. There was a smaller weapons rack available with the vintage Grayskull as a cardboard piece but it didn't look like this. I love the bird motif of this piece!
* The weapons can lay right across the slats on the rack and are available for easy storage and quick accessibility!
* Last up is the combat training device. The idea seems to be that you strike the boars head and then have to dodge the giant fist on the other side. It spins, just like the original, but the sculpt is improved and the pieces are just sturdier.
* The giant fist on the other side has a slit in its grip which you can place some weapons in. That way your figures can practice dodging and parrying actual weapons. Pretty cool, right?
* Castle Grayskull also comes with Temple of Darkness Sorceress, and exclusive figure based on the vintage minicomic of the same name. While I'm sure we'll get a regular Sorceress in her classic colors this is a pretty cool figure and a welcome addition to the set. She has a pretty nice sculpt, especially around her torso. the feathers on her costume are sculpted on unlike the painted on feathers of the vintage figure.
* The headsculpt is really good too. Yeah, it's intentionally vintage looking, but the features are good and Mattel did a nice job on the Sorceress' hood.
* I love the translucent wings here. Even better is that they can rotate out so she can have them posed behind her or spread for more dramatic poses. They're definitely an improvement over the wings of the MOTUC Sorceress.
* The Sorceress comes with her classic white staff. It kind of looks like the staff Indiana Jones uses to find the location of the Well of Souls, doesn't it?
* Be careful where you set your castle! The bottom of the metal rod that makes up the lower hinge was sticking out from the bottom a bit and scratched up our dining room table when my daughter and I first opened this up and put it together. Make sure it's all the way in or file it down a bit.
* OK, so back when I reviewed Teela and Evil-Lyn I said I didn't mind
these knee joints. For some reason, I now do. They're kind of an eyesore, aren't they? Just add a regular joint like everyone else as trying to hide the hinge
just makes it more noticeable.
Listen! For $75 bucks you're getting a figure (usually around $15 bucks alone) and a pretty impressive playset. The MOTU Origins Castle Grayskull is sturdy, well accessorized, and designed for play. It's incredible! While it's not superior to the MOTUC Castle Grayskull, for under $100 bucks this is one of the best playsets I've seen. Mattel did a really nice job capturing most all of the details of the original set and improving on them. If you bought this for a kid who loved toys I think they would have one heck of a time with it. This is a pretty impressive piece and the price feels right, something I don't say often these days when most collector targeted toys are wildly marked up. It's an Epic purchase and even if you're not a fan of the aesthetics of the Origins line there's lots of potential here to please a MOTU fan. While I'm very much looking forward to Mastersverse (Mattel's new 7 inch scaled MOTU line) I really hope that Origins keeps going. The vehicles, playsets, and character selection are quite good and I think it at least deserves another year or two to make its mark in the long and stories history of MOTU toys.
Are you in the market for a Castle Grayskull of your own? I've also checked out the M.U.S.C.L.E. green Castle Grayskull, the Masters of the Universe Minis Castle Grayskull, the series 1 Eternia Minis Buzz-Off, Horde Zombie He-Man, Jitsu, Man-At-Arms, Ram Man, Skeletor, Trap Jaw, and He-Man, who each come packaged in a mini plastic Castle Grayskull, the Mega Construx Castle Grayskull, the Colorforms Deluxe Play Set which has a Castle Grayskull background, and the Masters of the Universe Classics Castle Grayskull.
For more of the Sorceress I've also reviewed the NECA Stactions Sorceress (Classic Colors), the green
Series 2 M.U.S.C.L.E. figure, the VYNL Sorceress,
the Funko POP! Sorceress
#993, the Action Vinyls Sorceress
(Pink) and the standard Sorceress,
the Pint Size Heroes Sorceress,
and the Mega Construx Sorceress included
with Castle Grayskull and Sorceress included with the Panthor at Point Dread set.