The Ghost(busting) Of X-Mas Past: A Ghostbusters 4-Pack Review

Finally, 21 years after Ghostbusters II was released in theaters, fans can pick up film-accurate figures off the toy store shelves and stage their own battles against Vigo and the forces of the paranormal. Mattel has moved their Matty Collector-only figure line to the retail world, in this Toys R’ Us-exclusive 4 pack; and after scouring the shelves for a couple of weeks, we finally managed to score one for ourselves. Our excitement levels were ridiculously high for this thing! Did it pay off in the end?! Here’s our review of Mattel’s Ghostbusters II Holiday 4-Pack, so find out for yourselves!

Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz, Peter Venkman, and Winston Zeddemore make up the Ghostbusters. After being kicked the hell out of their research positions at Columbia University; Egon, Ray, and Peter formed the Ghostbusters in order to further study the paranormal and, in Peter’s case, make money and score chicks. Winston Zeddemore was hired on later to help with the crushing amount of jobs that began coming up that heralded the coming of Gozer. After saving the city from the evil Gozer, the guys were living it up; but like all good things, that came to an end. Eventually, the lack of new ghosts to apprehend caused the team to look for various odd jobs (talk show host, kid’s birthday party appearances, etc.) and the end of the Ghostbusters. Thanks to a possessed painting, the Ghostbusters were once again needed to rescue NYC from unspeakable horror… and that’s where this 4 pack originates. There is a quick scene in Ghostbusters II where the team is running on the street, particle throwers in hand, while wearing Santa hats. Blink and you’ll miss it. Simple as that.

Fans of the Ghostbusters line of figures will be more than familiar with these sculpts. Nothing new on that front; but, that’s not surprising when it comes to packaged sets like this. The headsculpts are well-done, although a little “soft”. They’re almost a mix of realistic and caricature; but, there’s no problem telling who the guys are at first glance. Ray, Winston, Peter, and Egon all use the same body sculpt. The only difference body-wise is Peter’s lower legs, since he doesn’t tuck the legs of his flightsuit into his boots like the other guys. The bodies are sculpted well, with all the wrinkles, and texturing on the various belts and straps that you’d want. Don’t worry about the Four Horsemen’s attention to detail; as the mysterious “pants tube” is present and accounted for. What is that thing anyway?! Are the Proton Packs liquid cooled by urine? It’s a mystery. Anyway, the nicest and most detailed pieces on the figures are the Proton Packs. You’d think these would be considered accessories, but they’re permanently attached to the backs of the guys; therefore, the packs are part of the sculpt. How’s that for scientific reasoning? The packs are made in a way that most of the wires are separated from the sculpt except on the ends. This adds to the realism and accuracy of the sculpt; not to mention, looking quite cool. The proton gun/particle thrower/particle wand/whatever-the-hell-you-wanna-call-it is attached to the pack via a long, flexible plastic cable. We’ve read reports of this cord snapping off on some of the single-carded figures; but that’s not the case here as all the cords seem to be flexible enough that breaking won’t be an issue. Egon, Ray, and Winston (on the set that we found) also appear to have been beaten by baseball bats around their ankles. That’s the only way we can explain their odd stance. It’s not extremely noticeable; but once you see it, you can’t un-see it. Know what we mean?

Next, let’s talk about the paint on the Ghostbusters. There are lots of detail added and various colors, despite the fact that these are a mass market release. The heads, jumpsuits, hands, proton packs, and boots are all molded in their designated colors. This helps to keep the figure consistent, and helps to cut down on the necessary paint applications. The heads all feature clean paint on the hair, eyebrows, and eyes. Peter seems to have some fuzzing around his hairline, but the big paint faux pa comes from Winston. Mr. Zeddemore sported a sweet mustache in the first film; but in the second, he shaved off the flavor-saver. Since these figures use the same mold as their Ghostbusters I brethren, Winston looks to have some hideous acne and/or scarring all across his top lip. Once again, this is one of those flaws that constantly draws your attention once you’ve noticed it. As for the rest of the bodies, silver has been added to the zipper-pulls on the suit and the rivets on the belt. The name patches have been applied cleanly, and the logo on the shoulder has been tampographed without any blurring or overlapping of the lines. The Proton Packs have been lightly dry-brushed to give them the appearance of scratched metal, while the various wires and switches have been painted as well. All in all, the paint is well done on all four figures.

Thanks to re-use of the sculpts, the Ghostbusters also feature the same articulation. They feature: a ball-joint neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, swivel boot-tops, hinged & rocker ankles. That’s quite a bit of movement for a bunch of middle-aged, chain-smoking, scientists! The guys’ heads and necks are sculpted as one piece; so, the ball-joint is actually located in the chest, which is a big departure from Mattel’s other figure lines. Their wrists feature added articulation so they can easily hold their proton guns without looking ridiculous. We LOVE this wrist design and wish it would carry over into other Mattel offerings.

The 4-pack has a few accessories to help fill out the set and makes it worth your hard-earned (or ill-gotten) 60 bucks. First up is the ever-useful Ghost Trap. In the movies, the Ghostbusters use this little puppy to contain the ghosts once their stuck in the proton streams. It’s very film accurate in the design. There are two doors on the top of the trap that are hinged in order to be opened and closed. A plastic line runs from the main part of the trap to a foot pedal and is made from thin plastic. It’s very flexible, and takes a little tugging on in order to get the pedal and trap to both set flush on the ground. It is drybrushed in the same way as the proton packs, and even has the familiar yellow and black diagonal caution paint on the doors.

The next bit of add-ons are the Santa hats. Yep, Santa hats. Red felt and fuzzy white cotton make up the headwear for the discerning man-about-town. There were 4 in the box that we got; but other packages feature the guys wearing them. Granted, they look kinda silly when worn, as Egon can fully attest to; but, they’re a nice holiday shout-out, and if those hats helped get this set on the shelves then we can’t fault them at all. We’ve saved the best accessory for last: Slimer! That’s right, the bottomless pit of hunger comes packaged with the Ghostbusters and makes this box set into a thing of pure fan-catering! The little green sandwich-thief has articulated arms and comes with a flight stand so he can look like he’s floating around. Mattel had Slimer molded translucent plastic and a wash was used to show off the expert sculpting skills of the Four Horsemen. They’ve managed to capture a version of Slimer that acts like a fine mix of the film and cartoon versions; and that, our friends, is magic!

Okay folks, looks like this review has ran its course. Covering 4 figures (5 if you count Slimer), tends to take a little time. This 4-pack is quickly becoming readily-available at all Toys R’ Us stores and can even be ordered on www.toysrus.com, for all you people too worried about evil-spirit attacks to hit the brick & mortar stores. The sheer and utter joy we found ourselves in upon purchasing this set has waned somewhat, but that’s no fault of Mattel’s. We’re chalking it up to realizing action figures of four ordinary joes are a tad less dynamic than our standard fare of muscle-bound barbarians, or spandex-clad superheroes. However, if you’re a fan of the Ghostbusters (and haven’t already bought the foursome in their single-carded versions) you’re gonna want to snatch this set up without a second thought. Oh, and be thankful readers, cause we managed to go the whole review without using the tired “Who you gonna call?” phrase. Wait, we just used it… errrr… dammit! Sorry guys.

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