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Thread: Castle Grayskull classic playset review thread

  1. #1
    Human... Robot... Maniac Spacedust's Avatar
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    Castle Grayskull classic playset review thread

    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.
    Last edited by Spacedust; December 22, 2006 at 03:32pm.
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  2. #2
    Grew up on a horse Baena's Avatar
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    Excellent review there Spacedust.
    Like yourself, I got mine for Christmas... Man, I'm thinking it must've been Christmas of '82. I remember being of the first of my friends to get one. My uncle scored it for me and my brothers. It being a big present, I was instructed to share it with them too. Which I did, fortunately, my brothers weren't nearly the He-Man nut I was, so over time, it was known to belong to me. Mwahahahaha!

    Sad thing on mine was... right out of the box, the trap door mechanism had busted. So all my childhood, I used various methods of popsickle sticks and tooth picks glued together to replace the broken mechanism. It really bummed me out as the trap door was most definately my favorite feature of the playset.

    Another favorite feature would've been the "Jaw-Bridge", I loved and love the detailing in that thing! Also loved the lock on it, only to be opened with the Power Sword!

    And finally, I think it was the very next Christmas, I got Point Dread and the Talon Fighter! And the fact that it attatched to Grayskull was amazing to me, I LOVED that playset all the more, all over again!

    Ah, back in the day when geniuses worked in Mattel's boys department.

    Great memories!
    We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing. -George Bernard Shaw
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  3. #3
    Human Mutant Power! carlo's Avatar
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    i love this item!

    i had to wait 2 years to get this item, was in the summer of 84, my lovable sister bought it for me cause she worked at TG & Y and got an employee discount on it from the whopping $24.95 retail price funny thing is that snake mountain had just come out and we got that later in the year after much begging and crying

    hey, we all know that was alot of dough back then and for a kid too.

    we ended getting the point thread item first before castle grayskull cause it was cheaper and too persuaded my mom to buy it for me and my brother. we liked the cool ship to it.

    the castle was the best, i still love this item, it rocks.
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  4. #4
    Eternian Jedi Knight He-Fan's Avatar
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    Chris here...

    I have to confess, I've never owned a Castle Grayskull that was complete and in decent condition!

    By the time I was into collecting MOTU, a Grayskull was hard to come by - bear in mind this was 1988, and whilst there was still MOTU floating around, Grayskull was an elusive item for me, and also (had one been located) an expensive one. The first time I ever saw a Castle Grayskull was when I went to the dentist's in 1989 and saw one to play with in the waiting room - I loved it instantly, just because it was He-Man's!

    Where we used to live, the boy who lived two doors down from me had "grown out of" He-Man (at the time I remember thinking he was nuts!), and so let me have a lot of his old MOTU stuff, including Whiplash, a naked Tri-Klops, Stridor, the Dragon Walker, a MOTU jigsaw and (most excitingly of all) Castle Grayskull! I remember I was really upset when he first bought it round as it was completely empty, but then he walked round with several items from the interior (although by no means everything)!

    Unfortunately a few years later I myself had lost a lot of interest in He-Man (even though - bizarrely - I was still a major She-Ra fan!), and was struggling to find space to store all my stuff, and so I'm ashamed to say I gave my Castle Grayskull away to a charity shop! To this day I still regret that!

    In 2003 I turned 21, and a friend of mine sent me a second-hand, spare Castle Grayskull that she had as a gift. It felt great to have a Grayskull again, and I still have it, but unfortunately if I'm honest it really is more a shell than anything else - the throne is missing and so the trap door doesn't work, the jaw bridge latch is broken and so the door swings open at a puff of air, the elevator is incomplete/broken, the weapons rack is minus all the weapons - it's not a great example of a Grayskull! (I will just add that my friend did warn me of its condition before she sent it to me, so I wasn't disappointed.)

    The one thing I'd mention here is the 200X Castle Grayskull. For all that I agree that the classic one is better-looking, the new line Grayskull is, almost certainly, my most favourite toy ever out of any toyline ever! I have had more fun playing with that than with any other item in the last 10 years - the sound effects on the UK version are amazing, especially the laser cannon, which uses the exact sound effect found in the classic Filmation cartoon! I love it and treasure it - and, I have found a good use for my vintage Grayskull too, as over the summer I played with it in the back garden, which I would never do with my 200X version because of the batteries and stuff!

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  5. #5
    Human... Robot... Maniac Spacedust's Avatar
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    One thing that I forgot to mention, is how much the paint jobs varied on different examples of Grayskull. The early ones were generally painted quite lightly, and progressed onto more green with highlights of black. Many of the late ones had way too much black (backed with a lot of bright green), looking quite ugly, and not very 'grey' at all (bearing in mind this was Castle Greyskull!
    ~jay firestorm~
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  6. #6
    Grew up on a horse Baena's Avatar
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    Correction...



    Castle GRAYskull.
    We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing. -George Bernard Shaw
    Nate Baertsch Illustration Blog

  7. #7
    Human... Robot... Maniac Spacedust's Avatar
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    Depends which country you're in

    (And yes, I've just realised I flipped from one spelling to the other. But hey, it was late!!)
    ~jay firestorm~
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  8. #8
    Heroic Warrior
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    greyskull

    the ultimate toy.

    My response is the same as most. Recieved mine for christmas back in 83-84. I already had point dread so it was cool to put the two together!

    easily, a 10 out of 10.

    The only thing I will add is the wonderful feeling when my own little boy loves to play with it, even over his 2000 version of Greyskull.

  9. #9
    Human... Robot... Maniac Spacedust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuecketor View Post
    The only thing I will add is the wonderful feeling when my own little boy loves to play with it, even over his 2000 version of Greyskull.
    I agree. Of the several youngers to compare the two (cousin, neighbour, who I gave a vintage Grayskull and a LOAD of double figures to) my prefer the original over the 200x version. It just has more... character.
    ~jay firestorm~
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/pj-firesto...id=p4340.l2562 FS: MIB first release Classics, MIB 200x, COMPLETE VINTAGE FIGURE SET, 2009 SDCC Art Book, more...

  10. #10
    Heroic Warrior braxsis364's Avatar
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    Yea grayskull was awesome, so many memories from that one. ill give grayskull a perfect score of 10. the new version is ok but lacks a lot of what the original had. like a throne number one, no sizeable platforms, and a real ugly streamlined totally flat face. I cant say I like the new version better. but I have heard of it being a good subsitute for the original figures in a pinch. but a grayskull with no throne is not a grayskull if you ask me. wake up mattel,the next version if there ever is another version of grayskull. must have a dam throne room. matell you are bent sorry got carryed away.

  11. #11
    Unedited Director's Cut Captain Wow's Avatar
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    Just like most everyone else, I got Castle Grayskull for Christmas. I don't remember the year, though. I would still play with it even when I was around 20 years old. Unfortunately, I lost all my He-Man toys when our house burned down in 1995. I had a fair amount of stuff, too. I remember trying to build the bridge for it out of wooden blocks. I'd have the castle up on blocks (better the castle than a car in the yard ) so I could simulate the abyss in front of it. Ah, those were the days.
    "You see, I've got this real moron thing I do...it's called 'thinking'...and I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions." - George Carlin

  12. #12
    Human... Robot... Maniac Spacedust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Wow View Post
    I remember trying to build the bridge for it out of wooden blocks. I'd have the castle up on blocks (better the castle than a car in the yard ) so I could simulate the abyss in front of it. Ah, those were the days.
    In our garden, we had a little gully between the paving stones and the lawn, for the rain to run away in. I used to love sitting my Castle Grayskull on the side and spanning it, like you, pretending it was the abyss.
    Ah, simple days!
    ~jay firestorm~
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/pj-firesto...id=p4340.l2562 FS: MIB first release Classics, MIB 200x, COMPLETE VINTAGE FIGURE SET, 2009 SDCC Art Book, more...

  13. #13
    Heroic Warrior
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    I got mine when I was 3, for my birthday. Two weeks before my little brother was born so I was a bit "sensitive and jealous" my parents wanted to give me a birthday present that shocked me. And it did.
    Unfortunately I was too young and I destroyed it. The only things that remain are the back and half of the front (by this I mean that the upper part of the skull face and the turrets are missing).
    A few years ago I bought a loose and almost complete set. I am missing the spear, the shield, the laser, the mace and the gun.

    The only flaw the Castle has it the trap doorīs system, I think itīs weak. But in all, CASTLE GRAYSKULL ROCKS AND ROLLS. Specially beacause of the details and accesories.

  14. #14
    Human... Robot... Maniac Spacedust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkan View Post
    Unfortunately I was too young and I destroyed it. The only things that remain are the back and half of the front (by this I mean that the upper part of the skull face and the turrets are missing).
    Wow, I've never heard of a Grayskull being beaten up quite that much!! Oh well, sounds like you got some good play out of it.
    Maybe you could use it as a "terrifying future Grayskull", after Skeletor has nuked it!!
    ~jay firestorm~
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/pj-firesto...id=p4340.l2562 FS: MIB first release Classics, MIB 200x, COMPLETE VINTAGE FIGURE SET, 2009 SDCC Art Book, more...

  15. #15
    A big fan of Slush Head
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkan View Post
    Unfortunately I was too young and I destroyed it. The only things that remain are the back and half of the front (by this I mean that the upper part of the skull face and the turrets are missing).
    .
    Sounds to me that you were working for Skeletor in those days.

  16. #16
    Heroic Warrior
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bock View Post
    Sounds to me that you were working for Skeletor in those days.
    jejeje In fact that happend to most of the figures I had, I hace to re-buy them again now.

    If I remember I will post some pictures of Arkanīs "Ruins of Grayskull".

  17. #17
    Castle Grayskull
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    I can't remember much about the CG toy, but i'll say this. I remember the front and back could open and close when joined together, and "taken apart"

    I remember arranging all the toy characters in and around grayskull. I still remember putting skeletor on panthor and he-man on battlecat.

    The castle was quite big, but a nice design, and you could really do alot with it. Also, i seem to remember you could put the characters inside the castle, on little "shelves" for lack of a better word.

    Classic. 8/10.

  18. #18
    Heroic Warrior
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    I only give grayskull a 10 because this poll doesnt go any higher.

    adam

  19. #19
    cyber-assassin
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    One of my 3 favorite playsets ever. The new one's neat and all, but the vintage was AWESOME! The weapons, the throne, the appearance, the elevator. In all fairness, until I refurbished my old one I had the elevator platform, the trap door. That's the essential grEyskull. (I prefer the E, and that won't change, it's not like i'm trying to call it purpleskull or something. I used to pack my figures around in it (when there were only two series) and fit my battle ram in my other arm and I was set for a few hours or a weekend or whatever. Loved it. Oh, here's a story about me getting MY (as opposed to my brothers) Greyskull. I'm still not entirely sure how I talked my dad into it in may, but I did. And a ram man figure. My brother got stratos. Anyhow, when I got home the neighbor was over and we were setting it up when my parents came in and told him he had to go home. I was kind of confused, but they said I was sick and he shouldn't be over. I felt fine then and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon. Then Night came and I started feeling sick. I had gotten Mononeucleosis (spelled as best I could). I got one afternoon of fun with greyskull in a month. for the next month I was pretty sick. I didn't eat much and slept alot. If you've never had it, think a month long very bad flu. But the Castle sat beside my bed for the entire month. I missed the last month of school and the first 5 days of summer vacation. But the castle did make the hallucinations pleasent.
    Last edited by faker32828; June 28, 2007 at 09:26pm.
    Those whom god wishes to destroy,
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