MOTU Origins: Castle Grayskull

By the power of MOTU gods… I have the Grayskull! I don’t know how it happened, but my WalMart preorder from August last year actually arrived. It’s a reasonable upgrade from the 1980s Castle Grayskull, and worth getting it at retail price. Click below for a break-down of features and more photos.
I missed the boat and did not get MOTU Classics Castle Grayskull. So I’m recalling the original 1980s Grayskull and the 200X electronic Grayskull for this article. I loved the “face” of the vintage Grayskull, and was never attached the 200X Grayskull upgrade. By adding lights to the eyes, and an angry expression, it was too cartoony and not at all “deeply terrifying” like the original. I did however love the 200X Castle’s sound effects, especially the turret gun with the original Filmation laser blast sound effect. It was fantastic. This Origins castle is obviously a call-back to the vintage Grayskull. Almost every original detail is given a nod. The face is appropriately deeply terrifying again with dark, emotionless eye sockets.
The cardboard elements have been upgraded to sculpted plastic decorations and the decals (like the dungeon) have been updated as well. EXCEPT the Astronaut! My favorite subtle detail of the 80s Grayskull was the cardboard astronaut. Sometimes I imagined it was Queen Marlena’s astronaut suit on display, or maybe it was a mysterious robot in hibernation that could spring alive at any moment. Either way it’s sorely missed. Maybe we get an action figure in the future? If a customizer out there makes a 3D printed astronaut suit, please let me know. The hanging banner that was just a sticker is now a hanging drape (that can be moved around the castle), that’s a great upgrade.
The elevator definitely feels upgraded. There’s an actual pulley, and the string is more substantial. I always loved the engineering behind the gargoyle pull tab being able to hook into the lip of the platform to keep the elevator in the up position. I found here though, that it doesn’t need to hook, it stays in position. I also like the various pegs for the action figure peg holes. Most of my Origins figures stand on their own, but it’s helpful.
The ladder is also a great upgrade. It looks as if the action figures can actually use it, and there are a few notches here and there so it’ll sit in place better. It’s much more substantial. If Mattel ever gives us an astronaut suit, perhaps in an accessory pack, they could also give us a second ladder, it would look good.
Let’s talk about the exclusive Sorceress. This version is all white with translucent wings. It seems we will be getting a carded Sorceress in the traditional red and blue colors in a later wave. I like the rubbery material the wings are made of, and they fold up and down nicely.
I also like the spring loaded latch on the jaw bridge. You can stick the completed Power Sword into the notch and it opes right up. I specifically wanted to recreate the illustration I remember of Skeletor stabbing a rock near the entrance to sneak into Castle Grayskull. I was a little off, but that image stuck with me.
All that aside, you have to admit there’s nothing more bad-ass than Skeletor sitting in the Grayskull throne. This is the Keldor spare-head, and the flash caught his red jewel eyes perfectly. You can hear him saying “Grayskull is mine!”

While most of the accessories are upgrades, I was a little disappointed with the included Weapons. The weapons rack is a nice upgrade and there’s a second, eagle themed, sword rack. This is great, but I felt the included weapons was a shade too few. With the vintage Grayskull, a full weapons rack elicits a “WHOA Lookit all these weapons!” where as here I looked in the box for more. I do like I can store weapons I’ve gotten with existing figures like Stratos (whoops, strike that) I mean Zodak and Man E Faces.grayskull_24
I feel that the Origins Grayskull makes a great centerpiece to your Origins collection. It’s great for play, and for display. I am trying to fit this one on the shelf next to my vintage. I think I can have the vintage closed up, displaying the iconic face, and this one opened up showing off the interior with plenty of places to station my Origins figures. Now fingers crossed for an Origins Snake Mountain and Slime pit!

Castle Grayskull

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