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kup
7th November 2010, 06:56 PM
Here is my comparison guide between Versions 1 & 2 of the 2003/x Masters of the Universe Castle Grayskull. Although both castles look very similar, the considerable difference between the gimmicks in each make them very different play sets as the nature of the play factor is considerably altered on version 2.

In order to properly demonstrate how the different gimmicks work in each version of the castle, this article will be relying on the linked pics and videos for reference.

Note: that part of the left tower of my V1 castle is missing.

We'll begin by comparing the outside front of both Castle Grayskulls v1(Left) and v2(Right):

http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castles.JPG

As you can see, both Castles look almost identical with the exception of the Version 1 draw bridge having it's door unpainted while Version 2 is painted a very nice metallic bronze making the castle front look considerably better.

Version 1
http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev1_doorc.JPG

Version 2
http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev2_door.JPG

A critical difference between both castles is in the 'welcome mat' at the foot of the draw bridge. Version 1 has an engraved 'Dragon Shield' with a painted golden foot print next to it while Version 2 has rocky or scaly surface. The reason for these differences is because they are both part of the front door gimmick for each castle but we'll discuss that a bit later.

The other more subtle differences are are the Power Sword which can be seen from the 'Hall of Secrets' window is chromed silver on Version 1 while Version 2 is Golden.

Flagpole and Canon

The last differences are not so much visually but of added 'non gimmick' play value in the form of freedom of rearrangement. Version 1 only allows you to place the flag pole and canon in dedicated spots like the left tower for the canon and the right tower for the flag pole. Version 2 on the other hand allows you to place the canon on either left or right tower although only the left has sound activation (more on that later) and the flag pole can be placed either at the center on the walkway or at the top of the right tower.

Version 1 center walkway
http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev1_flag.JPG

Version 2 center walkway with flag pole socket
http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev2_flag.JPG

Version 1 right tower with pole socket
http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev1_tower.JPG

Version 2 right tower with pole socket and Canon peg
http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev2_tower.JPG

Castle Outside Electronic Gimmicks

The Electronic gimmicks for each castle is where the real differences between the two castles lie. We'll begin with some background on the nature of both gimmick types before we proceed.

Version 1

Version 1 of Castle Grayskull relies on figures which have an 'Action Chip' implanted on the sole of their feet in order to activate the gimmicks. There are chip scanners located on two different spots on the castle marked with a golden footprint. The first of these 'foot prints' is outside of the castle at the foot of the draw bridge while the other is inside just before the door to the Hall of secrets. Both these foot prints have a 'Dragon symbol' next to them which play a role in the gimmick.

http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev1_doorb.JPG

http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev1_secretsb.JPG

The biggest flaw with this type of gimmick is that you are completely reliant on owning figures with the electronic chip in order to activate the castle electronics to it's full potential. Unfortunately only the first wave of figures were released with Action Chips and to make things worse, not all first wave figures have them like my first release Skeletor and He-Man. I have been told that International 1st wave releases do not have Action Chips and this may explain why some of my first wave figures do not have one. Fortunately the Castle comes with a Golden key with a chip built in but it doesn't activate all of the sounds and gimmicks which is disappointing. Although the Action Chip gimmicks are very cool when they work correctly, they do have some teething problems as you don't always get the desired action activated which you'll see in the demonstrations later on.

You can tell if your figure has an Action chip by looking at the sole of their feet. You can see what the actual chip looks like in Orko's transparent stand here (http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/chip1.JPG). Most other figures with chips will have a small compartment under the their feet sealed by a tiny lid like this one (http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/chip2.JPG) for Mekaneck . If you figure does not have an Action chip, then it will just be a solid molded plastic piece like the one on my Skeletor here (http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/nochip.JPG).

Version 2

The electronic gimmicks for Version 2 of the castle are activated in a more standard form by using buttons, levers and switches. The main advantage with this is that you do not need any specialized figures to activate and the desired effect will always be trigged precisely when needed.

Now that we have the nature of the gimmick types explained, let's move onto demonstrating them:

Version 1 Drawbridge (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZW0nuUcAhjg)

The first sound you hear is me switching the castle on from inside 'Spirit Awakens'. As you can see, the Castle identifies Orko by name and provides verbal instructions on how to unlock the draw bridge. Once it's unlocked, the draw bridge is opened electronically. Once Orko is inside, the castle asks him to secure the bridge which is very cool.

Click Here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLLg_X9_nLQ) to see what happens if someone visits Castle Grayskull while Orko is inside. It's pretty cool how the castle is able to recall who has entered it previously and notifies the next visitor that the character inside is awaiting them.

Unfortunately I only have good guys with action chips so I am unable to show what happens when a bad guy activates the gimmick. I have read that if a bad guy (say Skeletor) is scanned by the draw bridge sensor, it will tell him to stand on 'The Dragon' and await entrance instead of telling him to step aside Naturally the draw bridge falls on his head knocking him out.

Version 2 Drawbridge, Door guard & Canon (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mCW5zdj5Gs)

The first sound you hear is me turning the Castle On. Unlike version 1, there is no speech, just sounds. The door opens and closes each with an electronic sound associated with the action. There is also a 'Door guard' which is activated by a lever inside the castle which opens and closes the 'mouth' in order to bite or scare away intruders. Finally the canon now has electronic sounds activated by a button beside it on the left tower. If you hold the button down, you will get rapid fire and when you release it, an explosion sound. As mentioned earlier, you can plug in the canon on the other tower but there are no electronic gimmicks there.

All of these gimmicks are activated manually, they are not automated like the Version 1 castle.

Castle Inside

Version 1 (left) & Version 2 (right)

http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev1_inside.JPG http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev2_inside.JPG

As you can see, just as it is in the outside of the Castle, there are subtle differences between both versions. The most clear difference is that inside the 'Dungeon' section of Version 2, they have added an 'inner' door which is absent from Version 1. This door cannot be opened but is part of a gimmick which I'll demonstrate later.

Version 1 Dungeon
http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev1_jail.JPG

Version 2 Dungeon
http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev2_jail.JPG

The next addition is on the walkway where the two torchers are. You will notice that Version 2 has a golden Skull between the torches which is absent from version 1. This skull is actually a button which triggers electronic sounds.

Version 1 Torches
http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev1_secretsa.JPG

Version 2 Torches
http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev2_secrets.JPG

The last visual differences between the two castles are the Computer and the Armory. The computer for Version 2 of the Castle now has an LED on the center of the radar sticker which blinks when the castle is turned on or when gimmicks are activated. Version 1, lacks this LED light. Both computers share the same main red button but serve different functions which I will demonstrate later.

Version 1 Computer
http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev1_computer.JPG

Version 2 Computer
http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev2_computer.JPG

Finally, there is the inclusion of a golden key in the armory of Version 1. This is the golden key mentioned earlier which contains a chip that activates some of the electronic gimmicks of the Version 1 castle without requiring a figure but it's limited. The Version 2 armory does not have this key and no pegs to hold it.

Version 1 Armory
http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev1_armory.JPG

Version 2 Armory
http://kupscigar.com/MOTU/grayskulls/castlev2_armory.JPG

Now for the Demonstration of the Electronic gimmicks.

Version 1 Hall of Secrets (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl1g804N1aM)

Only some figures are able to open the Hall of Secrets, this includes Orko, He-Man and Man-At-Arms, assuming they have Action Chips that is. Also note that you may not always get the desired speech activation while scanning your figure nor is it guaranteed that the figure will scan the first time and may require a few passes.

Like Orko each figure is identified by their individual name as you can see in this demonstration (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7vDAHyAD8Q).

Unfortunately, this sensor is no where near as easy to trigger as the draw bridge one and this can lead to frustration as you can see in the video above and the randomness of the activated speech also do not help. I have noticed that you can sometimes trigger a 'Command center is ready' voice if you press the red button on the command center before scanning but it's not precise. This would be a pretty awesome gimmick but sadly it's inaccuracy and difficulty in triggering it is more frustrating than fun.

Version 2 Hall of Secrets (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd2hOeCqh3c)

The gimmicks in Version 2 are more standard but much less frustrating and easier to activate than in Verison 1. You do not need any figure to activate the sounds. The golden Skull button cycles through different sounds with each press and if the button is held, it will light up the torches with a flickering 'fire' effect for a few minutes. You can turn it off by pressing the red button on the computer.

Version 1 Trapdor (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jypQOaAuPLs)

The Trap door in Version 1 can be activated in two ways. You can hold the red button on the computer until a voice announces 'Trapdoor Armed' and then you can press the button again to trigger the trap door. There is also another way of triggering it using the Action chip scanner but sadly you need an 'evil' figure with a chip to do it which I do not have. From what I have read, once you scan the evil figure with the Hall of Secrets sensor, the castle voice will instruct 'the character' to stand in front of the Hall of Secrets door, then the trap door opens and the bad guy falls into the dungeon with a screaming sound.

This is the final electronic gimmick for Version 1 of Castle Grayskull. However as mentioned, the Golden key is also able to activate the main outside and inside gimmicks as you can see here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i6Go0IIbog) and here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoN78jTLn9k). The difference being that the Castle addresses you as a 'Heroic Warrior' rather than by a figure's name and there is a 'swoosh' sound before the voice.

Version 2 Trapdoor (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx2caJoYvmc)

This is a much simpler version of the gimmick. You simply stand the figure on the trap door and pull the switch near it to open. You get trap door open and close sounds but that's it. The sounds you hear at the beginning of the video is just me turning on the castle.


Castle Grayskull Version 2 has an array of other lights and sounds gimmicks which are shown here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5ZWjjwiY80). One of them includes an Alarm gimmick which is activated if you keep the red button in the computer pushed for a couple of seconds, you get a 'car alarm' beep as confirmation of the alarm being active. If you open any door such as the draw bridge of Hall of Secrets, it will trigger the alarm as seen on the video.

Each button (Skull, computer and Dungeon) cycle through different sound effects every time you push it. The Dungeon of Version 2 has that little back door with two LEDs representing eyes behind the door. When you push the door handle (button) it cycles through different creature sounds.

This Concludes the comparison between Versions 1 & 2 of the 2003/x Masters of the Universe Castle Grayskull. I hope that you find this helpful and informative.

gekisou
8th November 2010, 09:56 AM
Thank you for this incredibly informative review on both 200X MOTU Castle Greyskulls. Its incredible how much difference there are between the two. And why V1's character recognition dohicky is awesome, its a little bit of a letdown that it has issues reading the chips and it also doesn't help that we can barely find any with chips. Since most of my 200X MOTU toys are from the Snake-Man era, they don't work and even my first release stuff (He-Man, Skeletor and Man-At-Arms) don't have the chip. So meh...

Although, I have to say, the best Castle Greyskull is still the original. I mean, a throne that activated the trap door? Awesome!!! :)