Feb 28, 2013

Castle Grayskull: An example on Mattel disappointing customers

Before I start this rant I NEED to make one thing Clear...
I am NOT complaining about the sculpt!! The 4Horsemen did a WONDERFUL thing sculptwise.
(Then again, it's rare to find a sucky 4Horsemen sculpt) My whole disappointment stems from Mattel's actions.
Now before I officially start, I need to point out some other things:
-I'm glad that we're getting a Castle Grayskull, even if I decided NOT to buy it.
-Again, it's not the sculpt where I'm disappointed.
-I have nothing personal against Scott Neitlich.

OK where to start:

Check out Castle Grayskull...

Remember this? They were going for $200 target. Then they said that it's be $250 in order for them NOT to CUT ANYTHING from the B-Sheet.

Guess what was the first casualty of the castle...

Sad part is that the Horsemen had Sculpted it after Neitlich had said countless of times that AT LEAST EVERYTHING ON THE B-SHEET would make it to the Final Castle.

Any Similarity to someone we know is Purely Coincidental...

Here's the actual castle now... This video was meant to compare the New Classics Castle to previous versions in order to make us WANT the new Castle. first, notice how further back is the partially assembled 200X Castle...

I took those measurements and compared them to the "crappy" 200X Castle... Here's what I got:
The Measurements from the Classics Castle came straight from Scott Neitlich's Castle Comparison video posted above.
Classics: To the highest Tower 22.5"h
200X: to the highest tower a bit shy of 20.5"h
Classics: Jawbridge Closed 8"h
200X: Jawbridge Closed about 7.5"h
Classics: Inside Front wall 15"w
200X: Inside front wall: 15"w
Classics: To the Lowest Tower 18.5"h
200X: To the Lowest Tower 19"h
classics: Jawbridge Open 7"h
200X: Jawbridge Open 7.25"h

Extra measurements: 200X First floor a bit over 8"h Second Floor's Under the lowest tower a little bit over 6.5"h Under the Highest tower a bit over 7.5"h

The Classics Castle is the better castle except on Jawbridge clearance when open and that the 200X castle is flatter when closed and gives you a bit more shelf space.

He-Man.org held an open topic where forum users asked Mattel their top 3 issues with the castle.

Here's pretty much what Scott Toyguru Neitlich had to say regarding those issues:

Hey everyone! I know their have been a ton of questions about the Castle and Val and the Mods were nice enough to gather together the most pressing questions. Please keep in mind that everything about the Castle is in flux right now as development continues. No one has really tired anything this ambitious before (selling in a 250.00 playset with a B-sheet!) so we do ask that you bare with us as development continues. There are and will continue to be changes from the original B-sheet as we move into sculpt (as seen at NYTF) and final toy (which we hope to show at SDCC).

If in any way you are unhappy with the product as it develops you may cancel your order through Aug 30th. But keep in mind if you cancel you can’t get back in and it is likely we will not do a day of sale for the Castle (or if we do it will be super limited and maybe only customer service stock sold off if not needed). Hope these answers clarify and feel free to ask more over on the Mattycollector.com “ask Matty” forums!


1. Will the jawbridge hinge be lowered further and/or the entrance way increased in height to allow for a longer jawbridge and more clearance for figures (or even better, clearance for He-Man on Battle Cat)?

We are actually looking into this. At this point it is too early to confirm anything but Mattel design and the Four Horsemen are exploring ways of getting the Jaw Bridge to lower into the base a bit more to allow for more clearance. We are actively looking into this to see if it is possible.

2. Can the Windraider socket be moved to the top somehow and/or the lower base be removed and something else be done in its place, such as the addition of other highly requested features or items (like the 3D dungeon) not currently offered with Grayskull?

The WR socket was always planned and announced as being inside of the Castle. The idea of "replacing it" does not really work. The socket is a hole in the floor of the castle for the existing stand included with the released WR toy. Replacing this "socket hole" with a newly sculpted item with lots of deco (like the dungeon you suggest) is not a 1:1 cost ratio. A new item with deco is way more expensive vs. including a socket in the floor. But if you don't want to use the Windraider socket or even the entire floor section you do not have to. This optional floor section with the WR socket plug is an accessory for the Castle and not needed to hold the playset together the way the walls do. If you don't care for this feature you do not need to display it. It is optional.

3. Will the inside walls of Grayskull be sculpted to add detail and features rather than being smooth as we saw in the prototype?

The interior walls will be the inverse sculpt of the exterior walls. They were smooth at Toy Fair in the Four Horsemen sculpt. But was noted at the show as being a temp item to hold the prototype together. The final plastic castle will have one sculpted wall for the outside and inside.

4. Will the throne be adjusted to allow for the Sorceress and/or a caped figure to sit in?

Yes, we are exploring adding a slit in the back of the throne for the Sorceress's tail feather to slide into letting her sit properly.

5. Will you adjust the trapdoor so it drops directly onto the dungeon or into the prison?

No, there will not be changes to the trapdoor position.

6. Will you go back and make Grayskull larger like in the foam mockup? And if not, why was it scaled down in size?

No. This is the largest we can make the Castle at the current price point. The foam model and the sell in sheet was noted as a work in progress and all dimensions given were noted as estimates that would likely change. And they did slightly.

7. Can head clearance inside the castle be improved for the figures placed inside on the different floors?

No, we won't be able to adjust the spacing of the floors, but there is more than enough space for MOTUC figures on each section.

8. Will the missing accessories from the original playset and other items like the 3D dungeon and Mark Taylor concept accessories be offered separately in the future if we cannot get the with this Grayskull playset?

We don't have plans for any additional accessories to the actual Castle (in fact there is a good chance some of the items shown at NYTF may need to be cut before the final product is shown at SDCC as costs continue to come in). It is always possible we could look into an add on "furniture" or "accessory" pack for the Castle one day, but nothing is planned right now.

9. Will there be pegs on the ledges to keep the figures from falling, or will you make the ledges wider so pegs aren't needed?

No. We won't be adding pegs to the ledge. There is more than enough space for two MOTUC figures to fit. Eric confirmed this on Roast Gooble dinner last week. (note from JVS3: I hope to have the episode up this coming weekend)

10. Will a cap be provided to cover the Wind Raider stand socket when it's not used, plus can something done with texture and sculpting to help make the floor look better?

No, we won't be adding a cap to the WR socket. It is an option piece and you can choose to not display it with your Castle if you do not care for it.

11. Is Grayskull designed for the potential future additions like Point Dread, castle playset extensions and/or dioramas?

Yes, the Horsemen did sculpt it with this in mind, but no plans right now for any additional items like you describe.

12. Will the spacesuit armor ever be offered as an articulated figure, or a snap-on piece that will cover an existing figure?

It is always possible but we don't have any plans right now for this.

13. Will fans be polled for what features, accessories and items they'd prefer on Grayskull?

No. The only poll we are running is for preorder customers to choose which 10 figures will be on the box art.

14. Can we get more features or additions (like a portal) that are nods to Filmation Grayskull?

No, we won't be adding any additional accessories and there is a very good chance that some of the accessories shown at NYTF may not make it to the final product as costs continue to come in. We'll have the final toy to show at SDCC.

15. Will you change the prison's size and bars so you can fit more inside and so you can see more of the figure through the bars?

No, we won't be able to make this change.

16. Will all the materials used, especially on joints and hinges, be stable and of the highest quality to insure durability, with the possibility of replacement parts and a lengthier warrantee?

We are using the best material we can!

17. Will Scareglow's key work on Grayskull?

Yes, there will be a slot added to the back door that will fit his key.

18. Will the hinge allow for the two halves to be taken apart after the initial assembly?

Assembly is not final at this time so we don't have a final answer to this.

19. Will a book, comic or unannounced accessory come with Grayskull?


20. Will this Grayskull ever be used for another incarnation of MOTU, such as 3 and ¾ figures?

There are no plans to re-release the Castle beyond the current sale.

21. Will the two halves open up completely so they are perfectly side-by-side and will sit flush against a flat surface?

Assembly is not final at this time so we don't have a final answer to this.

22. Will you make the left parapet taller?

No, we won't be able to make this change.

23. Will the walls of the castle remain thick?

No, the sculpt at NYTF had much thicker walls to hold the prototype together. In the final plastic product the walls will be the inverse of the exterior sculpt detail.

24. Will any of the interior show when Grayskull is closed (like the top of the elevator rails) and if so, can it be fixed to conceal anything inside when closed?

It will be very similar to the vintage Castle. You will likely see some section of the elevator but we are not far enough along to make a definitive call.

25. Can the green on the castle be made darker?

Deco is not final but it is pretty close. We'll pass this along but likely we are past the point of making this change.

26. Will extensive testing be done to make sure paint will adhere and not easily scrape off Grayskull?

All of our products have this.

27. Will the sword keyhole be disguised in any way to make it less visible when not used?

It will look like a vertical crack in the front stone by the Jaw Bridge.

28. Are the shields, sword holder and tapestries removable?

The swords and shields can be removed, but the wall mounted holder is one time assembly. You can interchange which swords and shields are on the wall to your heart’s content.

29. Can the flags be made out of a sturdy fabric?

The flags are made of plastic.

30. If any paint aps are cut, will stickers be included to make up for any lost paint?

That would be one option, but we are pretty set on the paint ops at this point!

31. Will there be a lock on the orb chamber that you can open with the Sword of Power or Sword of Protection?


32. Will the laser canon swivel left to right as well as up and down?

It moves up and down on the stand, but it is also not in a fixed spot so you can move it wherever you want.

33. Will you add a plug-in to attach Castle Grayskullman in some way?

You can put him anywhere you want, but there is no attachment for him.

34. Will the elevator have more paint aps?

No, we are not adding additional paint aps. But it has a lot.

35. Will you make a set of thrones to sell separately to use with the King and Queen?

It is always possible but we don't have any plans right now for this.

36. Do Castle Grayskullman's swords fit into the sword wall mount?

The wall mounted sword holder will fit most MOTUC swords/weapons.

37. Will the flags turn on the poll, or will the poll be able to rotate to show different sides of the flag?

The flag is fixed and made of plastic. The poll is a self standing element that can be moved or positioned anyway you want on the top, inside, next to the ground or even in your refrigerator if that if your thing.

38. Will it come with an Orb for the Orb Room?

No. The orb came with King Grayskull in late 2011.

39. Will we get He-Ro's grave?

No, we won't be including a grave stone accessory. Only what was shown at NYTF and possibly not even all of those items as costs continue to come in. A final toy will be shown at SDCC.
Again, they bumped up the cost of the castle to $250 for the first wave of preorders to avoid cutting items... Not only that but Wave 2 of Preorders is paying $275... AND there's a threat of them cutting out more stuff... except the dumbasstacular Wind Raider Parking spot within the castle...

this comes to mind every time anyone asks about axing the crappy wind raider parking spot that's creating the height clearance issues on the castle floors...

Seems like the Hoverboardgate has reincarnataed... Now with all that said, here's the short version of WHY I'm disappointed in Castle Grayskull and I ain't buying it!

-Mattel's bait and switch tactics. We get the world promised to us. They INCREASE the cost of the castle TWICE and now we're getting LESS than what they promised.
-The size of the castle is 3.5 inches taller than the 200X Castle I already own. I wanna point out that Neitlich's "comparison" video did very little in the comparing department. Not to mention showing the 200X Castle incomplete and further back to make it even smaller.
-The stubbornness on keeping unwanted features while ignoring the real issues.

I'm sorry, but $275 + S & H for a slightly taller castle when the 200X one is ROUGHLY the same size AND doesn't have that many headroom issues as the Classics Castle... Right now the Classics Castle is more or less ACCEPTABLE for MOTUC figures, but PERFECT for the Vintage or 200X Figures. No matter how many fancy Mathematics I use, I can't make a $300+ dollars investment for a Castle that is  simply the "Vintage Castle in 200X Scale"...

Again, the sculpt is beautiful, but it's too small for MOTUC... The castle is big, but for it to be better compatible with MOTUC it needs those extra 2 inches that are missing due to shrinkage...

If you LOVE Castle Grayskull and can afford it, by all means buy it and enjoy it! I'm not saying DON'T BUY IT! I'm just stating the things that turned me off from buying the Castle... Had it been Snake Mountain, I'd have been more torn on the issue... Mostly cause the only thing it would be compared to is the Vintage Snake Mountain and let's face it...

This playset screams more Demon/Wolf/and a giant mutant worm Mountain than snake mountain...

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