CASTLE GRAYSKULL MAN
I’ve got a gripe. On the 15th on every month at 1pm my local time I have to rush over to the shared internet station in my work section and hope that no one else is trolling around over there because I need to visit mattycollector.com. Mattycollector is Mattel’s retail website through which they release collector oriented action figures on a monthly basis. They sell DC super heroes, Ghostbusters and Voltron but very rarely do any of those lines spark my interest. What I log on for is the Masters of the Universe figures. Since late 2008 Mattel has been releasing at least 1 new MOTU figure through the site on the 15th of each month. For nearly two years now I’ve made it a priority to be at the internet station at 1:00pm to purchase the latest offerings. This past Friday’s releases were Ram-Man, Jit-Su, and a re-release of Kobra Khan. Even though I logged in right on time the Khans were already gone, apparently purchased through some sort of early-bird benefit available to subscribers. Luckily I got Ram-Man in my virtual shopping cart before he sold out; they were gone by 8 minutes after. I also snagged Jit-Su. These rapid sell-outs can be frustrating and put me in a near panic as I wait for pages to load on my uber-slow work computer. There’s nothing worse than having an item vanish from your cart as you watch a progress bar drag along. A few characters have sold-out on me in the past including Kobra Khan on his initial release and a couple of months back I missed out on Fisto, the nemesis of Jit-Su. So while I am frustrated to have missed out on Kobra Khan (again) that’s not what I want to gripe about.
It’s the god damn prices! It wasn’t so long ago that the individual figures were $20 a pop. Then they went up to $22 and larger sized beasts like Battle Cat were $30. Still reasonable in my mind. But as of the new year individual figures are now $27 each and beasts are $35+. My Friday order came to $60, $27 for Jit-Su and $33 for Ram-Man. Mild frustration but these are quality figures so I’m okay with it. Where I feel totally screwed over is on the shipping. $28 for shipping! The cost of a whole other figure! Now I’m in for 90 bucks on two toys. In December I ordered the massive Granamyr figure along with Mosquitor and the shipping was only $17. My shipping has always been in the 15 to 18 dollar range depending on how many figures I buy. For my shipping to double in price basically overnight is preposterous. Maybe there was a calculation error on the site. I think I may have to send an email to Mattel on this one. But if it turns out to be legit I may have to stop purchasing these figures on release day and try my luck on the secondary market. Sucks.
Okay, rant over. Now that that’s out of the way let’s review a figure that I ordered back on the 15th of November. This is Castle Grayskull Man. This figure was released as part of the 6-figure 30th anniversary series comprised of brand new characters to the MOTU mythos. Other 30th anniversary figures included Drageo-Man, Mighty Spector, Fearless Photog, Cy-Chop, and Sir Laser-Lot. Those last two I passed on but I may pick them up during one of mattycollector’s future sale events.
I’m all for Mattel introducing some new characters to the Classics line but the 30th anniversary experiment was over-all a miss. Drageo –Man was the only character that I really liked from the series. The others ranged from okay to sucks. Castle GraySkull Man is my second favorite after Drageo-Man but there’s a sizable gap between first and second. The thing that kills this figure for me is the hair. I hate the hair. I really like the concept behind the character and the overall design but that stupid yellow-green greasy hair just ruins it for me.
Castle Grayskull Man was actually designed by a fan who won a “design a MOTU figure” contest. A similar contest was held back in the 80s but the figure didn’t get produced for over 20 years (That would be Fearless Photog ). So I guess Daniel Benedict should be pretty stoked to have gotten his creation made and released so quickly. And let me just say how envious I am of Mr. Benedict. Having an official figure made of a character you created would be awesome. This character will be part of the MOTU mythology for all time now, perhaps appearing in cartoons and toy lines for generations to come. Congratulations on your win sir. If you’d like to learn more about this character, Daniel has created a facebook page and an official website entirely devoted to its creation. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for the next time one of these contests springs up. In the mid 2000s a G.I. Joe fan won a similar contest and he himself got made into a G.I. Joe character. Now that would be awesome. And back when I was in high school my buddy Sean won a contest where he and my other friend Cal got to appear in an actual Superman comic where they “met” Superman. How cool is it that my friends meeting Superman will remain part of the character’s history forever? Well at least until DC decides to wipe away decades of comic history to sell a few more books to movie goers.
I’ve gotten off track again. That’s a rant for another day. When it comes to Castle Grayskull Man’s backstory I’m not sure if Daniel came up with that as well or if it was someone at Hasbro but it’s a pretty neat idea. When The actual Castle is under siege the living embodiment of its power can be summoned to defend it in the form of Castle Grayskull Man. The figure has the familiar color scheme and brick texture that he really looks as if he just walked right out of the walls of the iconic MOTU castle. With a new Castle Grayskull play set coming out soon a neat feature would be to sculpt a figure shaped space in the wall where CGM could be placed until needed.
This figure came with two pretty sweet looking swords though I think a weapon forged out of the same wall-like material would have been more appropriate. So even though I hate this figure’s stupid hair I still think you should pick one up. He’s definitely a cool addition to any Masters of the Universe collection. 7 out of 10.