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Ghostbusters
Egon Spengler with Slimer

Ghostbusters Egon with Slimer action figure by Mattel

I recently rewatched both Ghostbusters I and II, introducing them to my youngest kids, or my kids to them, as it were. I was surprised how well the humor has held up to the test of time - certainly better than the film's effects or Akroyd's waistline.

They've announced a Ghostbusters III, due for release in 2012, but it's all rumors right now as to plot and script. Mattel has decided to get in early though, producing a series of action figures in both 6" scale and 12" scale based on the old films. Of you check my Mattel SDCC coverage, you'll see quite a few photos of what they've shown so far.

For years, companies have talked about doing a full fledged line of figures, and some have been produced for kids as well as collectors. NECA did some wonderful work on Slimer, Gozer, Zuul and Clortho, but no company was ever able to get Bill Murray's likeness rights, making it impossible to get decent figures of the actual 'Busters themselves.

Mattel has finally cracked that nut, and fans are happy about that. Whether they'll be happy with the final product is another story of course, but we have our first indication in the SDCC exclusive Egon Spengler with Slimer that I'm reviewing tonight.

Mattel has decided that this is a nostalgic collector's series, and as such they are offering it through MattyCollector. You could get the Egon through them starting yesterday, and they'll be putting both the 6" and 12" figures up for sale at the site each month. This exclusive version cost $20, and I assume that's what the future releases (at least in this scale) will run as well.
Ghostbusters Egon with Slimer action figure by Mattel
Ghostbusters Egon with Slimer action figure by Mattel
Ghostbusters Egon with Slimer action figure by Mattel
Ghostbusters Egon with Slimer action figure by Mattel
Ghostbusters Egon with Slimer action figure by Mattel
Ghostbusters Egon with Slimer action figure by Mattel
Ghostbusters Egon with Slimer action figure by Mattel
Ghostbusters Egon with Slimer action figure by Mattel
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The first figure that will be available (after this SDCC exclusive) will be the 12" Stantz on August 17th, followed by the 6" on October 15th. If you're looking for a good release schedule or checklist, check out ItsAllTrue.net.

Packaging - **1/2
I'm torn on this packaging. It has some very good features...and it has some very poor ones.

Interestingly enough, it's very collector friendly. This is a bit of a surprise, since the MOTUC packaging is not. Here, you just cut a couple pieces of tape, and the bubble opens up to allow you to remove the tray. There's a couple annoying rubber bands holding the figures in place, but they are easy enough to remove, and you can put Egon and the Slimer back in the tray, pop them back in the bubble, and snap it back in place one the card, all with almost no damage.

In terms of the visual appeal, I think the use of the Staypuft Marshmallow Man on the back is great, as are the included photos of Vinz and Zuul. I also like the use of the logo on the top, and while the bubble is a bit oversized, there is plenty of space to see the figure within.

But what's up with the Ghostbusters name? Yes, the font and style do come from the movie, but it's so plain and undersized as to almost unnoticeable. It's the one feature of the packaging that still looks mocked up, as though a customizer has produced the package...and not a very good one.

Sculpt - ***
With most licensed action figures, statues and busts, the single most important feature is how well they captured the likeness of the on screen character. While it's still true here, the critical importance of the sculpted outfit helps elevate what would otherwise be a lackluster score.

The head sculpt manages a very good likeness in the hair, which was a key feature of the Harold Ramis Egon character. It also does a pretty good job capturing the basic shape of the head, as well as the chin, mouth and eyes.

But Ramis also has a very, very distinct nose, and this isn't it. It's more Dustin Hoffman than Harold Ramis, and while it's a subtle difference, it's noticeable.

And then there's the Curse of the Bespectacled Toy, or CBT for short,  Egon suffers, as do almost all toys wearing glasses, from CBT. The frames are too large for his face, even in person where your eyes don't have the advantage of the macro camera lens. I give them points for adding in lens, but the slightly oversized frames hurts the appearance.

Ah, but then there's the sculpt from the neck down, where they've really gone all out. The outfit looks terrific, with every wrinkle and fold properly conveyed. The proton packs have an amazing amount of detail, including small wires, hoses and tubes. Around his belt he has his folded gloves and several electronic gizmos and packs, mirroring his film appearance extremely well. For the tubing they've used both black plastic and clear, adding to the realism.

The sculpted body works quite well with the articulation, and Egon stands great on his own in multiple poses. The hands are sculpted to work well with the neutrona wand. The wand is made from a very soft rubber though, and tends to wilt and bend too easily because of it.

The pack has a small post on the right side to attach the wand, and the fit is tight enough to keep it in place. This isn't exactly movie accurate, since the wand slid into more of a holster like attachment, but it's close enough considering the scale and potential logistic issues.

I'm not counting the charged particle accelerator or the wand as accessories, since they are attached to the figure quite permanently.  Your mileage may vary.

These are done in a 6" scale (Egon stands 6 inches tall), and they'll fit in pretty well with other 6" scale figures like DCUC. I do wish that they were in a 7" scale though, simply because it would be nice to pair them off against the likes of Freddy or Jason. That's not a negative on the line - just an observation.

Paint - ***1/2
Unlike the MOTUC line, Mattel's other current 'collector focused' series, there is quite a bit of smaller paint detail work here, and almost all of it is quite good.

Unfortunately, it's the work from the neck up that hurts them again, although less this time around than in the Sculpting category. The hair line is a little weak, and the cast skin tone is a bit too shiny, even for the 'slimed' version.

Speaking of said slime, there's not a whole lot on the one I bought. I'm betting that will vary quite heavily from figure to figure. On mine, you really have to be paying attention to realize it's there, and not just a dirty uniform.

The paint work on the pack, wand, and various accouterments is excellent, especially for this scale...and especially for Mattel. They even went through the trouble of giving the individual wires on the pack different colors, and the various tampo work (like the Ghostbusters symbol on his shoulder) are properly centered and placed.

Articulation -***1/2
The articulation here is very DC Universe Classics in its design, but with very sturdy pegs and joints, much like the Masters of the Universe Classics. It's like they use a different grade of plastic for the joints on their collector lines and their mass market lines.

He has a terrific ball jointed neck, hinge ball shoulders, pin/post ball elbows (so the arm can move inward and outward as well), pin/post wrists, cut waist, thighs and calves, pin ankles and knees, and the same cool hinge hips that we've seen with DCUC.

All the joints are tight and sturdy, and you should have no trouble finding cool poses and he'll have no trouble holding them.

Accessories - ***
There's only one, but it's a good one - Slimer. He's sculpted in a translucent green plastic, and comes with an appropriate display stand to hold him high in the air. The stand is removable though, if you'd like to display him in some other way.

The sculpt is excellent, with nice sharp detail to the eyes, teeth and folds. The little figure is also better articulated than I expected, with ball shoulders, pin elbows and cut wrists.

I love the use of the translucent plastic (we may see Slimer again as well, but I bet it will not be in the translucent plastic next time), but the paint work on the teeth could have been a bit cleaner. While he's probably not one for regular dental checkups, the rub marks on the front of the teeth end up looking more like bad paint than bad oral hygiene.

Fun Factor - ****
Much like MOTUC, these are first and foremost great toys. If you know a kid that loves the old movies - or an adult that still acts like a kid - then these figures would make the perfect gift.

Value - **
You knew this was coming. Hey, if MOTUC still aren't worth $20, then did you really expect these guys were? You're paying a premium since it's a 'collectors' line, and once you add in shipping, you'll feel the bite.

Things To Watch Out For
Not a thing.

Overall - ***
I'm very conflicted when it comes to this figure - I really, really wanted to love it. Fans of the movies have waited a long time for a great line of figures, and I have very high hopes. The figure is almost there too - the sculpt and paint from the neck down are excellent, the articulation is top notch, and even the Slimer turned out better than expected.

But at $20, they need to do a better job nailing the head sculpts. From SDCC, the Venkman looks to be the best of the bunch, although he is a bit caricaturized. Time will tell though, and I'm hoping that they take advantage of the many months available to them before the final figures actually are produced and further tweak all the sculpts.

I bet the release of this figure means a mad rush of people looking to buy the old NECA figures. One of the exclusives that sold out extremely fast at the con was the large Staypuft bank from DST, and I suspect that folks will be pairing it up with these guys.

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

Where to Buy -
Egon is still available at Matty Collector, and after that your best bet is ebay. You should get another shot at him in the unslimed version at Matty Collector at some point, but they haven't released the final details yet, and it could be a very long time from now...or not at all, depending on how well the figures sell. If you're looking to have a complete set of the boys, I'd pick him up now rather than take the risk.

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

Discussion:
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Ghostbusters Egon with Slimer action figure by Mattel


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

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