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 Adam…er, 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…