#2456: Dana Barrett

DANA BARRETT

GHOSTBUSTERS: THE PLASMA SERIES (HASBRO)

“When ghastly ghouls and spooky specters come looking to paint the town dead, the Ghostbusters are ready to answer the call — but not before Dana Barrett is possessed by Zuul, ready to unleash Gozer’s wrath on New York City!”

Though not a member of the titular team, Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett is a pretty pivotal piece of both of the original Ghostbusters films.  Despite this, she’s received a whole lot less toy coverage over the years, thanks in part to her character being dropped from spin-off material such as The Real Ghostbusters, and in part to Sigourney’s general lack of interest in letting her likeness be used on toys.  If the notable quantities of Ellen Ripley figures that have hit retail in the last five years are anything to go by, she’s laxed up a little bit on such things.  Back when Mattel had the Ghostbusters license, the only Dana we got wasn’t a figure at all, but a statue that was in scale with the other figures.  That always felt like a bit of a rip-off.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s finally giving Dana her due, and have included her in their first assortment of figures!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dana is figure 5 in the first assortment of Plasma Series figures.  Like most Dana figures, she’s based on her appearance while possessed by Zuul, which is a sensible enough choice as far as memorable looks go.  It’s perhaps not the easiest to translate into toy form, but we’ll discuss that more in a moment.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Dana’s articulation isn’t quite as practical or useful as that on the ‘busters.  The skirt does a lot of limiting on the legs, and the elbow joints in particular don’t have much range at all.  These are, of course, the symptoms of adapting such a design into plastic, since her rather flowy and lightweight dress doesn’t really translate into plastic all that well.  And really, that’s kind of the overwhelming thing that you run into when dealing with this figure: it’s translating a design that just doesn’t translate so well.  There are parts of the figure, particularly on the torso and arms, where they’ve made some design compromises so as to not impede articulation quite as much, and it doesn’t really work.  I mean, I like that the arms are separate pieces, thereby allowing actual movement, but ultimately they’re separate pieces, and very obviously separate ones at that, which don’t look like the single piece of clothing from the film.  Instead, she kind of looks like she’s wearing separate sleeves or something.  Moving away from the hard to translate flowy dress, let’s talk about the hard to translate poofy hair.  Sigourney Weaver’s hair later in the film is…well, there’s a lot to it, and it behaves in ways that really only hair can do.  When you try to make that into a solid piece of plastic, changes have to happen.  And that they did here.  The actual face does sport a solid likeness of Weaver, but the hair around it seems strange.  She’s definitely got some helmet hair going on here, and it doesn’t really look right from any angle.  I can see what they were going for, but it just ends up looking strange, and just off.  It’s the weakest part of the figure, because it just never looks right, no matter how you pose her. One area where the figure actually does pretty well consistently is the paint.  The face uses the printing, which works quite well for her heavy make up, and I quite dig the metallic sheen on her dress.  I would have liked for her sash to have a little more accenting or something going on, but it’s not atrocious as is.  Dana’s only accessory isn’t really anything for her, but is instead the torso of the Terror Dog Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Going into this set, I was expecting Dana to be the weakest of the bunch.  I don’t feel I was wrong on that front.  However, she’s actually a fair bit better than I was expecting her to be, and honestly Hasbro deserves some pretty major kudos for actually attempting to make her a real figure, rather than just the accent piece that Mattel saddled us with.  This figure definitely has her flaws, but is still far from terrible, given how tricky to adapt this particular look is.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure.  They’re currently sold out of their initial shipment of the line, but should be getting more soon.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1865: Ghostbusters Boxed Set

DR. PETER VENKMAN, DR. EGON SPENGLER, DANA BARRET, & LOUIS TULLY

GHOSTBUSTERS MINIMATES

“Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night? Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic? Have you or your family ever seen a spook, spectre or ghost?”

The nature of Minimates, pretty much since the Marvel ones got on the scene in 2003, has been to have one flagship line, and a secondary line that’s still doing a lot of the business.  For 99% of the brand’s run, Marvel’s been the flagship (apart from a brief dark period for the line, which resulted in DC having the upper hand for about a year), but that secondary slot has filtered its way through a few other properties.  From 2009 to 2011, that secondary property was Ghostbusters.  Today, I’m looking at the set that introduced the property!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Venkman, Spengler, Dana, and Louis were the first boxed set, and the first official entry in DST’s Ghostbuster Minimates (TRU’s exclusive two-packs hit just days later, though).  All four figures are, of course, based on the first film, and the set is designed to pair off with the second boxed set, which rounded out the main team, and gave us the two remaining villains.

DR. PETER VENKMAN

Venkman is arguably the lead character of Ghostbusters, and is the face of the group, so his placement in the first set is definitely sensible.  Plus, it gave DST an extra leg-up when comparing their assortment to Mattel’s own figures, where Venkman wound up as the fifth figure in the line, causing a degree of controversy about whether he’d actually show up at all.  No worries about that in this line-up.  The figure uses the usual ‘mate body as a starting point, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  Venkman was built using add-ons for his hair, torso/proton pack, and elbow pads.  All of them were new pieces to this set, but they’ve been subsequently re-used a number of times, notably on the “I Love This City” version of Venkman, who used everything but the torso piece.  The torso piece is kind of noteworthy, as it’s really the one thing that held these releases back, and it’s definitely the one thing that signifies them as out of date amongst newer offerings.  The bulked up nature just looks off, since the ‘busters were just average joes.  Still, the piece does exhibit a nice selection of details, especially on the proton pack.  The paintwork on Peter is fairly decent.  The earlier ‘busters used a prop-accurate grey for their jumpsuits, which doesn’t quite match the on-screen appearance but is *technically* more accurate.  His face has a passable Murray likeness.  It’s not as spot-on as some of the later offerings, but it’s not bad.  Venkman is packed with his radio (which can be mounted on his belt) as well as an energy stream effect for his neutrino wand.

DR. EGON SPENGLER

My personal favorite ‘buster, Egon is the second member of the team represented in this set.  Harold Ramis had been doing a lot of rounds talking about the production of the movie right around this time, so he, and by extension, Egon, were quite in the spotlight.  Egon is very similar to Venkman in construction, just with a different hair piece.  It’s the weakest of the new parts for this set; it’s just too reserved for Egon’s distinctive pompadour from the movies.  That’s probably why it was replaced fairly quickly as the line progressed.  Egon’s paintwork is once again fairly similar to Venkman’s, though with the obvious change-up for the face, as well as extra detailing for his boots.  Egon is packed with his PKE meter (again, belt mountable), and another energy stream  effect piece.

DANA BARRET

The central plot of the first film (and the second film, for that matter) is driven by Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barret, who made her toy debut here.  She’s seen here decked out in her garb from after she’s possessed by Zuul, which is really the most distinctive of her looks from the film.  She uses add-ons for her hair and skirt.  Both were new to this figure, and, apart from a single re-use on the hair for the second Dana, they’re remained unique to her.  They do a good job of replicating her film design, and are nicely sculpted.  The paintwork is fairly decently handled.  The Weaver likeness is actually better than the Aliens line gave us, and the metallic coloring on the dress is sharp looking.  That said, there’s a slight misprint on the chest, so the coloring doesn’t quite match up with the printed lines.  It was a  problem going back to the prototype and is present on the whole production of Danas.

LOUIS TULLY

Dana’s neighbor Louis Tully was a part originally written for John Candy, who envisioned him as husky Russian man.  For the final film, the part actually went to fellow SCTV alum Rick Moranis, whose nerdy, eccentric doormat was one of the film’s most distinctive characters.  The Minimate is an early instance of a figure pulling double duty, and getting us two distinct looks.  He’s packaged as a Terror Dog, and makes use of seven sculpted add-on pieces, for his head, torso, pelvis, and each of his feet.  It’s actually a pretty faithful recreation of the design from the movie.  Take off the head, torso and pelvis, and swap out the front legs for the included arms, and you can turn him into a rather disheveled Luis Tully.  And, if you have a spare head, torso, and legs laying around, you can even display both of them at the same time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set new from Cosmic Comix back when it was released.  I’ve been a fan of Ghostbusters for a long time, and I’d even been contemplating picking up Kubrick’s announced line before DST showed off theirs.  Subsequent releases of Peter and Egon have supplanted these two, but Louis and Dana can’t be beat, and this a pretty fun set all around.