20th Century Toy Collector

More Than Meets The Eye!

Blackstar – Ice Castle

Nearly every 1980′s toy line had that one item that was on top of every kid’s wish list. Most often that would be some kind of playset like G.I. Joe’s “USS Flagg” carrier or Masters of the Universe’s “Eternia” playset. Today I would like to discuss another fine example of such playset über coolness, which is a playset from Galoob’s Blackstar toy line: The Ice Castle!!!

blackstar-ice-castle-2

Blackstar – Ice Castle (1983) Galoob

It is by far the coolest item of the Blackstar toy line and it’s really tough to find. There are some photos online of the Ice Castle, but nowhere have I ever found a very detailed look at all the parts it consists of and what it looks like assembled from the inside. If you’re interested in a detailed look at the Ice Castle, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s go!

“John Blackstar”

Blackstar was a toy line that debuted in the US in 1983. It was based on a cartoon series created by animation studio Filmation, which premiered two years earlier (in 1981) on American network CBS. The Blackstar cartoon also started airing in some European countries from the fall of 1985 through satellite broadcaster Sky Channel. I loved the Blackstar cartoon. It was a lot like the He-Man cartoon, but somehow darker and more mystical!

blackstar-toys

Assorted Blackstar toys from my collection

I never even knew a Blackstar toy line ever existed until much later in my adult life. When I learned of the toy line’s existence I was blown away by the awesome design of the packaging and realized straight away I would want to collect those! Over the past couple of years I’ve added quite a few Blackstar action figures to my collection along with some cool “vehicles” like Triton and Blackstar’s Space Ship. I never really actively pursued any of these items, but picked them up here and there whenever they crossed my path and when the price was right.

“Cool as Ice”

Of all the items in the Blackstar toy line, the gigantic Ice Castle is really the most fascinating one. It’s just a drop dead awesome playset and has some of the coolest 1980′s toy packaging artwork I’ve ever seen. It is also one of the hardest to track down inside its original packaging, complete and undamaged. I certainly did not expect to find one any time soon and at an affordable price at that.

blackstar-ice-castle-pack-shot-3

Awesome, awesome, awesome!

I happened to be on vacation in Florida with my girlfriend late last year when I stumbled upon a Blackstar Ice Castle that was for sale back in the Netherlands. One of the reasons I had refrained from from buying an Ice Castle internationally was because of the frailty of the plastic that the Ice Castle is made of. If you were lucky to find an intact Ice Castle online you would run a realistic risk of having it break in transit. The irony was not lost on me. I finally found an Ice Castle in the Netherlands and here I was on vacation in the US, unable to pick it up myself. I decided to risk an overnight domestic shipment and after a few sweaty hours I managed to strike a deal with the seller, which also included a couple of carded Blackstar action figures and a carded G.I. Joe action figure. It felt awesome to finally have bagged this amazing gem! I got a great deal on the castle considering its condition, because the going rate for a Blackstar Ice Castle was probably at least 4 times as much as I paid.

blackstar-ice-castle-pack-shot

Awesome, awesomer, awesomest!

When I got back from vacation another couple of sweaty moments followed after I picked up the package from my parents’ house. Thankfully the Ice Castle box and its contents were still in unused A-number-1 condition! The box looks so much bigger in real life than I had expected and the artwork is just stunning. We see the Ice Caste depicted against the signature dark orange Blackstar sky in the background with a mountain range surrounded by clouds.

blackstar-ice-castle-close-up-3

blackstar-ice-castle-close-up-1

Blackstar Ice Castle packaging (front)

We see Overlord at the castle’s entrance waving his Power Sword angrily in the air, while on the far left we see an awesome depiction of Neptul holding his shield and trident, with a goblin next to him. What an amazing scene. I just can’t find enough superlatives to describe how cool this artwork is. Wow.

“Production info”

If we turn the box around we can find some simple assembly instructions on the back of the box, including some manufacturing info. Apparently the Ice Castle was not made entirely in Hong Kong like the rest of the Blackstar toy line. The main body of the castle itself was manufactured in the US, while the remaining smaller parts, including the gun assembly, were manufactured in Hong Kong.

blackstar-ice-castle-back-of-box

Blackstar Ice Castle packaging (back)

The stock number of the Ice Castle is 5507 as is evident from both the back and the front of the box. This number is also found on a smaller box inside the packaging, which seems to contain the parts that were manufactured in Hong Kong.

blackstar-ice-castle-close-up-2-sku

Ice Castle – SKU # 5507

blackstar-ice-castle-diorama-10

Ice Castle – SKU # 5507

Enough of looking at the packaging. Let’s see what’s inside the box and what the assembled castle looks like!

“The Towering Ice Castle”

So what does it look like in real life? Well, it looks bloody amazing, that’s what! One of the first things you’ll notice if you see one of these in person is just how tall it is. Blackstar action figures are not small to begin with. They’re approximately 14 centimeters tall (5.5 inches), so just imagine how high the Ice Castle towers above them. This must have been one awesome playset for any lucky kid who owned one back in the day.

blackstar-ice-castle-diorama-10_0

blackstar-ice-castle-overlord-2

That’s one big castle!

“Glow in the Dark”

The front of the castle looks impressive. It has a working door that functions as the main (and only) entrance to the castle. It is surrounded by three green demons attached to the front of the castle, which glow in the dark!

blackstar-ice-castle-overlord-1

Entrance to the Ice Castle

“Gun Tower”

Another key feature of the Ice Castle is the gun tower, which is the tower on the left. The gun assembly uses a spring mechanism to fire an arrow with one of those safety suction cups for a head. I was curious whether the gun assembly would still work. Although the Ice Castle looks like it is completely unused and brand new, you can’t help the fact that this is a toy that is almost 30 years old! Well, I am pleased to say that the gun tower was still alive and kicking. The arrow flew out of the gun like a bat out of hell and landed 3 meters (10 feet) away from the castle!

blackstar-ice-castle-gun-tower

The awesome Gun Tower

The front of the castle also has a spot right in front of the right tower with space for one action figure. I placed Neptul, Lord of Aquaria here as you can see from the photo below. It only seemed befitting to include Neptul in this little scene, because he adorns the Ice Castle packaging.

blackstar-ice-castle-diorama-11

Neptul on guard duty

“Inside the Castle”

Now let’s turn the castle around and see what we can find there! As you can see it looks pretty cool from the inside too. I decided not to apply the stickers in order to keep everything as untouched as possible, but you get the basic picture.

blackstar-ice-castle-back-1

The Ice Castle on the inside

“Overlord’s Throne”

As you can see the Ice Castle comes with a throne for Overlord. It looks kind of weird, because the action figure is supposed to stand inside the throne and not sit, but that’s probably because the Blackstar action figures aren’t really able to sit down without looking totally ridiculous (or break apart) so an understandable move there from Galoob.

blackstar-ice-castle-back-6

Overlord’s throne

“Weapons rack”

To the right we can find another accessory, which is the weapon rack. Most of the Blackstar action figure weapons will fit inside this rack, like Neptul’s trident. Notice also the very cool floor board that comes with Ice Castle. Next to the weapon rack in the photo below we can see what looks to be some sort of cellar door, no doubt used to hold enemies of the evil Overlord!

blackstar-ice-castle-back-7

Weapon rack and cellar door

“Vizir the Wizard”

Inside the right tower (shown on the left in the photo below) we can see none other than Overlord’s right hand man Vizir -the evil Ice Castle Wizard- just chilling out the only way he knows how: by looking paranoid.

blackstar-ice-castle-back-9

Vizir – the Ice Castle Wizard

“The Balcony”

The last noteworthy feature from inside the castle is the balcony. It holds what looks like a mega super advanced computer console, with all kinds of controls, levers and dials and a big screen, which is no doubt used by Overlord to track his enemies and hey, what a surprise! We can spot Blackstar on the main screen atop his dragon Warlock! If only Blackstar knew! Look out Blackstar! :-)

blackstar-ice-castle-back-8

The Ice Castle balcony

“Gallery”

All joking aside, this is one very cool playset and is definitely somewhere in my top 10 list of coolest toys of the 1980′s! This playset embodies what was so frickin’ cool about 1980′s toys. It’s big, it’s cool looking, it’s got lots of ways for the action figures to interact with the playset and best of all, it stimulates imagination! It is without a doubt the coolest item from the Blackstar toy line. You will not regret picking one up if you’re a Blackstar collector. The Ice Castle can be hard to track down, but it’s not impossible to find. Just watch out for any broken parts on the castle itself. Stay tuned for more Blackstar stuff in the near future! I’m working on an article on the wacky way that Blackstar was introduced in the Netherlands, which is going to be a cool read. Have a great weekend!

posted by 20th Century Toy Collector in Blackstar and has Comments (14)

14 Responses to “Blackstar – Ice Castle”

  1. Nicky says:

    I only remember Blackstar from an ad in the Donald duck. I never knew there was a cartoon. Was this on the Fun factory? I’m very curious to any follow up pieces you will do. The box art is beautiful, a lost art!

    • 20th Century Toy Collector says:

      LOL, that’s funny. I never knew the toy line existed and you never knew the cartoon existed. :-) It was indeed shown on Fun Factory from October 1985 at 8:30 in the morning (CET). It was sadly only 13 episodes and I don’t think Sky Channel ever re-ran the series on FF or anywhere else, so it would have been very easy to have missed this series completely or to forget about it (after all it was not the same hit as Transformers or Masters of the Universe). I’m glad you agree on the box art. The Space Ship and the Trobbit Wind Machine have equally stunning artwork!

  2. Nicky says:

    I’ve watched some of it on Youtube today and I’m not really sure if I ever saw this or not. I did watch Sky around that period, but perhaps just at the point Blackstar stopped. Amazing how much work they put in this stuff…cartoon, detailed box art, only a comic book is missing.

  3. blackstar76 says:

    Hey, that was a fantastic article about the ice castle! I’m looking forward to reading your article about the dutch release, because I thought Greece was the only country where Blackstar was introduced in a wacky way! Come over at the return to sagar forum and share your thoughts about this fantastic toyline with us. See you!

    • 20th Century Toy Collector says:

      Thank you for the kind comment! The Blackstar in NL article is still a few weeks away unfortunately (oh if there were more hours in the day). :-)

  4. Fighbird says:

    Wow, never knew Blackstar even *had* a toyline untill now! I used to watch the show on Super Channel in the late 80s. Thanks, Mijo! :)

  5. Georgie says:

    Hello.

    I have some Blackstar action figures from the small size series (see pic in comparison with regular series)

    These were sold only in small amounts, no sure on how many countries, and are hard to find. I have never seen at Ebay.

    I have Paypal account and will send to all Europe and USA.

    LMK if could be interested.

  6. Georgie says:

    If can mail me I’ll send you pics.

  7. azwris says:

    Hi my friend! Excellent presentation! I have the “Ice Castle” too on its Greek version by “El Greco” which is actually…the same! :) My godfather bought this to me when I was 6 years old! I’m missing some stuff as the arrow of the tower gun and the balcony/weapon stands but hey, as you said I was very lucky to own one and play back in the day and above all preserve it as best as I can until my mis 30s. Thanks again. Greetings!

  8. Andrew Reed says:

    Had the ice palace, overlord, tongo, and several john blackstars. The palace was great. made of rather brittle plastic though. Tongo was a great figure too.

  9. Christine says:

    Thanks for all the great pictures. I didn’t know this existed either until recently.

  10. Carol Ann says:

    Color me jealous, I would love to have one. When I was a kid I picked up the ice castle at a yard sale for my little brother when he was sick. It was incomplete, but boy did we love it. We mixed our Blackstar toys with He-Man and She-Ra. I wish we had all of our toys from back then but my Dad threw out our toy boxes when we moved out of state to live with our Mom :/

  11. Chris Cady says:

    I have a complete set that I would like to sell can you give me a selling price.

Place your comment

Please fill your data and comment below.
Name
Email
Website
Your comment