Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas To Me

When Mattel started the Masters of the Universe line in 2008, they really had no idea what it would eventually evolve into. The plan was simple, release an updated modern version of a Masters character every month and sell it online. Pretty soon however, they realized that what they had was something special, and the line took off like a rocket. Little by little, they would pepper in larger scaled figures and beasts into the line. One year they actually released a vehicle. But the one thing that they were adamant that would probably not happen…ever, that many fans were clamouring for from the very start was a new modern version of Castle Grayskull.

Growing up, I never had Castle Grayskull, even then, it was something too big for my parents to get for me. So when Mattel announced that the classics line would not be making a new castle, it really didn’t bother me, I was happy enough to own all the amazing figures they were churning out monthly. Then last year, Mattel decided to do a little experiment. In October 2012, they announced that they would be starting up a pre-order for a NEW Castle Grayskull. Now pre-orders aren’t anything new, many toy companies use this method of selling their products. At the very least though, when they do put up a pre-order, they include a picture (either an early prototype or the actual toy) so buyers can see what they are getting.

With Grayskull, it was different. Because the cost of making such a new castle in scale with the larger Classics figure would be rather expensive, they wanted to see just HOW BAD the fans wanted it. So they set up a pre-order for a new castle without spending a single cent on any preliminary work like sculpting of prototypes etc. Basically they wanted to see if fans would order a product that wasn’t cheap ($250!) with only a B-sheet for reference on what they planned to do.

They set a minimum order goal and if they achieved it, production of the castle would push through and it would be completed and shipped a whole year later. If the minimum order would not be reached then that was it, no castle, no harm, no foul. Like I said, it was an experiment, one that castle hungry collectors immediately jumped on. Even if I never had the original castle or was totally OK with not having a new one, I recognized how special this project was, so I pre-ordered one myself. I figured I would have a year to “save up” for it anyway. And so almost immediately the minimum order was met and the castle was “a go”!

A year later, October 2014, the castle was all but ready, although they announced that shipping would actually start in November all throughout December. Now since I live in the Philippines, the average shipping time from the US to here on regular international post is about 3-4 weeks, so I was fully expecting the castle to get here sometime in January…which was totally fine with me…it would serve as a most excellent birthday gift for me ☺ Finally I got my shipping notice via email on Dec 9. International shipping cost me around $80 (ouch!) but again, I didn’t care, this was a one-time special purchase and I was just happy it was finally on its way to me. 4 days later, I found out why shipping had cost so much, it turned out shipping was EXPRESS shipping, and to my pleasant surprise, the castle had ARRIVED! Just in time for Christmas!

Now prior to its arrival, I had seen pictures and videos online showing just how big this castle was…but nothing could prepare me for actually seeing this 20 pound gigantic box in my room. It was MASSIVE, hands down the biggest toy I had ever purchased. So was it worth it?


You could tell a LOT of love went into making this castle. The overall sculpt and paint is pretty flawless. Most of the details from the original castle that were originally stickers were all fleshed out and made three dimensional. They even added extra details and features that was missing from the original design like secret doors and a vehicular stand. It’s like the original Castle Grayskull on steroids. I opened it up with my fiancée and she documented the unboxing of this baby and she was so amused at the look of wonder in my eyes. Once it was fully assembled all I could do was just sit and stare at this work of art :P I swear, I had never been so at awe at a hunk of plastic. But enough typing, I’ll just let more pictures speak for themselves.

Castle Grayskull will always be one of the most iconic toys of the eighties. No it wasn’t the biggest, but in my opinion, it just had the most character. I mean, who wouldn’t love a castle with a gigantic skull for the main entrance? As a kid, I never had it and none of my friends had it either. In fact, the FIRST time I actually laid my hands on an original Grayskull was when my fiancée showed me her brother’s castle which he had managed to keep after all these years, and even seeing that one was a cool experience. But now I can finally say I have my own castle. One that I will proudly display in my home and it will serve as the centerpiece of my entire toy collection.