#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.

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#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.

#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.

#1709: Peter Venkman

PETER VENKMAN

GHOSTBUSTERS (PLAYMOBIL)

If the Ghostbusters each make up a respective part of the body that makes up the organization, Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman is undoubtedly the mouth.  Fitting for a Bill Murray character, right?  I suppose you could be more generous, and more generally make him the face, since that’s what he is for a lot of people; the face of the Ghostbusters.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venkman is part of the same Playmogram 3D sub-line of Ghostbusters Playmobil figures as yesterday’s Egon.  He too is sporting his darker Ghostbusters 2 togs, which are rather unique, I suppose.  The figure stands 3 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  He’s built on the same body as Egon, but with one notable exception.  His hair’s a new piece, and, like Egon’s, it seems a little off for Venkman.  He lacks Murray’s pronounced hairline, and instead gets something a fair bit more generic.  I actually think it’s a piece that’s been used before, but I’m not well-versed enough with Playmobil to know for sure.  The point is, it definitely muddies up any sort of likeness.  Maybe there’s a larger likeness rights issue going on here?  I don’t know.  It’s also possible they couldn’t make the proper hairstyle work with the construction of the head, thus neccesitating this differing look. Also, this is a very minor thing, but since he re-uses the exact same base body as Egon, that means he’s actually missing one Peter-specific detail: his pants legs are tucked into his boots.  That’s a consistent feature of his, across just about every figure he’s gotten.  Of course, it’s also easily overlooked, so it’s hard to say.  Venkman’s paintwork is quite similar to Egon’s, but his uniform is unslimed (kind of amusing really, since the situation is usually flipped).  Peter includes the same accesory compliment as Egon, minus the puddle of slime, so he’s got his proton pack, PKE meter, and ghost trap.  The piece that interacts with the Playmofram 3D feature is also given a pink coloring instead of green.  Woooo?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found Venkman at the same time as Egon.  Since I was getting Egon, and they were both pretty cheap, home he came.  He’s not quite as strong a figure as Egon, but he’s still decent enough, and I’m happy to have him in the set.

#0419: Peter Venkman

PETER VENKMAN

REAL GHOSTBUSTERS (KENNER)

Prior to the last few years, if you wanted any kind of Ghostbusters toys, you were limited to what the Real Ghostbusters toyline had to offer. Seeing as there were only normal versions of the ‘busters offered early in the line, that meant that more often than not, settling for the wacky variants became the best option. So, let’s look at one of those!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This Peter Venkman figure was released in 1990 as part of the “Power Pack Heroes” series of Kenner’s The Real Ghostbusters line. The figure is about 4 ½ inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. Peter’s “Power Pack” shtick was a “Bouncin’ Bazooka” which was a missile launcher thing. Pretty much, this series was made up of re-decos of the first series ‘busters. So, it follows that Peter is head to toe a repaint of the original Peter Venkman figure. Fortunately, the original sculpt was pretty good. It’s a nice approximation of what he looked like in the cartoon, and everything looks nice. Peter’s paint job is one of the distinguishing features. In place of the usual brown jumpsuit, he has a dark green jumpsuit, with orange and light green details that form some sort of art deco design. It’s an interesting look, and the paintwork is nice and clean. The eyes are done in a bright green, which looks kind of odd, but it’s not terrible. Originally, Peter included the aforementioned “Bouncin’ Bazooka” and a Lightning Ghost, but my figure never had them, so I can’t really speak to their quality.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I came into Ghostbusters at probably the most difficult time to be a Ghostbusters fan. The glut of movie toys was a good 10 years off, and all of the Real Ghostbusters stuff was gone before I was born. I remember coming across one or two Extreme Ghostbusters figures, but they weren’t the actual Ghostbusters. So, I resorted to finding loose figures at flea markets and antique stores. Peter was an Antique store find, and I think he was the last figure I added to my rather modest Real Ghostbusters collection. He’s actually a pretty good figure, and I find the art deco look of his uniform to be oddly compelling.

#0187: “World of the Psychic” Peter Venkman

PETER VENKMAN – WORLD OF THE PSYCHIC

GHOSTBUSTERS MINIMATES

WorlofthePsychicPeter

I think most Ghostbusters fans will agree that Ghostbusters 2 isn’t anywhere close to the level of the original, however, it’s not as bad as some will lead you to believe. One of the cool things to see was just what all of the characters had been up to since the end of the first film. Peter Venkman seemed to get the most entertaining of gigs of all the main characters, working as the host of the show World of the Psychic, where we get to see him interacting with two people who believe they know when the world will end. It’s one of the more amusing scenes in the movie, and Diamond Select Toys decided to honor it with the release of Peter from that scene in Minimate form.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Peter was released as part of the third series of Toys R Us Exclusive Ghostbusters Minimates. He was packed with the film’s main villain, Vigo the Carpathian, but my Vigo figure’s gone missing, so it’s just Peter today. Peter is built on the usual Minimate body, which means he has 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall. He has two sculpted add-ons: a hairpiece, and a coat. The hair is the same piece used on the previous versions of Venkman, and the coat was a new piece, I think, but it has seen a fair number of re-uses since then. The paint is fairly basic, with mostly solid blocks of color on each piece, but he does have a decent Bill Murray likeness, this time with a more solemn expression, and he has funky red shoelaces on his shoes. Peter’s one accessory is a hairless cat, which is a great scene specific piece that could have been easily over looked.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Venkman and Vigo from my local TRU. I believe it was an after school trip with my Dad during my senior year. It’s neat idea for a figure, I suppose, though it’s a bit drab and it will hardly be anyone’s definitive version of Venkman. Still, I suppose it’s not too bad.

#0129: The Ghostbusters!

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

GHOSTBUSTERS MINIMATES

You know what I haven’t reviewed enough recently?  Minimates.  I’ve only reviewed one set of Minimates in the last month, and it wasn’t even a set I was all that excited about.  Well, I promise you, that’s going to change with the next few reviews.  I just got in a shipment of new Minimate stuff, and I’m gonna go nuts!

I mentioned in my review of Ray from Mattel’s Retro Action line that there hasn’t been the greatest selection of Ghostbusters merch over the years.  There’s been one exception to that:  Ghostbusters Minimates.  I know I may be a little bit biased, given my love of all things Minimates, but they’ve had a really great offering.  They were the first company to offer all four of the ‘Busters styled after the movie, and they gave us just about every major character and ghost from the films.  They are definitely some of my favorite Minimates.  However, the main versions of the main characters are a few years old, and haven’t aged the best with some of the more recent innovations in Minimate design.  Diamond being the cool company that they are, they responded with a brand new set of the guys, with some improvements to their designs.  Let’s take a look at the figures!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were just released as the newest entry in the Ghostbusters Minimates line as part of the “I Love This Town!” Boxed set, which is, of course, named after Winston’s final line in the movie, after the team successfully defeats Gozer.

PETER

First up, the guy who is arguably the lead character of the first movie, Peter Venkman.  By the way, does anybody else find that they refer to Venkman by his last name, but all of the others by their first?  Because I feel weird calling him “Peter.”  It seems off.  Anyway, Venkman is based on his look from the first movie.  He’s on the basic Minimate body, so he’s got the usual 14 points of articulation and he stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  Venkman features 7 sculpted pieces: hair, proton pack, 2 elbow pads, a belt, and 2 glove cuffs.  Most of this appears to be reuse, with the hair and elbow pads hailing from the original Venkman release, the proton pack coming from the Real Ghostbusters Janine, and the glove cuffs being one of the standard pieces.  The belt appears to be a new piece to this set, but I’m not 100% certain of that.  The proton pack is a pretty big deal, as there’s been demand for the regular ‘Busters to be updated to that piece since it first appeared.  It looks much better than the bulky overlay that the originals had, so it’s a welcome change.  The paint also features an important change as well.  On the original Ghostbusters Minimates, the ‘Busters were depicted with a light gray uniform.  Apparently, the actual uniforms looked like this, but due to the lighting of the film, they looked different on screen.  So, while the gray was technically more accurate, everybody remembers the uniforms being khaki.  This time around, Diamond obliged and released them in the color we all remember.  The paint detailing on the  figure is on par with what you’d expect from a Minimate.  Everything’s nice and clean, and you can even read “VENKMAN” on his little nametag.  Also, the face is probably the best Bill Murray that we’ve gotten from Diamond, which is really great.  Venkman includes a ghost trap, a walkie-talkie, a proton stream, an alternate screaming head, and a clear display stand.  The trap can be plugged onto the proton pack for easy storage, and the walkie talkie can hook onto the belt.  The screaming head is a nice touch and makes for some entertaining set-ups.

EGON

Next, the resident genius on the team, Egon Spengler.   Egon is on the basic body, so he’s got the usual statistics.  Like Venkman, he features 7 sculpted pieces, which includes: hair, proton pack, belt, 2 elbow pads, and 2 glove cuffs.  He shares all of the uniform pieces with Venkman, and the hair is from one of the previous releases, though this is the first time we’ve seen this particular hairpiece on an Egon from the first movie.  Most of the paint is the same as Venkman, though Egon does have his uniform tucked into his boots, as opposed to Venkman’s more lax “over the boots” look.  The paint work is okay, though the line between the pants and the boots is a bit fuzzy.  The likeness on the face is pretty good, better than the previous Egons’, though perhaps not as good as Venkman.  Harold Ramis does have a pretty distinctive nose, so the lack of it probably doesn’t help.  Egon includes a ghost trap, a walkie-talkie, a proton stream, a PKE meter, an alternate head with a disgusted expression, a marshmallow covered hairpiece, and a clear display stand.

RAY

Next up, it’s the loveable and ever so helpful Ray Stanz.  Ray is also on the basic body, and has all the usual stats.  Like the previous two, he’s got 7 sculpted add-ons, which is pretty much the same layout.  He’s got a different hair piece than the previous two, and it’s the same hair we’ve seen on every release of Ray so far.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess.  Ray’s painted details follow the same layout as Egon, with the pant legs tucked into the boots.  He has the same issue as Egon, with sloppy edges on the boots, but everything else looks pretty sharp.  The face is definitely Dan Akroyd, and looks better than some of the previous attempts, though I do wish there was an option for a more normal expression, similar to Egon and Venkman.  Ray includes 2 ghost traps: one closed and one deployed, a walkie-talkie, a pair of goggles, a marshmallow covered hairpiece, and a clear display stand, making him the most accessorized ‘mate in the set!

WINSTON

Lastly, the ‘Buster that always seems to be left out, but my personal favorite: Winston!  I suppose he’s getting a little bit of respect, given that it’s one of his lines that the set is named after, but it’s hard to tell.  He’s got the same body and sculpted add-ons as the rest of the figures in the set, though with a unique hairpiece like all the others.  It’s a piece we’ve seen used for Winston a few times before, and I believe it was sculpted specifically for him.  Winston has the same uniform detailing as Egon and Ray, with the nametag changed, of course.  He does seem to have lucked out on the boot front, as he doesn’t have the same sloppy paint issues in that area.  The likeness is definitely there, and they’ve decided to depict Winston right as he delivers the line the set is named for.  As with Ray, I would have liked to have a more “default” expression, but it actually suits Winston pretty well, so I can’t complain too much.  Winston includes a ghost trap, a walkie-talkie, and a clear display stand.  He’s the lightest figure in the set, accessory-wise, though I suppose you could group the open trap with him, to even things out a bit.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was purchased from my favorite Minimates provider, Luke’s Toy Store.  I hadn’t kept up with all of the Ghostbusters boxed sets once they got the original set of the main four out, but I was definitely on board when they announced an updated set.  I still love my original set, but every ‘mate in this set mops the floor with its predecessor.  If you’re a fan of the movie, I wholeheartedly recommend picking up this set.  It’s easily the best version of the team available anywhere!