In 2008, Mattel grabbed He-Man fans by the neck and asked if we were ready. We weren't sure what we were supposed to be ready for, at the time. We got an awesome exclusive King Grayskull figure with what was supposed to be the body for the new Masters of the Universe Classics toyline...but were we REALLY getting that? And if we did, how far would it go? Surely the interest wasn't strong enough to get to the more unique characters. Realistically, this could only last up until the big-time vintage figures were made. I only expected to get He-Man and Skeletor and leave it at that.
Beyond that....far, far beyond that: We would never get a Castle Grayskull. That would just be ridiculous. No point in even hoping for that monster to come around.
I held on to that belief right up until MotUC Castle Grayskull was announced, or at least, the campaign to fund the creation of the castle. Masters of the Universe Classics continued against all odds, bringing the fans figure after figure from across the board. It was already doing what I had figured was impossible...so I guess it wasn't that much of a stretch when the time came to announce the castle.
The size, though! It would have to be big! And expensive! What could they possibly do?
It turned out that they could very well make it BIG AND EXPENSIVE! Who knew? I mean, we knew. We knew it had to be this way, but barely anyone thought there would be enough people to buy the thing. On top of that, some folks were STILL unhappy and felt it should have been BIGGER and even more expensive!
...I think. I was never quite clear on the demands around that time. They wanted it bigger, but felt like it could still be the same price? Or some people thought the price was too high for "how little" they were getting. You never really understand what you're paying for until you get it in your hands, and WOW man, this sucker felt worth it by just lifting it out of the box! Which is good....because it was right on the edge of what I was willing to pay. Sure, me and everyone else would have liked it to be bigger, but I wouldn't have been able to buy something bigger!
I think, in terms of size, it all comes down to what you collect: Some folks were strictly MotUC collectors, and wanted their toy space to be consumed by this massive castle - which would be AWESOME. But me....I collect a lot of things. I don't have the space. Heck, I barely have the space for this! I would love some other playsets, to tell you the truth (the current TMNT playset, for instance) but I just don't have the space. SO...I've got one major set I KNOW I want: It's Castle Grayskull. I'm gona make room for it, but I'm also gona be happy that it's not absolutely massive.
In short: This is exactly what I wanted.
I mean, look at this beast! It's even taller than the 200X castle! It may not be exactly to scale with the figures, but it more than covers a similar size difference when compared to the vintage castle VS vintage figures. Plus: This thing is exactly like the vintage castle, in that I can use it for SO MANY THINGS! You've already seen that with previous reviews using the castle as a background.
Now, as you'd expect: The 200X Castle Grayskull doesn't have much to DO, here. The MotUC castle is based primarily off the vintage castle (as well as the original prototype for the castle, but we'll get to that). So out with the...um...old? Out with the second oldest! In with the eldest!
Mmmm, look at that. Yeah, baby. Every rock, every crevice; meticulously recreated along with new details, bursting forth to massage your eyeballs (shut up, you know you like your eyes massaged). One of my favorite parts is how all the wood is now WOOD! Wood colored, I mean.
You can't deny the love that went into this monolith. It's no longer a soft mold of a toy castle - this sucker is rising from the earth! It's sharp, jagged! Built brick by brick. You can almost imagine people putting together a castle, rather than sculpting it.
Ah, but there's time enough to get close and really sniff out those details (with your massaged eyes...they can smell things better after they're massaged). Here's a little thing I was looking forward to when the castle was in the process of being made:
Yeah, so it can't fit inside itself. I was hoping the floors were removable, like with the old one. They don't NEED to be, of course, but it would have been cool. And...I still think I could fit the old castle in there. Possibly.
Hey, before we follow those poor bastards - lets take a look at the box!
This is something I would have loved to do with the vintage review. I still had the box to the vintage castle right up until 2000, when we had a massive flood (for us. I know there are larger ones, but it was big for our area). If I remember correctly, someone didn't hit the right valves at the sewage plant, and everything backed up during a huge rainstorm. People abandoned cars in the street-rivers, and basement items were ruined across the board. Somehow, my old Nintendo games came out okay (once dried) but anything cardboard or paper was destroyed. Along with a stack of old Nintendo Power magazines and the box to my old Atari: I lost the box to Grayskull.
PFFFT, like that was a huge loss, or something. Plenty of other actually important things were lost too, but I figured I'd mention that it had at least stuck around for awhile, until the flood. This new box tries to recreate the...magic? Yeah, the magic of the old one! The magic of a BOX!
For starters: New artwork! And they even tried to match the kid on the vintage box (showing him playing with the castle) to an adult.
They got him wearing similar clothing and everything! Even smiling like a doof, because EVERY kid in commercials or on toy boxes was smiling like a doof, in the 80's.
But the cool thing about the artwork on the box, if that they got the same guy who did the original art to do this new one! He just....I dunno, maybe he was told to hurry?
'Cause Man-At-Arms kinda bit the bullet on this one. Took one for the team. Everyone else came out great! Poor MAA had to get the chunk leg, though.
It's really cool to get some brand new fancy artwork on the box! They went all out for even the packaging...which also means I don't want to get rid of it. ...yay? Now I need space for both the castle AND the box that's too fancy to get rid of!
All the details return, even the red drawings of the figures on the back of the box. Beyond everything else, for some reason, these red drawing on the white background are by far the most nostalgic thing about this box. Not sure why. Nothing else did anything like that!
Moving along: We've got the standard MotUC bio for you to use or not use upon your leisure. I've got my own ideas for the castle, but this is always cool and welcome!
Then we've got these little shots showing off all the features of the mysterious castle! I've always loved that. Those little obvious eye-catchers that make you sit on the floor in the toy isle and stare at all the things you could be doing with this if ONLY YOU HAD MONEY AHHH. Then Mom or Dad comes along to pull you away, and you're left with Giant Playset eyes, as you try to forget its magnificence and hope for it on Christmas or whatever your holiday flavor may be.
Of course, nowadays, the magic is replaced with "Yes, I've got moneys. Please give me a huge playset." Then you walk out with it and use it as your briefcase from then on out. Come on, you'll be the coolest guy in the office, I swear. Everyone will be asking to come play at your house!
I kid around about having to keep the box 'cause it's so fancy, but you know I wouldn't have it any other way. If the box were just plain, it wouldn't have the same effect. Yeah, I'm still getting an awesome castle, but who doesn't want the whole experience? The box brings it, baby, and I'm glad it did.
Now, where were those figures...?
End of side A! Please stay tuned while I prepare Side B, and then turn the tape over, because this is gona be a LOOONG ride! In Part 2, we'll be looking at the beautiful details of the outside of the castle. In detail! Detailed details!
SKIP RIGHT ON TO PART 2!