It Figures > King Grayskull

My guest today is one King Grayskull, ancestor of Prince Adam (a.k.a He-Man, though you didn’t hear it from me) and the very first figure from Mattel’s new Masters of the Universe Classics (MOTUC) line.

Thanks for being here, Your Highness.

Thanks for having me, Poe.

So tell me a little about yourself. Who is King Grayskull?

Well, I was a character created for the 2002 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon. Hundreds (maybe thousands) of years before Prince Adam was born, I built Castle Grayskull and protected Eternia from Hordak–and let me tell you, that guy is an ass. He makes Sauron look like the Purple Pieman.

Anyway, when I died in battle, I transferred my power into what’s now called the “Power Sword.” To me it was just a sword, though. I think I got it in a yankee swap.

You’re looking remarkably healthy for a dead man.

Thanks. You know I’m just an action figure, right?

Of course, of course. Speaking of which, how does MOTUC differ from previous MOTU lines?

Well, unlike all three previous lines (Masters of the Universe, the New Adventures of He-Man, and the 2002 Masters of the Universe), MOTU Classics is targeted specifically to collectors, not kids.

The aesthetic design of the line is intended to be strongly reminiscent of the original 1980s toy line. The 2002 revamp featured some very different looks for most of the characters. In essence, MOTUC is the original MOTU, but the figures are taller, more detailed, and much better articulated. While the 2002 revamped figures had a more slender, “realistic” body shape, MOTUC returns He-Man and friends to the realm of the supremely buff.

Yes, I can see that. You’re very tight. Tight like a tiger.

Thanks, Goldmember.

You got me. So the overall design of MOTUC is a bit less detailed than the 2002 figures and more “cartoonish,” for lack of a better term?

I wouldn’t go that far. We’re bigger and buffer than the 2002 figures, but not as insanely ripped as ’80s figures. We’re more like MOTU by way of Ed McGuinness.

Fair enough. OK, let’s get down to brass tacks. You were an SDCC exclusive, right?

Yes, I was available at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con. There was also a bronze-colored “statue” variant. I was briefly sold on Mattel’s new collector website,, as well, but I quickly sold out.

And you come with some amazing packaging. Tell us about that.

Yeah, those guys at Mattel decided it would be fun to package me in something so huge and complicated it would take three engineering students from M.I.T. to get it open and put it together. You should have seen the furrowed brows of those unwashed SDCC nerds as they fiddled with all those cardboard tabs! But I kid the average action figure collector.

In all seriousness, Mattel really outdid themselves–which is impressive given their track record of awesome exclusive packaging. My box transformers into a cardboard replica of Castle Grayskull, complete with the “jawbridge” which opens to reveal me as a deep voice intones “I have the power!” amidst a thunderous crash, while blue lightning flickers behind me.

Yeah, I’ve been driving my wife crazy with that.

Really, the overall effect is pretty awesome, I have to say. I’m proud to come with such packaging.

Indeed. Even a fiddler like me has a hard time throwing away a package like that.


OK, let’s talk sculpt. Obviously, your buck is mostly based off the upcoming He-Man figure, available on at the end of October. How does your figure differ?

Well, this big furry cape is all mine. My harness is different too, with leather straps and this weird chest emblem from the 2002 series–personally I prefer the original iron cross. And then there’s my head, which is brand-new and based off my appearance in the 2002 cartoon–which was in turn based on the Four Horsemen‘s original head sculpt for the 2002 He-Man, which was inspired by Vladimir Kulich’s look in the movie The 13th Warrior. Or at least that’s what I’ve heard.

Aside from that, the only difference I’ve noticed is my belt is gray, not orange.

I notice you’re pretty tall. Early reports were that you’d be in scale with Mattel’s other major 6″ line, DC Universe Classics. You seem quite a bit bigger than that to me, though.

True. I am a Master of the Universe, after all.

What sort of articulation do you have?

Let’s see. I’ve got a ball-jointed neck, though I find its movement is a bit limited by this stiff cape. I’ve got ball-jointed shoulders and hips, hinges at the elbows, knees, ankles and abdomen, and swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, and boots. All in all, I’m pretty satisfied. Aside from the neck, the only other place my movement is somewhat limited is my hips. The plastic this loincloth is made from isn’t very pliable.

OK, I really don’t want to get dragged into a discussion of your loincloth…

I thought you said we were friends–now you’re not interested in how I clothe my junk?

Not at all. What are those accessories you have there?

Ah yes. Well, this is the aforementioned Power Sword, though again, to me it’s just “my sword.” It’s pretty cool to finally have a Power Sword that isn’t either half a sword, like the original, or a technological monstrosity like the 2002 one.

I also come with a labrys (double-bladed axe) and this studded shield. All of my accessories are very closely modeled after the original He-Man’s.

So what’s next for Masters of the Universe Classics?

Well, as we talked about earlier, He-Man will be available on in late October. Beast-Man will be next in mid-November, followed by Skeletor in December. After that, a figure will be released on once a month, with Stratos in January 2009, Mer-Man in February, and Zodac sometime after that.

By the way, if you want a closer look at the new Skeletor, be sure to pick up ToyFare #134, arriving at comic shops this week!

I’m sure the folks at ToyFare are happy for that plug. Thanks again for chatting with me, King Grayskull. I know you need to get back to being long-dead.


I’d also like to offer a big thanks to Rustin Parr for braving the nerd herds at SDCC to get me my King Grayskull (as well as my DCUC Lobo and NECA Mousers). You are a true hero, Rustin.


Poe Gets Married


Odds ‘n Ends > Better Late than Never (Updated)


  1. captainzero

    Yeah, nice review, Poe.

    I got a King Grayskull and really like him. Nice package, too.

    Question: I've seen KG with his hair on his left side kind of blown away from his face. I didn't like the look very much. It looks like he's wearing a wig that's blowing away.

    Mine is NOT like the ones I've seen pictured. Does anyone know what I'm talking about????

    Which ones are like that… and which ones are like mine… and why?? Does anyone know???

  2. Zodac101

    Nice review, love the different take on this. Hope you do more on the lines of this one in the future.

  3. To quote ToyGuru about King Grayskull's size

    "For the most part, the characters will be 6 inches (well, Grayskull is a bit bigger)."

    I think it's more that He-Man and other figures are 6 inches, but King Grayskull was a giant in the episode he appearead, so I'd think it would be fitting for him to stand out from the bunch somehow. Being taller works. 🙂

  4. Poe

    @OP636: Good catch on the Alien Demon (gargoyle)!

    No, he wasn't a centerpiece, but there's a very important reason he's there. You'll have to wait to find out why…he's one of my favorite Red Kryptonite pieces, though, second only to Warduke.

  5. orionpax636

    Welcome back, Poe!

    Great way to change up the monotony of regular reviews. He's probably my favorite of the SDCC '08 exclusives.

    Did you add one of those naked Blackstar gargoyles as your "Poe's Point" button? I hope you didn't use one of those as a wedding headpiece.

  6. dwaltrip

    Thanks Poe.

    And as far as the bodies being being identical. Im not 100% sure on this, but I think KG is taller. Because since he is technically a 2002 guy, he is kind of thrown into this line as a bonus, and he is not following the same format as the rest of the recurring line. Anyone with more info on the truth of this, feel free to correct me because I might be wrong.

  7. Poe

    @Jukka: Long time no see! Thanks for stopping by, and for the info on He-Man. One question, though–why is KG any taller? Just the head sculpt? I assumed the bodies were identical.

    @Dwaltrip: I did, I just sent you an email back. I'll announce your victory in next week's Odds 'n Ends–it got pre-empted by the KG review this week. Well, that and my own laziness.

  8. plain_sliced

    yes, the review style rocks. nice take. i shouldn't have passed on when it was avaliable. i will have to wait for second market.

  9. dwaltrip

    Great review Poe. I love the style you did it in. 🙂

    Hey…..did you get my e-mail the other day? Just wanted to make sure it didnt get lost in your filter.

  10. In other differences between King Grayskull-figure and He-Man:

    – King Grayskull is slightly taller than He-Man.

    – He-Man will actually have gold (like the belt) wrist-bands, even if the photo of the prototype shows gray.

  11. This is such an awesome feature; I'm a junkie for reviews, but it's too seldom that someone finds a unique way to present them.

    And while I don't like this new line as a whole (I'd much prefer super-articulated versions of the 2002 sculpts), that King Greyskull is one handsome goddamn action figure.

  12. Huh, I might have to actually keep the one I ordered…

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén