#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!

#1372: Martian Manhunter

MARTIAN MANHUNTER (aka “Martin Spartan”)

RETRO ACTION DC SUPER HEROES (MATTEL)

It’s been the better part of a month since I’ve looked at a DC Comics-based item, so I guess I should go ahead and give them some coverage too!  So, hey, that Justice League trailer just hit and it looks…about the same as everything other DC movie that’s been released in the last 4 years.  Oh goody.  I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of the line-up they’ve chosen for the team’s first live-action outing.  Obviously, I’m lamenting the lack of my personal favorite heavy hitter, Green Lantern, but I’m also really not digging the lack of J’onn J’onzz, aka the Martian Manhunter.  Sure, he’s not the team’s most prominent member, but it’s a bit like if they’d left Hawkeye out of the first Avengers movie.  Alas, there’s no going back now.  Anyway, I’m gonna make myself feel better by reviewing this here Martian Manhunter in all of his retro-inspired goodness.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Martian Manhunter (or “Martin Spartan,” as Super Awesome Girlfriend accidentally named him) was released in the fourth, and final, series of Mattel’s Mego-inspired Retro Action DC Super Heroes line of figures.  Like a large number of figures in the line, he has no original Mego counterpart.  The figure stands roughly 8 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  J’onn was built on Mattel’s Mego-equivalent body, which is different from the standard body in ways that make it…different.  That’s it.  They’re changes for the sake of change, with no actual improvements to the basic body.  It’s just Mattel being weird, really, but hey, what else is new, right?  It’s certainly workable, and at a glance really isn’t much different, so that’s good.  Manhunter has a unique head-sculpt, which depicts an earlier, more human-like version of the character, which is certainly befitting of a Mego-styled figure.  Apart from a slight molding error on my figure, it’s a pretty great sculpt.  Manhunter has an outfit made up of a cloth jumpsuit, a cape, and a pair of rubber buccaneer boots.  The jumpsuit makes up his exposed skin, which is true to the old Mego style, and it has some nice extra bits attached to it make up his actual costume.  I particularly like the use of pleather for the straps and belt, though I do wish there were an actual buckle.  The cape is a little thin for my taste, but overall a nice addition.  The boots are nicer than a lot of the Retro Action figures, and look a good deal less bulky.  Manhunter is largely without paint; the only actual paint is on his eyes, and it’s probably my one real point of contention with this figure.  The sculpt is clearly a classic Manhunter, so his eyes should be white, and possibly even have pupils, but they are instead red, as they would be on a modern Martian Manhunter design.  It’s a small nit, but it sort of throws the whole retro thing off for me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My dad and I collected this whole line of figures together when it was first released, so I remember when this guy first hit.  The ones we collected are more part of my dad’s collection than mine, since he was the one with the vintage Mego collection, so I only have the few spares I picked up along the way.  This guy came into my collection when Super Awesome Girlfriend and I found him at a 2nd Avenue for $2.  Super Awesome Girlfriend felt sorry for him, and insisted that I add him to my collection.  He’s a pretty fun figure.  Definitely for a specific demographic, but fun nonetheless.

#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!