I'm really pleased how the classic figure review threads have taken off.
Being Christmas, it seems the perfect toy that many of us received on Christmas morning all those years ago, the ultimate, the only... CASTLE GRAYSKULL!
I don't know where to begin. This thing was just loaded with so many features.
Like many, I received my Castle Grayskull for Christmas. I must have been about 6 or 7 years old. I had been collecting the figures for several years, and finally had something for them to battle over. It probably stands as the biggest (both in terms of size, and in greatness) and best Christmas present I ever got. It was from my parents, who mostly believed in me saving up for my figures myself, so it was double special coming from them.
The outside, with the skull face, just looks so cool, and quite menacing. It also reminded me a lot of Skeletor. As I've mentioned on another thread, as a kid, I always for some reason that Skeletor had once owned Castle Grayskull. When the Elders saw how he was mis-using the powers, they took it away from him, leaving the Sorceress to protect it, and Skeletor determined to get it back. For some reason, in the very early mythos, I also for some reason thought that He-Man and the other early Heroic Warriors actually lived in Castle Grayskull.
I remember late on Boxing Day I was playing with it, and my Mum said "ohh... I've just realised, the front is like a face". Well duh!
The little latch on the jaw-bridge... "jaw-bridge", that was so cool in itself, especially the teeth... anyway, the little latch, to be opened with He-Man's sword, was neat.
Inside was great. There was the working elevator (although we finally resorting to putting dobs of glue in where it inserted into the wall, as when you pulled the string to move it up, it was prone to coming away from the wall), and the excellent throne chair trap. One figure would sit in it, and another would confront them, standing on the rug in front of it. One turn of the chair, and the rug gave way, sending the victim plunging into the dungeon of monsters (a sticker) below.
On one turret, there was a laser cannon, for the Heroic Warriors to fend invaders away with. My only little gripe with this, is that there wasn't really enough room for them to stand behind the cannon very well; the platform could have done with going back a bit further. In fact, it would have been even better, as it would have covered the hole when the play-set was closed. There are actually two versions of the platform - a standard flat one, and one with little slots for the cannon to fit into.
And there was the flag, with a different design on each side. I was never sure if it was what it was for, but I always liked to think that the brighter side was for the Heroic Warriors, and the darker, menacing side was for when Skeletor had taken over the castle. My Dad did my flag for me, and I was always annoyed that he did it with the dark side facing forwards, not the bright one, as illustrated on the box and everywhere else. Ahh, such days when I had so little to worry about!
Then there was the little twirly thing, that no-one was ever really sure what it was exactly. I think it was actually meant to be a training thing, for He-Man (or whoever) to be twisted at the waist, and have them spring back, hitting the target and sending it spinning around. Lots of people though, used to have it as some sort of trap, with them turning one end, and the other side sending any invaders flying.
And the weapons rack... loaded with weapons, in a light gray colour, that would go on the be recycled (in various colours) for many figures. Except for one, strange little gun, which made its only appearance on the rack. Amazingly, I managed to not lose any of the weapons (although I have lost, found, and lost again the aforementioned tiny gun down the years).
The interior was padded out with cardboard cutouts of a computer observation screen, a robot, and another weapons rack. And a sticker of a griffin, which got all grit and dirt on the back and we had to super-glue to the wall!
This play-set was awesome. There was so much to do, and I think was the largest toy that I ever had.
And the way it folded away... genius.
The 200x version... I have one, but it is still sealed in box. From shots I have seen of it, it is fair, but for starters does not have such a well carved front face. The window/landing looks a bit too clunky, and they've added a runway right across the top of the skull, which adds to the play area, but not necessarily to looks.
The Filmation rendering beats the 200x cartoon version hands down too, IMO. The original looked so very much more menacing.
All-in-all, Castle Grayskull is a classic play-set, and my favourite Christmas present ever. I give it a top scoring 10 out of 10. Maybe even 20 out of 10.
I'd like to hear your thoughts, comments, memories, etc. to do with Castle Grayskull.