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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Ghostbusters 2016 action figures
Abby, Erin, and Patty

Mattel
Date Published: 2016-05-04
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 2 out of 4

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Ghostbusters 2016 Abby action figure by Mattel

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Introduction

This summer, the remake of the classic film Ghostbusters will be screening across the country. This film replaces the four male protaganists with current top female comedic actors, including three that spent a lot of time on Saturday Night Live (where two of the original male 'busters also spent plenty of time).

There has been much bile and hate spewed toward this movie, couched heavily in the usual "you're ruining my childhood with your remakes of such culturally important classics" argument. Some have pointed out that maybe the switch to female leads is part of the issue, but critics have railed that certainly not, there is none of that, it's merely that the movie looks bad, sounds bad, is bad.

I'll be the first to admit that re-doing Ghostbusters seemed like a bad idea to me.  But then, so did re-doing Jungle Book, a tremendously beloved classic that didn't seem to require a live action version...and it was outstanding. Betting against a remake is a safe bet, but not a sure bet.

And while there are other excellent examples of remakes surpassing originals, I bring up Jungle Book specifically because a) it's a classic, b) it's much loved, c) the remake looked gimmicky early on, and d) it did not receive the level of hate and disgust that was leveled at the new Ghostbusters. Not even close. That might tell you something different, but it tells me that while some of the hate is most certainly simple nostalgic displeasure, a good portion is also simply because the leads are female.

Do I think the movie will be good? Glad you asked. I still think it could go either way. On the plus side, I really like all four female comic actors they selected, especially Kate McKinnon. As with most actors, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig work best with certain directors, and with both, Paul Feig has had great success.  The screenwriter is a Parks and Rec alumni, another good sign. And for me, when you get a director, actor, and screenwriter combo together that you've liked in the past, odds are good they'll do it again.

However, there's some negatives.  First and foremost: this is the freakin' Ghostbusters. They have big shoes to fill, shoes that even the sequel failed to fill. And while Feig has done some terrific comedies with McCarthy and Wiig, that's always been R rated comedy, not PG-13. And there's more to the rating than the F bombs - it's about content and meaning. They could very well do hilarious R, and end up washing out and weakening their style to get a PG-13.

So I'm in the 'wait til I see it' camp.  Now that we have that long winded intro out of the way, you won't have to hear me babble on about the new film itself again while I review the various new toys coming out from Mattel over the next few weeks.  Tonight I'm checking out three of the four $20 action figures - Abby, Erin, and Patty - and in the next couple weeks I'll be looking at Jillian, the BAF, and potentially some of the monsters.

You can find these figures right now at Toys R Us, and they should be showing up at Target soon as well.  As I said, expect to pay around $20 for these 1/12th scale versions. And yes, these figures include a Build-A-Figure of 'Rowan', who appears to be the ghost the original and new logo are based upon.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Ghostbusters 2016 Erin action figure by Mattel

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Packaging - ***1/2
One of my favorite aspects of these figures is the packaging...and that's never a good sign.  I like the bright green color, the character personalization, the large window that shows off the figure, and even the collector friendly nature.  While there's a couple rubber bands to toss holding the figure in the tray, that's about it - everything can be easily removed and returned to the package for storage or sale.  This package is similar to what we've been seeing with lines like Star Wars Black or Funko's Legacy Collection, and I appreciate the effort they put in.

Ghostbusters 2016 Erin, Patty, Abby action figure by Mattel

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Sculpting - Erin, Abby **; Patty **1/2
Let's start on a positive note.  From the neck down, the work is actually quite good, particularly for this scale. Remember, these are 6" tall (with Patty slightly bigger), and fit in pretty well with the older Mattel series focused on the original film. This means you can line up Ray, Egon, Peter, and Winston with Patty, Erin, Abby, and Jillian, and it will look reasonable correct. It's not perfect, but it's close, and I've included a shot at the end of the review for you to get an idea.

There's some texturing of various parts of the costume and pack, and small details like buttons, folds,  and stripes are neatly defined. These three all have unique bodies as well, although the packs and wands appear identical.  They've altered the torsos and legs to better approximate the look of each actress, and the effect is good overall.

The packs and wands are the best sculpting feature, with lots of small detail work. I do wish there were more paint operations to bring out the detail, but more on that in the next section. The wand is a little soft - it may come out of the package a bit bent - but you can straighten it and it should stay that way. The soft material here actually works a bit to your advantage with some two handed poses, and with getting the wand in and out of the harder plastic hands.

It's also worth noting that the wands fit neatly to the side of the packs thanks to a large, solid post.  No problem with them popping off at the slightest touch, and the tube from the pack to the wand is even sculpted to make hanging on the side easier.

Ghostbusters 2016 Abby action figure by Mattel

But then we get to the heads and faces, and we have ourselves a serious problem. I wasn't a huge fan of the portraits of the Mattel original Ghostbusters, because they were too cartoony and caricaturish.  I much prefer the sculpting on the new DST 7" releases (which are too large for these to fit in with, so don't even ask), but the paint issues there are a killer.

With the Mattel Venkman, Spengler, Zeddemore, and Stantz, you could at least tell who they were supposed to be. It might have been a goofy looking version, almost animated, but it was still close enough to pick them out in a line up. Unfortunately, that's not the case here, at least with these three.

I wouldn't guess that Erin was Kristen Wiig in a million years. The hair is a large blob on her head with a pony tail in back, and the face lacks any real definition. Terrible paint doesn't help, but more on that in the next category.

Then there's Abby, played by Melissa McCarthy. Again, I wouldn't get a positive I.D. with 20 guesses. Everything is off, from the lips to the nose to the very shape of the head.

Finally, there's Patty.  I think she's the closest of these three (I haven't seen Jillian in person yet), but it's still not great.  The hair style was a tricky one, and they actually put some detailing into the strands and curls. She's certainly not great, but compared to the other two, she's a Michelangelo.

Ghostbusters 2016 Patty action figure by Mattel

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Paint - Erin *; Abby *1/2; Patty **
This category mirrors the previous one, and is again driven largely by the awful work from the neck up.

But the work on the body and pack isn't as good in this category as it was in the previous one, either. The striping on the costume appears to have no edge line, with the orange freely traveling where ever its heart desires. There's slop almost every where - the gloves, the boot tops, the stripes, the front of the boots...it's all a mess. These costumes are cast in a darker color than the previous Mattel Ghostbusters, which I assume is designed to better match the new on screen look.

There also needs to be more detailing, particularly on the packs. There's a couple small spots, but I know there has to be more to the packs on screen than that, and this large expanse of dark color hurts the look and doesn't bring out what is really a pretty good sculpt.

Then there's the faces.  Erin is the worst, with huge misshapen eyes and weird eye makeup.  Abby follows up with her own funky eyes partially hidden by sloppy, over sized glasses, and lips heavily coated in paint. Once again, Patty does the best here, with slightly better eyes (they are a little crooked, but not nearly as bad as the other two), and better hair. She does have a weird red coloring in her hair, which I'm assuming is some sort of slime effect...but until we see the film, it's hard to judge its quality or correctness.

Ghostbusters 2016 Erin action figure by Mattel

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Articulation - ***1/2
Here's one area where Mattel did a very nice job, much like their earlier classic line.  The ball jointed necks work well, and the arms have rotating hinge shoulders, elbows and wrists that give you a fair number of one and two handed arm poses with the wand.  The waist is cut, but there's no ab-crunch.  The legs include the double hinge hips, cut thighs, pin knees, and pin ankles that include some rocker movement side to side.

This articulation allows for plenty of good poses, and they are relatively fluid and natural considering the scale.  Unlike the recent DST figures, which also have plenty of joints, these stand great on their own with no need for any additional support.

Ghostbusters 2016 Erin action figure by Mattel

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Accessories - ***
Regular readers know that when a figure comes with a BAF piece, and a BAF piece only, that figure gets **1/s stars from me.  If you want to build the BAF, that's fine, but if you don't, it's a complete waste of plastic and extra cost for you.

All three of these only include the BAF pieces to build Rowan, a ghost based on the character in the logo. This is a pretty unusual BAF, because this figure is ALSO a regular release character (that only costs $10 and lights up), but that version has a different head sculpt and expression.

My only negative with this BAF is that the pieces seem cheap, made from a brittle, hard plastic that reminds me of poor quality toys. I'll review the actual BAF when I finally find a Jillian figure, and may compare him to the regular release as well.

Each figure has the pack and wand, of course. I did bumped the score slightly for them because they can come off. You should take a lot of care though, since it requires stretching out the straps a bit.

Ghostbusters 2016 Abby action figure by Mattel

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Fun Factor - ***
While the sculpts and paint work are sub par, the articulation and packs, along with the line of ghosts already out, make these more fun than you might expect.  They might not look anything like the new 'busters, but they are still solid toys with plenty of play value.

Ghostbusters 2016 Patty action figure by Mattel

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Value - **
These are $20 each, which is actually right in line with other 6" 'collector' lines. Had the quality been just a bit better, had they thrown in an accessory or two, or had the BAF pieces themselves seemed more substantial, I would have gone up another half star here to an average score.  As it stands, they're lucky to get two.

Ghostbusters 2016 Abby action figure by Mattel

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing, really.  While these might be weak in several categories, it's not something you'll be able to do much about, and they are sturdy and solid enough to handle normal handling and play.

Ghostbusters 2016 Patty action figure by Mattel

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Overall - Erin, Abby **; Patty **1/2
As I said earlier, I have no idea whether this movie will be great, terrible, or (most likely) somewhere in between, but I'm reserving judgement.  But I'm hoping these figures aren't an indication of the quality of the movie.

I haven't found Jillian yet, but I'm betting she isn't going to suddenly be world's better than her colleagues.  The paint work is atrocious, and the portraits are almost unrecognizable. They'll fit in with the earlier Mattel Ghostbusters, but are actually worse than those previous attempts, a surprise since you'd think they'd try to improve over time, not get sucked into the sewer.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - Erin *1/2; Abby **; Patty **1/2
Paint - Erin *; Abby *1/2; Patty **
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **
Overall - Erin, Abby **; Patty **1/2

Ghostbusters 2016 Erin action figure by Mattel

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Entertainment Earth has a case of 6 figures for $135.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've been covering the new 'old' Ghostbusters being released by Diamond Select, and have a review of wave 1 and wave 2.

Other Ghostbusters figures include the Mattel 12" Zeddemore, and the 12" Ray and Venkman. In the six inch scale, they also released the SDCC exclusive Egon, Ray, Venkman, and Winston.

And I have reviews of some related merchandise, like the Neutrino Wand prop replica, the Trap, and the PKE Meter.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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Ghostbusters 2016 Erin, Patty, Abby action figure by Mattel

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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