Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fortress of Mystery and Power - PART FOUR: Superfluous Supplementary

What, part four?!  Why??

To wrap up the "story", of course!  Perhaps there are a couple more things I didn't cover, as well?  I dunno man, I'm not paying attention.

*SNXZRK* What?!  There are things I didn't cover, yet?  Dangit, I thought I wouldn't have to say anything for this one.

*AHEM* Well, uh, there's a place to mount the Power Swords, right near the Throne!  This is an option that you'd expect, honestly.  There has never been a proper place for the sword (or swords) beyond the secret door in the 200X castle.  You'd think it would be silly to just....display them, out in the open.  I like it, though!  I mean, this castle is as much for display as for play, so I'd like a place for the swords that is nice and visible.

Now, I do wish that they had somehow gotten it to hold both She-Ra's sword and a second regular Power Sword.  I like having both of the Swords of Power on the wall, but that's mostly a cartoon thing, ya know?  If I wanted to display both halves of the Power Sword, well....I can't.  I tried to get two regular Power Swords in there, but I can't manage to get it to work.

On a similar note: In the Masters of the Universe movie, Skeletor places the Power Sword in this awesome slot next to the throne.  It would have been cool to add some sort of slot next to the throne for the sword, ya know?  I'm kinda hoping someone sculpts their own thing, so I can still make that idea work.  I've always loved the thought of Skeletor on the throne with the Sword displayed next to him.  "MINE!"

The trap door works as you'd expect: Turn the chair and the door opens!  It's a bit smaller than the original, so sometimes the figures will get stuck.  It's like one of those drop-slides at a water park - make sure you're in the proper position before being dropped, kids!

The thing I love about the new mechanism is that it's not as obvious.  The old one had a lot of ways to break because it was a simple mechanism.  This one is covered and the chair is non-removable, so there's no chance of getting things messed up.  There are screws under the floor, though, if you want to take it all apart and customize things to your liking.

Ah, that trap door.  What I loved about it was that it instantly turned the floor into an area with dangerous footing.  Naturally, you'd probably close up a trap door after using it, but when I was a kid, I'd have it hang open after use as a hazard during a fight.  Skeletor falls to his "doom" at the end of the movie, after all!  It was my own little way of recreating the idea, with a big dangerous hole in Castle Grayskull.

This is just my cheap little way of paying homage to all the dangerous sword fights over the open trap door.  The next part is just business as usual.

WHEW!  So, that about covers it!  All the Castle Grayskulls - reviewed!  Well, all of the main playsets, anyway.  So far.  There is one more recent one, but that'll be for another time.

Going through all the castles and memories has been a blast!  We began with my childhood playset, the very, VERY used vintage castle; went over the 200X castle that didn't get as much use, but was still fun; and finally made our way over to what was supposed to be impossible.  This massive beast of a playset fought against all odds, or, perhaps there weren't as many odds as I thought?  I mean, this thing was powered by fans!  There are many toylines that simply cannot live without a strong following, and so many fans out there believe that they are enough to support a toyline when they are not.  This is an example of one of those rare times when the fans were enough and, so far, continue to be so!

I mean look at that!  We got a figure of He-Man as a king and a castle to put him in.  I will forever be in awe of how crazy fan-powered this toyline is.  Sometimes, being in the thick of it, you think this toyline is greater than it is.  You think that is MUST be super popular and on the forefront of the minds of collectors, but you run into many people who haven't heard of it or only know a little bit about it (or wonder how the heck something like He-Man is even selling).  So you know this is fan-powered.  All the way.  Simply amazing.

As one of those fans - one of the people I believe this castle was created for, the kinda fan that grew up with pretty much just this castle as a playset and nearly nothing else - I've gotta end this in the same way I ended the previous reviews.  Some simple setups!

This time, though, I'd like to reuse the pics from the first review so you can see how I tried to set them up (the pics should be similar in the 200X review, as well, give or take a few characters).

I was just gona post a link to the first review, but I figured it was more interesting to see them one after the other.  Tried my best to mimic them.

I've stated, in the previous reviews, that this castle is the foundation for a lot of my favorite types of stories.  The main one being the idea of a mysterious and unknown past that leaves behinds clues, in the present.  The vintage castle played that roll (and more) and this castle does the same, in a larger scale.

Granted...maybe I'm not playing with it, so much.  Technically.  People outgrow toys, and I understand that.  Somewhere along the way they lose the need to imagine stories (or, perhaps, act out stories).  Maybe the imagination just developed into problem solving skills; something practical.  Perhaps mine did too, in some ways.  Somehow, though, my imagination kept working with the toys and what they could do.  Setting them around my environment, sparking stories, building legends.  Yeah, I don't play with them like I used to...but my brain is still working with them in the same ways, and it keeps me going.  Keeps me thinking.  Makes life that much more interesting.  I don't have the money to experience the world, but knowledge is free, and so long as I can learn, I can use knowledge with toys to build the worlds I may never visit, or could never visit.  Then, in turn, I can bring that to my own little slice of the world where I live and try to bring those stories and random jokes to others, as I think of them.

It all started with a castle.  When I'm on my deathbed - hopefully having at least tried or written some of the things I've imagined - I believe that castle is how it'll end: with mystery.

...and maybe some cool techno stuff that would be keeping me alive in the future.  GEEZE, I hope I'm a cyborg!

...alright, so maybe I made an epilogue, too.  Think of this as the scene after the credits.

Thanks for sticking with me through all this, and THANKS FOR READING!


  1. Tyson! Tyson! Austin! Austin! ...No wait, I mean Part Four! Part Four! Part Four! Finally!

    Thanks for taking the time to finally finish this one Alexx. Now keep 'em coming.

    1. And thank YOU for reading! Also for putting up with my random-ass timetable (or lack thereof).

  2. Beards conquer all skullfaces.

    But will this lead to beard-escalation, can Skeletor grow a beard or will he take some hair from Beastman or Stinkor and glue it to his face?

    And will you ever buy some Gormiti Morphogenesis and post about'em?

    1. Against all odds, Skeletor will eventually grow a skeleton beard, which is composed of teeny-tiny bones.

      And wasn't Gormiti gone from the shelves since....what, a few years ago? Are they back again? I haven't seen these, yet.

  3. "I kind of need Geldor now" was a thing I didn't expect to be saying ever. THANKS, I GUESS.

    The MOTU movie is a glorious thing and works beautifully with a crowd. My favorite line is when they're looking for the Cosmic Key and He-Man goes, "We're looking for this thing, it's about this big and has lights on it." And the girl is like, "oh yeah I know where that is."

    Finally, you said: "Somehow, though, my imagination kept working with the toys and what they could do. Setting them around my environment, sparking stories, building legends. Yeah, I don't play with them like I used to...but my brain is still working with them in the same ways, and it keeps me going. Keeps me thinking. Makes life that much more interesting."

    Agree with this x100.

    1. YOU'RE WELCOME I GUESS. But you are totally welcome, because everyone needs Geldor. He's straight pimpin'.

      Yeah, that movie will always have a special place in my heart. Everyone passes it off as a complete failure, but I think it was closer to gold than people realize. Most of the casting was good, the feel of the Eternian parts were fantastic, and even though most of the villains weren't there, the ones that WERE there were awesome! They just ran out of budget, were caught in a bad time, the toyline was ending, and nobody wanted to pony up the cash to let them finish the movie (hence the black background with some light shining through for the final battle). Given a few changes, I think everyone could have looked back on that movie with fondness, instead of just me and you and a few others.

      And thanks, man! I was afraid the ending was a little corny.

  4. I finished! I finished reading the Grayskull posts! You finished making them, and now here I am at the top having read them all! I can see my house from here! Really, that's what my house looks like? Aw, man....

    Feels kinda strange to congratulate someone for writing in their own blog, but this spotlight was a BEAST, so congrats to you for finally coming out the other side! It was entertaining, detailed, and hey, corny works when used in the right way. Like corn on the cob. When done right, corn can be delicious. When used on pizza, it's just weird. Your end summary there was totes corn on the cob man, not corn on the pizza.

    And wait just a minute, that scene where the Evil Warriors are revealed! EFFECTS!? You'd never see EFFECTS in my blog! That's just some serious effort dude. I barely even have time to write these things now, and you're moving on to some seriously impressive EFFECTS. The closest you'll come to EFFECTS in my blog is if I do a spotlight on Effects for G.I. Joe. And that's probably a ways off. OR IS IT? Yeah, probably is. MAYBE. Yeah.

    So how does it feel knowing you're not trapped by the burden of a massive review? Feels pretty good, doesn't it? You feel that thing you're doing? That's breathing. I bet you forgot all about that. You enjoy your breathing and the room you have to do it in. You've earned it, fella.

    1. Reaching the top is often lonely and disappointing, yes? Here, I've written you a haiku for the situation:

      What are you doing
      Up there, so high, get down now

      I hope you enjoyed it!

      Thank you all the same! It may not be a life's work or anything important on the grand scale of human achievements, but I did a thing, and for me, that's....that's a thing. Anyway: Thanks for the food analogy! It was delicious.

      YEAH! Effects! A couple frames loaded in to a free Gif generator website! EFFEEEECTS! Can't even get the thing to be the same size as the rest of my pics, or the same resolution! If I bothered to learn how to use other programs it would be REAL effects, but this is apparently amazing, so I'll just keep it cheap. And you get to work on the Effects post! He's the best Star Brigade member because he doesn't need gloves to be out in space! Bare handed all the way!

      Yeah, feels much the same as it always has. Like, back in school, when I had a huge project that I ignored until the last minute. I finally get it done, and in the end, I learn nothing! I'll just repeat the process later on, but now I don't have deadlines! I can take a year, if I REEEAAALY try! Try not to. Do things.


  5. Such a great read! And terrific use of the vintage vs. modern figures. Very funny stuff. Thanks for all the hard work! :)

    1. Thanks for reading, man! It took a good while, and I dunno if I'll ever tackle a review this big again, so I'm glad this one went well.