Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Collectible of the Week: Castle Grayskull (Mattel; 1982)

"I have the POWER!"

By the time that Mattel released its amazing He-Man and the Masters of the Universe toy line in 1982, I was a young teenager and no longer supposed to be interested in toys. 

*Ahem.* We all know how well that idea turned out, right?

Anyway, because of my dawning adulthood, I never owned much in terms of He-Man toys of the 1980s, but some of my cousins did, and so I often got a close look at these neat fantasy-oriented toys.  One of the coolest items from the line was the over-sized Castle Grayskull mock-up, a giant green playset that could house the various He-Man figures and provide hours of interactive fun to imaginative kids. 

On the animated TV series, Grayskull was home to the Sorceress, but the toy looks a lot more like the home of Prince, He-Man.  The giant set features a handle for easy transport, and opens up to reveal two interior "halves" of the castle. 

Inside Grayskull, you can find a weapons rack, a working elevator (activated by a pull-string), a "combat trainer" for He-Man, and a draw-bridge door that resembles a mouth, replete with teeth and tongue molded in plastic.

Also inside the castle is a nifty throne room and trap door, which may be the most awesome feature of this particular toy.  Although my model of Grayskull no longer has all the inserts and stickers, young fans of The Masters of the Universe could also decorate their castle interiors with decals of mystical-looking computer controls, vent grates, and the like.

Castle Grayskull was also guarded by a rampart-mounted laser cannon, and decorated with a two-sided flag that could fly He-Man's colors.  My version of the castle also has a tower "add on" that houses He-Man's talon fighter.

I recently got my hands on a Castle Grayskull here in Charlotte, and one in very good condition, for my son, Joel, who has just begun to watch the cartoon series on Netflix streaming. 

He loves the toy more than the TV show, and this playset gets hauled out just about every day, though sometimes Grayskull services not He-Man, but Lego Hero Factory soldiers, or Joel's Micromen/Acroyear collection. 

Still, just seeing this great old toy brings me right  back to the days of 1982, when I really, really wanted to own one, but was too "grown up" to have the power of Grayskull for myself... 


  1. Dave Colohan7:19 AM

    My younger brother had one. It now sits on a shelf nearby as I write! Never managed to get Skull Mountain, alas...

  2. It's funny John. I never got into Masters Of The Universe. It never did a thing for me. That must have been when you zigged and I zagged. Ha.

  3. Very cool! I'm 33 so this one was right in my wheelhouse. On Christmas mornings, "Santa" would leave all of our presents out, un-wrapped, under the tree. This castle was one of the items we got one year and I'll never forget coming into the living room and seeing that thing, all set up. The stuff of dreams...for a child anyway.

    We played the hell out of ours.

  4. Hi Dave: This is such a nostalgic toy for me, all the more, I suppose, because I didn't own one. With my son, Joel, I want to play with this one almost every day, but I can't always get him to do it! :)

    SFF: The toys always fascinated me more than the Filmation show. I must admit I have always been extremely fascinated by the blending of fantasy worlds and high technology, vis-a-vis Masters of the Universe or Krull (1983), for example. Something about the idea of mixing dragons and laser guns just appeals to me on a basic level. I dig it.

    Phil K: Great memories! I loved reading of your reminiscences, seeing Castle Grayskull all set up. What a Christmas morning that must have been! I totally understand "playing the hell out" of this toy!

    Thank you all for great comments.