Countdown to Castle Grayskull Day 1 – The Scott Neitlich Interview (Part 2)
November 11, 2012

The rest of today, and tomorrow.  That’s IT!   We are in the home stretch.  We only have a little over 36 hours away form the close of pre-orders for Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics Castle Grayskull.  Mattel has to hit the goal by midnight on Monday Nov. 12th in order for the set to get sculpted and move forward.   I think by now you have heard just about every plea from Mattel and  a lot of websites as to why you should order.   You already know that the playset is a year away and that you have a year to save up for it.  You know that it’s BIG, and that it will be loaded with features and that it is based on the original Mark Taylor design.  You also probably know that this playset is unprecedented in the toy world.   Never before have fans gotten a playset of this scale outside of retail.

I looked at a lot if the video and interviews about the Castle and came up with a list of questions I hadn’t seen asked anywhere else and Scott “Toy Guru” Neitlich was kind enough to answer them as part of our countdown watch of the pre-order.  Have a read, spread the word and lets bring He-man and his family home

This is part 2 of the interview.

You can read part 1 of the interview here.

ActionFigureInsider: This is really the first Castle Grayskull designed by a team of fans, that also happen to be toy makers.  As a life-long MOTU fan, what is the experience like to be working on, updating and designing one of the most iconic playsets in toy history?
ToyGuru: Very surreal. CG isn’t just a playset, it is a pop culture and toy icon. We all feel a great sense of responsibility going into this to execute this right, not just for the fans but for toy history as well. I would put this, the Hoverboard and our upcoming Watchmen line as three of the items I am most honored to have been able to work on. It is intimidating and exciting at the same time!



AFi: Were there features, Easter eggs or design elements that you always wanted your original (vintage) Castle Grayskull to have?
TG: For me personally I always wish the sculpted door on the back opened. I wished there was a “secret” way to break in (for  bad guys if you will) and I am thrilled we are adding that into the current design (along with a second secret door on the side ledge). I really think this adds to the play value.



AFi: Since you are still in a pre-sell phase and don’t have the full greenlight are you having to hold back the Four Horsemen and the design team?  I would imagine great ideas keep coming to them “OH!  We could do ______.” And then you have to say “Hold on guys… save it for when we know it’s going forward.”
TG: Oh we definitely do. The team came up with a lot of ideas for things to put into this castle and not everyone will be able to make it in and still keep the cost at 250.00. Some of the ideas folks had would have shot this thing well into 500.00 plus! When you are designing a castle Grayskull you are just tempted to put everything possible in! But we still wanted to keep the price reasonable at 250.00. That was the only factor limiting our imagination.



AFi: Have the Horsemen, the design team or yourself come up with any element or feature that’s just too out there or expensive to incorporate?
TG:  Definitely (as noted above). Keep this at 250.00 was not easy. Too much cool stuff we wanted to keep adding. More rooms, more accessories, more walls, things like that.



AFi:You often been quoted as saying that we most likely wouldn’t get a Castle Grayskull playset unless it was a “movie year.”  Since tooling is SO expensive and it looks like a MOTU feature film is getting a bit closer (director named and new writers) are you looking at elements from the playset that could be swapped out or reused if it would fit the movie design?

TG: Not at all. While I could see Classics ( as a line) being part of a hypothetical mainstream relaunch in a small way during a movie year, the movie is and always has been its own thing. This classics castle is designed for nostalgia and fans. If a movie happens it will likely not use “classics” parts.  We don’t want to restrict the imagination of filmmakers or other future creators by forcing them to use an existing toy in their design (if you will).



AFi: Do you have a favorite element or design feature of this new Castle?
TG: The rotating brick wall (entrance) on the ledge. So cool! Bad guys need a way to invade or good guys can sneak out. It always bugged me that their was only one way in or out of old one.  A fortress of mystery and power needs secret entrances! I also love the orb chamber.



AFi: You mentioned before that you are working to incorporate as many cool features as you can (trap doors, Wind Raider landing pad, detachable front for display) and you are exploring possibly tying in previous elements (Orb of Power stand, weapons rack, Scareglow’s key) to this new version.  If the sale goes well are you looking to add “add-on” elements to it maybe in the 2014 sub?  Or just on
TG: Definitely possible much as we did the weapon rack. We’ll have to take this one step at a time but anything is possible.



AFi: Here we are, home stretch –  It’s last call.  What’s one more thing you want to tell the fans that are still on the fence about pre-ordering?
TG: I suppose I’d just note that this isn’t just about getting a playset. This is THE playset and honestly this version of the castle (I expect) will go on to become one of the greatest toys ever made (and that is saying a lot I know). Doing a “collector scale” playset is a very rare opportunity and by supporting this presale fans are really supporting an item that will make them the envy of anyone left out. We’ve all been asking for this for years, we have a shot to make it happen. Don’t take this opportunity for granted! We have the power!


Thank you to Scott for the interview.  You can pre-order your own Castle Grayskull here on… but you better hurry!

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on,, The Wall Street Journal, The Saturday Evening Post,,,, Boing-Boing,, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
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