The Spirit of Masters of the Universe Classics is certainly alive and well, and the fact that old King Grayskull is back to haunt our shelves only further proves that when it comes to action figures, there is a lot of life to be had long after your death.
King Grayskull represents a lot important things when it comes to the MOTUC line. Technically, he was the first figure in the line (even before it actually was a line), he was the original “He-Man” according to the Classics canon, and he has some pretty rare and pricey figure variations running around out there. When he was released as the San Diego Comic Con Exclusive back in 2008, there was a standard version of his figure as well as a “bronze statue” version, which was a rarer chase figure. Since then the latter has skyrocketed in price as it has become highly coveted and I am still kicking myself for giving that figure away to another collect several years ago.
There was also another variation of that figure that has gone on to take legendary status, even in the overall action figure collector world. See, along with the standard and bronze versions of the SDCC figure, there was also a “spirit” version released. Created by Mattel as charity raffle item (and a limited internal giveaway), there were only about 5 of these made and you had to literally win a lottery in order to get one. Needless to say, that figure has become highly coveted by collectors and many have been asking for a re-release since the day after SDCC 2008 ended.
Well, it took a few years, and even though it is not exactly the same, we are finally getting an official Spirit of Grayskull in the form of the 2015 chase figure. Continuing the tradition of Loo-Kee, Kowl, and the previously-spirited Hordak, he will pop up at random times throughout the year on Matty Collector, or if you are a subscriber, he will be available this month during the Early Access period. So, that is why we get to bring you a preview now and I think that for most of the collectors that have wanted this Grayskull spirit for so long, this figure will scratch the proverbial itch.
Like I said, this spirit figure is not exactly like the original, but I personally think it is improvement. It is not perfect as the cape, like the original, is not removable, but the head is, so you get 50/50 on that. However, the original was also just cast in a clear-blue plastic, which is fine, but I think the effects added to this new version are much, much cooler.
This figure, while mostly monochromatic, actually has a few different shades of the ghostly green used for the different parts of the figure. The bulk of the figure is cast in one color, but there is a wash used on the loin cloth, boots, cape fur and hair that makes them stand out from the rest of the body. Additionally, the included axe, shield, and sword are thinner so they look lighter compared to the rest of the figure. So, just standing on the shelf, this figure is already more dynamic than just having clear plastic.
However, the real fun starts when you turn the lights out (if you know what mean) because what good is a spirit if he cannot toss a haunting glow in the dark? Glow in the dark is a funny thing in the action figure world, some people love it, others just chalk it up to being a gimmick, but it has a long-standing tradition in the toy world. Heck, it even has a tradition in MOTU Classics, and King Grayskull can now join Scareglow, Zodak, and a few others as he stand outs when the lights go out.
While I still think that nothing in MOTU can eclipse the cool effect Scareglow achieves with his glowing feature, this Grayskull certainly burns bright and you can almost read a regular old book by his light. It is actually really impressive and in an age where effects like this are often discounted or softened, it is neat to have this come through so powerfully. The best part though is that the different pieces of the figure glow in different colors and intensities, so a lot of the details are retained, even in the dark. Kudos to the design team with this one because toys often lose some of their specific detail when they get glowing, but King Grayskull looks just as detailed in the dark as he does in the light.
Finally, everything is also good from a production standpoint and KG continues the 2015 line with good engineering and design. Granted, this is technically just a re-deco of previously-released figure, but I still appreciate the work that is being done by Brandon Sopinsky and crew this year. Plus, you can tell that with a figure like this, when it could have passed off as not much more than a re-release, the same care is given as it would be in an all-new figure.
Now, I am all about getting new characters with every release, but I still dig viable variants, and this actually turned out to be a good one. It not only gives us a legitimate iteration of King Grayskull, it also gives us a shot a owning something similar to one of the (arguably) rarest MOTUC figure to date. As I said, he will be available to subscribers during early access this month, but look for him to pop up on mattycollector.com throughout the year.
*Thanks for reading and thanks to the Mattel gang for sending this figure along. Hold tight, we are a little over a week away from Toy Fair, and I have a feeling we are going to be seeing a LOT of really cool stuff.