Mega Construx Castle Grayskull…Retrospective

Snake Mountain is supposed to arrive tomorrow!!!

Because I didn’t document the build or even do a review of the terrific Castle Grayskull, I thought today would be a good day to have some things to say about it.

Without a doubt, I had never put together such a large set of blocks. I picked up the Lego Batmobile meant for adults from a thrift store once like fifteen years ago, but it had 900 something pieces if I remember correctly. And a big problem with that was that the pieces were mostly jet black. Castle Grayskull was a 3,508 piece build. YIKES! And in this case, Mattel boasts a new color…”Grayskull Green,” which is what most of this set was made of.

Here is the completed facade.

When you see it in a picture, say on the front of the magnificent box, you don’t realize how each little exposed stud or piece of flat brick or rounded block (barrel style) had to be carefully placed by a designer. You can see from the front of the castle here that the bottom is very heavy. The way the side towers curve around is a genius design, and one that reflects some of the quirkiness of Mega Construx builds. The instructions, (two thick almost catalogues) breaks each step down into a manageable project. For instance, each tower was handled by the bottom half, then the top half, and then connect to the main structure. See those olive colored pieces? I thought of those as a “reward” every time I got to place one…it broke up the monotony of Grayskull Green. I wonder how much psychology went into that choice?

Here is the back

The roof was really kind of a nightmare. Each one of those shingles had to be placed just right in order for the panels of roofing to fit together properly. Some have right handed slants, and others left handed. Some point up and some down. And they better be aligned properly! The “handle” at the top. NEVER USE IT AS A HANDLE. I certainly haven’t. The castle is definitely too heavy for that. This is there for the aesthetics of being true to the original.

Speaking of being true to the original…this castle is actually a model of the Masters of the Universe Classics castle. It maintains many features that that play-set has. (I am only told about this from Pixel Dan videos and the like. I don’t own one and have no room for it anyway. And $700!). See that “mouth” shaped wall underneath the triangular “eye” windows? That’s a break away wall!

For some reason I don’t have great pictures of the inside…You get three floors. Everything you would expect is there and more. There is a trap door operated by the throne.

There is a jail, this time with an operating cage door. The jaw-bridge opens, though the sword key is just a gimmick and unnecessary. There is a computer, an elevator, a weapon rack (actually two), and a trainer. In the top dome, there is a hidden attic where the orb is kept.

Here is the Sorceress and the Goddess in front of the the orb. (Can these two be in the same place at the same time???)

This set came with the Sorceress, the Green Goddess, Skeletor, He-Man, Man-At-Arms, and red Beast Man. Oh. And let’s not forget Zoar. (So did this set come with THREE OF THE SAME CHARACTER?)

IMPROVEMENTS TO THE CASTLE.

There was a Skeletor head set that came with mini-comics colored Trap Jaw featuring an improved turret gun. I highly recommend it! The gun that came with this doesn’t look like the original, and also doesn’t fit well on the parapet.

The Talon Fighter and Point Dread. This vehicle set came with instructions to retrofit Castle Grayskull with the Point Dread castle piece so that you can park the plane on top of the tower. (A feature of the vintage toy). This makes the castle six to eight inches taller, so the SpartanNerd hasn’t ever done this…my shelf space won’t allow for it unless I place it on the top shelf, which takes away the joy of seeing it. (Snake Mountain might have to go on the top shelf…)

One day during the Coronavirus lockdowns, I decided to take the castle out and get some photos.

NOT A HOAX! NOT A DREAM!: MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: THE SUNBIRD LEGACY

Here is my take on an Earl Norem classic. I used the Masters of the Universe Classics figures (and 200x Beast Man), and placed the Mega Construx castle in the background as proportionately accurate as I could to the original art. (I did the best with what I had with me.). Notice that I removed the pawn from the top. I actually prefer it this way.

After getting this picture and a few others outside in the woods, the castle crumbled in the bucket that I used to bring the stuff. So I had the privilege to build it again! FUN!

Mega Construx She-Ra vs. Hordak and Mostroid…SpartanNerd Review

The Monstroid. Here is a toy I DID NOT have as a child. I had around 80% of He-Man and Masters of the Universe items. But the Monstroid wasn’t one of the things I had. I was aware of it from catalogs and the He-Man magazine. And the Monstroids were the giant robots He-Man and She-Ra fight at the Fright Zone in the He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special. This toy doesn’t resemble them much, however.

So this is my first Monstroid.

Don’t you love the title. Is there another character here?

Here is the back of the box.

I didn’t spend much time looking at the back, as will become evident as I document the build.

Here are the sides of the box. Very nice artwork on these Mega Construx Masters of the Universe sets, I must say.

Enough gawking. Let’s open it up!

You get these four baggies. Because I have been building these, by now I know that the minifigures will be in bag number 1. So let’s get them out of the way first.

This is our very first Hordak in Mega Construx minifigure form. Also, our first Evil Horde member. Here we have the toy-accurate Hordak. I am a little disappointed that we didn’t get the bat staff. But we did get the Horde Crossbow, which is important for all Horde members in the future.

She-Ra. As I assembled this, the first thing I said was… “Those boots are so stinkin’ cute!” And they are indeed! Of course, I didn’t own She-Ra growing up, nor did I care to. As an adult, now I have TWO! (200x in box.). One thing, though. Check out the head sculpt.

It’s all one big thing. With the male characters, you can remove their hair. But She-Ra keeps with the apparent standard that the girls have to have their hair sculpted to the head and non-removable. Why, exactly?

One more thing. The cape. Both Hordak and She-Ra have a cape, and they are interchangeable. But Hordak looks pretty dumb wearing that short cape. The long cape looks good on She-Ra, and will look good on other characters as well. (Sorry, no pics of the cape swap.)

Was there another character? He wasn’t mentioned in the title. OH WELL…

Must

Not

Be…

Just kidding. Here is Prince Adam in his Mini-Eternia blue vest.

Nobody asked for this…and because the set is titled She-Ra vs. Hordak and the Monstroid, it is like he was tossed in last minute. I’m glad to have him, but we already have a Prince Adam in toy accurate/Filmation style. (Pictured, we also have the first extra piece. An extra handle for the shield.)

Here I would have rather had an ally for She-Ra from her girls toy line. Or maybe another Evil Horde member. I would have rather had Prince Adam on card in this style. It just doesn’t make sense what they did here. Do we even have a Prince Adam on card? Notable, he does have the Alcala-style Sword, but in black.

Here is the set of all three.

Let’s look at how the build went, and I will let you know what I was thinking as I worked.

Here is the front of the instruction booklet. It is the same art as the front, with less textual clutter.

Below is the art on the back. It shows off the Battle Cat that I won’t be getting, and the Land Shark that I reviewed already here on SpartanNerd.com.

It’s time to talk about how we name things, boys and girls. Here is the Brick Separator tool. NOPE. WAY TOO NEGATIVE. It has been re-named the BUILDING TOOL. See what they did there? They went from a negative description of what the item is to a positive description featuring something it can’t do. It can’t build. It can only separate. But, there is hope!

Here is the contents of baggie 2. If you have been following my blog, then you know I have to set all the pieces out classified in order. So here that is.

Here is the infamous “impossible” slab of three and then two.

The next picture shows off what has to be the dumbest face in all of MOTU. And that is saying something. These are tampograph stickers…I know it is of the original toy, that I don’t have emotional attachment to. Perhaps people out there disagree with me?

I mean…the Monstroid is a crab, right? Here is baggie #2 completed, along with the included extra parts.

I made another funny joke! (Notice I included Prince Adam as an extra part. When I got MOTUC Orko, Prince Adam was included as an “accessory.” That must be what they are doing here also.”

Here are the contents of Bag #3.

“I’m not seeing it.” The thought that ran through my head.

Remember when I said I didn’t grow up with this toy, and also I didn’t spend time studying the back of the box? Well, as I built this part, I thought, “What is this? It looks like a transmission?”

Turns out I was kind of correct. Here is the rest of Bag #3 assembled with extra parts.

What that part is…it’s a “winder.” When you turn it with your fingers, it makes the yellow axle spin. Except, it didn’t work for me…(More on that as you keep reading.)

On to Bag #4.

As I organized these on the mat, I coudn’t help but kind of be reminded of assembling the Lego Batmobile so many years ago. And then Castle Grayskull. All these parts are the same color, and they kind of intimidate me.

Here is bag #4 assembled, which was the legs. It reminds me of a Dwarf Spider Droid from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.

Here is the full set in a mock of the front cover. Also, the extra parts.

One problem, You are supposed to turn the winder, which turns the axle, which is plugged into the bottom of the main body with the arms. When you wind it, the monstroid spins around on top, swinging Prince Adam around. But mine wouldn’t work. I wound up disassembling it again, where I had to finagle with that “transmission” piece and make sure the gears lined up correctly. This didn’t take that long, because it is really a simple build. But I was alarmed.

Now for some shots of the Monstroid with other similar sets.

Point Dread and the Talon Fighter is a couple of hundred pieces larger. Monstroid doesn’t feel as grand either.

Maybe it’s not fair for me to compare the Monstroid to the Battle Bones. Battle Bones is close to a hundred more pieces, but look how much “more” it is. I am fond of the face on the Battle Bones…I mean, I guess the head is one of its main features. And then I have the emotional attachment to it also. Also, I paid three times as much for Battle Bones…(San Diego Comic Con exclusive.)

So here is the Wind Raider. I could just compare the Talon Fighter just as well, I suppose. The Monstroid was $30, while the Wind Raider was $20. Both have great action features. The Monstroid doesn’t have a good place to seat a figure, though, except in the claws. So the Wind Raider winds that one. But then, the character is artificial intelligence, I suppose…(Notice, I had some more fun with Roboto!)

So how do I rate this set?

I want to be unbiased here…Like I said, Monstroid wasn’t much a part of my childhood. On the other hand, getting Hordak was outstanding, and the future looks bright for Princess of Power toys in this Mega Construx line. On the other hand, the Prince Adam here seems to be a misguided choice. I am an on-card collector, but I guess Prince Adam in blue clothes might not sell that well as an individual. The Monstroid’s mechanical problem was my error, so I won’t count off on that.

I don’t feel like this is a solid five points. Four points easily. Monstroid is reasonably cool, except for the face. I kind of wish the crab claws had springs that would really make the hands pinch though. We get Hordak and She-Ra. Prince Adam is OK with the Alcala sword. It took me an hour and a half to build, but I was mildly interrupted a few times, and I also took pictures as I went. And like the Slime Pit, I feel it should be bigger.

So I am going for 4/5. Do you agree or disagree, Hub City Geeks? Let me know in the comments. I also would like to know about your experiences with the Monstroid as a child, because I missed out evidently, and none of my friends seemed to have this either.

Mega Construx Land Shark…SpartanNerd Review

It has been nice to get new Mega Construx! The Land Shark seems to be the flavor of the month for Mattel…they have released a new “Origins” version. (I am not collecting the Origins line). You have sharks here, Roboto, and Skeletor. How are kids not going to buy this. And also SpartanNerds…

Unfortunately, my box is a bit beat up. I was also a little unnerved at the tape on the side…it made me think someone might have stolen the figures and resealed it. (Luckily, not so.). It depicts the toys in what seems to be illustrated art. What is going on with the wheels is the question. If I remember the vintage toy, it only had cosmetic treads with functional wheels hidden on the bottom.

The sides of the box are also very nice. I keep these packages…some day I will have adequate space to properly display all of them. I do display them now, but it’s crowded.

Well, let’s get to documenting the build!

This is the instruction manual. It has the same art as the front, with less text. The back shows off two other sets. I don’t care much for that Battle Cat, and it is the only set from the Mega Construx Masters of the Universe line that I haven’t purchased. There is a Havoc Staff coming out soon in the same vein that I believe I will be skipping. I have the Monstroid, but haven’t yet built it. Stay tuned Hub City Geeks because likely by the end of the week I will have a blog entry for that one!

As with the other larger builds from this line, the pieces come in numbered baggies.

Number 1 has the mini figures…what a relief!

Let’s build Skeletor first.

The new Skeletor is exactly the same as the one that came with the Point Dread set. It is Battle Armor Skeletor. And I pondered not even opening the poly bag, but the axe and the sword were loose. But after studying the issue, I realized that this version has the scratched armor like you would get with two hits on the vintage toy. Also, this one came with the purple sword, which was a puzzling omission from the Point Dread version. Otherwise they are identical. Same colors, same face paint job. Maybe the elbows on this one are a little sharper. “monster arms?” But I think this might be my imagination.

On to ROBOTO.

I used to love robots as a kid. And ROBOTO here had something to do with that. I am a little bummed that the gears are just tampograft stickers…it seemed that when they revealed this they were looking at making the gears move, and bragging about it being “the smallest pieces ever in a Mega Bloks set.” I guess they couldn’t crack that for the price. Otherwise, this was the main reason for getting this set! Classic Roboto, with a clear body. We have a new Roboto on card…but it seems to be more 200x inspired. (See the post here)

I really enjoyed photographing Roboto. Here we can see him raising his axe to meet Skeletor’s. Notice that the gun attachment can fit in the hole in his back…making a jet pack sort of look.

On to the build!

As I said before, I have to separate all of the blocks and place them with others alike before I begin. This helps me be efficient and quick. I worked slowly, taking pictures as I went. I finished it in just over an hour.

After bag 2, it looks like we have a boat. Roboto’s other hand could come off…a new trick. You couldn’t do this with the vintage toy! These other pieces were left over.

I was a little bummed that the teeth were in large pre-fab pieces. But I was also psyched that there are real rubber treads!

And here is step 23! We get to put the treads on. And the first thing I did was roll it and marvel at how cool it is to have real treads on the Mega Construx Land Shark! The little hook spinning around was a mystery though…I hadn’t seen any string or anything like that. A definite improvement on the original design. (You can see pics and the patent diagrams for the original toy on the BattleRam Blog.)

Here it is with the chomping mouth open. So, here’s how it works! When you push the tank, the little hook spins around. At the back of the shark’s throat there is a smooth dome…the hook bumps against the smooth piece which causes the jaws to snap! I shouted for joy when I saw this happen, and took it to the SpartanWife to show off. But what color is this? She says it’s fucia. The kid says it is light purple. Notice Roboto here doing a Terminator pose! Also, notice the growing collection of leftover parts.

We arrive at poly bag number 4, and Skeletor has Luke Skywalker’ed Roboto! These pieces are all silver, and will surely be the guns.

Here is the completed Land Shark, in action making Roboto into spare parts!

What a relief…right!

Here is the Land Shark compared to other vehicles.

You can see the scale is very similar. It makes me wonder how they might do Stridor and Night Stalker. Would they be more of the size of Panthor (pictured above) or more the size of the Land Shark?

I feel that this version of the Land Shark stands a head taller than its predecessors. (And besides the Hot Wheels one, this is the smallest!) It has working treads, and the mouth snaps with an ingenious design. The only thing I don’t like about the build is the holes in the top of the profile above the sticker eyes. I do wish we got a toy accurate Trap Jaw instead of Battle Armor Skeletor…I feel like Trap Jaw goes better with this vehicle, with the snapping jaw action. (We don’t have Trap Jaw in toy colors either.)

What do you think, Hub City Geeks? I am rating this … I mean, can I give it a 4.5 of 5? I really like it, and there aren’t enough negatives to lose a whole point. Let me know in the comments!