When I found out Mattel had secured the rights to produce figures from the original Ghostbusters (and apparently the animated series as well) I was ecstatic. NECA made those great ghost figures a few years back of Gozer, it's dogs and Stay Puft but they were never able to secure likeness rights to the actors so, sadly, no actual Ghostbusters were ever released. I'll be honest, I'd much rather NECA be the company to produce the figures, but at this point, I'm just glad some are being made.
Mattel's new line will be distributed through their online collector oriented site MattyCollector.com. They'll be released one every two months and retail for $20. Mattycollector.com also distributes their Masters of the Universe retro line and will, starting in January, distribute the remaining Dark Knight Movie Master figures that apparently weren't doing well enough in stores but will at least be accessible to hungry Batfans (like myself).
The first figure in Mattel's Ghostbusters line is Egon Spengler with a packed in Slimer figure.
Upon initial inspection I was very impressed. The over all sculpt is handled well. His likeness is very good for an 8" mass market figure (though distributed from a "collector" site, this is still Mattel and retains mass market aesthetic). It looks a lot like Harold Ramis especially from the side. They have a nice bit of airbrushed grey around the chin, but not enough to be five o'clock shadow which is a nice touch.
The figure also has tons of articulation: ball jointed head, shoulders, a hinge/ball elbow, cut wrists, waist, hinge knees and ankles. The hips also have that great swing forward and back as well as out to the sides so he's easily put into a slightly bent crouch (much like the original poster art). My one major beef with Mattel's Movie Master figures in general though is that they are made with a very pliable plastic and the peg joints (especially ankles) have a tendency to be placed a bit too far to either side and boom, you get a screwy joint (think axle of a car being too far into one wheel and not enough into the other). I wish they'd use a slightly more dense plastic, especially for the price, which I'll get into later.
Slimer is awesome. He has a fairly accurate sculpt, though I believe in the films his eyes were buried in his thick body a bit more, so having them so out there here looks a bit more animated (perhaps a decision made so that it could be reused for that line?). Still its an impressive little figure!
Slimer has ball jointed shoulders, hinged elbows and cut wrist joints. For a pack in figure, that's a decent enough amount of articulation; especially when you figure it is in fact Slimer and he needs no other articulation. The clear green plastic catches light well without being too straight forward see through (to the point where all the joint pieces are visible through the body like most invisible character figures over the years). He sits atop a clear stand that allows him to hover at about Egon's eye level. Its definitely a great addition to the figure.
Meanwhile, back at Egon... The little details around the sculpt (handled by the Four Horsemen, responsible for Mattel's Masters of the Universe line, DC line and, I believe, the Movie Master Dark Knight figs as well) really make the figure what it is. The proton pack has wires all over it that are not just sculpted as part of the pack itself but are actually their own pieces glued on. Its a very nice touch and really captures the whole home made look that worked so well in the film. It has the appropriate colors and details with little silver scratches and wear around it. In addition, the blaster has a hole cut into it that fits perfectly over a hook on the proton pack for holstered poses. The glasses of my Egon were in pretty bad shape when he arrived, but I've since contacted Mattel and they're reasonably good about getting you a new figure pronto, though YOU have to pay the shipping back to them... even though they were the one's who supplied an injured product. I want my Egon, so I'll jump through a hoop or two.
The Ghostbusters logo on the right shoulder and the name patch across the left breast pocket are very clean and well executed. There is some good weathering on the boots and slime stains on the jumpsuit (I might have preferred a clean jumpsuit, but its not overly done or distracting so I don't mind it at all). The belt has several nice bits hanging from it, various equipment pieces and some gloves... but they are all permanently affixed to the belt itself.
And its that belt that brings me into accessories. Now, the Proton Pack is excellent. The blaster movie accurate. I'll never ever turn down a Slimer figure in any form. But at the same time, this figure is sold directly to customers by Mattel for $20 (then with shipping and all that bringing the total to around $28 and change). Them's Ebay prices as far as mass market figures go. Now, for that price, I see no reason there could not have been a PKE Meter thrown in considering Egon is pretty much always the one using it. And it should be able to clip onto the belt with all the other, non detachable equipment. For a $20, mass market quality figure that should be around $13-$15 even with the Slimer, it is severely lacking in accessories. A film as dense as Ghostbusters offered so many things that could have been thrown in for laughs. Tobin's Spirit Guide anyone? This is a collector site, they know who they're selling these to: Fans and collectors of an 80's property. We know the source material and we know it well. We also understand value.
Take into account the Invader Zim figures. Those came with so many accessories I didn't know what to do with them all and each one was very character appropriate and inspired by classic scenes. Those were around $15. Then there are the NECA Gears of War boxed sets where you get 4 characters, a slew of weapons, sometimes extra heads and they end up at around $40 retail. NECA, in general, is very good about accessories. Their Beetlejuice came with snakes and the Handbook for the Recently Deceased. Perfect.
Mattel has a serious problem with this department. I felt a little robbed paying $11.99 for their Dark Knight Movie Masters figures because they came with absolutely nothing. Oh wait, there was the "crime scene evidence" and the little ziploc it came with to put it in. Because the collector targeted audience craves random out of scale Crackerjack Prizes (which is essentially what they were). Their hands are sculpted to hold things... why don't I get anything to put in there? Especially the Clown Thug who was clearly aching for a hand gun with that poised and ready trigger finger.
Movie Masters is aimed at the higher end collector market. It's Mattel trying to be in the realm of a NECA or McFarlane or Mezco. If they want to hit that level, they need to get on the accessories. It shows a respect and shared love of the source material and its fans to go the extra effort to make sure a figure, especially from such a beloved iconic film as Ghostbusters, comes with character specific accessories that fit the figure. When I go into Toys R Us and pick up the latest Gears of War figure, I'm blown away by sculpt, paint, accuracy and accessories... and they cost me $13.99.
I'm not trying to tear Mattel apart, though I'm sure it sounds like it, what I want is for Mattel to hear this from fans so they can correct it. Egon and Slimer are great figures on their own. But in the end, you'll have to decide if that $20 (plus shipping and tax) price is worth it for a mass market quality figure with little to no accessories. Personally I think Mattel knows what they're doing and are trying to make as much as they can. They've figured out the internet direct to fan system several big collector oriented companies are doing and they're trying to get a piece. They're a business, that's their job. Honstly, I feel $20 is pretty steep for these. At SDCC this year, NECA sold an Isaac Clarke figure from the game Dead Space that featured not only heavy plastic, plenty of articulation and amazing sculpting/paint, but an LED light in his head AND back to recreate the game's aesthetic and THAT was a mere $20. I don't think each Ghostbuster will be coming with a Slimer sized ghost either, so I'm not sure what they'll use to justify the $20 price tag on these for future figures. I need PKE meters, those goggles, maybe some ectoplasm, a monitor of the Rick Moranis brain scan revealing him to be a ghost... ANYTHING extra to show Mattel really cares about the property as much as it's fans.
I'm happy I purchased the Egon, but my loyalty to the line isn't concrete yet. Mattel has a lot to learn about the collector market before they'll bring in the kind of loyalty that makes companies in that market thrive.