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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Rowan, Rowan BAF, Jillian Holtzmann
Ghostbusters action figures

Mattel
Date Published: 2016-05-13
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 2.5 out of 4

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Ghostbusters Rowan, Rowan BAF, Jillian action figures by Mattel

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Introduction

The battle lines are drawn, the name calling has begun, and blood may be spilled. No, I'm not talking about the 2016 Presidential campaign...I'm talking about the Ghostbusters remake.

Contrary to popular belief, whether or not the movie will suck is not a foregone conclusion. I'll be going in with an open mind, thanks to a director and cast that know how to make a funny movie.

Last week I reviewed the first three of the Ghostbuster figures from Mattel - Patty, Abbey, and Erin.  This week I managed to find Jillian, and that allowed me to complete the Build-A-Figure of Rowan.  Since there's also a regular release Rowan, I thought it would be useful to pick him up and compare the two as part of this review.

Jillian will run you around $20, while Rowan is much cheaper at $10.  The BAF will cost you $80 of course, since you have to buy all 4 figures to build him. Or he costs you nothing at all, since you were buying the figures anyway.  It's all in your perspective...

Some of the things discussed in this review might be considered spoilers. I'm not talking about anything that's clear to anyone looking at the figures and their packaging on the shelf, but you've been warned.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Ghostbusters Jillian Holtzmann action figures by Mattel

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Packaging - Rowan **1/2; Jillian ***1/2
Rowan (he's a Destroyer, and the packaging let's us know he's not just any Destroyer but THE Destroyer) comes on a pretty standard card back and bubble package, with basic graphics and text. You can try the light up feature, and you might want to do that, since you don't want one with the batteries already dead.

Jillian comes in the same collector friendly packaging that we saw with the previous three. It also indicates who has what BAF part and how to assemble, and is fairly attractive and sturdy. By the way, I highly recommend checking out that earlier review, where you will see a photo of this packaging, as well as a photo of these new Ghostbusters alongside the old Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters Rowan ghost action figures by Mattel

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Sculpting - Rowan **1/2; Rowan BAF, Jillian ***
Jillian is my favorite of the four, not because she looks all that much like Kate McKinnon, but because the basic work is the most attractive. They did a great job with the wild hair, and since she is supposed to be wearing goggle-like glasses, the larger size of the lens and frames is more appropriate.

She also has the same solid work from the neck down, with enough detailing in the clothing to look good, yet stay in sync with the earlier Mattel Ghostbusters style, design, and scale.  The pack has lots of texture and detail, although a few more paint operations would have gone a long way to highlighting the work.  Jillian stands right about 6" tall, and will fit in fine with the rest of the series.

Ghostbusters Jillian Holtzmann action figures by Mattel

The Rowan BAF is also solid work, although there's not a lot of detail. As a ghost, he doesn't get much texture or depth, which seems fitting for his ethereal nature. The teeth look good, and the happy expression is interesting. The BAF pieces are designed to fit in such a way that the final figure takes on a very specific pose and stance, and the cut joints only allow some basic alteration of that stance.  It's a happy pose too - I'm wondering if this is a specific scene, which seems likely.

The Rowan figure doesn't fair as well.  The torso is made from a hard, brittle feeling plastic, which allows the light to shine through but looks and feels cheap. It also doesn't really match the arms and legs, giving the figure an inconsistent appearance. On the plus side, paired with the tiny mini figures that are also available, he looks far more menacing and destructive.

Let's talk about Rowan a minute, and I suppose this conjecture could be considered spoilery, although it's all just conjecture.  The outer package says Rowan the Destroyer. We know that Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was chosen by the Ghostbusters (inadvertently) as their 'destructor'. I think it's fairly safe to assume the new Ghosbusters, in a similar situation, chose their own beloved Rowan, who then becomes a 100 foot tall bringer of death. Like I said, it's conjecture still, but with the label on the toy, it seems pretty likely.

That means scale is a bit of an issue here, at least in terms of the other figures in the regular series.  Remember, the ladies are a six inch scale, and clearly these two Rowan's (both around 6 1/4" tall) are not. But you could argue that since the regular release Rowan is part of the 'monsters' series for the movie, on a very different card back and at a very different price point, they are intended to be part of the mini figure series, not the 6" series. Then again, the BAF is packed with the 6" figures, so it's tough to say it's not part of that series...

Easy answer, just buy a few of the mini figures and put them with either of these Rowan figures. Take a few deep breaths and don't fret about what package they came on, and just enjoy how they look with the smaller versions.

Ghostbusters Rowan ghost action figures by Mattel

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Paint - Rowan, Jillian **; Rowan BAF **1/2
As I mentioned earlier, the hard plastic torso on Rowan doesn't match up well with the arms and legs.  The head is also made from this hard plastic, and I'm assuming that's so the light effect can been seen there as well.  That's all fine and good, except it creates this mish-mash appearance to the paint and finish.  The glossiness of the face is particularly off putting, and the painted version on the BAF looks much better. Poor Rowan also suffers from a number of black spots on his face, which appear to be random splatters from painting the eyes and mouth.

The Rowan BAF fairs much better, although he's still not a model of exceptional paint work.  The eyes, teeth, and inner mouth are fairly clean, and the white is a bit more consistent from piece to piece.  The tie is still pretty sloppy, and there's still a cheap look and feel overall, but it's a step up from the regular release.

Jillian actually has the best overall paint of the 'busters, except for one really weird screw up.  The lines on her suit are less wavy and irregular, her eyes are largely hidden but appear straighter than the others, and even the lipstick on the mouth looks reasonably good.  She, like the others, needs a few more details on the pack, but the general quality is there with this particular figure.

But then they went and screwed the pooch on the plastic color on her lower legs. The color of the leg alters noticeably at the knee, and this wasn't an issue for the other three figures. I don't know what happened at the factory, and maybe I just got a bad example, but it's definitely an issue in hand, especially when you put the group together.

Ghostbusters Rowan build-a-figure ghost action figures by Mattel

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Articulation - Rowan BAF **; Rowan **1/2; Jillian ***
Jillian, like her three colleagues, has similar articulation to the older Ghostbusters released by Mattel. The ball jointed neck works pretty well, but I deducted a bit because it was a little too wobbly, and there was more of a gap between the neck and the torso.

The rest of her joints were fine, although I'd still like more rocker movement out of the ankles, and the rotating hinge elbows are a little restricted by the sleeve sculpt. None of the joints were stuck, weak, or difficult to work with.

The Rowan BAF is just a small collection of cut joints: cut neck, cut shoulders, cut wrists, cut ankles. While it might look like those are cut thighs, the connector doesn't allow for any movement at that joint. Because of the very specific design to the stance and pose, the joints are somewhat less useful than you'd expect.

Rowan falls in between, thanks to better arms. The cut neck is a bit tight but does turn, and he has the cut ankles as well. His thighs really are cut joints, although you won't get a lot of different stances out of him thanks to the overall sculpt. His arms have rotating hinge shoulders and elbows, plus cut wrists.  This gives you a bit more posability than with the BAF.

Ghostbusters Jillian Holtzmann action figures by Mattel

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Accessories - Rowan, Rowan BAF Bupkis; Jillian ***
As is often the case, the BAF doesn't have any accessories, being an accessory himself. It's always a big plus when a BAF comes with something, and never a negative (to me) when he doesn't.

The regular release Rowan is a different story. He also sports nothing extra, and that's a negative. It's outweighed somewhat by the inclusion of the light feature and the lower price point, however.

Jillian gets the standard **1/2 stars for the BAF piece (Rowan's torso), plus the extra half star for her removable pack.

Ghostbusters Rowan build-a-figure ghost action figures by Mattel

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Light Feature - Rowan **1/2; Jillian, Rowan BAF Bupkis
The Rowan BAF and Jillian do not include a light feature - this is not a negative for them.

The light feature on the regular release Rowan is fairly weak. You press and hold the bow tie,and his torso (and to some extent, his head) light up with a angry red glow.  It might seem better if it stayed on when you pressed the button, but since there isn't any way to change the batteries, you really don't want to use up the feature too fast. This is also why I recommended making sure it works on the peg, since some little kid probably pressed the button a million times already.

Ghostbusters Rowan ghost action figures by Mattel

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Fun Factor - ***
As I said in the earlier review, while these figures have some issues, they are still pretty good toys. Kids will like the light up feature on Rowan, and the articulation and quality of the pack on Jillian make her a solid play time addition.  These figures also have the group effect going for them. Put the whole set together and you get a better Fun Factor result than with any one by themselves.

Ghostbusters Jillian Holtzmann action figures by Mattel

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Value - **
Rowan comes in at $10, which is pretty cheap for a figure this size...but he feels pretty cheap too. Jillian comes in at $20, which is also the going rate right now for 6" scale 'collector' style figures, but she doesn't sport the level of quality that something like a Star Wars Black release does.

Ghostbusters Rowan ghost action figures by Mattel

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Things to Watch Out For -
Job one is trying to find a Jillian that has legs that match in color top to bottom.  This is the only Jillian I've seen so far, so I don't have a frame of reference to know if that's possible or not.

Ghostbusters Jillian Holtzmann action figures by Mattel

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Overall - Rowan, Rowan BAF **1/2; Jillian ***
Assessing the Overall on these three was a little more tricky.  The regular release Rowan was no problem, and with the cheaper plastic and weak paint job there was nothing to elevate him over the **1/2 star score. That was where he sat predominately in each of the individual categories, so it was an easy call.

The Rowan BAF was slightly better than the regular release however, particularly in the Sculpt category. Still, he lost points in articulation, and his paint job is nothing to write home about, dropping him to a weaker score Overall.

Jillian was a tougher call. She's my favorite of the four figures released so far, no doubt about that. Her sculpt isn't more accurate than Patty's, but I do like how they captured the hair. There's a reasonable amount of detail too, and the Articulation helps.  It also helps to know my personal bias is toward Kate McKinnon right now, although I find all four actresses funny.

But then they screwed up the legs, and giving her that extra half star got a whole lot tougher. In the end I compared the team members side by side in hand, and decided that while she was better than Erin and Abbey, she wasn't all that much better than Patty.  In the end, while she's my favorite, she still isn't great - or even B work - at this price point.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - Rowan **1/2; Jillian ***1/2
Sculpting - Rowan **1/2; Rowan BAF, Jillian ***
Paint - Rowan, Jillian **; Rowan BAF **1/2
Articulation - Rowan BAF **; Rowan **1/2; Jillian ***1/2
Accessories - Rowan, Rowan BAF Bupkis; Jillian ***
Light Feature - Rowan **1/2; Jillian, Rowan BAF Bupkis
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **
Overall - **1/2

Ghostbusters Rowan, Rowan BAF, Jillian action figures by Mattel

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Where to Buy 
These are showing up at Toys R Us first, but Target should be stocking them soon as well. 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 -
Last week I checked out Abbey, Erin, and Patty, the other three new Ghostbusters. I've also 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:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Ghostbusters Erin, Patty, Abbey, Jillian action figures 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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