#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.

#1710: Ray Stanz

RAY STANZ

GHOSTBUSTERS (PLAYMOBIL)

There’s Ray!  I found him! The heart to counter Venkman’s “the mouth” and Egon’s “the brain,” is Dan Ackroyd’s turn as the lovable goof Ray Stanz.  Though perhaps not as colorful a character as Venkman or Egon, Ray nonetheless plays an essential role in the plot.  Just don’t tell him to think about nothing.  Or ask if he’s a god.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ray is the third figure in Playmobil’s Playmogram 3D sub-line of Ghostbusters.  As with the other two, he’s sporting his darker Ghostbusters 2 attire.  It’d be odd if they changed that up in the middle, though, wouldn’t it?  His figure stands 3 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Ray is built on the same body as the other two, but once again with a different hairpiece.  Once again, the hair seems off, but there’s a bit more of an excise this time.  The more geometrically rounded bit on the the top is a fairly standard concept for Playmobil, and it’s there to allow for attachment of various head gear.  In the case of Ray, it’s to allow for him to wear his ghost-detecting googles.  They’re a little bulky, but they’re also on an articulated hinge, thus allowing them to be raised up or leveled down, depending on how you want him to wear them.  Ray also has the proton pack and removable gloves, just like the other two, and my opinion of them here remains the same.  Ray’s paintwork is pretty much the same as Venkman’s, but there are some slight tweaks to it, just to prevent them from all having the exact same look.  I certainly appreciate that.  Ray is the best accessorized of the three; in addition to the goggles, proton pack, and gloves, he also includes the same trap as the other two (this time with a blue piece for the ghost catching bit), the proton beam energy effect, a readout piece to plug into the goggles, and three tubes of the pink slime in a device of some sort.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Take a guess where I got Ray.  Did you guess “the same Toys R Us where I got the other two”?  Congrats, you win.  Don’t you feel special?  Yeah, so I had the other two and there was Ray, and I was hardly going to leave him behind, right?  He’s pretty fun.  I think Egon’s still my favorite of the three, but Egon’s also my favorite character of the three, so that could be coloring my opinion.  Sadly, the same store did not also have a Winston to go along with these guys, so my set is woefully incomplete.  I do believe I’ll have to end up paying full price for him.  That’s how they get you.  Put a whole chain store out of business, just to get that extra $7 out of you.  The nerve of some companies, am I right?

#0826: Ray Stanz

RAY STANZ

REAL GHOSTBUSTERS (KENNER)

RayRGB1

Ghostbusters was a pretty big deal in the ‘80s. Unlike so many other films from that decade that had no business getting toys, but miraculously got them, Ghostbusters wouldn’t get any movie-dedicated toys until the early 2000s (and the actual ‘busters wouldn’t get figures until 2009). Anyone who wanted Ghostbusters toys would have to settle for the next best thing: Real Ghostbusters. Yes, the cartoon based on the movie did get a toyline, from the masters of licensed toys, Kenner. Today, I’ll be looking at ¼ of the title team, Ray Stanz.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

RayRGB2Ray was released in early 1987 as part of the first wave of Kenner’s The Real Ghostbusters line. The first wave pre-dates Kenner’s move into wacky variant territory for the main characters, so he’s a pretty straightforward version of Ray. The figure is roughly 4 ¼ inches tall and has 5 points of articulation. Ray’s sculpt offers a pretty nice representation of his design from the show. Obviously, he looks nothing like Dan Ackroyd, which is correct. The basic sculpt is somewhat simple, but he actually shows a bit more detail than his animated counterpart. He’s got a unique build, which very much fits the character, and the jumpsuit actually has a nice amount of finer detail work. Ray’s paint is pretty much to be expected. Of the four Ghostbusters, his color palette changed the least from movie to show, so he’s mostly just brown and dark grey. They aren’t the most exciting colors, but they look fine. He has his proper ghostbusting logo on his right shoulder, which is nice and sharp. Ray was originally packed with his proton pack and a “Wrapper Ghost.” As is the case with many retro figures I own, mine did not include these pieces.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ray was a rather interesting find. On the way down to visit some extended family in NC, my family and I stopped at a few antique stores. I actually did a few rounds of the store, having found nothing, but at one point, I stopped to tie my shoe, and noticed Ray sitting on a bottom shelf. Since he was a fairly low price, and I never actually owned a Ray figure, I picked him up. He’s definitely a nice figure, even if he isn’t the most thrilling.

#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!

#0123: Ray Stanz

RAY STANZ

GHOSTBUSTERS RETRO ACTION HEROES

I am so resisting the urge to start this review off with “Who ya gonna call?”  I want to, but I feel it may be over played.

So, yeah, this is a Ghostbusters review.  My very first on the site.  Ghostbusters is another of those properties where I’m a pretty big fan of the movie, but the toys that have been made haven’t always been the best.  I like the minimates, because that’s my thing, but as far as actual figures, it’s been a bit lax.  Mattel picked up the license a few years ago, and there was a lot of excitement, but it was Mattel, so they ran it into the ground, surprising no one.

The best way to get stuff based on the characters is to check out some of the stuff based on The Real Ghostbusters, the cartoon made between the first and second movies.  There was a toyline released when the series was on the air, and when Ghostbusters got a bit of a resurgence a few years ago, there were a few more items released.

Mattel didn’t totally screw up their part of the cartoon stuff, and they released a nice set of figures to tie in to the hole Mego-styled retro figures craze.  I’ll be looking at that line’s version of Ray Stanz, who was played by Dan Akroyd in the movies and animation veteran Frank Welker in the cartoon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As I mentioned in the intro, Ray is based on his appearance in the cartoon, after he received his more unique uniform along with the rest of the team.  The uniforms were mostly just a palate swap, and even then, Ray’s is probably the one that remained the closest to the uniforms from the first movie.  Ray stands about 8 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  If you’re familiar with the Mego style, then sculpting and such is pretty straight forward.  The figure is built on Mattel’s basic retro-style body, which was actually a little different from the more straight Mego riff that everyone else was using, because they’re the masters of “If it ain’t broke try and fix it anyway.”  It’s not bad, but I prefer the aesthetics of the body everyone else had.  Ray had a newly sculpted head, as well as a pair of black rubber boots, a proton pack with neutrino-wand, and, of course, a cloth jumpsuit.  The head is well done.  The style of the Mego type figure is very compatible with Ray’s cartoon design, so that works out well.  The boots are fairly generic boots, but that works pretty well.  The real star here is the proton pack, which has some very nice sculpted details, while still remaining faithful to the cartoon and Mego aesthetic.  The neutrino-wand is attached to the pack by a yellow tube, and can be clipped onto the side of the proton pack, or removed completely, depending on what you prefer.  Ray is sparse on the paint, but the work on the head and pack is all well done, with no real issues of slop or over bleed.  Ray’s one accessory is the spectral sniffer, which matches the proton pack in styling and fits nicely into Ray’s hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The retro-styled figures aren’t for everyone, but I really like them.  When I was growing up, I stayed at my grandparents’ house often, and my dad pulled out his old Mego figures so I had some things I could play with while I was there.  I really liked those figures and I have lots of fond memories of them, so seeing them have a brief return was pretty cool.  The Retro versions of the ‘Busters are actually one of the few complete versions of the team I own, so that probably adds to my appreciation even more.

I picked these figures up one at a time as I found them, usually at my local TRU.  Ray was actually the last of the four figures I found, so I was excited when I found him because I had finally completed the team!