Battlestar Galactica: Cylon Centurion by Bif Bang Pow

Yup, Transformers Thursday’s hiatus continues. It’ll be back soon. I promise! In the meantime… A while back I picked up a whole bunch of Bif Bang Pow’s Mego-Style figures from the original Battlestar Galactica series. Oh yeah, I love how I’ve lived to be so old, that I have to preface every goddamn thing from my childhood with either the words “classic” or “the original” because it’s all been recycled. Anyway, I opened Starbuck and Apollo and then got sidetracked by something else and the rest of the figures wound up in a box in the corner of the closet. UNTIL LAST WEEK, when I uncovered them and opened up Lt. Athena. Today I’m continuing to open the line with the Cylon Centurion!

It rarely ever bothers me to tear into an action figure package, but opening these gives me a few pangs of regret. The presentation is so good, and these figures look absolutely amazing on their cards. All the Mego figures I had as a kid were hand-me-downs from my uncle, so I don’t think I ever actually got to open a new one, so the experience is kind of neat. Also, the Battlestar Galactica license works perfectly here, right alongside the vintage Space 1999 and Star Trek figures as well as BBP’s Mego-Style Doctor Who releases. The card is generic with a giant Cylon head on it and a sticker to denote the character. The back has a “Collect Them All” style layout with some of the other initial releases in the line.

I can’t put into words how much I love the original Cylon design. I think it’s better than or at least on par with anything that came out of Star Wars, and there are at least several episodes of the Classic Battlestar that I would put up against Star Wars any day. FIGHT ME!!! And in terms of blending that cool design with the Mego style, I’d say BBP did an fantastic job here. This is a fairly complex figure with a lot going on and I think it’s pretty obvious that they poured a lot of love into it. Unfortunately, I’m going to have a lot of stuff to pick at.

But before I get all nitpicky, I’ll say that the costuming is a thing of beauty. It starts with a standard Mego-style buck wearing a black bodysuit, and then come the layers. The legs feature plastic boots with vac metal shin guards and the thighs are wrapped in a black leather-like material. Next comes the enormous chest torso covering, which incorporates the sculpted belt, a ribbed covering over the pelvis, the chest and shoulder armor, and the backpack. Again, all done in one piece and served up with some beautiful vac metal goodness.

The backpack has a little paint detailing and he has a cloth butt flap with silver discs attached to it to make a pretty cool effect. The arms have plastic bracers on the forearms with a combination of vac metal armor and black ribbed areas, and there are two silver rings around the elbows.

The head sculpt is excellent, but because it’s made of softer plastic and sprayed silver, it doesn’t match the shiny lustre of the rest of the armor. It’s kind of a shame, but I have to imagine that it’s similar to what we might have gotten from a Mego Cylon. As for the visor strip, I’m not sure what they were shooting for here. The bulk of the visor is painted black and there’s a thin red strip running across all the way at the top, but it doesn’t really convey that there’s just supposed to be a single red eye travelling back and forth. I would have much preferred if they had just painted the red eye onto the visor.

OK, so notice how all of my shots have been just the figure from different angles and not in any cool poses? Well, one of the big bummers about this guy is that all that armor renders the articulation almost entirely useless. The only joints that can be fully utilized are the neck and the rotating hinges in the wrists. I can get his arms and legs to move a little bit, but they won’t move enough to hold a pose. It’s a good think he looks so good just standing there.

The Cylon comes with two weapons, his rifle and sword. The rifle is a simple, but decent, recreation of the ones they carried in the show. I really loved the bayonets they had on the ends. The sword is pretty simple too. I don’t recall them whipping these out all that often, except once when they were going to execut Baltar. So here’s the other big bummer… The Cylon can barely hold his rifle. The hands are definitely not sculpted to do so, but I was able to make it work… just barely. The hands themselves are hard plastic, so I just had to push it in there really hard and hope that the finger didn’t snap. The sword worked a bit better, but only because the grip is thin. Obviously, the hands are original sculpts for this guy, so why not mold them to hold his weapons? WHY NOT???

There’s a lot to love about this Cylon Centurion, and a lot to feel let down over. In the end, this is one figure that might be better off left in the package, but who knew? The Colonial pilots featured great and useful articulation and are tons of fun to play with. Good thing I have an extra Cylon that’s still carded! But even if I didn’t, I’m not unhappy that I opened him, because I need a loose one to display with my other Galactica figures. Oh yeah, and BBP also released two variants of this guy, a gold Commander, and a tarnished “battle damaged” version. I’ll get to checking those out eventually.

Battlestar Galactica: Lt. Athena by Bif Bang Pow!

In case you missed the memo, DC Friday is on hiatus for a little bit, as I’m all caught up and waiting to pick up some new statues or figures. It’ll return, but probably not as a regular ongoing thing. In the meantime, it’s almost Spring, and I’ve been getting a jump on my Spring Cleaning. That means going through boxes of stuff, deciding what, if anything, is going off to Ebay to make room for more toys, and also discovering things that I totally forgot I had. It also means I have a busy weekend ahead of me, so let’s get started! One of the boxes I discovered contained a whole bunch of Bif Bang Pow’s Mego-style figures from Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who! I looked at BBP’s Starbuck and Apollo from this series waaay back in 2015, where I also reminisced a bit about what Mego meant to me. I won’t rehash it all here, but I’ll just say that if my love of toys were an epidemic, Mego would be patient zero. It all started back when my uncle gave my brother and I his Mego DC, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, and Gabriel Lone Ranger figures, and ever since this format has been like a super concentrated shot of nostalgia. And while Battlestar Galactica had its own vintage toy line, the series is so perfect for the Mego treatment. Hell, if these figures don’t look like they jumped right out of the late 70’s, well then I’ll be the son of a daggit.

The packaging is identical to what we saw for Apollo and Starbuck. The cards are generic with head shots of the characters on the front and a “Collect Them All” style layout on the back. The character’s name appears at the bottom, and sometimes this was done with a sticker. The figure itself comes in a big bubble with her flight helmet in front of her. I have to hand it to BBP, because the presentation feels so damn authentic. The only thing that would have probably been different is that her helmet would have been loose in the bubble with her and not secured with a smaller plastic piece. I’m not usually one that hesitates to open toys, but this is one where it gave me some pangs of regret. Partly because she looks so damn good in the package, and partly for reasons I’ll come back to at the end.

Out of the package, Athena comes wearing a more demure version of the Colonial flightsuit that we saw with Apollo and Starbuck. Naturally, it’s been reduced to fit the fashion doll proportions of Athena’s body, but there are also some changes, like the color of her pants and boots. The jacket is made of the same material, which looks like a dead ringer for the jackets worn on the show, and comes complete with sculpted plastic buttons running up the sides of the front flaps. On the downside, Athena’s flight jacket doesn’t have the reinforced strips on the shoulders, nor does it have the patches. It’s likely that BBP couldn’t make these work on the smaller jacket, or maybe they just didn’t want to bother. The underlying shirt is a softer cloth, it’s also sleeveless so that the jacket sleeves fit the figure better. Taking it off for display isn’t advised, as the jacket has transferred some brown die to the figure’s arms.

While Apollo and Starbuck has surprisingly good likenesses for this style of figure, I don’t think BBP was attempting accuracy for Athena. Or at least I hope not, because this looks nothing like her. The head is typical fashion doll style with some passable paint apps, and a copious coif of rooted hair. It can be tough to keep it under control, but I’m glad they went with it. It’s probably the one thing here that most resembles Athena in the series, and I think it also adds to the authenticity of the Mego stylings.

If I’m not counting the lack of likeness, the biggest disappointment about this figure is the gun belt and holster. It’s the same rig used for the guys so the fit is absolutely terrible. The belt itself has a whole bunch left over in the back to hang free, and likewise the thigh strap for the holster is way too big and just kind of hangs there around her leg. The holster came secured with a clear rubber band, and I’ve opted to leave it on just to keep holding the holster in place. This aspect of the figure just feels like a cheap cop out on BBP’s part, but I seem to recall Athena being one of the later figures released in the line, so they may have just been eager to wrap up the line and call it a day.

The Colonial blaster is identical to the ones that came with Starbuck and Apollo. It’s a pretty good sculpt for a Mego style accessory and the paint is fairly good. Another major drawback for this figure is that her hands aren’t sculpted so that she can hold it.

Athena’s other accessory is her flight helmet and this is the same piece that came with the other pilots. I think BBP did a nice job on these. I was afraid it would be really loose on Athena, but it fits her pretty well thanks to all that hair. I suppose you could tuck it all into the helmet, but it looks fine with the hair hanging out the back as well. The plastic on the helmet feels rather light, but that’s all part of the faux-Mego charm.

This is all about the nostalgia, folks. If Mego doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies, then nothing about this figure is likely to be appealing. No doubt, there are a few disappointments here, most of which revolve around her blaster and holster rig, but overall, I think she still displays well and she looks great alongside the boys. On the downside, I don’t think BBP produced a large number of this figure (or Lucifer) and so Athena can be crazy tough to find. Just for shits and giggles I tried finding one on Ebay and was only able to uncover a single sold listing. Hell, it took some doing for me to find her back when she was originally released. Is she worth hunting down and paying a premium for? Not on her own, no. But if you’re looking for a complete set, or at least a nicely fleshed out display, then I think she’s a must have for this collection. Just looking up at this trio on my shelf makes me wish BBP had some kind of laminated cardboard hanger deck to display them on.

Battlestar Galactica: Lt. Starbuck and Captain Apollo by Bif Bang Pow!

Megos! Collectors these days seem to either love them or hate them, but as someone who grew up playing with these dolly-like figures back in the 70’s, I can’t help but have a soft spot for them. From World’s Greatest Super Heroes to Star Trek and Planet of the Apes, Mego was where it was at before Kenner turned the action figure industry (such as it was) on its collective ear with the 3 3/4″ scale. As a result, it makes me happy to see that some toy companies have been keeping this style alive with Faux-Megos, because like it or not, they are an extremely important piece of action figure history. I don’t buy a lot of these, but rather only seek out the ones that really fit the flavor of the 70’s and scratch my nostalgia itch. It’s hard to think of any that fit that bill better than Classic Battelstar Galactica. I’ve got a bunch of these, but today I thought I’d start with the two Colonial Viper Pilots, Lt. Starbuck and Captain Apollo.

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In typical Mego fashion, the figures come on simple cards and bubbles with the bubbles orientated to the right. The cards are made from quality, heavy stock and feature a starfield with an illustrated Cylon head, no matter which character is in the package. There’s a little personalization with the character name on the card, but even that is placed with a sticker.

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The coffin-style bubbles are pretty big, and they need to be to hold an 8-inch scale figure plus accessories. The figures themselves come secured to some inner plastic tray pieces with twisty-ties. These do a fairly good job of keeping the figure in place, although my Apollo came with his blaster rattling around in the bubble, so results may vary. I dig the presentation on these so much, I’ve kept them carded for the year or so that I’ve had them, but having just got a box of Mego-Style figure stands, I was anxious to get them out and display them.

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The back of the card is fantastic. You get head shots of the six figures available (several more would be added later), a nice piece of vintage art with a Colonial Viper blasting away and those great lines spoken at the end of each episode, which are impossible for me to read without hearing them in Lorne Greene’s voice. I don’t think I could properly express how much I still love this show. It felt like a proper mix of Star Wars and Star Trek and it’s still one of my go-to series whenever I’m looking for something quick to watch while I’m eating dinner or just killing time. If you haven’t seen it, go watch the two-parter “The Living Legend” with Lloyd Bridges as Commander of the Pegasus, or another excellent two-parter, “Guns of Ice Planet Zero” which plays out like The Dirty Dozen in space. Brilliant stuff!

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And here they are, out of the package, Starbuck and Apollo. The figures I’m looking at today are virtually identical from the neck down, because they’re each wearing their Colonial uniforms. The only difference there is that Apollo’s holster is correctly positioned on his left hip, whereas Starbucks is on his right. In keeping with the Mego Style, the uniforms are proper soft goods, which is where these figures get a lot of their charm.

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The uniforms consist of khaki pants and matching sleeveless t-shirts, the flight jacket, a belt with holster and leg strap, and boots. I think BBP did a great job with the tailoring on these. Other than clipping some stray threads and adjusting the belts, I didn’t have to futz with them too much with the clothes out of the package. The pants and belt do bunch up a bit at the waist, but they still look good, especially for this scale.

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The flight jackets are made out of a textured material that mimics the jackets on the show pretty well. They feature shoulder patches and plastic buttons running down the fronts. They ride a little higher than I would like, but even with that being said, I think they turned out great.There isn’t a lot of detail on the boots, but what they lack in show accuracy they make up for copying the style of those classic plastic Mego boots that almost every figure had.

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The head sculpts are pretty darn good considering the style BBF was going for here. I’ve got no problems at all seeing the great Dirk Benedict and Robert Richard Hatch (Sorry, Apollo!) in those likenesses, but keep in mind realism wasn’t what they were after here rather than copying a toy style from 40 years ago. I’m also happy to see that the heads aren’t soft and squishy and yes, these noggins have that slightly over-sized charm not uncommon for the time.

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Each figure comes with a Colonial Blaster, which can be held in either hand as well as tucked into the holsters. The sculpt and paint apps for these are definitely above par for what we used to get with these types of figures in the old days.

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Probably the most impressive piece here are the flight helmets. These are sculpted plastic and feature some great paintwork and fit onto the figures very well. Just the fact that these were included makes me believe that BBF went all out on these guys, as they could have easily left them out and the figures would have still felt complete. The only other thing that could possibly be missing from these are the poncho’s they sometimes wore.

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I’m totally in love with these figures! BBF did a wonderful job striding that fine line between retro homage and quality. These are definitely better than what we would have had back in the day and yet they’re close enough to ooze retro charm. It’s worth noting that Battlestar did indeed have action figures back in the day, they were made by Mattel and clocked in at around 4-inches. I had a bunch of those and they were cool, but I would have killed to have figures like these to go with my Star Trek Megos. I would have been in crossover heaven!

Doctor Who: Sontaran Field Major Styre Retro-Style Figure by Biff Bang Pow

As promised, I’m back today with the second half of the Biff Bang Pow Doctor Who figure feature, with a look at the Sontaran, Sytre. Hopefully, I won’t be as long winded this time.

Styre uses the same awesome card that The Doctor came on. I neglected to point out last time that the cardback shows off two additional figures: A Cyberman and The Master. These figures have already been produced and were apparently exclusives at last year’s San Diego Comic Con. And, yes, I will be getting them at some point. All four figures use the same generic card. As with The Doctor, Styre has a backing tray to hold him steady in his bubble and he’s packaged with his helmet off and at the bottom of the bubble. Styre also has the hologram sticker denoting the number of the figure and the limitation to 3000 pieces. All in all, the presentation here is great, and if it weren’t for the terrible packing job, and the fact that a dog apparently chewed on the edges of mine, I would have kept him carded.
Starting with the head sculpt, there’s something definitely off about Styre. Oh, there’s no doubt that he’s a Sontaran, but the likeness to the mask used in the episode is nowhere near as good as the The Doctor’s sculpt is to Tom Baker. Nonetheless, it works just fine for this sort of stylized figure. The head can turn from side to side, which is probably more than could be said about The Sontarans themselves. The helmet snaps on over the head and stays in place very nicely. And yes, even the little vent is sculpted onto the back of Styre’s cowl.
Styre’s uniform is much simpler than The Doctor’s ensemble, as its basically a metallic looking jumpsuit with a silver belt that closes around his waist with velcro. The jumpsuit is enhanced with plastic bits for the cowl around his neck and his boots. The jumpsuit doesn’t give the quilted look that The Sontarans’ armor had on the small screen, but its a passable approximation. My only real complaint is that the legs of the jumpsuit end just above where the boots start. You can tuck them in, but they tend to pull out again. Unfortunately, the right knee armor on my Sontaran is cracked. Its made of very flimsy plastic and while it isn’t a crippling fault, it’s definitely noticeable and very disappointing. Despite the crappy shipping job, the bubble wasn’t damaged at all, so it looks like this figure went right into the package already damaged. Once again my experience with BBP’s quality control is hit and miss.
Styre comes with two little accessories. You get his control box, which clips onto his belt pretty nicely, and you get his ping pong gun, which is very similar to the one CO sculpted to go with their 5″ Styre figure.
As with The Doctor, Styre sells for twenty bucks. It’s steep, but considering this is a niche collectors item and supposedly limited to 3000, I won’t complain. On the other hand, dropping $20 for a figure that was put into the package with noticeable damage is worth complaining about. For items that are obviously designed to be collectibles, BBP really should be more careful about their quality control standards. That having been said, I’m still pleased enough to venture a purchase of the next two figures: The Cyberman and The Master and see how I make out with those. There are two more planned, Leela and Sutekh, but I’ll see how I make out with the next two before I plan to go any further with the line.

Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Retro-Style Figure by Bif Bang Pow

[The sheer insanity of Classic Doctor Who figure releases continues, as Character Options has announced two new sets of 5-inch figures this week. Both are two-packs. One is based off of “Attack of the Cyberman” featuring yet another variant of the lovely Ms Perpugillium Brown and what appears to be a rogue Cyberman. The other, based off of “Remembrance of the Daleks” features Davros as the Dalek Emperor and a destroyed Imperial Dalek. Photos have also surfaced of a “Seeds of Doom” set with another 4th Doctor and a Krynoid, but that one has yet to be officially confirmed. But today, we’re actually looking at some Classic Who figures that were not churned out by Character Options. In fact, these guys were licensed and made by an American company! Ok, enough preamble… on with the figure!]

I can’t tell you how many times I waffled back and forth over buying these figures. On the one hand, they’re retro-style figures based on an episode from the 70’s and that’s pretty nifty because this style of toy matches so well with the vintage characters. On the other hand, I don’t collect a lot of the Mego style figures. I like them well enough when the style fits the license. The Real Ghostbusters figures worked well with the style, and I still have a hankering to pick up the ones BBP did of Flash Gordon and The Dude from The Big Lebowski, but generally speaking these guys aren’t really my thing.

I’ve also been iffy on the prototypes BBP showed off from the beginning and I haven’t exactly been impressed with the few Bif Bang Pow toys that I own. I guess I’m still bitter over my Ming the Merciless’ arm falling off right out of the package. Nonetheless, when I saw the in-package shots of the finished products, I simply had to have these. Thus came my second dilemma. I really intended on buying these and not opening them because they looked so good in the packages. On the other hand, I hardly ever buy toys without the intent of opening them. The obvious solution was to buy two sets, but at $20 a pop, I wasn’t about to do that. So I opted to let fate decide. If the figures arrived with the packaging in excellent condition, I would leave them carded. If they arrived with the packages all miffed, I would open them. And the results are…
Holy Hell!!! Well, the shipping gods were pretty definitive in their answer. These figures are without a doubt in the worst condition I’ve ever had toys shipped to me. Not only are the cards warped, the edges look like they’ve been chewed on by a small dog, and they were taped together with the kind of postage tape that takes all the print off the card when you try to remove it. There was clearly maliciousness at work here. They were shipped for free, though, so I guess I can’t complain too much, plus I guess I’ll be saving some money on clamshells from zoloworld. Let’s take a look at the packages and then rip these bitches open.
In the traditional Mego style, The Doctor come in a coffin-shaped bubble and mounted offset on a simple cardback. The usual practice with the Mego-style is to just let the figures rattle around loose in the bubble, but The Doctor is cradled on a partial inner tray with a twisty tie holding his neck in place and another tray holding his Sonic Screwdriver accessory. His hat is off and at the bottom of the bubble, which was a good choice because, as we’ll see in a bit, the hat would have been better left out. There’s a small hologram sticker on the back of the package that identifies the figure number in a series of 3000 produced. Considering how easy these figures are to get, that limitation seems kind of suspicious.

So, I’m particularly fascinated by the packaging BBP used because it’s identical in design to the new retro style packages adopted by Character Options for their 5″ action figure line. I’ve never seen two different companies produce their own toy lines based off the same license and use an identical style of packaging, and yet here it is. It even uses the same little Timeline of Doctors down on the bottom of the card. It’s weird, but I’m very glad they did it, because I adore this new deco and it works really well with the Mego-style cardback.
Once out of the package, I’ve got to admit that The Doctor looks pretty good. BBP frequently showed off a prototype with a horribly oversized head, and while we shouldn’t expect perfect proportions out of this style of figure, the final result is pretty close. The head is soft and squishy, but the sculpt is a fine likeness to actor Tom Baker. Granted, anything would have been better than the prototype shown at the expos, but I can genuinely say that I’m happy with the final result.
BBP also did a fine job with The Doctor’s iconic outfit. He has a brown jacket, complete with elbow patches, a checkered vest, a necktie and a white shirt, plain kakhi trousers and plastic boots. The clothing fits him very well and everything is nicely stitched. The scarf is without a doubt a big win for this figure. Afterall, the mile long scarf is The 4th Doctor’s most iconic accessory and to be able to do it in real cloth is pretty cool, and it looks great on the figure.
As mentioned, The Doctor comes with a plastic fedora. The sculpt is good, it just doesn’t fit right on his head, thanks to the sculpted mop of curly hair. I’m not going to blame BBP for this snafu, since we’ve seen plenty of problems with toy companies trying to get Indiana Jones’ fedora right on larger scale figures. Either way, the hat isn’t a must, so I’m happy to just have him holding it, or setting it aside all together. The other accessory is the Sonic Screwdriver, which is a nice little sculpt and he can hold it well in either hand.
More than anything else, I bought this figure out of a sense of obligation. Sure, I already have shelves and totes bursting with Doctor Who figures and toys, but here was a Fourth Doctor figure actually licensed and sold by an American toy company. There was never any doubt that I had to have it. In the end, I was a lot more impressed than I thought I would be and I can genuinely say I’m extremely pleased with the way the figure turned out. I should even note that the joints are pretty solid for a Mego style figure and The Good Doctor doesn’t have much difficulty standing up on his own. As for the price, twenty bucks seems like a lot for a Mego style figure, but I’d dare say that the sculpting and clothing on this figure goes above and beyond what we’ve seen on a lot of figures in this style. BBP really hit a homerun on this one.

I was going to look at both The Doctor and Sontaran Field Major Styre together, but I’ve ran kind of long with this one, so I’ll be back tomorrow to check out The Sontaran.

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

Ok, we mulled about with the packaging on this set long enough. Let’s get to the goods inside and we’ll kick it off with Janine Melnitz.

As a Mego-style figure, we’re mainly concerned here with the head sculpt and the outfit. Overall, I’m fairly happy with the head sculpt. I don’t think she quite stands up to the likenesses achieved by the rest of the Ghostbusters, but there’s no doubt who this is supposed to be. The glasses are similar to Egons, in that they are soft plastic and permanently attached to her head behind the ears. Some folks have been reporting issues of the paint on her hair rubbing against the package, but mine seems to have weathered it ok. The body is what it is and while loose joints are often a concern with these style figures, Janine can stand fine on her own. I think what upsets me the most is that the hands aren’t sculpted to work well with her accessories. In fact, she can barely hold her proton stream properly. If you have any of those clear rubber bands left lying around, you may want to avail yourself of them.
Janine comes in a completely new orange jumpsuit. It’s close to the jumpsuits worn by the guys, but there are some subtle differences. There aren’t any cuffs on the legs of her pants. She still has the foamy elbow pads and the Ghostbusters emblem on her shoulder. It fits the figure quite well and looks good when displayed with the rest of the team.
And then there’s Samhain. If you’re not familiar, he’s a dude with a jack-o-lantern for a head. He sports a typical Mego-style body with flowing purple robes over it. The pumpkin head is large and decently sculpted, but it still feels kind of cheap. There’s not a heck of a lot else to say about him. His joints are a lot looser than Janine’s, but he can still stand up pretty well. Don’t get me wrong, I do like him a lot and it’s very cool to have a ghost in this style for the team to fight, especially one as popular as Samhain.
In addition to the figures, this set comes with every piece of busting equipment that was issued with the other figures. You get Janine’s proton pack, a ghost trap, a PKE meter, and the ghost sniffer. There’s nothing new here, and it’s a lot of gear for Janine on her own, but it’s great to have to hand out to the rest of the team and it certainly pads out the set nicely. And then there’s Slimer. He’s a cool little sculpt with some arm articulation and pretty faithful to the animation design, but he’s way too small to be of any use with these figures.
This 2-pack rounds out my Real Ghostbusters collection really nicely. I’m glad we finally got a Janine figure, especially since she was pictured on the back of the carded figures and it’s certainly nice to have at least one baddie for the Real Ghostbusters to fight. Now the bad news. The set is a TRU exclusive and retails for $50. Now, I’m not prepared to call that highway robbery, since the other figures sold for $20 each and the extra $10 for this set can easily be tallied up to include all the extra accessories, Slimer, and the Firehouse backdrop. There’s certainly a sense of sticker shock, but I can’t say I feel ripped off with the set in hand. I wanted to make sure to get it, so I jumped at it pretty quickly, but some may be better served waiting for sales or clearance prices.

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.

The Real Ghostbusters: Retro-Style Figures by Mattel

A lot of collectors were saddened to hear that Mattel opted out of doing regular figures based on The Real Ghostbusters cartoon in line with their movie based figures. I’ll admit, I was bummed out about it at first. But then I saw the early production shots of their Mego-style figures and I wasn’t sad anymore. We already had a whole line of regular Real Ghostbusters figures back in the day, and with how Mattel’s regular line of Ghostbusters figures has plummeted after such a little while, I was glad that Mattel went with this other venue. So glad, that I pre-ordered these things back in August of last year. My set finally came in earlier in the week, and I am thrilled with them.


When I ordered these guys, I was seriously considering keeping them on the cards and just hanging them on my wall. They really do look that awesome in the package, but my willpower wasn’t strong enough and pretty soon I had them all torn open. The cards feature artwork from the cartoon with portraits of all four Ghostbusters on the front, plus Mr. Staypuft himself. The back panel shows all four boys with their names along with Slimer and Janine and it says, “Collect Them All.” Does that mean we’re getting a Janine figure? I doubt it, but if you’re listening, Mattel, I vote for her in the Ghostbusters jumpsuit as seen in the Season 1 episode Janine’s Genie. She wore the same jumpsuit as Peter, so you’d just have to do the headsculpt and slap it on one of teh female bodies. Just saying is all! Anyway, the cards are all identical and the only thing distinguishing the packages from each other is the personalized splatter sticker on the bubbles with each of the Ghostbuster’s name on it. The figures and their equipment are also left loose to rattle around inside the bubble.

Before getting into the actual figures, let me preface things by saying that two issues worried me as the final production versions of these figures began turning up. First off, the proton packs were blue, as opposed to the black one that came with the SDCC Venkman figure. The blue is show accurate, but I was worried that my Venkman figure would be the odd man out with a black proton pack. Luckily, all the figures shipped with the blue ones. If you want a matching set and you already have an SDCC Venkman, you may want to consider ordering the regular version for the blue proton pack. Next, early reports had some of the figures showing up without the Ghostbusters emblem on their shoulders. Again, it all worked out fine as all of my figures have the logo present.


As in the traditional Mego style, each of The Real Ghostbusters figures features the exact same body sculpt. It works pretty well, except for Ray who was pretty portly in the cartoon. I may try to stuff some foam into his uniform to bulk him up. The articulation is serviceable, but still below what we get in many action figures these days and it’s kind of tough to get them to hold their particle throwers in a very dynamic position. The headsculpts on these figures are what give them all the distinctive character and I’ve got to say that Matty did a fine job bringing the cartoonish caricatures of the Ghostbusters to life in plastic. I don’t have any issues with any of the head sculpts, although I’ll give the special nod to Egon, with his glasses and crazy hair, they really nailed him right out of the park.  The uniform patterns are identical on all four figures and they are each colored to match the uniform each character wore in the cartoon. They fit the figures very well and really round out the package nicely and there’s no sloppy stitching or anything like that. As mentioned earlier, each one has a Ghostbusters patch on their right shoulder. The figures also have their chests painted black to simulate the t-shirt worn under the uniforms in the cartoon. They all have the same pair of black boots and the same belt.

Each Ghostbuster comes with an identical proton pack and all but Venkman come with an extra piece of equipment. The proton packs look appropriately like cartoonified versions of the ones on the movie figures, although there are far from cartoon accurate. The biggest differences are in the particle thrower, as the plastic versions look a lot closer to the movie ones than the ones seen in the cartoon. Nevertheless, the proton packs are removable and you can peg the wand onto the pack for storage, just like they do in the cartoon. The packs are easy to get on and off the figure and fit on them very well.


As for the rest of the equipment… Egon comes with a PKE Meter, which looks a lot different then it does on the episodes of the cartoon that I’ve seen recently, but it might have been redesigned at some point during the show’s long run. Ray comes with a cartoon version of the ghost sniffer that Peter used in Dana’s apartment in the movie. I don’t remember it ever being seen in the cartoon, but it’s a cool movie-cartoon tie-in. This accessory shows off the only quality control issue I have with the whole set, as there’s some serious yellow paint slop all over the sniffer want. Winston comes with a ghost trap, which does not open, but you can actually attach it to the side of the proton packs, which is how the Ghostbusters carried them in the cartoon.

I was still pretty young when Mego figures were ruling the toy shelves, but my brother and I got a bunch of Mego’s Star Trek, DC, and Planet of the Apes figures handed down to us from our Uncle. We played with them a lot, but for whatever reason I didn’t retain a lot of nostalgia for the style and that’s probably why these Real Ghostbusters were the first Mego style figures I’ve picked up since the whole retro-style revival began. I’m still not sold on the style in general, but I can’t deny that they work perfectly for these figures, and I highly recommend you fans of the cartoon give them a look, even if the Mego style ain’t usually your bag. The figures retail for around $20 each, which is pretty standard for this type of thing and I’m really glad to have them in my collection.