I know, it’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve done an Anime Saturday post and I’m not doing myself any favors, because the prize figures and Figmas have been backing up on me something fierce. I didn’t have the time to do one this weekend either, but I really wanted to get to checking out this Ghostbusters Playmobil set earlier in the week and when it didn’t happen, I decided to suck it up and review it this weekend. As for Anime Saturday, it will return next weekend. I’ll be on vacation by then and spending it watching a lot of anime and playing a lot of video games, so I’ll be good and ready for it… Promise!
It’s been six years since I last opened up a Playmobil set and with the Ghostbusters Anniversary this past week, it felt like the time was right to break that terrible streak and check out one of the new Ghostbusters Playmobil sets. Playmobil and I go way back and rather than waste time here, I’ll refer you to this post back in 2011 when I talked a little bit about what the line has meant to me. Quite frankly, I’m just too damn excited to dig into this set right now, so let’s Go… Ghost… Busters! Oh, wait. Wrong Ghostbusters. My bad…
In terms of packaging, Playmobil hasn’t changed much. The larger sets still come in boxes that are easy to open and pretty good for storing the toys in when you’re done. I usually like to take one of the biggest boxes in a series and use it to store the contents of a bunch of sets. In the case of this series, Playmobil eschews the regular bright blue deco in favor of one a little more faithful to the Ghostbusters brand. One of the most curious things about Playmobil is that they never put the name of the sets on the box. Instead sets have simple numbers, similar to LEGO. They’re also quite content with showing off the toys themselves rather than waste your time with a lot of fancy box art. Back in the day, Playmobil had a great series of space toys called PlaymoSpace. They should have done that here. PlaymoBusters. PlaymoGhost. Mmm… Maybe not.
Ah, there’s nothing quite like breaking into a box of Playmobil. Inside, you get the partially assembled Ecto-1, several bags of pieces, instructions, and stickers. These aren’t really building sets, but there’s a lot of fun to be had putting everything together. Playmobil is all about lots and lots of accessories and pieces and everything working with everything else. The bulk of assembly for Ecto-1 involves the wheels and all the gear on the top. It took me about a half hour to get everything together and stickered. You also get some slime splashes in the box, which are made of rubbery plastic and stick to the car. Probably cool for the kids, but I haven’t bothered to take these out of the plastic. Anyway, before we get to the main attraction, let’s check out the figures!
As the box states, the set comes with Winston Zeddemore and Janine Melnitz. Obviously, Playmobil is engaged in marketing shenanigans here, making you buy a bunch of sets to get the whole team, but I’m fine with that. I’ve now decided that I’m getting them all anyway and I absolutely love that they put Winston and Ghostbuster Janine in what will likely be the most desired set. If you’re familiar with Playmobil figures, there’s nothing new here. They come on standard male and female bodies, with articulation in the neck, arms, and hips. The printed uniforms are really nice. I like that they didn’t just use the same printing, as there’s a little bit of variation on the belt gear between the two figures. The printed portraits are pretty great too. I just can’t look at Winston’s face without smiling. That’s a face that tells me “if there’s a steady paycheck involved, I’ll believe in anything you want.”
The proton packs are quite detailed, especially by Playmobil standards. They even include the tiny warning labels and the wands can store on the backpacks by plugging them into the sides. The packs themselves clip onto the figure around the shoulders and waists. The figures can hold the wands slung under their hands to sort of mimic the way they were wielded in the movie.
You also get a pair of proton streams that plug right into the end of the barrels. At this point, I’ll remind everyone that Diamond Select released $25 Ghostbusters figures with proton streams that had no way of attaching to the wands and later had to rectify that by including adapters if you bought more figures. Hey, I’ve got nothing against DST, but I think it’s funny that between the two, Playmobil got it right.
You also get a Ghost trap with a foot pedal. The doors on the trap are hinged and you can open it. There’s a sticker that depicts the horrible pocket torture dimension that the ghosts are sucked into.
And finally, you get a PKE Meter, which is just a static piece with a sticker for the display, but cool nonetheless. Moving on to the real showpiece of this set…
The Playmobil Ecto-1 is absolutely glorious. What I love the most about this thing is that it doesn’t feel overly stylized or super-deformed to make it kiddie friendly. It’s just a damn nice reproduction of the vehicle in the 4-inch scale. Sure, some of the stickers make it look a little animated. It’s definitely a toy first and a showpiece second, but I think it looks damn great. As a Playmobil fan and middle aged child, I’m happy to play with it, but as an adult collector, I’ll be proud to display it too.
There are a fair number of stickers to apply, but I was happy to see that all of the Ghostbusters logos are printed directly onto the vehicle. Some nice touches include the official-looking Ecto-1 NY licensed plates and the fact that the headlights are actually clear plastic, even if the spot lights are just stickers. The tires are actually rubber and the hubcaps are removable. I’ll also note here that the Ecto-1 features electric lights and sounds via three AAA batteries. Some of you may know that I’m not all that into electronics in toys like this, so I haven’t even picked up any batteries for it yet. The box says it has a siren and the lights flash. If I ever get around to trying it out, I’ll attach a video.
Playmobil did a nice job with the crazy array of equipment and sensors on the top of the vehicle. You get all sorts of hoses and tanks and god only knows what else up there.
The back door opens up to have access to equipment storage. You can even fit the proton streams in there if you want. Still, it’s kind of hard to get in there from the back, but luckily the entire top lifts off.
Here you can see there are places to put up to four proton packs and a place for a single ghost trap. This is also how you get the figures into the front seat, since the doors don’t open. There are also two additional seats in the back so you can fit up to four Ghostbusters in the Ecto-1 at any one time.
The going price for the Ecto-1 seems to be around $50-55, although I was able to grab one off Amazon for $45 shipped and I’m pretty content with that price. Granted, you could probably get a bigger Playmobil pirate ship with a lot more pieces for around the same price, but no doubt some of the cost here is going to the license. And that alone is pretty special, because I can’t recall Playmobil ever doing licensed sets before. There’s no doubt about it, this set is fun and Playmobil put a lot of thought and love into designing it. It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that I immediately ordered three more sets, which should be rolling in over the next week. I have not ordered the Firehouse Playset yet, but it’s going to happen. God help me, I have no idea where I will put it, but it’s going to happen.