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A few years ago, Blitzway wowed the crowd at San Diego Comic-Con with their huge display of all four Ghostbusters and the Ecto-1 in glorious sixth scale. It was amazing, and they said we'd be able to have our very own someday. Of course, collectors know all too well how this usually goes. They have sour memories of Batman and the 66 Batmobile, or Han and Chewie in the Millennium Falcon. But unlike those two (and several more!), the Ecto-1 actually went up for pre-order.
The vehicle was originally listed for about $1400, although getting one now for under $2000 is becoming difficult. It just started shipping in the
last few weeks, after a very, very long wait. Was the wait and price tag worth it? Let's find out!
Packaging - ****
No, I didn't take a photo of the box. Dude, just finding a spot to take photos of the car was hard enough, since I couldn't use my usual set up. It's simply not designed for something almost four feet long!
This thing came doubled boxed of course, with an outside box that isn't even tight fitted to the inside box, making it even more massive. The inside box was wrapped in this heavy duty, air filled, plastic tubing that provided plenty of support and safety for the main interior box. My outer box had a badly dinged corner, yet nothing had touched the interior box.
This interior box is about 55" long - this thing is monstrous. It's hard to explain how big it is. When I came home and saw the outer box sitting in my dining room, I was shocked. And I own every other Hot Toys sixth scale vehicle - this one dwarfs them all.
The inner box has high density, heavy duty foam trays. These two pieces are not taped together like normal, but rather are strapped together with cloth straps velcro'ed tight. The car, roof rack, and a handful of other pieces you need to assemble are all nestled snug inside. It's collector friendly, although it would mean taking the vehicle apart to put it back in the box. You can do that - none of the pieces snap into place in such a way that you'd have trouble reversing it - but odds are you won't want to once you see it in all its glory.
There's no COA, but you won't ever need one. There won't be any knock offs of this thing.
Sculpting - ****
The work on the interior and exterior of this vehicle is simply mind blowing. Finding ways to describe it is difficult, and I doubt I'll be able to impart my awe in the written word. I own the other three sixth scale cars produced by Hot Toys - the Tumbler, the 89 Batmobile, and the BTTF Delorean. All are great - none come close to touching this thing.
Let's start with the size. A huge problem with almost every toy vehicle, in any scale, is being undersized. Even 1/12 vehicles are notoriously too small by 10 - 20% most of the time. Not this beast. From back fin tip to front bummer edge, it's about 45 1/2" long...yes, almost four feet! From the big, rubber white walls to the top of the car (not the rack) it's about 12", and the rack and small antenna adds another 9" on top of that! There's also the two whippy antenna that are atmospherically long, but those you'll tuck in.
Internal scale is perfect as well. The size of the doors, the size of the roof rack, the size of the tires, the length of the hood compared to the rest of the vehicle, it's all dead nuts on. There's two seats in the front and two in the back, and while it can be a bit of a tight fit (particularly in back, where they have to sit facing each other), you should have no trouble getting the whole team and their packs to ride in style.
The exterior details are sharp and realistic. The lines are smooth and clean, and the attention to the smallest detail is impressive. That attention doubles and triples up when you open the doors and climb inside. The equipment stacked in the back has knobs, and lights, and dials, and screens - it's all done perfectly down to the smallest printing. The seats themselves are plastic - a minor concession - but they are nicely sculpted to look like vinyl.
There's a phone in back that can be removed from its cradle, and of course the gurney can slide out of the back on rails. This gurney is used to hold the packs. One of the two battery compartments is also housed in back, easy to reach and relatively easy to work with.
The second battery compartment is in the complex rack on top, along with a ton of wiring underneath. You'll notice in some shots you can see those wires slipping out from under the rack - I'll need to get a small twist tie to contain them once I have this thing in its final resting place.
Assembly isn't too bad. It involves the rack and a handful of other exterior parts, like the ladder and blue hoses. None of it was complicated, and none of it required using any real force or effort, reducing the chances of anything breaking.
Paint - ****
I don't know how it's possible, but I think the paint might be better than the sculpt. That's not to say I don't have a couple minor issues, but in the big picture they are really, really minor.
The exterior has a beautiful gloss finish. The white shines, and the red pops against the backdrop. There's a few edges along the red, particularly around the fins and trunk, that are a little wavy, but you have to look pretty hard to find them.
Every label, every warning, every message is clearly printed in the tiniest font. Inside, you can see the amazing work on the dashboard, where the speedometer, fuel gauge, and other controls are just about as realistic and well done as you can get.
My only other complaint is another minor one - the silver paint is less chrome, more silver. They didn't chrome the bumpers but painted them. You might not notice until someone mentions it, and then you'll go 'oh, yea'. And you really won't care all that much, because while they are more silver than they should be, they still look fantastic.
Articulation - ***1/2
This is a car, and you get the sort of car articulation you expect.
All five doors open and close, as does the hood. One of my doors isn't quite flush when it shuts, hence the slight deduction in this category, but it's not an issue with the fit, but rather the tightness of the hinge. It tends to push the door out slightly.
The wheels all turn too, and the front ones can be steered by the steering wheel. Turning them to one side or the other adds to the realistic look of the car on display.
The legs on the stretcher fold up and down, and the wheels turn. A couple of the devices on the roof rack can turn as well, pointing in different directions as you prefer.
The hood can open and stay open, although it takes a bit of futzing. Take your time and be patient, and you'll get it just right. It's a nice feature, because they went through the trouble of giving you a pretty complete engine.
Accessories - ***
This isn't the sort of thing that comes with a ton of extras, but there are a couple things worth noting.
The main accessory is the gurney or stretcher. The Ghostbusters updated it to hold their four packs, and there are soft foam covered supports on it for each one. The stretcher slides in and out cleanly on sculpted rails, and you can remove it completely and fold down the four legs. Yes, the rollers on the legs work!
That's really the only 'accessory', however they also provide a microSD card and USB power cord for the MP3 player (more on that in a minute).
Light/Movement Feature - ****
Lots of toys and vehicles light up. Few do it to this extent, and with this much ease. BTW, I'm sticking in the moving parts here too - it's sort of a combo deal.
The marketing info says there are 45 lights in total. I didn't count every last light, but I can tell you there could be more than that, depending on what you consider a 'light effect'.
There are two battery packs. One sits inside the vehicle next to the back door. It's the harder of the two to work with, but not all that difficult in comparison to other toys. You pull up on the box, but not too hard - there's wires running from it down into the car, and the less you stretch them out the better. You then pop out the battery compartment and place four AAA batteries - not supplied - inside. Put it all back in place, and flip the switch on the bottom of the car near the tail, easy to reach and use. This will light up 23 bulbs on the exterior - six each for the red tail and fin lights, two steady head lights, four steady fog lights, two blinking head lights, two flashing emergency lights, and a flashing spot light near the driver's side mirror.
But that's not all - open the rear passenger side door, and you'll see a full panel of tiny lights and a lit screen, some blinking! I don't know how they counted these as part of the 'LED lights', but there's a bunch if you go individually. Inside, there may actually be fewer bulbs driving the tiny LED wires, but either way it's a really, really cool effect.
There's a second battery compartment on the roof rack, super easy to pull off. No wires attached to anything inside the cover this time, making it less of an issue. Pop in another four AAA batteries (also not included), and slap the cover back on. Now press down on a button on the top of the rack, and you get another 15 lights! There's the two front and back blue lights, the blue light inside the horn, the blinking red warning light, the flashing white warning light, and eight flashing blue lights in the front and back light rack. These eight lights even spin!
That's 38 straight up separate bulbs, not counting those illuminating the rack of equipment in back. If there's others I don't know about please let me know - I'd hate to be missing something because it's not working!
Flipping the lights on and off is super easy, making it the sort of thing you'll use every time you show off the car.
I mentioned that the eight blue lights on top rotate. The way this works is with a small motor inside the silver center piece, which turns a gear which then turns gears to either side. I had an issue with the back row, and I've heard several other people have this issue as well. They spun once, then quit. I popped the silver section open, although I don't think you're supposed to do that. Nothing broke though, and when I popped it off I was able to easily move it a bit to get the gears properly seated. Being slightly off center was the only issue.
If your lights work, there's another reason you might still try opening up the light racks. From the factory, the lights spin in unison in the two sets. Some folks will prefer them off by a turn, similar to the way they actually looked in the movie. You can do that by popping off the silver sections and adjusting the gears. I'm not recommending this, and if you do it and break your car, it's all on you. But it's worth mentioning for the hard core.
Sound Feature - ****
If there's one thing that did disappoint me, it was the sound feature. It's not quite what you might be expecting.
Getting the rights to the song might have been expensive, but I don't understand why there wouldn't be movie sound effects included. Instead, the added an actual MP3 player to the roof rack, allowing you to load up any sound you'd like and play it. Sounds good, doesn't it? In theory it does.
The silver box with the black tubing in the photo below is the MP3 player. You slide open the top, and inside is a slot for a microSD card and a USB power connection. There's a card in the slot, and the marketing materials claimed the siren sounded was already loaded on it. It isn't, as far as I can tell, and I couldn't even get the card they provided to be recognized by my computer. I went out and picked up another card, and loaded it with several sounds.
I put the siren on there of course, as well as the theme song. I also added the 'magic' song, one of my favorites. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!
Once you load the MP3 files on your sd card and insert it in the player, you have to plug the player into a power source. The USB cable they provided is quite long, and you can plug it into a wall socket with your own plug, or you can attach it to a charging pack, if you prefer. Either way though, it's a big ugly cord running out of the top of the car just to play the sounds, making them less useful overall.
There are four buttons on the interior side, each clearly labeled. Top left skips to the next file, or if you hold it down it increases the volume. Top right jumps back to the previous file, and decreases the volume when held down. Bottom right pauses and plays, and bottom left sets the repeat function. They all work as advertised, and the speaker (hidden in the horn, the perfect location for the siren noise to emanate from) is loud.
I don't love the way the MP3 solution works, but it does work with a little effort.
Fun Factor - ****
This is a really, really fun vehicle. No, there isn't an 8 year old on the planet that will ever play with this, but setting up a display, rearranging the figures and car, using the lights and sounds, and just plain showing off your extreme Ghostbusters fandom is definitely a ton of fun.
Value - **1/2
This is a tricky one to call. This car was $1400 originally. I had saved up my Sideshow points for years, and was able to knock $700 off the retail price, a decision I am so very glad I made. At $1400, you're getting what you're paying for, with some outstanding quality across the board.
But secondary market prices, especially on ebay right now, are getting nuts. It's going to be hard to justify paying $2000 or $3000 for this, but I
suspect that's going to be the price point very soon.
Things to Watch Out For -
I'd take a lot of care when assembling this guy, not because it was particularly fragile or weak, but because it's damn expensive. In fact, I had no issue with being worried about breaking anything while I was putting it together, and I was impressed by how sturdy it all was. Still, I handled it like I would anything I just spent this kind of money on.
I also wanted to point out that there is a protective plastic sheet on not just the outside of the windshield, but on the inside. I missed that at first, and it wasn't until I was messing around with the interior that I noticed it.
Overall - ****
This is easily one of the very nicest items in my entire collection. Combining it with the figures, you will end up with a display that any Ghostbusters fan would love, and it's a centerpiece to any sixth scale collection as well. It's certainly not something everyone can afford, but if you can manage it, I doubt you'll ever regret it.
Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Sound Feature - ***
Light Feature - ****
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **1/2
Overall - ****
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