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Peter Venkman - Ghostbusters
Mattel

Peter Venkman Ghostbusters sixth scale action figure by Mattel


There are certain actors who are portrayed in plastic time and time again, while others avoid, if not outright fight, their immortalization as an action figure. One of those in the latter category is Bill Murray, who stonewalled NECA's attempts earlier this decade to get action figures of the original characters on the market.

Mattel has finally pulled it off though, and is releasing Venkman figures in both their 6" and 12" action figure lines.  I'm also assuming we'll see Peter in their upcoming Real Ghostbusters line, but more details on that will be coming at SDCC this year.

The 12" Venkman was part of the Matty Collector April sale, and while he didn't sell out in 10 minutes (Evil-Lyn had that honor), he did manage to sell out over the first couple days. That's quite a feat for a $60 figure, and bodes well for the series.

Mattel had already released the 12" Ray Stantz and the 12" Egon Spengler, so you can now have a complete set of the Ghostbusters. Sort of. We still need to get Winston of course (he's coming on July 15th, just in time for SDCC), and to be technically accurate we'd need Luis Tully in an outfit as well...but I'll live if we only get as far as Winston.

These run $60 each, a low end price in the collectible sixth scale market these days.
Peter Venkman Ghostbusters sixth scale action figure by Mattel
Peter Venkman Ghostbusters sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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Peter Venkman Ghostbusters sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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Peter Venkman Ghostbusters sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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Peter Venkman Ghostbusters sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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Peter Venkman Ghostbusters sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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Peter Venkman Ghostbusters sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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Peter Venkman Ghostbusters sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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Peter Venkman Ghostbusters sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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Packaging - **
Like his brothers before him, Pete comes in the large plastic 'box', with the removable cardboard locker to hold the accessories.  I love the design, and the graphics and text are great, but I have two specific issues and one general issue that greatly reduced the score.

The general issue is that these aren't collector friendly, despite a) being in the perfect scale for collector friendly packaging and b) being intended for collectors. That's even worse, considering one of my specific issues.

The first, and less serious, specific issue is that Venkman is packed with his hand holding the radio right in front of his face. MIBers are sure to be annoyed by this, even if it is an attempt to recreate the classic scene.

Worse, the plastic tray holding his head is much too small for his round cranium, smooshing it into a weird conehead shape. This will create a real conundrum for collectors - leave him in the box to be permanently deformed, or free him and destroy his MIBbyness?

Sculpting - ***
As I mentioned, the packaging can do a serious number on the portrait, turning it into a total abomination. The first sculpt shot to the left is right out of the package, and you can see how crushed the skull is at the temples. Gah!

But these are hollow heads, so reforming them is very easy. You can use a little hot water or a hair dryer to heat up the head, then squish it around a bit til you get a rounder shape, then cool it quickly in some cold water. If you go with the hair dryer option, hit it for just a few seconds - you could melt Peter pretty damn easily!

Reforming the head slightly makes an amazing difference. With just a little push here and there, he goes from a two star sculpt (or less) to an easy three and looks much more like the SDCC prototype. In fact, I like this head sculpt the best of the three so far, although he's still far more cartoony than I prefer.

The hair sculpt is very soft, without much detail in the strands. He has a perfect Murray expression though, and there's no doubt who it is. However, it's important to reiterate that this is POST heat treatment - out of the package he'd be lucky to get two stars in this category.

The gloved hands are sculpted to hold the accessories, although the fit on the wand is a bit tight. He stands about 12" tall again, fitting in with most other sixth scale lines, and looking good with the rest of the guys. There's no height difference between the three (as their should be), but that's a minor quibble.

Paint - **1/2
While I like his sculpt better than the previous two, I'm not as happy with the paint work. The skin tone is fine, and reflects the light skinned appearance of Bill himself. The eyes are straight, and the eyebrows clean, but what's up with that hairline? There's so much brown on his forehead and scalp that you'd think he'd started using that hair paint for men.

Articulation - ***
This is the same body Mattel used for the other two, and it has a decent amount of articulation. The joints are sturdy and tight, and could stand up to real punishment dished out by real kids.

I'm particularly happy with the neck joint, which has a good range of movement.  I could get all kinds of tilt action out of it, both side to side and front to back. This is a important joint for any figure, but to get that smart ass Murray attitude, it's critical.

I did have both feet fall off at the calves, but I think they weren't popped on all the way at the factory. When I popped them back on, they stayed.

There are several extra hands, and these  swapped with ease. They all came with their own wrist pegs too, which are very thick and sturdy. There's very little chance of snapping one of these!

I was able to get him to stand great on his own in a number of very natural poses, and the more I worked with the body, the better it got.

Accessories - ***1/2
I love the proton pack and wand - they're a work of art, particularly at this price point. Sure, it's technically a re-use, since it's the same as Egon's and Ray's, but it's still sweetness.

It fits on his back nicely, held in place with adjustable cloth straps. The wand can attach to the side if Pete is holding the radio or the trap.

We've seen the trap before too, but again - it's amazing. Push a little button on the side and the trap pops open, ready to snare the next ghost. The detailed sculpt and paint are well above the usual for this price point.

The radio isn't a new addition, but it works great with the classic scene just before Venkman gets slimed. There's also a pouch on his belt to hold the radio when he's not talking to Ray.

There's the gloved hands he comes wearing, and then there's two additional sets. One set is sculpted in a gripping pose, the other in a relaxed, open pose. The hands swap easily and allow for even more poses.

Finally, there's his other addition - the folded gloves for his belt. Obviously, if he's wearing the gloves you won't use these, but with the bare hands they're a necessity. They fit nicely on one side of his thicker white utility belt, and give him something to differentiate him on the shelf.

Outfit - ***
This is the same outfit as before, but I'm not quite as enamored with it as I was in the past.

Don't get me wrong - it's still an exceptional outfit at this price point, and does a reasonably good job of replicating the screen version. I gave the elbow pads too much latitude in the past though - they really do look dorky. I'm not sold on the boot sculpts either, but overall it's a very serviceable uniform. This, along with the accessories, would work for any Ghostbusters custom.

My Peter only has one elbow pad too, which doesn't help his score here either. Hey, I might not be thrilled with the pads but I expect a set nonetheless.  I'm going to call my good buddy Matty and see if he'll help me out on this one.

The outfit isn't quite identical to the others of course - there's the Venkman patch. But otherwise, you've pretty much seen this before. There's one other change though that's much appreciated. While Venkman and Stantz are identical in height, you'll notice that Peter's pants are about a half inch longer, covering up most of his boots.

Light Feature - ***
Pressing a button on the bottom of the pack causes the four small LED lights to glow in a circular fashion. In the photo all four are glowing, but that's because I slowed down the camera's shutter speed enough to show them all lit.

The feature works well, but there is no 'off' switch. Press the button and they light up for about 20 seconds, then go off on their own.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
If these had come out at the same time as the original movie, kids would have loved them. Sturdy, well built and ready for play, these are another example of great action figures from Mattel. Too bad you won't find them on any toy store shelf.

Value - **1/2
There aren't a whole lot of $60 sixth scale action figures on the market right now. Even companies like Amok Time and Triad are in that $70, $80 and $90 range. While the head sculpts still remind me of Hasbro work from 10 years ago, the outfits and accessories are certainly worth the price.

Things to Watch Out For -
The hands are very stiff, and getting the wand to fit can be tricky. The gloved left is a particularly tight fit, so you may want to heat the hands up with a little hot water (or a hair dryer) first.

Overall - ***
From the early photos I saw of this figure, I was all set to be disappointed. But fixing the warped head turned out to be a very simple thing, and brought the head sculpt back in line with the prototype we saw last summer at SDCC.

That doesn't mean you should have to fix your figures - you know I hate that. It should come out of the package right and I shouldn't have to repair what shouldn't be broken to start. But it is worth noting that this is not a complete disaster, and the fix doesn't require any artistic talent or even any real patience on your part.

I'm still not thrilled with the cartoony style, but I do like this head sculpt the best of the three. However, I don't know what went wrong with the paint, and from the photos I've seen, the overspray seems quite consistent.

At least now you can display all three of the founding Ghostbusters together on the shelf for the first time, at least in non-cartoon form. We'll be getting a 6" version of this figure soon to complete that set as well. These figures aren't works of art, but they are serviceable, and are priced about right.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **
Sculpting - ***
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ***
Light Up Feature - ***
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Matty Collector was the place to pick this guy up, but at this point he's sold out. In fact, all the 12" Ghostbusters have sold out so far, a very good sign indeed! Unless you haven't gotten yours yet - ebay is your best bet now.

Related Links -
I've looked at a number of other Ghostbuster figures:

- there's also the 12" version of Ray.

- in the six inch scale, they have also released the SDCC exclusive Egon, Ray, and Winston.

- I've covered the NECA releases in the past, including Gozer, Slimer, Vinz and Zuul, as well as their large Staypuft Marshmallow Man.

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Peter Venkman Ghostbusters sixth scale action figure by Mattel


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

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