The second version of King Grayskull was released on November 15, 2010, making this easily my most-delayed review of a MOTUC figure. I didn’t even get around to opening him until I started this review. That’s mostly because I prefer the original King Grayskull (my review) and I wasn’t I even wanted to keep this version (but ultimately, being a completist–aside from the DC vs. MOTU sets–I have).
With the upcoming Temple of Darkness Sorceress convention exclusive with the pedestal for the Orb of Sparkle Crest, I decided it was time to open up ol’ D’Vann.
Real Name: D’vann Grayskull
Growing up under the oppressive rule of the Snake Men, D’vann was driven to rebel against injustice when his brother was captured and eaten. Others flocked to Grayskull’s banner and his legend began to grow. Declared King for his courage, compassion, wisdom and strength, Grayskull became a great leader, ruling along with his council of wise Elders. A destined guardian of the Sword of He, Grayskull magically passed his essence into the blade with his last breath — ensuring that only his heirs would now wield it and tap into the great power it harmonized with. After his death, the sword was split in two and its power transmuted into a great orb inside his castle, protected by Grayskull’s devoted and loving widow.
KG’s packaging is in the standard style for the line, but it has one nice touch–a bolt of lightning across the front of the bubble between the two halves of the Power Sword. It’s a nice touch and exactly the sort of thing (I imagine) MOC collectors love to see.
In terms of sculpting, King Grayskull is identical to the original (I don’t have the figures at hand while writing this and a tiny, persistent voice in my head is making me worry that the boots might be different, but everything I can find on the Web makes it sound like they’re the same).
The differences between the figures lie in the paint and plastic. For example, the original King Grayskull’s head was molded in flesh color, while the new one is fully painted. And as NoisyDvL5 of ItsAllTrue observed, KG arguably looks more like He-Man than He-Man does. Revamped KG’s cape is molded in red and his harness, gauntlets, and belt are silver instead of gray.
One minor but noticeable difference is the paint wash on the furry underwear. It’s much better and more detailed on the new figure.
The top of the cape now has a flocked trim, which I have to say I hate. I hate fabric or anything resembling fabric on toys. It worked for Moss-Man, but I think it was unnecessary here, and this is the sort of flocking that’s even more likely to get that mangy-type look over the years. Finally, there’s the fact that the flocking makes it look screaming bright white. The non-flocked material with the paint wash on the original looks much better.
Overall, I prefer the cape and harness of the original figure, and the head, gauntlets and belt of the new one.
The place this figure outshines its predecessor are the accessories. The original King Grayskull came with a plain axe and shield, primarily so they could be re-used for He-Man. The new KG gets the Power Sword as well, but this time it’s molded in speckled translucent blue like He-Ro‘s sword and painted to look as if it’s in the process of being infused with the Power Cosmic or whatever’s in the Orb of
Sparkle Crest Power. The Orb itself is a bit plain, but its value will be improved by the pedestal that’s coming with Temple of Darkness Sorceress.
Grayskull also comes with two halves of the Power Sword, now re-engineered to stick together a bit better. Not a lot better, especially when the halves get warped by the packaging, but a little better.
He’s also got the usual MOTUC articulation: ball joints at the head, shoulders and hips, swivels at the biceps, waist, wrists, hips and boot-tops, and hinges at the elbows, knees, abdomen, and ankles. As usual, one of the ankles is pretty loose, but fortunately the other is tight enough to let him keep standing.
I have mixed feelings about this figure. For one thing, I learned a painful lesson: whenever Mattel says they’re going to reissue a hard-to-find figure, nine times out of ten it will not be identical to the first release and I will find the newer version inferior. I sold my original King Grayskull and had to buy him back at great expense and felt like a complete idiot. (And I really have no excuse, because it happened to me with their DC Super Heroes Catwoman and Two-Face as well.)
But while I dislike the figure’s new cape and hate the flocking, the paint apps are much better and the accessories far more interesting. It makes for a just-above-average entry in this line.