Playmobil Ghostbusters Firehouse (#9219)

Once again, folks, DC Friday is being preempted so that I can get to some Playmobil Ghostbusters goodness. Sorry about that, but rest assured, it will return next week when I get back into checking out some DC statues. And now… on with today’s content…

There’s something about getting a playset in a big box that still feels like something special. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of the magic of being a little kid at Christmas, or maybe it’s because so few of these things are made anymore that it’s become a rare occurrence. Either way, I knew after only a few moments after getting Playmobil’s Ecto-1 set up that I would need to get the Firehouse to house it in. Well, it arrived earlier this week and I’ve had some time to play around with it. If this set had come out anywhere near December, I probably would have held off opening it until Christmas, but that’s still a ways off, so I’m diving in right away!

In typical Playmobil fashion, the illustrations and photos on the box let’s the product do the talking. Sure there are some digital effects, but for the most part what you see on the box is what you’re actually getting inside. Also, the box is huge, although it’s not terribly deep, so right off the bat you just know there’s going to be a lot of assembly here. You can also tell that from rattling the box or by looking at where it proclaims that there are 228 pieces inside!

Open her up and you’re presented with more than ten bags of pieces, plus a bunch of loose bigger pieces, and a bag with instructions, some rubbery splotches of green slime, and a sticker sheet. I knew right away it was time to brew up a pot of coffee and tuck in for a fairly lengthy build. Granted, a fair number of those 228 pieces include the figures, equipment, and furnishings, but even putting together the structure itself was more involved than I was expecting, and I’m no stranger to Playmobil! I should throw out a warning, that while it’s probably possible to disassemble the Firehouse and get it back in the box, it’s not something I’m willing to risk, which means somehow I’m going to have to find the shelf space for this beast!

The instructions are pretty good, although the bags aren’t numbered like LEGO sets, so while you may be finding most of the pieces in a step in one bag, some might be in another. As a result, I played it fast and loose with the steps, and I still did OK. A lot of putting together the actual building involved these red square joining pieces and this Playmobil tool. I’ve had Playmobil sets ever since I was a kid, and I’ve never even seen one of these before! The worst thing about the entire build was putting together the two staircases. Each step had to be individually inserted (something like sixteen in all!) and it took a ridiculous amount of force to get them together. Also, the tool didn’t help with it and my thumbs were almost destroyed by the time I was done. Let’s start with a look at the figures that are included, then a look at the Firehouse itself, and then I’ll go floor-by-floor to look at the furnishings and accessories.

The set comes with a whopping five figures! These include Ray Stantz in a clean uniform, Janine Melnitz in her civvies, Louis Tulley with the brain scanner/kitchen colander on his head, Egon Spengler in his “doing science” outfit and forehead spotlight, and the Library Ghost from the beginning of the movie. I’d say all of these are excellent, except the Library Ghost just doesn’t do much for me. It’s neat to have another ghost, but this was probably a tough design to translate to the Playmobil aesthetic. The clean suited Ray comes with a Proton Pack, Ghost Trap, PKE Meter, and a weird looking device that I don’t recognize. The inclusion of this figure also means that Playmobil has to release at least one more set with a clean suited Peter Venkman… THEY HAVE TO!!! As for Janine, Louis, and Egon, they’re all very Firehouse specific, so it’s great that Playmobil included them here. Seeing as how the figure two-packs can range up to $10 at retail, I think these figures add a lot of value to this package.

Here’s the exterior of the Firehouse and I think it’s a damn fine approximation of the building from the film. All of those windows and all of the brickwork are part of the assembly process. I think the only thing here that’s a bit of a letdown is the door on the side is just a sticker and it’s scaled a little too small. Then again, this is a Playmobil set designed for kids, so I’m probably being way too critical! There’s a fire hydrant beside the building and you get the iconic Ghostbusters logo on the sign above the garage door.

The garage door opens and building those tracks for it to do that is fairly involved. Moving inside, you can see that there are three levels, each accessible by those damn stairs! Seriously, my poor thumbs are still hurting from snapping all of those together! I’m going to start at the top and work down. Keep in mind, you really are free to deck this thing out any way you want, I just followed (more or less) the suggestions on the box.

So the top floor is Janine’s office. She’s got a desk with a computer and keyboard, a second piece of furniture with a phone and a lamp, an office chair and a stool. The drawers on that other piece of furniture actually open and you can put little Playmobil stuff in them. The monitor shows a map of the city with a Ghostbusters emblem indicating ghost activity. She also comes with an issue of Playmobil Today featuring stories about the Ghostbusters and their equipment. You can also see the fire alarm just to the side of the banister. “WE GOT ONE!!!”

You also get a pizza in a box! What? No Chinese Take Out???

There’s a fire poll that connects all the floors and a sliding hand grip for the figures to slide down on.

The middle section is the lab area, which houses all the scientific equipment. You get the device that they hooked Louis up to with a screen that shows an image of a Terror Dog, indicating that he’s possessed. The equipment itself has all sorts of buttons and gauges and it’s even branded with the Ghostbusters logo. It includes a chair and the monitor sits on a cabinet with three opening drawers. Here you can also see a floor lamp, and a video camera on a tripod.

A closer look at the bookcase in the background shows it contains a couple of cooking pans, a test tube rack with three test tubes, a jar of green slime, and a copy of Tobin’s Spirit Guide!

You also get this rolling cart with a few scientific flasks, a microscope, and a stray test tube. SCIENCE!

And there’s a coffee decanter for Louis to hold. “YES HAVE SOME!” I’m really impressed with all the great stuff they packed into the science area and I’m already on the hunt for some other Playmobil sets that might allow me to expand it even more.

Moving into the garage level, there isn’t a whole lot going on down here, but you do get the containment system, which opens up and you can put a trap in there. If you’re like me and you have most of these sets then you’ve got a lot of Ghost Traps by now, which gives me a spare to keep in the unit. The detail on this thing is mostly stickers, but it looks great. It has a couple of handles, one to open the door and one to flush the machine. I really dig the hoses coming up out of the top.

Of course, the reason there isn’t a whole lot else going on in the garage is because they had to leave room for the Ecto-1 to fit, and it does indeed fit… granted just barely, but I’m not complaining, because it looks great in there and it’s one of the biggest selling points about this whole set.

Now, obviously all this playset don’t come cheap. I was able to get mine for regular retail price off of Amazon for $69.99. Right now it’s selling for a little more than that and without the free Prime shipping. When you break down everything that comes in this box, I think the asking price is fair, especially since it’s the exact same price that Playmobil charges for their largest Pirate Ship sets, which are obviously not licensed. My point is, you aren’t getting soaked just because it’s an official Ghostbusters product, and you get a lot of goodies in the box for your money. I’ll be honest, I probably would have ponied up more money if I had to, because I never in a million years would have guessed that we’d get an actual Ghostbusters Firehouse playset like this ever again. The fact that it’s from Playmobil is both bizarre and fantastic at the same time. I have only one set left to pick up, the Hot Dog Stand with Slimer, and I’m going to nab it as soon as I find it. I’m still going to hope we see some more sets out of the Playmobil-Ghostbusters fusion, but my gut tells me this may be it, and if that’s the case, well… Playmobil certainly gave it their all and did a fantastisc job.

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More Playmobil Ghostbusters Sets! (#9221, 9223, and 9224) 

What? No DC Friday? Nope, not this week. I’m actually caught up on reviews for my DC collection right now and I haven’t had time to go into storage and pull out some old stuff. And so I’m re-purposing the next two Fridays for other things. Never fear, DC Friday will return in two weeks! In the meantime…

Yup, I got some more Ghostbusters sets from Playmobil and today I’m going to knock out three of them! While each of these come in enclosed boxes, the two smaller ones are pretty much just figure packs, and even the larger Stay-Puft set just features the one larger and one regular figure. Of course, I’m not complaining, as these sets all do their part to build up the Playmobil Ghostbusters Universe and they compliment each other nicely. They also provide the rest of the team to go with my Ecto-1. If you have any experience with Playmobil sets the packaging should be familiar to you. While the deco has been branded for the license, everything else is the same. You get photos of everything that comes inside on the backs of the boxes and there is some minor assembly required and stickers to apply, mostly for the Proton Packs and Ghost Traps. Let’s start big and work our way down…

Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man and Ray Stantz: The name is pretty self-explanatory, as this set includes Mr. Stay-Puft and Ray Stantz, the heart of the Ghostbusters! I really love the look of Stay-Puft and I’m happy they didn’t redesign him to look like a giant Playmobil figure. He’s cast in a great looking white pearlescent plastic and features some bright blue and red paint.

Indeed, even if you’re in the market for a Stay-Puft and don’t care anything about Playmobil, this figure would still probably scratch your itch. It’s not as big or impressive as the Diamond Select Stay-Puft Bank that I display with my Mattel Ghostbusters, but to be fair this is supposed to be a smaller scale anyhow. Really, my only complaint here is in the articulation. Sure, I expected a big hollow figure and I didn’t expect any articulation in the legs, but I was a little disappointed that the head doesn’t turn. At least the arms will rotate at the shoulders and the hands swivel at the wrists. All in all, he’s a great looking figure and still fun to play with.

The other half of this set, Ray, features a marshmallow-soiled uniform, which may irk some collectors, who are looking for a set of the guys all in clean uniforms. I find that I don’t mind it so much. It definitely adds a little personality to the figure, especially since Ray otherwise just looks like a standard Playmobil guy. Luckily, he has his name on his shirt and he also comes with his Ecto-Goggles to help further distinguish him. The Proton Pack is an amazing piece, and identical to what we saw in the Ecto-1 set. The wand can peg to the side for storage and it also comes with a particle stream effect piece. Moving on to…

Peter Venkman, Dana, and The Terror Dogs: This is a really well-rounded set of four figures, as it gives you not only Peter and Dana, but also the pair of Terror Dogs, another Ghost Trap, and another PKE Meter. We’ve seen the equipment before, so let’s just take a quick look at the figures…

Like Ray, Peter features a soiled shirt, this time with green slime. Once again, if you’re looking for a clean set of Ghostbusters, this is likely to irritate you, but I’m still happy with it since it gives a little more personality to the figure and further helps to identify him, along with the name on the uniform. Peter wasn’t really known for carrying around the PKE Meter, but it’s cool that Playmobil is throwing us extra equipment. Hell, I’ve got plenty of PKE Meters and Ghost Traps just from the four sets I own.

Dana features her possessed look from just before she turned into one of the dogs. I think it’s a pretty good attempt at the character while still sticking to the Playmobil aesthetic. They also managed to keep the hip articulation while doing her sculpted gown. I love her demon eyes! Who the hell would have ever imagined that cute and innocent Playmobil would ever do ladies possessed by demons!

Not to mention, the The Terror Dogs! These are fantastic little sculpts that manage to be both adorable and still easily recognizable from the film. They feature articulation in all four legs, the neck, and their jaws will even open! My only complaint here is that I wish Playmobil had made this a bigger set that included a rooftop playset. I would have gladly paid an extra $15 for the altar with a Gozer figure and a place to put the dogs. I think that would have been amazing. And that brings me to the smallest set…

Egon Spengler and Ghost: The last set completes the Ghostbusters team with Egon Spengler, as well as including two actual ghosts!

Playmobil did a find job recreating Egon with printed glasses and a crazy pompadour! He comes with a Proton Pack with proton stream, a PKE Meter, and a Walkie-Talkie. It feels like Peter should have come with the Walkie, but I’m not complaining. I can just give it to him, anyway.

The Ghost Trap comes with a ghost that you can plug into it. Oh, so that’s what that hole is for! He’s a pretty jolly wisp of Ectoplasm, as he’s smiling even though he’s about to get sucked into the torture-dimension that I like to think comprises the inside of those Ghost Traps. Playmobil really needs to release a variety of these ghosts to plug into the different traps. Hell, go ahead and blind bag ’em, I’ll buy tons! It’s a simple plastic shell, but if you put an LED behind it, it makes for a pretty cool effect.

The other ghost is a regular figure and I call him Dapper Ghost, because he looks like a proper 19th Century gentlemen. The figure itself is partially translucent and has some skeletal paint apps on him. The overcoat and hat are both regular opaque plastic. I really dig his mutton chops and his little mustache. As much as I love this guy and all his personality, I wish Playmobil would have given us one of the ghosts from the film. This should have been Library Ghost or Taxi Driver Ghost. Still, he’s cool.

That’s four sets down and two to go. I’m still hunting the Hot Dog Stand with Slimer and the Firehouse is on its way to me as I write this article. Right now, I’m just basking in how great it is to have the whole team with my Ecto-1. As with most Playmobil sets, the fun is getting them all together and that’s certainly the case here. These adorable little spook hunters are all ready to go on adventures. These sets were $20, 15, and 10 respectively, which seems a bit high when I compare it to the same $45 I spent on the Ecto-1. Sure, it’s a lot of figures and accessories, but Stay-Puft was the only really substantial piece and he’s nowhere near as complex a toy as the Ecto-1. That’s OK. I’m still fine with the value here and I’m hoping that Playmobil isn’t done with this line yet.

Playmobil Ghostbusters: Ecto-1 with Winston Zeddemore and Janine Melnitz (#9220)

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.

Ghostbusters: Limited Edition White Fudge Marshmallow Twinkies by Hostess

So, today I went out for lunch and a couple of pitchers of brew with some friends and it took me near a Walmart that I never go to. I never really go to any Walmarts anymore, because none of the ones in this area actually stock any toys worth a damn. But with Titans Return figures cropping up all over, I thought I’d give it a try. It turned out to be a bust. A shelf crammed with Motormasters and pegs stuffed with Robots in Disguise. I grabbed some kitty litter so it wasn’t a wasted trip and stomped off to the register defeated. But then it just popped in there. Something that I loved from my childhood. Something that could never possibly destroy me. Mr. Stay Puft. And he was on a box of Twinkies. In a big display at the checkout. I bought them and now I’m going to tell you what I think. And Ray is going to help me…

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While the toys for the new Ghostbusters film may already be on clearance at a number of retailers, the breakout marketing hit seems to be of the edible varieties. The nerd world seems to have gone mad over the return of Ecto Coolers, and now we have Hostess jumping on board with Ghostbusters themed Twinkies. I haven’t purchased Twinkies in something like 20 years. I can barely remember the last time I ate one. But these looked like they were worth a shot. They had Slimer branded ones too, but I wasn’t confident in Hostess’ ability to work wonders with fake Key Lime flavoring. These are more my bag. White fudge covered Twinkies with marshmallow topping. The box is branded with Mr. Stay Puft himself and the Ghostbusters logo warning you that these are Limited Editions. Indeed, very limited, as the expiration date on my boxes show their time is up next month. What’s that old joke about Twinkies never expiring? Anyway, this box of chemically produced snack cake goodness boasts 9 individually wrapped cakes, which seems to me like a rather odd number. Both literally and figuratively. Nonetheless, I was anxious to try these with my afternoon coffee.

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So, the last time I had a Twinkie, I’m pretty sure it came in a clear baggie. These come in swanky white wrappers peppered with the Hostess logo. They feel posh, but I’ll confess to being disappointed that the branding stops at the box. Those Hostess emblems should have been Ghostbusters emblems. Also, these look rather small. I probably remember Twinkies bigger because I was small the last time I ate one, but these are not big Twinkies. I didn’t even feel bad about my plan to gobble down two of these with my coffee, providing they passed the taste test. If these Twinkies represented all of the psycho kenetic energy in my immediate area, I’d be OK with that, because it wouldn’t be much. Ray looks a little more worried. But then they’re huge by his standards.

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With the wrapper off, I’m less impressed. It’s not really Twinkie shaped. It’s kind of got a flat top. It also looks like something Mr. Stay Puft might leave behind after a squat. It does smell good though. Also, I’m now enamored with the idea that Mr. Stay Puft shits marshmallow Twinkies.

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Now’s the time to admit that I was a little disappointed when I got the box home and read the fine print. I expected the Twinkie filling to be marshmallow, but it’s regular Twinkie filling. The Marshmallow is spread on top of the Twinkie before its encased in the white fudge. Yeah, it clearly states that on the box, but in my defense, I’m a 43-year old man buying snack cakes to cheer myself up from not finding any toys. My oversight is understandable. Breaking one open, it certainly looks inviting. The sponge cake is yellow and spongy and the creamy center is chock full of fluffy isotopes. But I can’t see any marshmallow layer. Hmm… Well, the proof is in the eating.

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And I have to say, these things are damned good. The marshmallow is there. And it’s fairly potent. But not too potent. It’s hard to believe it’s all coming from that nearly non-existent layer on the top, but I’d say it’s just the right amount of marshmallow finish. It also blends nicely on the palate with the combination of white fudge icing and whatever the creme goop is that they inject these things with. The cake is as smooth and spongy as modern science can produce, and I found these to be a real treat with my coffee. Would I buy more? Yes, undoubtedly. I doubt I’d make a special trip to that Walmart for them, but if they turn up at the Target or Publix around the corner, I could see putting a box or two of these away for a rainy day. I could also see myself being sad when the last one is gone.

Ghostbusters 2: Vigo The Carpathian by Mattel

A couple of weeks ago Harold Ramis left us to venture off to the Undiscovered Country. That inspired me to go into my pile of unopened Ghostbusters figures to check out Egon Spengler. It also inspired me to finally get around to opening some of the other figures in that pile, so you’ll likely see some of Mattel’s now defunct Ghostbusters line turning up here from time to time in the weeks to come. Today we’re checking out Vigo from Ghostbusters 2. We’ve had pack-in ghosts before, but Vigo is really the only baddie that got his own singular release and that makes him kind of special. Ghostbusters 2 is a film that pales in comparison to the original, but it’s still a guilty pleasure of mine.

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Vigo arrives in the same basic packaging as all the other Ghostbusters figures. The key difference is that the Ghostbusters emblem on the top has been changed to the Ghostbusters 2 emblem. I appreciate Mattel going out of their way to make that change, especially since this packaging is so damn attractive that I could see a lot of collectors choosing to display them unopened. The other difference is that instead of Mr. Stay Puft on the backdrop of the card, Vigo features a lenticular card of the painting that he came out of. Again, I’ve got to give kudos to Mattel for doing something clever and fun here.

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Vigo comes clad in his full Carpathian armor and there’s some pretty nice detail here. The chest piece, shoulders, and skirt are all sculpted in soft plastic and layered over the figure’s buck. The one thing I was most looking for was the pair of sculpted skulls on his shoulder straps, and yep, there they are. Additionally, the sculpt includes all sorts of little barbs and rivets and even the lacing that runs up the back of his tunic.

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I seem to recall a lot of people grousing about the head sculpt, but I think the portrait is actually quite good. It certainly bears a resemblance to the late actor Norbert Grupe. Maybe I’m just too forgiving, or maybe a lot of people are just dedicated to pissing and moaning about everything that Matty Collector does. Anyway, I like the deep set eyes and the angry, determined expression. The swept back grey hair is pretty well executed as well.

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I don’t know how much articulation one really needs in an action figure of an undead Carpathian warlord, but Vigo has a fair share. You get ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The arms have hinges in the elbows and swivels in the wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC style hips that allow for lateral leg movement. The legs have hinged knees and ankles, and there are swivel cuts concealed at the tops of the boots. He can also swivel at the waist. The lack of swivel cuts in the biceps is a little disappointing, but all I really need this guy to do is stand there and look menacing while Ray and Winston shoot slime at him.

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Vigo doesn’t come with any conventional accessories. A baby Oscar might have been an interesting choice. He does, however, include the aforementioned lenticular painting, which is quite large and features two sides. The front shows Vigo or is empty depending on which way you look at it. The reverse shows the portrait of the Ghostbusters in their renaissance garb. It’s a cool addition to round out a figure that really had no need of any additional accessories.

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Vigo is hardly a “must-have” figure, but once this line died and the figures started turning up for cheap, I found myself suddenly wanting to be a completist. I seem to recall picking up Vigo for around $10 on Amazon because, well why wouldn’t I? He certainly isn’t a bad figure. Granted, when the line was still viable and fans were crying out for some figures for their Ghostbusters to fight, I don’t think Vigo was really their first choice. I know he wasn’t mine. Just like everyone else, I would much rather have had Gozer. And why we never got the Terror Dogs is beyond me. Obviously Mattel had some tooling money to spend, and they could have basically sold the same Terror Dog to us twice. Maybe there were still some licensing issues tied up with NECA on that one.

Ghostbusters: “Ready to Believe You” Egon Spengler by Mattel

I’m interrupting my regular planned feature today for this little special. Sure, it was spur of the moment and I wound up having to stay up pretty late to write it and do the photo shoot, but considering the occasion I think it was worth it. If you follow me on Facebook, I posted a short piece yesterday about Harold Ramis passing. Being a child of the 70’s and growing up in the 80’s Ramis was involved in so many of the movies that I loved during that curious transition from adolescent to teenager. Whether behind the camera or in front of it, Ramis was a genius at writing, directing, and even delivering comedic dialogue. He knew what was funny and yet the often crass comedy of his films almost always hid a message of inspiration for the underdog. I loved this man’s work and it had a huge influence on my formative years, helping me to grow into the smart-ass that I am today. But this blog isn’t about movies, so I thought it fitting to give him a tribute FFZ style by looking at one of his action figures. While the bulk of Harold Ramis’ work did not dabble in science fiction, the nerd and geek community nonetheless adopted him for his role as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters, and so let’s check out that character today, immortalized in plastic.

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It seems oddly appropriate to point out today that Egon was actually the very first of the Ghostbusters to get the 5-inch treatment from Mattel. He appeared as a Slimed Variant Exclusive released at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con. Later he would get a wider release without the slime and yet again he was released as the figure we’re looking at today. While this line has had its share of critics, it’s hard to knock the presentation here. Egon comes packaged, along with the Library Ghost, under a huge bubble against a carded backdrop of the Stay Puft Marshmallowman. The Ghostbusters emblem is on the top and the bubble is flanked by the Keymaster and Gatekeeper. The whole package is big enough to sit right on your shelf and it looks good enough to leave in the package and display it as is. But y’all know me… let’s rip this baby open.

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The “Ready to Believe You” variants come from the commercial shown during the original Ghostbusters movie. All three of the original Ghostbusters got the “RtBY” treatment, but none seem more at home in their lab coat than Egon here. I own all three of these figures, but if I were only going to pick up one it would certainly have been Dr. Spengler. The underlying buck is the same used for the Ray Stantz figure that I featured here last year. It’s a solid enough figure, complete with black slacks, belt, and white dress shirt. The tie is even a separate piece, sculpted in soft rubber. It’s a pretty lean body, which works much better for Egon than it did for Ray. The lab coat is the usual vest-style overlay with sculpted arms to look like sleeves and the illusion of this being a full coat works fairly well. Egon’s coat features a newly sculpted pocket computer, attached to his pocket, and white painted buttons, besides that and the blue tie, this figure is identical to Ray from the neck down.

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The portrait is the same sculpt used for the previous Egon figures. Whether that’s good or bad is a matter of personal taste. I think it’s a decent likeness of Ramis although it definitely errs more toward being a caricature than a straight up likeness. A lot of that comes from the ridiculously high bangs that were so gloriously emphasized in his Real Ghostbusters animated counterpart. The glasses are rather thick, but they are sculpted as a separate piece, include plastic lenses, and are permanently attached to the figure. I give Mattel props for the glasses. No, they don’t look perfect, but they can’t be easy to get right in this scale, so I’m willing to be rather forgiving.

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The articulation here is pretty standard for the line. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. The legs have the DCUC-style hips, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. Egon can swivel at the waist and he has a generous ball joint in the neck. Egon is by no means super articulated, but it’s not exactly crucial to the character and I think what’s here is fine. He’s at least limber enough to hold a Twinkie while using it as a metaphor for the frighteningly elevated levels of supernatural activity within the Greater New York area.

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Egon comes with three PKE meters, each one in a different stage of detection. You get one with the arms all the way down, one with them partly up. “Listen! Do you smell something?” And one with them at full on ball-to-the-wall “Oh shit, there’s a ghost here!” mode. The inclusion of even one PKE meter was a very nice accessory, considering it was conspicuously absent from the first Egon release, so getting three really made buying this figure worthwhile.

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What else made this figure a very worthwhile purchase was the inclusion of the Library Ghost, or Eleanor Twitty if you prefer, from the beginning of the original film.  This free-roaming vaporous full-torso apparition is beautifully recreated in partially translucent plastic. The face sculpt is awesome right down to the swept back grey hair and messed up ghoul teeth. I really dig the paintjob on this figure too. The mix of matte purple with the translucent parts makes for a pretty eerie effect. She features three points of articulation, which includes a rotating head and rotating shoulders. Twitty also comes with the same clear plastic stand that all of the ghosts featured. So far, this is easily my favorite of all the bundled ghosts in the line.

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All in all, this set is a well-rounded package. The causal collectors can probably do without Peter or Ray in their lab coats, but as I said earlier, it seems a must to have Egon in his “doing science” outfit. The inclusion of the PKE Meters and one of the most iconic minor ghosts in the franchise makes this deal all the sweeter and I definitely recommend anyone collecting this line pick it up. It may seem trivial to some to honor Harold Ramis’ passing with a look at one of his action figures, but the fact that this figure exists celebrates part of the legacy he left behind and a character that lots and lots of people loved. I know I’ll be celebrating his life for the rest of this week with some of his movies and trying to remember him with smiles and laughter because I think that’s what the way he would have wanted it.

Godspeed, Harold Ramis… and thanks for all the laughs!

Ghostbusters: Walter Peck by Mattel

A lot of people rolled their eyes when Matty revealed that EPA douchebag, Walter Peck, would get a figure release in their Ghostbusters line. Were these the same people that were bitching about too many variant Ghostbusters? I realize most collectors were waiting for Gozer, and rightly so, but Peck was an awesome character in the flick and I think he definitely deserved his own figure. To sweeten the deal, Matty paired him with the mother or all accessories… the actual containment system. Sure you could argue that it was Matty’s way of making you buy a figure you didn’t want to get a great accessory, but what better character to bundle with the containment system then the asshole who shut it off? Actually, Peck didn’t even have the balls to shut it off himself… he got the ConEd guy to do it for him. Hey Matty, where’s my ConEd Guy figure?

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We get the typical and awesome Ghostbusters package. It’s basically the same thing we saw last week with Slimeblower Ray, only with the original GB logo on the top rather than the one for GB2. These packages are great for mint-on-card collectors because the deco really captures the feel of the film and the huge bubble displays the figures quite well. They can also stand on your shelf all by themselves. Look at Peck in there, all smug about the fact that you have to buy him in order to get the containment system. What a douchebag!

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The back of the package has the usual personnel file. I think Matty passed up a great opportunity here. Nowhere on the card does it say, “Has no dick!” I’ll bet they were tempted.

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As one might expect a figure based off of a government beaurucrat isn’t the most exciting thing around. Walter Peck is a guy in a suit. Granted, he’s a pretty decent looking figure of a guy in a suit. Matty kind of shot themselves in the foot by scaling these guys smaller than their DCUC line because Peck could have easily borrowed the suited body that Mattel seemed so content to trot out over and over (and over) again in the DCUC and Signature Series. Nonetheless, this buck is new to me. I imagine it’s the same one reused for the Courtroom Ghostbusters, but I haven’t opened those yet, so I can’t say for sure. I think the only real gripe I have here is that Peck sports some rather meaty and oversized hands. They’re sculpted to hold something, but I’m not sure why. The portrait is based off the likeness of actor William Atherton and I have to say it’s a pretty decent likeness. I think people tend to dismiss how important it is in a movie to have a good smarmy bad guy that people can love to hate. Atherton plays these parts to a tee. Whether he’s turning off the containment system and endangering New York City or pestering John McClane’s wife in Die Hard, he plays a great scumbag and I really respect that. Besides, surely this must be the first EPA action figure anyone has ever produced. The paintwork on the hairline and beard is excellent and Peck is wearing a smirk that you just want to slap right off his face.

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And that brings us to the accessories: The containment system and ghost trap. The trap is different from the one that came with Winston as it cannot open. That makes for a slightly better sculpt without the unsightly hinges. It does, however, still have a socket to plug the pedal and cord into, but does not come with one.

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The containment system is beautifully done. It’s basically a slab of wall on a stand with the unit built into it. It looks close enough to the film set to satisfy me and it makes a beautiful centerpiece to display your figures with. It even has an action feature, where you can pull the lever and a spring-loaded mechanism will release the loading chute. You can then load the trap that came with this set, or use the one that came with the original Winston. Close it up and when the light is green, the trap is clean! No, the lights don’t actually work.

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Like a lot of the Ghostbusters figures that I’m looking at these days, I picked up Peck for about half of what he originally sold for and I’m cool with that. He’s not an exciting figure, but I can’t deny that he’s well executed and he will certainly fit into my Ghostbusters display somewhere, even if I have to cover him with Fluffernutter. I may also use him to audit the Justice League Watchtower. I’m betting Batman doesn’t have a permit for half that equipment he uses.

Ghostbusters 2: Ray Stantz with Slime Blower by Mattel

So a couple of weeks ago I picked up Mattel’s Ghostbusters 2 Ray and Winston from a comic shop of all places. On Halloween I put the spotlight on Winston, saying he deserved his own feature because he doesn’t get enough love. The real reason was so I could drag Ray out some other day when I was going out and I needed a quick feature. That’s today, folks, because I’m going out for drinksies with some friends and my buddy Ray here is going to get me out the door a lot quicker because we’ve basically seen this figure before.

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There’s the packaging and I think it’s pretty fabulous. It displays the figures wonderfully and features a very familiar deco with a lot of the things we loved from the first movie and not a lot from the second movie because, well it wasn’t anywhere near as good. You do get the Ghostbusters 2 logo embossed on the top of the bubble with a color insert. It’s a nice touch to differentiate these guys from the first movie and it’s a little example of Matty going the extra mile for the presentation. Of course, if you’re like me and you’re just going to shred the packaging anyway, they really needn’t have bothered. The back of the package features the pseudo file card, with some lame information about Ray that to me really comes off as being rather cringe-worthy.

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When I looked at Winston I gave Matty a little pat on the back for investing a lot more new tooling in this figure then they probably had to. Here’s where Matty got to see that pay off because they were able to turn around and release the figure twice with only a quick head swap. Yes, from the neck down this is the exact same figure we saw last week. The sculpt, the paint, the articulation, everything is identical right down to the Slime Blower on his back. Hey, I’m not going to hammer on them for doing it. it’s a nice looking figure, and I’m not sure what they could have done differently, apart from actually building the figures off of individual bucks like they should have done in the first place. But even here the bulky vest does a little to hide the fact that Ray and Winston are suddenly sharing the same body type.

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What I will happily give Matty crap over is the fact that they used the original Ray headsculpt as opposed to the one on the “Ready to Believe You” figure. The RTBY version of Ray was drastic improvement over the first portrait and I gave Matty credit for getting us a new Ackroyd noggin. You’d think they’d use it again here, but nope, we’re back to the unfortunate pinch-headed Ray that looks like he’s working on growing a George Lucas goiter. This is more a caricature portrait of Ackroyd and while it still sort of works for me on some level, it still baffles me as to why Mattel wouldn’t have selected what was clearly the better portrait. Was this figure released before the lab coat version? If it was, I guess I’ll just shut up about it.

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I’ll echo what I said in the Winston feature that I wasn’t a big fan of the Slime Blower over the Proton Pack, but Mattel did a very nice job recreating it for the 6-inch scale. The sculpted detail and paintwork are all top notch. I would have liked someway to attach the want to the tank, but it can kind of just float there next to it when he isn’t holding it.

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One of the best reasons to pick up this figure is to add another ghost to your menagerie. Ray comes with a “Cinema” ghost, which I imagine is another one from the ghostbusting-montages. I don’t remember this guy, but he is a damn cool looking figure. He’s got three pairs of eyes and a big mouth of ragged teeth. He has two arms that split at the elbows to form two pairs of hands. You get ball joints in the shoulders and hinges in the elbows. There’s also a swivel cut in the tail. This ghostie is cast in a translucent purple plastic with some nice pink paint apps. He comes with the same clear plastic stand that we got with Slimer and all the other ghosts.

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When I finished work on FFZ’s Index, I was really surprised to see how little Ghostbusters was represented. I have several figures in this line that I haven’t looked at yet and I still have some others that I picked up on the cheap and have yet to open, so it’s now inevitable that you’ll be seeing some more of Mattel’s Ghostbusters here in the weeks ahead. It’s also inspired me to call my brother and have him send me the box of Real Ghostbusters figures that he and I had when we were kids. Unfortunately, I might have to fly up there and kick his ass before he agrees to give them up.

Ghostbusters 2: Winston Zeddemore with Slime Blower by Mattel

Happy Halloween, folks! I know today should be Transformers Thursday, but I wanted to bump it for something at least vaguely Halloween-y, so we’ll do Transformers Thursday tomorrow instead. The best I could find for Halloween was a pair of Ghostbusters 2 figures that I came across a few weeks back at my not-so-local Comic Shop of all places. They just happened to have both Ray and Winston with their Slime Blowers and nobody there seemed to know where exactly they came from. It didn’t matter, because the price was right and they came home with me along with some Dan Slott Spider-Man hardcovers. I was going to look at the pair of them today, and then I thought that poor Winston doesn’t get enough love, so we’ll shine the spotlight on him alone and check out Ray sometime next week. Besides running with the whole ghost and Halloween theme, Winston here is slightly topical as Mattel has announced that in the wake of their failed Ecto-1 pre-order, they will still be releasing a new set of the Ghostbusters with removable Proton Packs.

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Dang, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen this packaging. It’s kind of cool to see it again, but it also reminds me of how badly Matty screwed up their handling of this license. I think we collectors would have been a lot more willing to pony up for the tsunami of variant Ghostbusters if we had gotten a Gozer or a couple of devil dogs tossed into the mix. At least I would have. Anyway, the figure comes in a big bubble with the Ghostbusters 2 logo embossed on top and fleshed out with a color insert. The dogs are on the front insert and you can see the Stay Puft Marshmallow man on the card, backing the bubble. This is great packaging if you’re a mint-on-card collector. It’s attractive, it stands up on its own, and it really shows the figure off beautifully. I, however, am an opener and there’s nothing collector friendly here, so it’s about to get shredded.

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The back of the card shows Winston’s personnel file. All the cards had this, and while in theory it’s a good idea, in practice it comes across as rather hokey and corny. “Quotes the Bible?” I’m pretty sure Ray did more of that in the movies than Winston did. And “Master of Pantomime?” I don’t even know what that’s referencing. Anyway, let’s rip this baby open and see what we’ve got.

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Straight away, I’m going to say that I’m impressed with how much extra tooling Matty did on this figure. They got a lot of shit for recycling parts in this line, and I’m not saying it wasn’t deserved. Hell, even this figure reuses a lot of parts. But there’s also a fair amount of new work here that makes this figure stand out well enough, even when he’s displayed next to his regular Proton Pack wearing initial release. For starters, we get a brand new head sculpt. I was pretty happy with the portrait on the first Winston figure. I’d go as far to say I think it was the best likeness of the team. This one shows him with a new haircut, sans mustache, and with a toothier grin. I like it a lot, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, I’m just not sure I like it as much as the original.

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Moving on to the uniform, Winston is built on the same jumpsuit body as the rest of the team. The legs appear to be identical, complete with the hose coming out of the leg, which I always assumed was there to catch urine if they pissed themselves with fear. The arms feature a newly painted Ghostbusters 2 logo and newly sculpted gloved hands. The gloves that were sculpted onto the belt on the original figure are replaced with a yellow gizmo and the belt itself is sculpted and painted differently. The recycling of the torso is covered up (literally!) by the newly sculpted vest onto which the Slime Blower is permanently attached.

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And then there’s the Slime Blower. I was not a big fan of this in the movie. The Proton Pack was so much cooler, but Mattel has done a very nice job recreating the device for the figure. There are lots of hoses coming off of it, a hazard stripe on the main tank and the grey paint shows some pretty realistic looking abrasions. There doesn’t appear to be any specific way to hang the wand on the tank like you can with the Proton Packs, but the hoses are stiff enough that it will stay in place beside the tank when not held.

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Winston’s articulation is identical to all of the jump-suited Ghostbusters, but as I’ve only featured one of these figures on FFZ before, let’s recount the points. The head is ball jointed, but it is ball jointed in the torso, not at the end of the neck. You still get a get a good amount of movement out of it, it’s just a weird way to do it. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists and the lack of a bicep swivel is still disappointing to me. The legs have hip joints quite similar to Mattel’s own DCUC style, with hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs and boots. He can also swivel at the waist, but has no other torso articulation. What’s here isn’t bad, and he can hold his Slime Blower wand very nicely.

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Traditionally, the Ghostbusters have come paired with ghosts. In this case, you get a piece of equipment. It’s the tripod trap seen very briefly in the montage where they are working in what I think was a jewelry or crystal shop. I’m all for getting more equipment and this is a fairly nice piece, complete with three independently balljointed doodads at the top.

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I picked this guy up for ten bucks, which I seem to recall is about half the original retail, plus I escaped Matty’s extortionist shipping rates to boot. It was a nice little score, since I wasn’t willing to pay full price for the variants, and yet I’m often on the lookout to complete this collection at good prices. I have to confess that Winston a far better executed figure then I thought he would be. There’s plenty of new work invested in him and he looks really great on the shelf. I expect Ray to be the same figure with a different head, but I’m still rather eager to open him up next week and have a look.

Ghostbusters: “Ready To Believe You” Ray Stantz by Mattel

[Howdy, folks. I hope everyone is having as good a time following all the Toy Fair coverage as I am. I was actually going to take today off just to recoup and digest, but then I figured why break a perfect daily streak of updates for February. I will be getting around to posting a little roundup of my impressions of what we’re seeing at TF2012, but that will likely come around Wednesday or so. No major surprises so far, unless you count how badly Hasbro seems to be half-assing their GI JOE movie year toy push. Jesus. Anyway, until then, let’s see what figure is on tap for today, eh? – FF]

We all should know by now that Matty has pulled the plug on the Ghostbusters subscription. We will supposedly get some more figures here and there, but apart from that they’ve abandoned the pretense of trying to hold this mess together as a cohesive line of action figures. That also means that some etailers are starting to unload their stocks on the cheap, which is the only reason we’re talking about Ghostbusters today. At $30 a figure (Yes, I include Matty’s shitty, extortionary shipping in the price) I was only prepared to buy the four Ghostbusters, but anytime I can pick these figures up for around half price, I’m willing to give it a go.
Ghostbusters packaging. Haven’t seen this in a long while. I still think it looks great. You get the main figure and the ghost beautifully displayed in a huge bubble with the colorful GB emblem right up on the top. The back of the package is an illustrated image of a cluttered desk with all kinds of trivia about our hero, Ray Stantz. Actually, the back of the cards aren’t my favorite aspect of these packages. There’s some goofy stuff on there, but oh well.
Ray comes dressed in his lab coat as he appeared for about 30 seconds in that “We’re Ready To Believe You” commercial. He probably donned this outfit at some other point in the movie too, and I can’t deny that having a Ray figure in a labcoat is a cool idea since he was one of the chief tinkerers and actual scientists of the group. This figure was an obvious choice for Mattel since it once again allowed them to use the same body to release all the Ghostbusters. Ray’s wearing black trousers, a white button down shirt, a tie, and the rubbery labcoat complete with sculpted pocket protector. For what it is, the body is pretty good, but its still hard to get excited about a dude in a labcoat. What is cool is that this Ray figure features what is either an entirely new head sculpt or at least a drastic resculpt of the head used on the original release Ray Stantz. Gone is the pinched-head syndrome and what you get is something that looks a lot less silly and closer to Dan Ackroyd’s likeness. Too bad Mattel couldn’t have delivered this sculpt on the original figure.
You also one accessory and its the “ghost sniffer” that Peter used in Dana’s apartment in the first movie. Ray can wear it slung over his shoulder and he can hold the plunger in one hand and the wand in the other. Not bad.
And then there’s the ghost figure. I can’t place this one in the movie from memory, but I’m guessing its one of the ones from the montage where the containment system blew and ghosts were running wild all over the city. I really like this guy. He’s similar to Slimer in that he’s a blob with two arms. Ok, maybe not so much a blob, but more like one of those blind fish they haul up out of the deep trenches in the ocean. He’s cast in a really cool looking translucent blue plastic and his arms feature ball jointed shoulders and hinged elbows. He also comes with the same stand that all the ghosts in the line seem to come with. He’s definitely a cool addition to my little Ghostbusters collection.
In the end, this is not a bad figure, it just isn’t one that I absolutely needed in my collection until the price dropped. And even then. I am impressed that the head sculpt is so much better than the original, but than I get a little peeved that Matty couldn’t have delivered that head sculpt on the original release. The accessory is pretty good and I’m really happy with the ghost. At $13 shipped, basically an impulse buy, this figure was a nice little pick up.