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First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics Castle Grayskullman

2012 has brought us the 30th(!) anniversary of the Masters of the Universe property and Mattel has been rolling out various ways to celebrate throughout the year. Most of it has been confined to the MOTU Classics line with things like Granamyr and the recent preorder of Castle Grayskull, but Classic Media (now Dreamworks) have gotten in the game as well with glasses, t-shirts, a new comic at DC, etc. The year-long celebration has been keep alive through the Classics-complimentary 30th Anniversary line of all-new figures of characters being introduced to the mythos. We have seen characters from the Four Horsemen, Toy Guru, Terry Higuchi, and Geoff Johns all brought to MOTU (with varying levels of fan acceptance), as well as the original 1980s create-a-character Fearless Photog.  The real juice of that, though, for the collectors, was a brand new create-a-contest (just like the original) that would cap the year with one lucky winner. Well, we only got to see about five of the entrants, but I can make this assertion: Castle Grayskullman is undoubtedly worthy of being the winner.

I have to admit, I was originally fearful of the winner being announced due to the enormous amounts of pressure that can be applied by a dedicated fan base. Unless the figure was absolutely great, Mattel, and probably the winner, would be subject to impassioned online critiques. Well, I think that most fans can admit that Matty did his job and picked a GREAT winner. Castle Grayskullman really does hold everything needed to be a great action figure in this line: a strong design (he is based off of frikkin’ Grayskull for Orko’s sake!), a neat story that blends with the mythos and that certain je ne sais quoi that evokes that nostalgic feeling from the old line. I think the latter one is the hardest to pull of, but it was certainly done.

I am not really going to make the case as to WHY you should like CGM if you are Masters fan. If creator Daniel Benedict has not convinced you yet, I am not sure I will be able to, but I can give  you some pictures and talk about how I have a very genuine like for this figure. Fun toys are fun, and this is the definition of a fun toy. Congrats, Daniel, you have created a character that will live in the MOTU world forever (unless he gets offed in a bio!), and fans around the globe are already enjoying him. I have to get me some of that cereal.

We have many powerful entities in the MOTU world, the most powerful man and woman in the universe, a near-omnipotent sorceress ,and now we have the physical embodiment of the power and magic of Castle Grayskull. It is a good thing that the bad guys are badasses  in this mythos, since the deck keeps getting stacked against them. So if the safety of the Castle is ever put in jeopardy, Skeletor, Hssss, Hordak or anyone else looking to make a run at it, will at least have to deal with He-Man, the Sorceress, and Castle Grayskullman. Good luck, boys.

The character has already started to take on a life of its own around the internets, fans are embracing him as he is described in his bio, and some are adjusting him to be more of a watchful sentry, and I even read that he was like the reckoning of all Eternia for one fan. See, to me that is the biggest compliment a new character can get in the MOTU world; Masters has always been about imagination and kids and fans putting their own spin on things. I think once a character is welcomed into the imagination of a longtime fan, the rest is easy.

I love his look. He looks like he stepped right out of the walls of Castle Grayskull, and one of my favorite parts of that is that mysterious green color, he matches the original very well. Also, if I may be so bold, this guy is so Metal. I mean, he should be on the cover of every heavy metal album from now until the end of time, and Eddie has got nothing on him. I mean, if you saw the Jawbridge of Grayskull open up and this guy charged at you with that hair and a fiery light spewing from his eye sockets, you would have massive heart attack and die before he even got a chance to impale you with those snazzy swords.

Those swords also speak to the strength of the design of the character and Daniel’s concept shows a keen and deep understanding of the MOTU world while giving lots of winks to his fellow fans. The twin swords (in green and purple) are modeled right after the swords that are on the paper flag from the original Grayskull play set. His shield is the crest lifted right off the Jawbridge (and beautifully rendered by the Four Horsemen), and his head literally looks like front of the castle grew some stringy locks. I think the only thing lacking this figure is that there is not a tiny smoke machine embedded in the head, but as we all know, action features are just not a part of this line. Heh.

He is built on the basic MOTU body and employs the appropriately “rocky” Whiplash shoulders (thanks goodness) with new forearms, hands, and boots. The latter three are designed to look like actual stones from the Castle and they coordinate with his “armor” chest overlay that has the repeated Jawbridge crest theme. I like the idea of CGM maybe being able to combine powers with He-Man to become an even more powerful entity combined, so He-Man looks kind of cool with the CGM armor.

Past those points, he is a very well constructed figure and, to me, he seems like he has some of the best engineering and quality that we have seen in a long time. All of the plastic is solid, the joints are tight, the colors are correct throughout and the paint work is clean. The paint is mostly black wash and highlights on the green “skin” but it looks like the original Castle. I know the hair has undergone a couple of color changes since he was debuted at SDCC, and although I am not sure the color wound up being exactly what they wanted, I think it looks fine.

I never thought I would be this excited or this happy with the create-a-character contest, but here we are. I think I would just continue to gush about how much fun I think the concept of the character is, but we are also lucky that he is constructed well. The concept of the contest was a lot of fun too, and I would love to see the MOTU team try something like this again. I think it sparked a lot of good fan buzz and involvement and making MOTU more and more for the fans is always a good thing in my book. What a great way to cap the celebration of MOTU’s 30th anniversary!

Congrats, Daniel, your character has been immortalized in MOTU plastic and you have given us all the cool gift of a neat character in the spirit of the property, and a fun figure to boot. Long live MOTU and it’s latest champion — Castle Grayskullman!

*Thanks to Daniel for the great character, the Mattel team for picking the right winner, the Horsemen for making him so and Toy Guru for sending him along for a First Look. Don’t miss him on November 15th!

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20 thoughts on “First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics Castle Grayskullman

  1. “I do wonder could a Snake mountain man get done next year?”

    I don’t know, J. Lee, but if he had a Mountain Man motif, I would be over the moon!

  2. Cool review. Actually lovin’ this figure. 😀

    Could’ve swore Sylvester Stallone was sporting that emblem as a tattoo in Expendables. :-/

  3. With the exception of Dreago-Man, the entire 30th anniversary line was a waste of money. What were they smoking with the choices that they made?

  4. He’s growing on me, but the chest cover looks way too bulky. Like Momma Grayskull knitted him a Castle Sweater.

  5. @Bobby Pelphrey

    I think grey/gray would have been perfect actually. I was originally gunning for white, but grey does sound better (the original artwork had white hair didn’t it?). I’m not too fond of the blonde myself.

  6. i love the figure. but i agree why the blonde hair? it looks weird. light green wouldve been cool and a light gray wouldve seemed like the best choice to me. i also would’ve liked just a straight up bald skull that wouldve been rad.

  7. I’ve never jumped on board for MOTUC. I think they are all great and I’ve enjoyed looking at them but lack of space and too many other things to collect have kept me away but I may just have to get Castle Grayskullman. This is just an awesome figure.

  8. Dag Vertigoink. Your CAC design sucked, and the Horsemen called you out as a lying internet troll, and the most negative place on the web, the org, banned you for constant dickery and dishonesty. Myself and hundreds of others were glad you stopped posting, why start again?

    Accept that people make up things along parallel lines unintentionally- obviously your not an artist or an adult or you wouldn’t be grasping at straws to destroy the people who won or were runners up. In 1984 we called it a tattle tale, or a sore loser; today its trollin trollin.

    Call it a day on Daniel and accept that your idea lost, your rumors and lies lost, just crawl back to your mom’s basement and eat a hot pocket, and please just leave the hobby so the rest of us can have fun.

  9. Don’t ever EVER even suggest that this concept in any way, shape, or form could hang with the likes of Alcala, Obrero, Texeira, or any other legends of MOTU history.

  10. This figure is a huge example of what a bit of imagination and ingenuity can do with the property. This is a figure I never knew I wanted or needed until it was created, and now I wonder how it’s possible that it hasn’t existed before. It would fit seamlessly into an Alcala mini, it would fit into Filmation, and it fits in now. Really impressive creation, open to enough interpretation that it can be different things to different people.

  11. I have tried to not like this guy but I just can’t do it. The heavy metal shot is awesome and where did you get the guitar. So many fun ideas on how to work this guy into your collection. The gollum army idea I like Azure.

    I do wonder could a Snake mountain man get done next year?

  12. I’m tempted to get a couple, set them as golums around my castle, I like the idea that the sorceress cast a spell of protection that made an army of them 🙂

  13. 1st off I don’t know how the HELL this character won the contest–It’s SMH UGLY!! There were better drawnings in the contest that should’ve won it but I guess Mattel was being super cheap on wanting to make them. Thee only 2 things I like about this figure is the 2 Duel swords & the shield. I’m a big MOTU Fan but really this figure–give me a break. I already brought 2 30th Ann. subs so I have to get this idiot no matter what. You can call this figure so many names but when CG arrives next fall he is just going displayed as a “Security Guard’.

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