Who ya gonna call?  I'd assume that after all these years and two movies, that would be fairly obvious!  NECA knew who they should call, and grabbed the Ghostbuster license.

The first series is just now hitting stores.  It includes Gozer, Zuul, Vinz Clortho and everybody's favorite green ghost, Slimer.  Why no Ghostbusters?  Because they have to work out the deal for the likenesses, and they didn't want to do generic versions.  The hope is that we'll see at least some members of the original team in the second series.  They retail for about ten bucks.

They've also released a monster of a, well, monster!  The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is also hitting stores right now.  He's about 16 inches tall, and is a very impressive figure.  I have a review of him up today over at da Poop.

BTW, to make life easier, I'll be referring to Vinz and Zuul for the rest of the review as 'the dogs'.  That's because they are as close to identical as you can get, and still have something *slightly* different. And because I'm lazy.

Packaging - ****
I really like the clamshells, but if you don't, obviously you won't be as happy with this packaging.

The clamshells are extremely sturdy, show off the figures well, and aren't too hard to store.  There also less like to have problems in storage like card backs.

They aren't THAT hard to get open either, as long as you have a handy knife.  The graphics on the insert are colorful and specific to each figure, along with specific information about the character on the back.  What more could you ask for?

Sculpting - Gozer ***; the Dogs ***1/2; Slimer ****
Of the four figures, Slimer is the real winner.  If you're looking to add this character to your 'monster' display, along with your Movie Maniacs and your Hellraiser, then you'll be very happy.

He has a tremendous amount of excruciating detail, and looks so cool it's scary.  The sculpted 'slime' stand was a touch of brilliance, and both works and looks great.  It supports the weight Slimey nicely, while looking spiff.

I really love the look of the mouth and face, and all the little skin details.  The wrinkles and bumps give the sculpt a nice realism, even when dealing with such an unrealistic character.  The body is also a slightly softer plastic, a little like rubber (very hard rubber), and that makes him even feel like a ball of ectoplasm.

I'm also very happy with both Zuul and Vinz, at least in terms of the specifics of their sculpts.  Again, there's a ton of detail on the skin, mouth and teeth, and these look better than the screen versions ever did.  Yep, that's right - those old eighties effects can't possible match the quality of these figures.

They get knocked off slightly on the sculpt score though due to the almost exact sculpt.  Considering that to get two of them, you'll spend at least twenty bucks, and that they have no accessories (there is an action feature though), I think they could have altered the sculpts a tad more radically.

The only difference that I can find is in the horns.  Zuul, pictured immediately to the left and with the closed mouth, has shorter, stubbier horns.  Poor guy.  And the mouth isn't a difference in the sculpt- it's articulated.  I closed Zuul's for the photos just so I would be sure to keep them straight.

Gozer is the least impressive, but that's partly due to the character design.  It's just not as exciting, or as detailed as the other characters.  Still, she's not bad, and the head sculpt is the real key.  Both the regular head and the screaming version look very close to the original source material.  The bubbles on her body are fairly good, although she doesn't have the same level of texture detail as the other figures.

Paint - Gozer **1/2; the Dogs ***; Slimer ***1/2
NECA is doing a nice job with their paint applications as well, but there is some variance here.

Gozer doesn't do much for me, and the variety of colors (or lack thereof) hurt the figure a bit.  Still, that's not NECA's fault but the fault of the character design.

There are specific issues with her application though, and the body color has some consistency and coverage issues, while the face showed a little clumping in some spots of the facial tone.  The lines were fairly clean, and the way the differentiated the bubbles and her body both with color and finish was a nice touch.

The Dogs (who let them out, by the way?),  are painted in exactly the same way.  There's some impressive work inside their ferocious jaws, and again they used a variety of finishes, from dull to gloss, to differentiate between the skin, tongue, teeth and other areas.

Slimer kicks butt all over the shelf once again with his paint ops.  Not only is there plenty of detail work, especially around his teeth (this guy seriously needs some White Strips), but also in the variation and coloration of the slimey body.  I've complained recently about the use of gloss paint on several different figures, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have it's place.  That place is here!  They've managed to give him an appearance that actually looks slimey, instead of just plasticy.

Articulation - Gozer **; the Dogs, Slimer **1/2
None of the figures have exceptional articulation, but some are more poseable than others.

Gozer has a ball jointed neck, and her head pops on and off fairly well.  She also has cut shoulders, wrists and thighs.  The wrists have clear pegs that allow you to remove the hands and swap in the extra set, and these hard pegs work much, much better than the usual soft rubber ones.

Still, there's not much you're going to do with her.  She pretty much stands with her hands at her sides, or out in front of her, blasting her enemies.

Zuul and Vinz have neck, jaw, and all four legs.  You can pose them in a few different ways, including raised up and completely splayed out on their belly.  The jaw is particularly useful, to give you another way to differentiate the two on the shelf.

Finally, there's Slimer.  He's a ball of ectoplasm slime - just how articulated can he be?  He does have ball jointed shoulders and cut wrists though, and you can turn his head as well.

Accessories - the Dogs Bupkis; Gozer ***; Slimer ****
Only the deadly doggie duo miss out in this category, and both Gozer and Slimer have a nice assortment of extras.

Gozer comes with her extra head, with a great, evil expression.  It fits with her extra hands, which include lightening coming out of each finger.  Combine those hands with that head, and it's another great look.

She also has a stand, but it's not necessary.  While she doesn't have a lot of leg articulation, and her feet are pretty close together, I had no trouble getting her to stand without the base.  However, once you add the lightening bolts you'll be glad you have the stand.

Slimer comes with a TON of stuff from his wild time inside the hotel banquet room.  There's a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, an apple, a big chunk of watermelon, a pie, a deli sandwich plate, and a full chicken.  All of the accessories have terrific sculpts and paint jobs, but the one that leaps out at you is the chicken.  Both drumsticks are removable, and the pins that hold them on are shaped like bones!

Action Feature - the Dogs, Slimer ***; Gozer Bupkis
Where Slimer and Gozer have accessories, the pooches have an action feature.  Press down on their tail, and their eyes light up with an eerie glow.

The feature works well, and it looks like the batteries are pretty easy to replace.  More importantly, neither the battery cover (on the stomach) or the switch (the tail) take away from the appearance of the figure.

Slimer has an action feature too - sort of.  He glows in the dark, but you really have to juice him up with lots of direct light to get it to work well.  Not enough light, and he tends to be too spotty.

Fun Factor - Gozer **; the Dogs, Slimer ***
These figures are really designed for fans of the movies and for toy collectors, but if you know a kid that's into the films, he (or she) will really like these, especially Slimer.

Value - Gozer, the Dogs **1/2; Slimer ***
Ah, the bane of all small action figure producers right now.  There are so few retailers to carry these collectible lines, that the production runs are getting smaller.  Smaller runs + same quality = higher prices.

Still, these are about $10 - $12 each at specialty stores like Media Play, which isn't bad considering the quality.  Don't get me wrong - I'm not leaping for joy over the price, but it's not as bad of a value as the many figures that are (or will be) closer to $15 this year.  If you can find them closer to $10 or less, add a half star.  Closer to $15, and drop them further.

Overall - Gozer **1/2; the Dogs ***; Slimer ***1/2
If you can only pick up one of this line, pick up the Slimer.  He looks fantastic, and fits in great with other 7" or so scale figures.  He's *this* close to a four star figure.

Gozer wasn't as exciting, but she's not bad if you're a big fan of the original movie.  She'll also look better in the group if we eventually get the human versions.

Zuul and Vinz look great, but are pretty repetitive.  Of course, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to have one and not both, but it would have been nice if there was at least one more major difference.

But Slimer is the winner of the group, and is a great addition to your movie monster collection!

Where to Buy - 
I picked these up at a local Media Play, and Suncoast, Sam Goody and Musicland should have them as well.  On-line options include:

- Killer Toys has the set for $40, or each figure for $11.

- CornerStoreComics has the set for $40, and the figures for $11 each as well.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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