If you close your eyes and concentrate just long enough, I swear you can hear She-Ra saying, "By the Power of Grayskull!" Welcome to the final Toy Chest Tuesday of 2012! And I promise, this will be the most epic Toy Chest Tuesday of the year! I seriously don't even know how I'll be able to top this in 2013. (But I'll certainly try.) So this is it, a look back at the Crystal Castle!
Ok so let's do some toy talk before we delve into the Crystal Castle. Some of you may already know this story, and if this sounds familiar, I do apologize for repeating. I was born with a genetic disease that I still have to deal with to this day. Luckily I can handle it, but back then I bounced around from hospital to hospital a great deal. It was not always easy, but I had my wits about me and I of course had She-Ra. I lived for that show because she was just everything to me. She could pick up mountains and got to fly around on a unicorn. Nothing got her down. For a kid that was sick like me, she was just a comforting presence. I felt like I could be invincible too.
So the idea of owning the Crystal Castle just seemed like a logical choice. I always kinda figured that one would appear under a Christmas tree or at a birthday party. But that never happened, which was ok. With being so sick, I usually ended up being concerned about other things. One day I had to be prepped for a bone marrow test. I was about 5 years old and it all just seemed so terrifying. My parents and the doctors did their best to explain to me what I would be going through, but all my 5 year old brain could comprehend was that a needle was going to be stuck into my hip bone "pinching" my bone. All I could think was, "How is a needle going to pinch my bone?" I didn't really know that I'd be having a sample of bone marrow removed for testing. Looking back it just seems so crazy, like some sort of sci-fi show.
Anyways, the day had arrived and I was so nervous. It was a painful process, but I was so dazed that it was like my body couldn't even feel anything. Though the pain did follow. Well after it was all over, my parents felt terrible for me. So when I should have been home resting, my dad being the protective man that he is, said, "I'll take you to the toy store and buy you whatever you want." Goodness. I guess I should say it was the 80's. I came from a family that firmly believed if you were having a really shitty day that some hugs and a toy purchase would clear that all up.
So there we were. My dad was carrying me and rushing inside of Toysrus. I'm sure the whole scene looked beyond odd; my dad who looks like an Italian mafia guy with his olive skin was carrying me, this little pale sickly thing. All I could think of was, "I'd love a Crystal Castle." It just seemed so surreal! Like play sets and such were always reserved for Christmas or Birthdays. To have the chance to just walk into Toysrus and soon own a Crystal Castle just seemed crazier than the darn bone marrow test.
My dad rushed me to the She-Ra section, but it was no dice. There was no Crystal Castle, they were sold out. So there we were, I was lost on what to do next. I had no idea what else to pick. I finally decided on a different approach. I ended up with a Snake Mountain instead. It was no Crystal Castle, but I figured that my Catra, Evil-Lyn, and Skeletor needed a home too.
That whole day was just surreal. I remember going home and thinking, "Did we just buy a Snake Mountain? Do I actually own this thing?" The rest of the day saw various family members stopping by to see how we were doing. And pretty much everyone would walk in and see me with Snake Mountain and say, "What is a sweet child like you doing with such a creepy looking toy?" And I'd reply, "It is
purple. It can't be that creepy." As a fan of She-Ra and her brother, you simply don't pass up on a play set no matter what it may look like.
By now you are probably wondering, so just how did I end up with a Crystal Castle after all these years? I never gave up the hope that I would one day own the play set, but nothing ever really fell into place. The Star Sisters were just never aligned. That all changed though this past summer. My dear husband who has had to put up with a lot of my collecting dramas, has always been aware of my hope to one day own She-Ra's dream house. Well I was totally unaware, but he ended up finding a mint Crystal Castle from an older married couple that lived like 30 minutes away. He got it for a song and helped complete one of my life long dreams, to own a Crystal Castle! (Yes, I realize that it may be odd to put 'life long dream' and 'own a Crystal Castle' in the same sentence, but to that 5 year old gal that was sick and in pain, this is truly a wonderful item to own.) So since I had this mint Crystal Castle in my well-ish manicured hands, I decided to chronicle the most epic of all epic Toy Chest Tuesdays! So now let's finally check out the pictures! Enjoy.
First up- the sticker sheet. The top sticker was for the Etherian flag. Below (from left to right) was a map of Etheria, sticker for the fire place, and a sticker for She-Ra's throne. There was still some stick to the stickers, but not much. I believe the box had been stored in either an attic or garage. So even though the item was unopened, there were some minor issues with age.
A dark blue plastic was used for the chandelier, banisters, front doors, windows, and a treasure piece of gems. This play set came with a lot of pieces!
A light blue plastic was used for a vanity, fireplace, table and chair, treasure chest with lid, and a really pretty accessory rack for She-Ra's sword and shield. I love the total mash up of this play set. I mean of course the Crystal Castle would have a vanity and a rack for She-Ra's weapon.
Golden items made up the latches for the place set, flag pole, fence for the fireplace, and butterfly barrettes that could either be worn in your hair or used to pull back the canopy on the bed. There were plastic seat cushions in the pale blue. The piece with the 'S' was part of the pulley system for the action feature in the castle. Inside the bag was a fluffy purple rug, pillow, bed sheet/comforter, and the canopy curtains. A blue string was also in the bag. The string was used for the action feature. The Crystal Castle was made in the U.S. This is so very interesting, because the POP toy line was really made throughout various countries. That is a rarity these days. Usually a toy line is just made in one country. But there was an international effort to get the POP toy line together.
These three items were part of the throne/elevator piece for the castle. When placed together, She-Ra could either sit on the throne, or stand and have the the string pull the elevator up. Stopping at the second floor, or ascending to the very top, the Crystal Castle had a very nice action feature. I wanted to show the feature of the throne elevator working, but due to age, the throne does not really work well. In fact when pulled up, the throne comes apart from the base piece. If you are interested in what that looks like though, head over to this vintage toy commercial for the Crystal Castle here
Similar to Castle Grayskull, the Crystal Castle also had two floor bases that slid into the inside to create a second floor. There was also a nice etched design for the pink floor.
Here is She-Ra's crystal sleigh bed. The bed was a nice sized bed, and can sort of fit a Masters of the Universe Classics figure, though their legs may hang over just a bit.
Here is the bare bones front of the castle. Isn't it just stunning? The pink and gold really work well together and the white clouds and rocky mountain area really gives the illusion that this castle is high above the clouds.
The inside though it just all pink. "This place looks like it has been hosed down with Pepto Bismal!" I personally love it. The Crystal Castle is also very tall, about the same height as Grayskull.
The back piece is all mountain with a mysterious entrance/exit and window openings. I really love how the gold highlights the rocks and just really makes for a pretty image. It is a striking play set.
This side of the back piece had a vertical bar that already came attached. The throne piece wrapped around the bar so that it could slide up to the top. From a design perspective, Mattel really packed a lot into this play set. Let's check out the packaging though!
Like all the Princess of Power items, the artwork on the boxes just speak for themselves. I am in awe of the stunning art. The castle is captured quite nicely. She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Arrow, and Kowl all make an appearance. I love that Bow is on the box. I realize that there is some division among fans on who She-Ra's love interest was supposed to be. The cartoon made a strong case for the pirate Sea Hawk, but the toy line hinted at a connection between She-Ra and Bow. This box further cements the idea that Bow and She-Ra were indeed an item. (At least in my mind.) And of course if you have been following along with Adora's Search for Honor, than you know that She-Ra might get caught up between them both!
This was the only other picture I could take from the Crystal Castle box. The backside was completely ripped away and the other sides were either damaged or similar to this picture. But, let's look closer!
The images further describe all the details and features of the most powerful play set in the universe.
I love that the doorway to the back of the castle is a "secret" exit for She-Ra. Though the play set had a lot of beauty and glamor to it, there was still a focus on She-Ra maintaining her secret identity and saving the world. And look! Bow makes another visit to She-Ra!
These pictures also display what the items look like put together. I couldn't get the bed to look like the picture above, but that is because the pink panel didn't have all the holes in it to attach to the canopy part.
Here is the castle fully put together! What a magnificent play set! I love the flag. My favorite though would be the crystal doors. It is just really pretty. The thing about the Crystal Castle was that the toy was never really in the cartoon. Yes, She-Ra would go to the Crystal Castle to talk with Light Hope, but the Crystal Castle from the cartoon looked nothing like the toy. It just made the play set all the more special.
With the doors opened, a nice view of the crystal throne can be seen. This was not the original design though for the Crystal Castle. I have seen images before of the original prototype for the Crystal Castle, and what we would have gotten from the prototype would have been drastically different. The prototype featured a bird's face in the front. The prototype was more styled like a Castle Grayskull. However the final product ended up looking more "girly." I think both versions looked really neat, but I must admit, I am fond of this version of the Crystal Castle. (For more information on the Crystal Castle prototype, head over to He-Man.org
a site full of all kinds of MOTU/POP information.)
The secret exit in the back shows off only a small peek inside. The flag though looks very cool. I know this will probably never happen, but I kinda hope that Mattel could recreate the Crystal Castle for their new Classics line. It seems like they were going to go above and beyond expectations with the new Castle Grayskull, but could you just imagine the Crystal Castle all new? I'd even be interested in the Crystal Castle getting remade in the original prototype form. Of course, I think I'm having some major wishful thinking on all that.
But wait! There's more! All put together, the inside of the castle looks stunning. I love the chandelier above the front doors.
The table and chairs fit in nicely with the play set. The map of Etheria was also such a nice touch. I am really glad that Mattel ended up doing that.
The treasure chest had a "magical" feature. You could display the gems with the lid open...
...or you could open it again to look like Catra had snuck in to steal the shiny baubles. The gems fit under the lid, and when the lid was lifted, you could hold the treasure piece under the lid for the effect of "wait, where'd it go?"
The mirror on the vanity is reflective, but more like toy reflective. Actually, the vanity looks like it came from the Crystal Falls. Maybe Mermista makes furniture by the sea shore?
The bed is not entirely the greatest. I think you have to get some cotton or other fluffy material to fill in for a mattress and the pink panel for the curtains does not really stay on that well. However, all of that can be an easy fix. I just haven't had the time to go about fixing it.
The new MOTUC figures look pretty good against this wonderful toy from the past. Even jealous beauties can't help but want to visit the majestic Crystal Castle. (Look carefully.)
Together with the growing members of the Great Rebellion, the Crystal Castle makes for a perfect backdrop! I look forward to more of She-Ra's friends popping up because they all look so great!
So there you have it folks! The Crystal Castle! I thank you all for reading, and I also thank my husband for surprising me with this treasured item. I am beyond thrilled to finally own this play set. It is a fantastic toy and a reminder of just how wonderful the POP toy line was. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for She-Ra.
That is about it for Toy Chest Tuesday! Like last year, I will be taking a brief break from Toy Chest Tuesday. It will return in the new year. I will still be posting things on Diary of a Dorkette though, so don't go anywhere! I've got to do my annual Top Ten Toys of 2012! There is also a December Heroic Hottie that must be crowned. And I'm sure there will be some other fun things to talk about too. As always, I enjoy your comments and thoughts. I hope you are all well, take care!