Masters of the Universe Classics Castle Grayskull, released in December of 2013, was quite an achievement in an era when big playsets are becoming rarer and rarer. Larger, more complex and more detailed than the original, Classics Castle Grayskull was offered for a preorder price of $250 – more than three times the inflation-adjusted cost of the original, but still not bad given the size, complexity, and lower number of units produced.
MOTU Classics Castle Grayskull’s biggest single influence is the original prototype playset sculpted by Mark Taylor in 1981, although the Classics version is somewhat tamer and less decrepit looking. Some of this influence is no doubt filtered through the cross sell artwork and minicomic depictions by Alfredo Alcala (both based on the prototype). Other influences include some invented details from Alfredo Alcala’s artwork, the original, vintage Castle Grayskull playset, the original Rudy Obero box art, and a concept Dungeon playset designed by Ted Mayer.
Here’s a more detailed breakout of the influences that went into creating the Masters of the Universe Classics Castle Grayskull:
Material taken from the vintage prototype or vintage concept art includes:
- Ledge on the left tower
- “Pawn” piece on top of the helmet
- Taller helmet and battlements
- Eye shape
- Removable handle in the side allows for concept Castle’s side battlements
- Throne design
- Computer design
- Skull motif at top of elevator
- Hidden side door
- Battle Tester
Material taken from the vintage playset:
- Elevator design
- Flag design
- Ladder and laser blaster design
- Banner, trap door and dungeon grate decals
- Drawbridge design, front and back
- Handle on the side piece (removable)
Vintage box art material:
- Nose shape
- Elongated fangs
- Enlarged lower teeth
- Third floor
- Dungeon walls (window and skull designs from Ted Mayer’s dungeon playset)
- Secret slot to gain entrance to Castle located to the side of the jaw bridge
There are several unique touches to the playset as well, including an additional secret door off the side of the throne room, a secret orb room in the back side of the helmet, and extended floor with plug for Wind Raider stand, and an “evil” throne room banner to match the original “good” one.
The original design for the Classics Castle Grayskull (artwork by Nate Baertsch, who is a frequent collaborator with the Four Horsemen) was to include a number of other goodies as well, including a clear “Spirit of Grayskull” display (from Alfredo Alcala’s artwork), a removable dungeon, a triangular weapons rack, a mechanism to open the secret door on the castle’s left tower, a sculpted dungeon grate, and a few other goodies. These seem to have been removed from the final product due to cost.