#2067: Janine Melnitz & Samhain

JANINE MELNITZ & SAMHAIN

REAL GHOSTBUSTERS RETRO ACTION HEROES (MATTEL)

There was a real drought of Ghostbusters product in the ’90s and ’00s, no doubt tied to there being a real drought of Ghostbusters anything in the ’90s and ’00s.  When 2009 reunited the original cast for a video game sequel, the franchise was given a shot in the arm, and toymakers, most notably Mattel, went full force.  It was Ghostbusters galore for a couple of years, as we got the crew in just about every style you could think of.  Mattel was on something of a Mego-revival kick at the time, so the Real Ghostbusters cartoon got in on that treatment.  Today, I’m looking at the only non-main team offering from the line, Janine Melnitz and Samhain!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Janine and Samhain were the last offering in the Real Ghostbusters Retro Action Heroes line, hitting shelves a few months after the main four ‘busters.  The pack was an exclusive to Toys R Us, though like the rest of the line, there was no specific denotation of this.  There was an elaborate cardboard back-drop behind the figures in the box as well, which served as a “playset” version of the firehouse, though it was really just a very tall backdrop.

JANINE MELNITZ

A more strictly supporting character in the movies, the Real Ghostbusters cartoon gave Janine the opportunity to get in on the action a bit more frequently.  Subsequently, this figure follows that set-up, presenting her in gear to match the rest of the ‘busters.  The figure stands about 7 1/2 inches tall and she has 18 points of articulation.  She used Mattel’s equivalent to the Mego female body, which is overall a pretty decent match for the original, barring one major issue: those hands.  Just as they patterned parts of the male body on Big Jim, the female body, specifically the hands, takes influence from Barbie.  The end result is that she has hands that aren’t designed for holding anything, which is in pretty stark contrast to all the stuff she’s clearly designed to hold.  Janine got a new headsculpt, which is pretty much on par with the others in the line.  It’s a solid match for her cartoon design, and they’ve even managed to not make those glasses look atrocious.  Janine has a cloth jumpsuit, similar to the others, but obviously more tailored for this specific body, as well as a pair of rubber boots (taken from Wonder Woman, meaning she’s hiding peaked boots under the suit), and the same proton pack used for the others.  Janine also got all of the equipment that was divi-ed up amongst the others, the PKE meter, Ghost Sniffer, and Ghost Trap.  Most importantly, she gets one new accessory, the Ghostbusters “mascot” Slimer.  He’s a little on the small side, but it was nice that he didn’t get totally overlooked for this line.

SAMHAIN

The Ghost of Halloween is one of the few recurring ghost foes for the ‘busters, with a handful of appearances in Real Ghostbusters and a pair of focus episodes in that show’s sequel Extreme Ghostbusters.  Also, unlike the other prominent ghost, the Staypuft Marshmallow Man, he could be built using mostly standard parts.  And so he is.  He’s just the basic male body, with a pumpkin head and a robe thrown over it.  That’s really kind of it.  I mean, I guess the pumpkin head is kind of distinct, and the robe has a nice flow about it, but…he’s just not a lot to talk about.  And, without any accessories of his own, there’s not even any fun side extras to discuss…so that’s really about it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was actually pretty darn supportive of this line when they were new, and, having picked up the main four as I found them, I was quite happy to find this one at retail and complete the set.  Janine’s pretty solid, and Slimer’s a neat little addition to the collection.  Samhain doesn’t really do much for me, but I suppose it’s not the worst thing in the world to give the ‘busters something to, you know, bust.

 

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#1586: Winston Zeddemore

WINSTON ZEDDEMORE

REAL GHOSTBUSTERS RETRO ACTION HEROES (MATTEL)

 

When it comes to the original Ghostbusters, I’ve always felt that Winston Zeddemore, the team’s fourth member, doesn’t get all of the credit he deserves.  Though he may be a later addition to the team, he’s a very important element in their success.  As the only non-scientist in the bunch, he’s also the only of the four with any real common sense, and it’s always been my firm belief that without him the other three would have been more ghost than buster before the credits rolled.  Fortunately, by virtue of them being a four-man band, Winston is just as lucky as the others when it comes to action figures.  Today, I’ll be looking at his Mego-inspired Retro Action Heroes figure from a few years back.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Winston was part of the four figure basic assortment of Real Ghostbusters Retro Action Heroes figures released by Mattel in 2011.  As with all of the others in this line, Winston is patterned on his appearance from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon.  For Winston, it wasn’t really too far from Ernie Hudson’s look in the second film, albeit a little more colorful.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  He’s built on Mattel’s in-house Mego-styled body, which I’ve never liked quite as much as the original, but it’s what they used for the others.  It could be worse.  Winston got a new head sculpt, which was a pretty decent match for his animated counterpart.  The cartoon designs really did lend themselves to the retro style of these figures, so Mattel certain made a good decision there.  Winston has a cloth jumpsuit, which is the same one seen on both Ray and Egon, just in different colors, obviously.  He’s also got a pair of rubber boots, and his proton pack and neutrino wand.  As I’ve mentioned in prior reviews, the proton pack is definitely a highlight of these figures.   The colors on Winston are definitely nice and bright, and the little bit of paint on his face and proton pack is certainly nice and sharp.  In addition to the proton pack, Winston comes with one more piece of ghost hunting equipment: the ghost trap!  This was actually my favorite of the extra equipment included with these guys; it does a really great job of capturing the design from the movies and cartoons.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up the retro Ghostbusters figures one at a time as I found them at Toys R Us.  Winston was the third one I picked up, and, as luck would have it, he’s also the third one I’ve reviewed on the site.  Nifty coincidence, right?  Winston’s a solid figure, though, obviously it’s a style you have to have an appreciation for in order to get the figure.  I definitely love him, though!

#0827: Egon Spengler

EGON SPENGLER

REAL GHOSTBUSTERS (KENNER)

EgonRGB1

Hey, did you like yesterday’s Ghostbusters-themed review? Well, whether you liked it or not, I’m doing another one today. Because this is my site. So there. Also, because I have this master list of items I review, and I don’t dare deviate from it. Therein lies madness.

Anyway, let’s have another look at Kenner’s The Real Ghostbusters line, with another member from the titular team. This time around, it’s the nerdiest of the nerds, the scientist amongst scientists, Egon Spengler.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

EgonRGB2Egon is part of the first series of the previously mentioned The Real Ghostbusters line from Kenner. He was released in early 1987. Like Ray, he pre-dates the move to wacky variants for the line; he’s just a basic version of Egon. The figure stands about 5 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation. His sculpt is a pretty decent approximation of his cartoon design, though he’s not as close as the other ‘busters. The proportions of the body are definitely right, and the face is pretty close. The hair is the most “off” part; it’s just a little too subtle to properly capture Egon’s ‘do from the show. The general quality of the sculpt is really nice, though, and the base detail work is really nice. His build is appropriately different from Ray’s, being tall and lanky, as opposed to short and stocky. The figure’s paintwork is pretty good, though it’s a fair bit more subdued than the cartoon look. The blue is quite grey, and he lacks the pink accenting. The color of his hair is also much paler. However, the application is pretty nice and he works as a pretty good mid-point between the movie and cartoon designs. Egon was packed with his proton pack and a “Gulper Ghost.”

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When stopping at that antique store on the way down to NC, I didn’t just find Ray on that low sitting shelf, I also found good ol’ Egon here. I actually had a couple of the Egon figures from this line growing up (he was my favorite of the Ghostbusters, or at least the one I related to the most), but I never had the most basic version of him, so I picked this one up. Sure, he’s not super exciting, but he’s a solid figure.

#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.

#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.

#0165: Egon Spengler

EGON SPENGLER

GHOSTBUSTERS RETRO ACTION HEROES

Egon

When there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? If you answer anything other than “The Ghostbusters” I might have to hit you. Yeah, you right there.

Here’s another look at Mattel’s attempt at making the license work for them (here’s a hint: it didn’t).  This time around it’s Egon Spengler, hailing from Mattel’s Mego-Styled Retro Action Heroes line. Egon was of course played by Harold Ramis in the films (R.I.P.), and Maurice LaMarche in The Real Ghostbusters, the cartoon adaptation that these were based on. That’s right, Egon and the Brain were voiced by the same guy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Egon is based on his design from the cartoon. Egon’s redesign was perhaps the most radical of the set, as they opted to make him a blonde, I suppose to make the characters a bit more diverse. Like the rest of the team, the cartoon also gave Egon’s uniform its own color scheme, blue and pink in this case. It was an odd combination, but, hey, it was certainly unique. Egon stands about 8 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation. He’s built on Mattel’s basic Retro Action body, which is an alright piece. Not the greatest, but it works pretty well. Egon features a newly sculpted head, a pair of black boots, a proton pack with neutrino-wand, and a cloth jumpsuit in the appropriate colors. The head is quite nicely sculpted, maintaining the proper Mego aesthetic and keeping in line with the character’s design on the cartoon. The boots and proton pack are the same ones used on Ray. My opinion of them hasn’t really changed. The boots are fine, and the proton pack is really cool. Egon’s paint is a rare occurrence, but what’s there is nice and cleanly done, with no noticeable slop. Aside from the proton pack, Egon also includes is faithful PKE meter.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m actually pretty fond of this line, and outside of Minimates, it remains my only full set of the Ghostbusters I own. Egon has on and off been my favorite Ghostbuster, so this figure is probably my favorite of this particular set. I picked each of the ‘Busters up as I found them at my local TRU. Egon was the second figure that I found, sitting there all by himself.

#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!