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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Venkman, Spengler, Zeddemore, Stantz
Classic Ghostbusters Action Figures

Mattel
Date Published: 2016-05-18
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Ghostbusters Venkman action figure by Mattel

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Introduction

About seven years ago, Mattel released a series of 6" action figures based on Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2. They did quite a few too, probably more than you realize, and when I was recently going through more boxes of toys I came across several I'd completely forgotten about. Isn't that always a fun surprise?  These are the thrills only a toy collector understands...

With the new film coming out in a couple months, Mattel has started the influx of product into your local retail stores.  Of course, the majority of this product focuses on the new film, but Mattel is no dummy.  They had the molds for the older figures still available, why not get some more use out of them?

What came out of that concept was a re-release (a 'remake' if you will) of their regular Egon, Ray, Peter, and Winston, with a few minor changes and a new Build-A-Figure as an accessory.  These are Walmart exclusives, and will run you around $20 each in store.

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

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Packaging - ***1/2
The packages are similar to what we've seen with other 6" scale collector lines, including the new 2016 Ghostbusters.  You can open it easily on one side, slide out the plastic tray, remove the figure and accessories, and re-use the package later with no real damage.  This is what I first referred to as 'collector friendly' back in the days of Flatt World Figures (the first company to market the concept), a term I still use today.

It's not quite perfect - there's one rubber band on each figure that you'll probably want to cut.  I'm not sure why, since the figure is so tightly packed in the interior plastic tray that there's no way it's popping out in transit, but it's there whether they needed it or not.

The basic black looks good, but the best artwork is on the interior cardboard tray, with a city scape scene glowing ectoplasmically. I wish you could see this scene better through the package window, and you can't really appreciate it til you have the figure out.

Ghostbusters Zeddemore action figure by Mattel

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Sculpting - Egon **1/2; Venkman, Ray ***; Winston ***1/2
If you're looking for new portraits, you'll be disappointed. These are identical to the originals, at least from the neck up, and I've included a photo of the new Ray and old Ray to highlight the similarities and differences. More on that when we get to the photo further down in the review.

Since the sculpts are the same, it should be no surprise Winston comes out on top. Considering the scale, I thought they did a terrific job capturing the likeness of Ernie Hudson, and he's immediately recognizable.  Ray and Peter didn't fair quite as well, but I've softened on my feelings about both over the years.  I think it's more of a paint issue than a sculpt issue, similar to what we've seen with the new DST releases.

Egon fairs the worst here, but a lot of that falls on the over sized, goofy glasses. I can't even get them to sit straight on his nose, and they are the most frustrating aspect on all four figures in this category.

Ghostbusters Spengler action figure by Mattel

The body has two big changes from the original, although neither is probably instantly noticeable. First, all four of these figures are wearing gloves, whereas the originals had bare hands with the gloves sculpted on the belts. Thankfully Mattel didn't put the gloved hands on and forget to remove them from the re-used belt. 

The other big change is in the straps on the pack. While the pack and wand look identical, the new pack has actual rubber straps, and can be removed from the figure. The original has straps that are sculpted as part of the torso, and the pack was not removable. 

While I say the pack is removable, it's important to note that it's not easy. If you're looking to go with a pack-less look, I'd heat up the straps a little first with a hairdryer, then slide them off down the arms.  Repeat the process to put it on again. Without any heat, you'll have to stretch out the rubbery straps a bit to get the pack off, and this will damage the polymer bonds. When you put it back on, the straps will never be as tight again.

That's it for major sculpting changes.  If you have the originals, the big seller here is the gloved hands and removable pack.

Ghostbusters Stantz action figure by Mattel

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Paint - Winston **1/2; Ray, Egon, Venkman ***
Unlike the previous category where there's some positives for the new figures, they take a step back here.

That's because while the paint work is once again very clean on Ray, Egon, and Peter, it's also a bit more sparse.  Areas that had detailing, particularly on the belt and belt attachments, are now missing. The pack and wand appear to still have the same work, and the face and costume are very clean and neat. But they clearly reduced the number of operations this time around.

Another paint/color change is in the clear tube running off their left leg. Last time it had a colored tinge to the translucent plastic - this time, not so much. It's also worth noting that they've altered the finish on the boots, going with a much glossier look this time around.

Winston took a hit because he has a weird dusting on his face that I can't rub off. It's almost like they got Ernie Hudson confused with Morgan Freeman...

Ghostbusters Zeddemore action figure by Mattel

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Articulation - ***1/2
Here's one area that remains the same. There's lots of joints, with a good range of movement and a nice fluid posability, especially for a 6" scale figure. You can get decent two handed poses with the wand, and the double hinge hips and rocker ankles allow for deep, stable stances. The elbows and neck are a little restricted, but it's a minor nit at best.

Ghostbusters Venkman action figure by Mattel

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Accessories - **1/2
While the pack can be removed, I'm not including it in this category. I'm keeping it as part of the standard figure, and have considered it's sculpt and paint work in the earlier categories when developing a score.

Each figure does come with a Build-A-Figure piece (2016 is the year of the BAF), and you can assemble a large version of the company logo. By large, I mean much larger than the figures themselves, close to 7" tall on the clear plastic display stand.

This isn't the first time we've seen the logo in 3D - the first time Mattel did Ray, they also did a smaller version of the logo as an accessory. But there's just something off about this one, something in the proportions and style that makes it look weird. Maybe trying to break the ghost up into 3 pieces (the red section is a separate piece on its own) created the issue, maybe they rushed it out. Either way, there's something about this design that leads you to say "that ghost ain't right". If you say it with a Hank Hill accent, it sounds funnier. Or maybe not.

Ghostbusters ghost logo action figure by Mattel

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Light Feature - ***
Okay, it's technically not a light feature, but the Ghost does glow in the dark. It's a little uneven and inconsistent, but hey, it's a GITD feature. It's not likely to be the thing that pushes you over the edge to buy this set, but it's nice having it nonetheless.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Thanks to the articulation and the basic 'fun' that is the source material, these are very good action figures. They are sturdy and well built, certainly better than most of the action figures geared toward kids currently on the shelf. Do your children a favor and introduce them to this team now, through the movies and the figures. They'll thank you for it years from now.

Ghostbusters Venkman, Ghost action figures by Mattel

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Value - **1/2
At $20 each, you're paying about what you did 9 years ago. Of course, those runs were more limited (theoretically), and you could argue the accessories were better. Still, keeping the price point in line with the rest of the market is something, and I'm willing to go with an average score here, even with so much re-use.

Things to Watch Out For -
As I mentioned, if you're going to be removing the pack I'd heat up those straps first. Otherwise, you should be good to go.

As a special note, you can see most of the differences in the photo below. The straps, gloved hands, fewer paint operations on the belt attachments, the new shiny finish on the boots, and altered tube color are all clear.  You can't see it in this photo, but it's also worth noting that the gloves were removed from the belt itself.

Ghostbusters Stantz action figures by Mattel

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Overall - ***
If you skipped the original Ghostbusters figures from Mattel back in the day and you're a big fan of the film, get these. Sure, they have their warts, but overall the quality is good enough to make the purchase worth it.

If you have the originals, the decision gets a bit trickier. The obvious up sell is the inclusion of the BAF, but let's be honest - it's not that great of a BAF.  Had they nailed the sculpt, I might be singing a different tune, but I wouldn't get these only for the ghost logo.

However, that's not the only change worth noting. Getting the gloved hands might seem like a minor deal, but can make a big difference to a fan.  Add in the removable pack with real straps, and it might be enough to push you over the edge. And let's be honest - can you ever have too many Ghostbusters? Don't ask your SO that question.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - Egon **1/2; Venkman, Ray ***; Winston ***1/2
Paint - Winston **1/2; Egon, Ray, Venkman ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - **1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy 
These are showing up in force at your local Walmarts right now. You can always search ebay for a deal as well. Expect to pay $20 each at your local store.

Related Links -
I've covered the new 2016 6" Ghostbusters in two reviews, one with both versions of Rowan and Jillian, and one with Patty, Abby, and Erin.  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:
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Ghostbusters Venkman, Zeddemore, Stantz, Spengler 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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