The Real Ghostbusters: Retro-Action Janine Melnitz and Samhain 2-pack by Mattel, Part 1

Mattel really gave Ghostbusters fans the shaft last month. The 2012 Ecto-1 subscription has been cancelled, and noone seemed to even know it was in danger. Nonetheless, fans of the Retro-Action line got a nice little bone with the release of this special TRU exclusive 2-pack of Janine Melnitz and Samhain. Maybe it’s really a 2 1/4 pack since it also includes Slimer. I’ll confess it’s been a while since I picked up any Ghostbusters figures, but the moment I came across this set I knew that I had to have it. Today we’re just going to look at the packaging and the something special the packaging turns into. I’ll get to the actual figures tomorrow in Part 2.

Now, I haven’t seen The Real Ghostbusters cartoon since I was a kid, but I certainly remember Samhain as being one of the better baddies, and I can even vaguely remember the episode where Janine insists she wants to go bust ghosts and dons the jumpsuit and proton pack. I didn’t think both were part of the same episode, but the package seems to suggest they were.
The set comes in a nice, big window box that does a great job of showing off everything that you get inside. The top corner proclaims it to be a “Retro-Action” set, along with The Real Ghosbusters logo. The bottom edge has the animated portraits of both characters as well as Slimer and the firehouse backdrop. But wait, what’s this? There’s some kind of snowflake pattern running along the edge of the window as if to suggest this set is some kind of Christmas release. And here I was just thinking Mattel was clever to get this set out for Halloween. Not sure where Christmas fits in. But… anywho… the back panel shows more illustrations of the characters and the Retro-Action Ray and Egon figures standing by the “GIANT” 22-inch Firehouse display. All in all, I think the packaging suits the line pretty well.

The Firehouse backdrop will likely delight some and disappoint others. It really depends on what you were expecting out of it. I didn’t give it much thought until I got it out of the package, so it was a rather nice surprise for me.
On the plus side, it’s really tall, well illustrated, and even has a bit of depth to it. When assembled, it’s just an inch or so thick, but the ledges pop out of the front as does the Ghostbusters sign, all to give it depth. The front doors also open to show the Ecto-1 parked inside. On the downside, it is rather flimsy and you can easily see that it doesn’t want to stay erect in the middle, even when it’s propped up against a wall. The middle ledges also came out of the box a little smooshed.
If I were planning on keeping the Firehouse on display, I’d likely wrap it around a piece of styrofoam board, and I think that would make for a pretty nice and sturdy piece, but chances are I’ll be folding it up and putting it back in the box for storage. Also worth noting, despite being an impressive 22-inches tall, it’s still way too small for The Real Ghostbusters figures. The regular 5-inch movie figures work a lot better, and if I were keeping this thing on display, I would definitely use it as a backdrop for these guys.

Cool stuff, so far. Tomorrow I’ll be back with Part 2 to look at the figures and the other goodies in the package.
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