#2458: Terror Dog

TERROR DOG

GHOSTBUSTERS: THE PLASMA SERIES (HASBRO)

Ranking probably in the third spot on the list of most memorable Ghostbusters ghosts, the Terror Dogs serve as Gozer’s precursors in the first film, eventually transitioning to full-fledged hench-dogs by the film’s climax.  Like Gozer, the Terror Dogs were a notable absence from Mattel’s 6-inch Ghostbusters line, though they did get some toy love from both NECA and DST.  Now, Hasbro’s jumping in on the game with at least one of the two.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Terror Dog is the Build-A-Figure for the first assortment of Ghostbusters: The Plasma Series.  Honestly, this feels like a more natural choice of BaF than the wonky Logo Ghost that we got from Mattel’s one retail line, so I can definitely get behind it.  There are two Terror Dogs in the movie, Zuul and Vinz Clortho.  Since we technically already got a Zuul in this set (in the form of the Dana Barrett figure), this guy pretty wisely goes with the Vinz Clortho option, as showcased by the slightly longer horns on the head.  The figure measures 5 inches tall and 6 inches long in its standard standing position, and it has 25 points of articulation.  The articulation is pretty good…on the front half.  Not so much on the back.  Seriously, the neck joint, moving jaw, and front legs all work well, but the total lack of any sort of mid-body joint, the odd decision to only do cut joints for the back hips, and the lack of a proper knee joint on the hind legs makes the back half of the figure surprisingly stiff.  I was a little let down by the lack of mobility there.  Also, make sure to not be a total idiot like me, and get those hind legs on the correct sides the first time around, because that will only further make issue of posing the figure.  On the plus side, moving past the slightly disappointing articulation, the sculpt is actually pretty nice.  There are a few spots where its a little soft on the details, but it’s a far more accurate recreation of the film design than the DST and NECA versions, at least to my eye, and fits in very nicely with the rest of the line in terms of styling.  The paint work on this figure is pretty solid as well, with a nice bit of accent work going on with the silver airbrushing.  It brings out more of the sculpted elements, and also gives the figure a cool sort of otherworldly feel, which is appropriate for the character.  The Terror Dog doesn’t include any accessories.  Being an accessory itself, it’s not unexpected or unreasonable, but I do think it’s too bad we couldn’t also get a second Zuul head to give collectors the option of which dog they want to display.  Of course, the only way to get a second body is to buy the whole set again, which might not be a ton of fun, so maybe Hasbro’s got something else up their sleeves on this one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Terror Dog has never been the star attraction of any Ghostbusters merch for me, so I was really buying this set for the individual figures, and not this guy.  I was, however, intrigued by the figure, and certainly curious to get it assembled.  Ultimately, I’m not the biggest fan of some of the choices Hasbro made, but at the end of the day, it’s a good accent piece to an otherwise truly impressive assortment of figures.

#2457: Gozer

GOZER

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 are they prepared to save New York City (and the world) from the ancient evil known as (among other things) Gozer?”

The ultimate big bad of the first Ghostbusters is Gozer the Gozerian (or the Traveler,  or Destructor, depending on your preferred subtitle), is a god who takes a couple of forms in the film.  The one that most people remember is the 50-foot-tall Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but the first physical manifestation of the character is a humanoid female, portrayed by model Slavitza Jovan in the film.  It’s a distinctive look to be sure, but not one that crops up in toy form quite as often.  Notably, it got skipped by Mattel for their 6-inch line, meaning Hasbro gets to be first to this particular scale.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gozer is the final single-carded figure in Series 1 of The Plasma Series.  As noted above, this is Gozer’s first physical manifestation, but I’m sure Hasbro’s already got the second one in the works.  Of course, this is definitely the one that works a bit better as a standard single figure.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her articulation is pretty much the same set-up as Dana’s, but with less limitations courtesy of the sculpt, giving her a better overall range.  She’s still slightly limited on the elbows, but otherwise things work pretty well.  Fortunately, on the sculpting front, she’s a bit of a step up from Dana, thanks to slightly easier to translate costume.  I really dig how they worked in all the various textures and such all throughout her body suit.  The likeness on the head, while not as spot on as some of the ‘busters, is still a pretty solid rendition of Jovan, and to my eye looks a bit closer than NECA or DST’s attempts.  The one area where I think this figure could stand to be just a little better is on the paint.  She’s certainly not bad; all of the basics are there and everything.  That said, I wish the detailing on the face was a little more extensive, so as to better replicate the rather elaborate make-up Jovan was sporting for the role.  Additionally, while the pearlescent finish of the plastic for the body suit does okay on its own, the sculpt would be better served by a touch of accent work, just to help things pop.  Gozer is packed with a spare set of hands sporting some wicked lightning effects, perfect for “Then Die!!!!”-ing the Ghostbusters.  She also includes the head to the Terror Dog Build-A-Figure, which I’ll be reviewing in full tomorrow.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The main ‘busters were definitely my main focus from this set, but I was more than willing to have an antagonist for them, and Gozer’s a pretty respectable one.  She’s not quite up to their quality, but I think she turned out a little better than Dana, and certainly a little better than I had been expecting.  She rounds out this first set pretty well.

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.

#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.

#2453: Winston Zeddemore

WINSTON ZEDDEMORE

GHOSTBUSTERS: THE PLASMA SERIES (HASBRO)

“As the voice of reason of the Ghostbusters team, Winston can calm things down when the world gets a little crazy.”

Hey, it’s Winston!  The Ghostbuster that doesn’t get the credit he–wait, I’ve been this way before, and I’m sure to be this way again.  What?  Was that a Neil Diamond reference?  That’s…well, that’s really odd and doesn’t seem to fit the general aesthetic, does it?  Also, really diverts the attention away from poor Wintson, who, as I’ve mentioned before, really doesn’t get the credit he deserves.  Man, I’m falling into the same trap everyone else does, aren’t I?  Well, the only way I can see fit to properly make it up is to review this figure of Ernie Hudson, Ghostbuster!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Winston is figure 4 in the first assortment of Plasma Series figures, and wrapping up the ‘busters team.  Like Egon, he’s just a single-pack, but I can’t say that’s terribly surprising, given the aforementioned lack of credit for pretty much anything having to do with Winston.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  From the neck down, Winston’s the same figure as Egon, which is a fairly sensible choice, given the similar builds and usual state of their uniforms.  Anything else really would have just been change for the sake of change.  He does get a new head sculpt, and it’s another really strong one.  I’m not sure if it’s quite as good as Egon, but it’s definitely got a very clear Ernie Hudson likeness, and doesn’t overly genericize or go too far into caricature like the DST, Mezco, or Mattel versions.  I was initially a little iffy on the slightly open mouth for the sculpt, because such expressions can always have a lot of room for error, but I think it ultimately looks really good, and I was impressed by how well the likeness held up from various different angles.  In terms of paint, Winston is pretty similar to the other three ‘busters, which is to say he looks pretty good.  The face printing is again really good at highlighting the likeness on the sculpt, and really giving him a life-like feel.  Winston of course gets the same removable proton pack as the other three, but gets probably the coolest additional part of the main ‘busters:  a proton blast effect.  It’s really well done, and it’s kind of a shame we didn’t get the piece for all four team members.  Winston also includes the final leg to the Terror Dog Build-A-Figure, which I’ll be taking a closer look at next week.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The kind of iffy nature of the likenesses on both the Mattel and DST Winstons was a decent part of why I didn’t jump into either of those lines, so I was pretty happy to see how well this particular version had turned out, and was definitely very happy with him once I saw him in person.  Of the four, I’d rank him just after Egon in terms of my favorite figure in the set.  He turned out very well, and hopefully he too will be getting a repack down the line so that he’s not too hard to find.  In general, these four are really just the best bang for your buck when it comes to movie-styled ‘busters, and I’m looking forward to what sorts of variants and such Hasbro has in mind.

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.

#2452: Ray Stanz

RAY STANZ

GHOSTBUSTERS: THE PLASMA SERIES (HASBRO)

“As the heart of the team, Ray Stantz is always eager to get down to bustin’ business!”

Okay, let’s do this intro thing.  Yeah, right, intro…Umm, so one time I took a “which Ghostbuster are you?” quiz and I got Ray.  And it kind of baffled me a little bit, because Ray’s my least favorite–let me rephrase–Ray’s my fourth favorite Ghostbuster.  Like, I mean, I don’t *dislike* the guy, but he fades into the background a bit for me. So, you know, there it is.  Well, best review the figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ray is figure 2 in the first assortment of Plasma Series figures.  Like Venkman, he’s one of the double packs in the set, and if I’m honest, that seems a little surprising to me.  I’m guessing Egon and Winston will be getting repacks down the line, but it does feel weird for Ray to be twice as common as them.  But he’s my least fourth favorite Ghostbuster, so what do I know?  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He still shares a number of parts with the other two figures, but gets his own head and torso.  The torso gives Ray a slightly pudgier build than the rest of the team, which is appropriate, and certainly better looking than how Mattel handled it.  It does make it a little trickier to get the proton pack in place on this particular figure, but I was able to get it properly attached without too much extra effort.  The head sculpt is a pretty strong piece, pretty much on par with the Egon sculpt in terms of likeness.  Again, this is another area where this figure really out paces the Mattel offering, as I always found their Ackroyd likeness to be their worst of the bunch.  This one, on the other hand, is pretty much the spitting image, goofy expression and all.   Ray’s paintwork is pretty darn solid, with the basics more or less matching the other two.  Like Egon, the face print works very well here, and really just lends even more to how good that likeness is.  In addition to getting the same proton pack as the other two, Ray is also packed with his goggles he’s seen sporting early in the movie, as well as one of the left legs to the Terror Dog.  The goggles in particular are a really strong piece, sitting snuggly on his head, and managing to not look too bulky, while still not requiring his hair to be too matted down in order for them to look okay.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ray’s not ever really going to be my first choice when it comes to the Ghostbusters and toys, but I won’t deny that this figure did jump out at me when I saw the initial photos, and again when I saw the figures in hand.  Hasbro definitely put a lot of effort into getting him right, and the end result is another really strong figure.  He doesn’t quite beat out Egon, but personal preference may factor into that ever so slightly.

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.

#2451: Peter Venkman

PETER VENKMAN

GHOSTBUSTERS: PLASMA SERIES (HASBRO)

“The mouth of the Ghostbusters team, Peter Venkman could probably talk a ghost into trapping itself if he tried.”

Alright, let’s dive headlong into this new Ghostbusters set, shall we?  I haven’t reviewed a ton of Ghostbusters stuff on the site, but I’ve reviewed enough to have run out of compelling things to say here in these intros.  I mean, really, how many times can you break down the role that each of the Ghostbuster plays?  Hasbro did a serviceable job breaking it down in the bio up there, so let’s just jump into reviewing the team’s mouth, Dr. Peter Venkman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venkman is figure 1 in the first assortment of the Plasma Series.  He’s one of the assortment’s two double-packs, which makes some sense, seeing as he’s kind of the front man of the whole thing.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Venkman has several parts in common with yesterday’s Egon figure, but does get a new head, as well as new shins, showcasing Venkman’s more lax approach to wearing his jumpsuit and boots.  The body sculpt being the same between these two isn’t too unreasonable, and it means that it’s still a pretty solid sculpt in its own right.  The new shins work well with the other pieces, and do a respectable job of recreating that slightly unique appearance.  His new head sculpt is, of course, the main piece of interest here.  It’s definitely not as nice as the Egon sculpt.  I think there’s definitely a lot of Bill Murray in the sculpt, certainly more than some attempts we’ve seen, but it’s not quite on the mark.  There are some angles where the likeness really peeks through (especially when viewed from the left), and others where he looks far more like Bing Crosby.  In general, I think it’s a little bit cartoony.  Given the cartooniness of Mattel’s take as well, I have to wonder if that might actually be something coming from Murray himself; I know some actors can be weird about likenesses being too close to their actual appearance.  Venkman’s paint work is pretty close to Egon’s, albeit with the expected changes to the head and legs, as well as the new name on the name tag.  I did find that the face application wasn’t quite as strong on Venkman, which may be contributing somewhat to the issues with the likeness.  Venkman is packed with the same removable proton pack as Egon, as well as a ghost trap, and one of the Terror Dog’s right legs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Venkman always seems to draw the short straw, no matter who’s handling the line.  Neither Mattel, nor DST had much luck with him either, and he’s definitely the weakest of Hasbro’s set.  That being said, they managed to land it a bit better on their first attempt than others, and I think he really only sticks out as the worst because of how high the bar is with the others.  He’s not a bad figure by any stretch of the imagination, and he certainly could have been much worse.  And, hey, at least he’s not permanently slimed, or weirdly replaced by a Walter Peck figure.  That would be weird, wouldn’t it?

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.

#2450: Egon Spengler

EGON SPENGLER

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! Egon Spengler’s like a proton: he always stays positive!”

We went 25 years without any proper toy coverage of the first Ghostbusters, but since hitting that 25th marker, we haven’t exactly had a shortage, especially in terms of collector-oriented lines.  Mattel got in on the scene in 2009, with a line of articulated six-inch figures, which ran for a couple of years through their Matty Collector site.  Diamond Select Toys initially picked up the license for Minimates, but eventually expanded that to their 7-inch Select format.  Even Mezco got into the game, with a set of the main team as part of their One:12 Collective last year.  At the start of this year, Hasbro announced that they were the latest holders of the Ghostbusters master license.  So, are we treading on the same ground again, or will Hasbro well and truly make it their own?  Well, to help answer that question, I’m going to be doing things here ever so slightly differently, and making a rather direct comparison between two versions of my man Egon, one being Hasbro’s new one, and the other being Mattel’s old offering (originally given its own review here).  Let’s jump right on in.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Egon is figure 3 in Hasbro’s first series of Ghostbusters: The Plasma Series…he was also figure 3 from Mattel, so I guess he’s just always the third one.  Unlike Mattel’s offerings, these Ghostbusters aren’t exclusive to anywhere, although they’re still a little tricky to find at mass retail at the moment.  Egon’s based on his appearance in the first film, which is so far the source of the whole line’s appearances so far.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Height-wise, he and his Mattel counterpart have negligible differences.  The first real differences come into play with the articulation.  Not only does the Hasbro Egon have more articulation, what he’s got is also just plain has a better range on it.  Hasbro’s been steadily improving their articulation scheme throughout LegendsBlack Series, and Lightning Collection, and Egon represents the best of those kind of getting rolled into one.  Not only does he get double joints at both the elbows and knees (an amazing improvement on the Mattel version, which couldn’t even get a full 90 degrees out of either joint), but he also gets a ball-jointed waist and even butterfly joints for the shoulders, which really helps with proper proton wand posing.  The joints are also a fair bit better worked into the sculpt on the Hasbro figure than on the Mattel equivalent (which, to be fair, is using a sculpt that is mostly over a decade old at this point), meaning he looks a little more pleasing from that standpoint as well.  While the Mattel Egon likeness didn’t look *unlike* Harold Ramis, it was always a somewhat weak offering.  Hasbro’s stab at it is really, really good, and is a pretty much pitch-perfect Ramis likeness.  In particular, I think they way they’ve done the glasses, more just suggesting their presence than actually putting a small pair of glasses on top of the face, works a lot better at this scale and style.  The Mattel Egon shared everything below the neck with his fellow ‘busters. which was a little bit to his detriment.  Hasbro’s Egon still shares a fair number of his parts with Peter and Winston, but not with Ray, who was kind of the odd-man out in terms of build, and ultimately the one whose build really through off the rest of the team on the Mattel side.  The Mattel jumpsuit really didn’t hang very realistically, but Hasbro’s actually looks like someone wearing a baggy jumpsuit.  Moving onto the gear, like the later Mattel figures, this Egon has a removable proton pack, though its a fair bit more detailed, and looks to be better scaled to the figure.  He can also more properly stow his neutrino wand on his back (it doesn’t have to go at a weird angle), and the pack sports all the proper straps, including the ones that were missing from Mattel’s.  In terms of paint work, Hasbro’s really got things down resulting in more consistent, more lifelike final product than what Mattel gave us, thanks largely to Hasbro’s face printing tech, which really does the sculpt a lot of favors.   In addition to the previously mentioned removable proton pack, Egon is also packed with his PKE meter, which can be hung from his belt, as well as one of the left legs to the Terrordog Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when the Mattel stuff was first starting to hit, I really wanted to get into it, but Matty Collector and its insane pricing structure and ordering process wasn’t anything I wanted to be messing with.  By the time the far easier to acquire Walmart set was put out, I was kind of burned on the whole thing, and Egon was the only one I could really justify purchasing.  The Hasbro announcement had me cautiously optimistic, and I think it may have well paid off, because this Egon is by far the best version of the character out there, and undoubtedly blows the Mattel version out of the water.  Hopefully, he won’t prove too hard to find in the long run.

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.

#2342: Ectotron

ECTOTRON

GHOSTBUSTERS X TRANSFORMERS (HASBRO)

At Toy Fair this year, Hasbro confirmed that they had acquired the rights to produce toys based on Ghostbusters and the franchise it spawned, which, while it isn’t the big deal it once was, is still pretty darn nifty.  It’s not entirely surprising, though, considering that just last year, they launched the crossover-based Transformers: Collaborative two Ghostbusting-themed cross over Transformers.  One was a re-decoed Optimus in Ecto-1 colors, which is all well and good, but not terribly exciting for the non-Optimus fans out there, but the other was an all-new character, Ectotron, who turns into the Ghostbusters’ distinctive mode of transportation, and is the figure I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ectotron is the first of the two Ghostbusters x Transformers figures released by Hasbro last year.  He was shown off right on top of last year’s Toy Fair, and went up for preorder right after.  He’s been making his way out through various markets throughout the last year.  In robot mode, the figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and has 21 usable points of articulation.  Ectrotron was an all-new design, reverse-engineered from his alt-mode and also meant to somewhat replicate the classic Ghostbusters geared-up look in robot form.  Ectotron uses the Combiner Wars Hot Spot as a starting point, with the upper arms, legs, and general inner mechanics being the shared.  He still ends up with his fair share of new parts, however, in order to create his slightly more Ghostbuster-y look.  I like the Ray-esque goggles on the head, though it’s a shame they don’t move up or down.  I will admit that after getting into the line with Siege, a figure based on older molds does feel a little more…rudimentary?  He’s a lot blockier, and also not quite as solidly built as the Siege stuff, with more hollow spaces in his build and a generally clunkier design.  His joints also feel a bit looser than others, particularly on the legs, and there are a few joints that have become standard on newer figures, which are absent here, limiting some of his posing options.  There’s also more kibble from the vehicle mode here than on other recent figures.  I think the shoulders are the only part that really bugs me, but there’s a lot of it sticking off of the back of the figure.  Additionally, the figure’s proton pack has a lot of trouble staying in place on my figure.  I feel like maybe I’m doing something wrong there, but I couldn’t get it to seat any more securely.  Ectotron’s alt-mode is the Ecto-1, in all its fully licensed GM 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor glory.  The transformation into the car is a pretty straight-forward process, and I found it to be pretty easy.  Compared to the likes of the fully licensed vehicles of the Studio Series, which tend to have more fiddly transformation processes, this one was a lot easier to pick up and flip between the two forms.  Some of the procedures, such as transforming the proton pack into the gear on the top of the car, is pretty clever in its implementation, and the final Ecto-1 is a really satisfying replica of the real thing.  Part of the transformation process gets Ectotron his proton wand for the pack, but he’s also got a small Slimer figurine to go with him, which is a cool little extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ectotron initially hit while I was still trying out Transformers, so I didn’t grab one initially.  However, I finally had a chance to see one in person, and I had some store credit to burn through, and I was impressed enough in-hand to give him a try.  Compared to something from Siege, yeah, he feels like maybe a slight step down.  That being said, there’s a lot I like about this guy, even if a lot of it’s linked to the pure novelty of what he is.

I picked up Ectotron from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2203: Spectral Ghostbusters

PETER VENKMAN, EGON SPENGLER, WINSTON ZEDDEMORE, & RAY STANZ

GHOSTBUSTERS MINIMATES

“The Real Ghostbusters follows the continuing adventures of The Ghostbusters, secretary Janine, accountant Louis, and their mascot Slimer, as they chase and capture rogue spirits around New York and various other areas of the world.”

Happy Halloween dear readers!  For this year’s spooky-themed entry, I had intended to keep up with the running theme of looking back at DST’s ill-fated Universal Monsters Minimates, but they continued with the ill-fated bit, so I wasn’t able to get that particular set ready to go.  I guess there’s always next year.  So, I’ll be jumping over to one of DST’s other somewhat spooky lines of Minimates, the Ghostbusters, a far less ill-fated line.  After doing a rather successful run of movie-based ‘mates, DST picked up the license to the cartoon and rebranded the line under the Real Ghostbusters heading, producing another three boxed sets, plus a whole bunch more two-packs.  The first two sets covered the ‘busters and their supporting cast, but the third went the variant route, giving us all four ‘busters together, albeit in a slightly askew form.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Spectral Ghostbusters were released in December of 2011, as the third and final boxed set in the Real Ghostbusters off-shoot of Ghostbusters Minimates, based on their appearance in the cartoon episode “Citizen Ghost”, the 11th episode of the show, which sees the ‘busters’ uniforms from the night they fought Gozer reainimated by spectral approximations of themselves.

PETER VENKMAN

It’s Peter’s fault that the Spectral Ghostbusters come into existence in the first place, so I guess he’s the defacto leader of this particular bunch.  He was also, at the time of this figure’s release, the only Spectral Buster with a prior figure, courtesy of Mattel’s Retro Action line.  The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the basic ‘mate body, with add-ons for the hair, shoulder pads, and torso piece.  The hair was re-used from the basic RGB Venkman figure, with the torso piece being a re-use of Wintson’s piece from set two, with a slight adjustment to the proton pack’s left side to allow for storage of the ghost trap.  The torso pieces were still rather bulky at this point, an issue that wouldn’t properly be addressed until the “I love this town” boxed set, but I do have to say that they looked better here, probably because they were molded plastic, rather than painted, which slimmed them down ever so slightly.  The paint on these was also somewhat notable for being the first ‘busters to be in the tan color that more closely resembles the color of the uniforms seen on-screen in the films.  Of course, Venkman was also notable for being green and translucent, which was something he usually wasn’t.  The spectral effect on the face works quite well, and like all of the RGB ‘mates, he has a fully detailed torso under the chest piece, which I was always happy to see crop up.  Peter is packed with a ghost trap and a proton wand effect in green.

EGON SPENGLER

Egon is pretty similar to Venkman, but obviously swaps out a few of the add-on parts to make things slightly more unique.  The hair is from the RGB Egon, and has that distinctive swirl, while the torso is from the Venkman/Egon figures of set one, meaning he gets that extra strap at the front.  It’s safer that way I guess?  It does mean that he’s got a plug on the right side of his belt, which is missing anything to plug into it (prior Egons had his PKE), but I guess it’s not terribly noticeable.  The paint work changes up a little bit to match the new pieces and to change up the face for the likeness.  Again, the spectral effect is pretty cool, and the glasses make it look even cooler.  Egon is packed with the same trap and effect piece as Peter; shame they couldn’t throw the PKE in there.

WINSTON ZEDDEMORE

Wintson is even less different from Peter than Egon was.  From the neck down, the two are completely identical figures.  It’s just that head that changes things up, with the proper Winston hair piece and an adjusted likeness on the face.  Beyond that, same figure, right down to the same pair of accessories.  Fortunately, that means he doesn’t look like he’s missing anything the way Egon did, so I guess it works out alright for him.

RAY STANZ

Last up, there’s Ray, and what a surprise, he’s really similar to the other three.  I know, what a shock.  He does mix things up ever so slightly, getting the animated Ray hair and the Box 2 Ray torso piece (interestingly, Ray is the only ‘buster who never had to share his torso piece with any one else), but like Egon that leaves him with a peg that goes unused for this particular release, where the trap would have gone on the original release.  At least he and Egon have each other?  Beyond that, it’s all pretty much business as usual.  The paint’s pretty much the same, with the expected adjustments, and the accessories are again the same.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I mostly skipped the RGB line, I nevertheless ended up with this set.  Why?  Do I have some sort of undying devotion to the Spectral Ghostbusters?  Nope, I bought them because they were cheap.  Cosmic Comix got the set in, and the glue on the backing card was faulty, so it fell off.  To save themselves some trouble, they marked it down to half price and boom, there I was, buying me some half-price Minimates.  While perhaps not the most unique or individually thrilling ‘mates, I actually do dig this group, especially as a set.  They aren’t perfect, but they’re goofy, and gimmicky, and actually rather fun.

#2129: Peter Venkman

PETER VENKMAN

REAL GHOSTBUSTERS RETRO ACTION HEROES (MATTEL)

You all knew this was coming eventually.  I’ve been building to this review since #0123, when I reviewed Ray Stanz, the first of the Real Ghostbusters Retro Action Heroes, and slowly working my way through the four man crew.  There was a bit of a curve ball back in June when I reviewed a Retro Action Heroes release that wasn’t one of the main four, but I’m finally circling back around, coming to the end, and taking a look at Dr. Peter Venkman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venkman is the final of the four ‘busters included in the mass release assortment of Real Ghostbusters Retro Action Heroes, released by Mattel in 2011.  Venkman was the most fortunate of the ‘busters when it came to this line, with not one, but three whole figures, thanks to a SDCC release, plus a variant of said release.  This is just the standard version though, which is sporting his unique jumpsuit from the cartoon.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  Like the other three, Venkman was built on Mattel’s in-house take on the Mego-style body, which has its plusses and its minuses.  The most important thing is that it matches the rest of the crew.  Venkman gets a new head sculpt and, if I’m totally honest, it’s really the weakest of the heads from this line-up.  It’s not terrible, but it’s certainly more off-model based on the animation than the rest of them were.  It’s also a fair bit softer than the others.  Due to the SDCC-exclusive with which he shared his head being released prior to the main line, it’s likely this one was produced first, which might explain why it isn’t quite as spot-on.  Venkman has a cloth jumpsuit, which is the same one seen on prior three, just in the appropriate colors.  There’s also a pair of rubber boots, and his proton pack and neutrino wand.  The proton pack is, as always, definitely the highlight of these figures. Venkman’s color scheme isn’t quite as bright and exciting as the other three, but it’s still fairly eye-catching, and the paint work does its part to sell it, which I can certainly appreciate.  Perhaps the largest drawback to this figure is the accessory complement.  While the rest of the figures all got one extra gadget in addition to the proton pack, Venkman is lacking.  It feels like something of a missed opportunity if you ask me.  While we did get Slimer later down the line, including him here would have been a solid choice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though he’s the last of them I’ve reviewed, Venkman was actually the first of these figures I picked up.  I found him by himself at my local TRU, and he was cool enough to sell me on the rest of the line-up.  While he’s the weakest of the four main figures, he’s actually a great starter figure, since he was pretty easy to find and had the most basic extras, so it was all upward from here.