Big Bad Toy Store

Interview with Daniel Benedict, creator of MOTU Classics Castle Grayskullman

At the 2012 San Diego Comic Con, Mattel revealed the winner of their Masters of the Universe Classics Create-A-Character contest. The winner announced was Daniel Benedict for his creation Castle Grayskullman.

For his win, Castle Grayskullman will get a release in the 2012 Masters of the Universe Classics 30th Anniversary Collection toy line. He will receive the same treatment as the other figure, even getting sculpted by the Four Horsemen.

The new figure was on display at the show in the the Mattel display cases. He’s a very interesting design, featuring the look of the famous castle from Masters of the Universe. His face is that of the castle’s, his shield is from the drawbridge, and even his swords are taken right from the designs seen on the flag that stood atop the vintage Castle Grayskull playset. It’s a very creative idea for an action figure, and I immediately felt that this felt like a great figure for a “create-a-character” contest win.

Soon after the event, I was contacted by the winner himself, Daniel Benedict. I took this opportunity to ask him if he’d be willing to do an interview with me, and he obliged.

Read through to find out Daniel’s reaction to winning, and to see his incredibly creative “vintage” toy commercial for Castle Grayskullman!

Pixel Dan: Hi Daniel! Thanks for agreeing to this interview. First and foremost, let me congratulate you on winning Mattel’s Create-A-Character contest!

Daniel Benedict: Thanks! And thanks for wanting to interview me.

PD: Let’s start with a question I’m sure many folks would like to know: Are you a life-long Masters of the Universe fan?

DB: If by ‘fan’ you mean ‘overly obsessed without hope’ then yes…very much.

PD: So, what can you tell us about the design process for Castle Grayskull Man? Was he a childhood idea, or something you thought up recently?

DB: [He’s] New.  I had the original castle on my desk while I was coming up with ideas.  It was my inspiration obviously.

PD: Did you have a story in mind for this character? If so, did it translate to his bio Mattel is printing on the back of his packaging?

DB: Yes, and Mattel pretty much used my idea.  They added a little bit, but basically yeah.  How cool is that?!

PD: I have to say that the weapons are a big favorite of mine. I love how you integrated parts of the vintage playset into an action figure. Was this something that you had planned from the beginning when designing this character? Or did it just kind of work out that way?

DB: Yes, that was the plan from the beginning.

PD: Were there ever any plans to give him any additional Grayskull-related accessories? Perhaps the tower blaster?

DB: I thought about it, but I figured I’d better keep the number of accessories down since we were supposed to use a lot of shared parts.

PD: Did you design any other characters for the contest, or was Grayskullman your only entry?

DB:  I submitted 5 total.

PD: What did you think your chances were of winning? And what was your reaction when you found out?

DB: My chances, about -0.00000000000001%!  My reaction?… [This sums it up] 

PD: Did you find out when everyone else did at SDCC, or were you notified sooner?

DB: I found out on the [He-Man.org] forums that morning.  I guess there was a mistake or leak on the Matty site or something.

PD: I saw the hilarious commercial you made for Castle Grayskullman! What prompted you to do that? I noticed you had a custom vintage figure of Grayskullman. Is that something you recently created just for that commercial?

DB: I made the commercial just for the heck of it.  I’m proud of the fact that my character won, so I thought I’d have fun with it.  And yes I made the custom for the commercial.  I put play-doh on an old he-man figure and painted it.   By the way, I put Mosquitor in there just for you, Dan!

PD: Any final words you would like to give on your winning creation?

DB: Thank you to everyone who has been so kind on the forums regarding my win.  It truly means so much that people actually like this character.  And if you don’t, just give the poor guy a chance.  He’s been locked in a room alone forever.  Give him a break!

Oh and there’s CastleGrayskullMan.com too.  Nothing new or fancy.  It’s just there.

PD: Thank you Daniel! I know I and many others are looking forward to adding your creation to our collections!

Daniel’s Castle Grayskull Man “vintage” commercial:




  • PrfktTear says:

    That's some funny **** right there!

  • Neil Hill says:

    Great interview! He seems the proud pappa and he should. CGM is a great new figure for the line.

  • PAT says:

    I love this figure. Now I saw the commercial, I want a flame for the Classics toy.

  • Stink-E says:

    When I first saw this fig over at Matty I didn't exactly love it, and asked where Snake Mountanman and FrightZoneman were…
    After reading the bio and looking at it more, it's not so bad, and is the best 'new' 2012 character.
    The only thing I don't like is the mouth. It should have a drawbridge jaw that opens showing the toung and teeth from the original castle! haha
    When I look at this fig, there's no mistaking it's MOTU, and I can't say that about the other 30th Anniv figs, so kudos to you Daniel for creating a fig that I personally would have no problem considering MOTU, when I'm only a hard core classic fan. I don't even accept that Adam or Orko ever lived, or that Duncan ever grew a mustache. 😉
    And I like the story, that it was a one time, limited time spell; that woke the spirit of Grayskull into physical form absorbing from the very stone surrounding his essense… storming into battle, a wonder to all, however eventually the spell wears weak and with a mighty bolt blast from his Havoc Staff, Skeletor strikes down "Castle Grayskullman", but not before the tide has been turned to the Masters favor and foes such as Beast Man, Scare Glow, and Marzo all lie dead, torn apart on the smoldering battefield that is the ground that Castle Grayskull stands!

  • Deevil says:

    Congrats to Daniel!
    I think it's a cool idea for a figure and is as close as we'll get to anything Castle grayskull for this line. Same can be said for the Roton/Talon Fighter/AttackTrack Pilots. I'd love the vehicles, but it's not gonna happen with the current state of the line.
    And did he really pull apart a vintage Sorceress for his commercial??!?

  • […] lazy, it never even occurred to me to get an interview with the creator of Castle Grayskullman like Pixel Dan did. I do have some other interviews coming, […]

  • celsius says:

    I cant wait to own this figure!

  • Lee says:

    Cool figure! Is it still avable?

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