Rustin's Spoils of the Week #194

Halloween 2017, baby! Last week we talked about Playmobil's fantastic Ghostbusters line so let's celebrate the holiday by continuing the theme! At long last I have dived in and opened all of the Ghostbusters Select figures I've been buying up, because your boy Rustin NEEDS that epically massive Rooftop diorama! And, my Gozer, is it huge! But, I gotta be honest, in order to get it you have to buy a lot of only-okay figures. None are great, or even much of an improvement on the Mattel line (which also made more ghosts and costume variations). The sculpts are, like most DST action figures, soft in detail and aesthetically somewhere "better than" Mattel but "not as good as" NECA. All in all, having spent the day opening them all at once, I have to wonder how much attention really went in to planning the figures themselves. Obviously, a lot went in to the Rooftop, but looking at the articulation (which seems present for the sake of it rather than the use of it) and some of the alternate hands and heads... choices here just don't make any logical sense. As a result, it's difficult to really recommend any individual figure (especially since TRU got them all sans-rooftop parts and at half the price) or even, really, the whole line. But man... this Rooftop is genuinely impressive and undoubtedly a once-in-the-industry coup that DST managed to pull off - and more power to them! Though there are a lot of nits to pick here, DST is the ONLY company in the industry even attempting playsets for this scale and/or anything remotely on the scope of this Rooftop Build-A-Diorama! And for that, we definitely applaud them.

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 1: Ray Stantz
We begin with Ray, just as Ghostbusters began with Akroyd. The sculpt is nice, definitely on the soft side which isn't too surprising since these were done by Gentle Giant who are infamous for relatively un-textured sculpts. This likeness is pretty good for Akroyd; not perfect nor overwhelmingly better than Mattel's, but definitely not worse. Paint is okay; a little too think but fairly clean. Articulation is pretty good in terms of count, and most move fairly well. The elbows are the big problem here, as their movement is relatively limited, which is a big hassle and bummer since the proton wands are meant to be held with two hands. This is especially frustrating since the elbow pads could have hidden a double-hinge joint really well. One big plus is that the proton packs are separately tooled pieces and aren't glued to the bodies. While not "officially" removable, a simply snip of a strap makes them so - much appreciated! They're really nice sculpts and pretty well painted. There are a couple labels that seem to keep coming off, unfortunately. The proton wand is meant to clip on to an inverted V tab, much like the props, but at this scale it really doesn't work at all, which is very annoying. Ray comes with a walkie talkie, a proton stream which can't attach to his wand, and four alternate hands and four alternate gloves - plus Ray's goggles. That is a TON of stuff! The hands swap fairly easily and the gloves are the same sculpts, just painted black and with a rubber "band" that slips over the jumpsuit cuff. But there are SO many hands, and some of them just seem useless - like an almost-fist with a tiny clearance in the middle that doesn't match to any accessories (except maybe the ghost trap?). It's a bevy of accessories and quite impressive, to be sure - but I'd give up most of them for double-hinged elbows. Finally, though, he comes with the left, back side of the Rooftop.

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 1: Winston Zedemore
I really can't tell if the Ghostbusters all share the same bodies, but it seems like they do - hence Winston is much the same as Ray. His likeness is the weakest of the entire line. It might be better than it seems but the paint on his head is so thick the whole thing just looks gummy. He comes with all the same accessories as Ray, but instead of the goggles he gets (THE ONLY) ghost trap (in the entire line). It's a nice sculpt and it has peghole on the underside to connect to the belts (Winston's plug is on his right over his hip while the plug is on the back left for the other guys). The trap's doors don't open (unlike both Mattel's and Playmobil's) and they used a little rubber hose to connect to the foot paddle, but since it's packaged wrapped around the trap it has a bunch of kinks in it and can't lay flat. Cool. As mentioned up above, Toys R Us is carrying the figures only without the Rooftop pieces at insanely low prices - this first series was only $12.99 and included the figure and ALL the accessories. I mean... I can't begin to fathom the business/economics of that! But, given the removable proton packs and all the alternate hands, you better believe I got myself some extras! Plus, that at least got me a couple spare ghost traps. Going the Select route, though, gets you the Rooftop altar and its base (which is contoured for the rooftop so doesn't sit flat on the floor and its steps are WAY too small for these figures to stand on).

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 1: Louis Tully
Mattel really stole a lot of the thunder with their Ghostbusters line, which was surprisingly comprehensive. Thus, it's impossible not see this Louis in light of theirs and thus see this one as kind of unremarkable. It's him as Vinz Clortho, an obvious choice, but he gets zero accessories. Not even the spaghetti strainer helmet, let alone and alternate head and/or "un-tousled" shirt. His head comes from a specific shot in the film - when he growls at the Doorman and his eyes glow. This dude even has red painted eyes! It's a neat touch, but that'd be a fun alternate head (since it's such a specific gag and we certainly don't have a doorman figure for him to growl at). This is the most skippable figure in the line (other than the abysmal Slimed Venkman), but you'll need to get him for left back corner of the Rooftoop base

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 2: Egon Spengler
Egon rolled out in series 2 and is essentially the same as his bustin' brothers up above (WHY DON'T THESE FIGURES HAVE DOUBLE-JOINTED ELBOWS!?). The likeness is alright and I appreciate that his glasses are a separate piece (though glued on). Beginning with Series 2 the proton streams now come with clear plastic clips that hold the streams to the wands. It's better than nothing, but these streams sure are janky. The Mattel ones were neater, and even the Minimate ones pull the effect off better since they're translucent and have the peghole for the wand to plug in to as part of their sculpt. Egon does come with his PKE meter, though, as his unique accessory, so that's a plus. He comes with the back, middle left piece of rooftop.

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 2: Peter Venkman
Peter's likeness is good, but the sculpt and thick paint negate that somewhat, along with the bizarrely fine details for the eye paint on this line - the eyes and eyebrows all seem so tiny! He comes with the same body and accessories as the rest of the guys and, in lieu of a unique accessory, gets new un-tucked pant legs. Woo hoo. Also, I should note that the weird hose coming off the left leg connecting to the back of the belt is actually a bendy wire on these figures. It's a little nice to have that be poseable, I guess. Pete comes with the back, middle right piece of the rooftop and the stairs for inside the doorway.

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 2: Dana Barrett
Much like Louis, this figure is labeled as her human name though this is distinctly Zuul. The sculpt is nice, and has a better likeness than the Mattel figure. She's also much, much more articulated - with all the same points as the rest of the figures. This circumvents the alternate legs approach Mattel took, though better range of motion in the torso and arms would have helped posing a lot when she's in repose. The dress is a nice sculpt that works fairly well laying and standing, and I dig the subtle purple sheen it has. Dan starts a trend with this line of pointless alternate/swappable parts. At least the Ghostbuster hands are all designed for various accessories, but here we get flat hands and slightly-bent-fingers hands... because... they had tooling budget they just had to eat up? Or they were trolling us fans/collectors? I mean the differences are totally negligible. I'd even prefer NOT to have them than TO have them, actually, because she's a fine enough figure as is so all these add are confusion. But... such is the incomprehensible mystery of DST. Dana-Zuul comes with the Rooftop's front right and one of the gateway steps.

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 3: "Quittin' Time" Ray Stantz
I got this guy for $15 at C2E2! I love Ray, and I love "casual" looks for characters with iconic outfits/uniforms, so I was pretty jazzed to see they were doing this, but.... the execution is just kinda weird. First and foremost, it's odd that the torso is fully sculpted with the zipper down, especially as two pieces. It would have made more sense to have the jumpsuit be a soft rubber piece over the black-T-shirt torso... but... DST. Moreover, other than the unzipped mid and upper torso pieces this is exactly the same as the original Ray release... I just don't... I just don't get it... It's the same head, all the same accessories (though now with the little plastic connectors for the proton streams) and he's even packed wearing the proton pack (though I was able to easily remove it by pulling out a snug peg on one of the straps [thanks for not gluing these closed, DST!]). I mean, it's certainly better than that awful Slimed Venkman in series 4, but this just seems like a wasted opportunity to make a more unique release by including some of Ray's occult books instead of the different hands, or sneaking in the colander helmet for Vinz Clortho instead of the proton pack. Heck, this is even one of those rare instances where I'd even argue that less is more, and simply just not including the extra hands, proton stream, or even proton pack, would have made this release feel more unique and interesting. But... I'm sure DST has their reasons. And, at the end of the day this does, at least, get us one chunk closer to the complete Rooftop - which is the main reason to be collecting the $10-more-expensive non-TRU versions of these figures!

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 3: Janine Melnitz
Here is our one unique character to this line - Janine!!! Her red hair and blue/green dress from Ghostbusters 2 is a bit more iconic and well known, but this black, gray and red ensemble is much more interesting and dynamic than I recalled from the film, especially with her pink framed glasses - plus it's instantly recognizable as her character. This is actually a really nice looking figure! She comes with a surprising amount of accessories as compared to the other non-Ghostbuster figures. She gets two alternate hands (which are obviously, aggravatingly similar to her other two hands, so what's the point!?), a closed Chinese food takeout box and an open one, plus the "we got one!" button and a phone! I'd bet that the Chinese food is meant for Quittin' Time Ray, but they HAD to include a bunch of useless hands with him, so these got moved here. The open box is particularly nice, with sculpted and paint food details and chopsticks! The phone is a great sculpt but a terrible accessory. It's three parts: the handheld receiver, a sculpted cord and the phone body, and it's that awful cord that ruins the whole thing - it's WAY too short to allow the receiver to be held, and cast in too-firm plastic so the receiver won't stay on the phone... UGH. I mean... is anyone at DST even thinking through the designs or checking the prototypes/factory samples? But, thanks to the dumb hand sculpts it's not like Janine would even be able to hold the phone... Because DST is ... I don't even know what, but this line is getting so frustrating because it's an even balance of "they really DO care" and "they really DON'T care"! I did end up picking up an Edward Nygma from the Gotham Select line to use his desk for Janine, but it is ridiculously huge next her, so... that was kind of a bust. She comes with the big, lower segment of the left gateway.

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 3: Walter Peck
Awesome - a super-poseable Walter Peck...!...? Another instance of Mattel really getting the "wow" factor of this character, plus that one came with a great Ghost Containment Unit display piece. This one comes with two pieces of the Rooftop floor - it's necessary and the reason we're collecting the line, but it sure ain't sexy. Talk about "what is going through DST's mind on this line"... Why would they logically even waste over twenty points of articulation on this character? Double jointed knees? Really? They're just throwing away money on that tooling. He's got a great William Atheron likeness, complete with douche smirk. This would have been a great candidate for an alternate head since he has some memorable expressions in the film. It's a fine figure, for what it is, but realistically if you cared about him you already have the Mattel one, which is a better release thanks to its diorama piece, so you're buying this $25 release for the rooftop pieces or the $14 TRU version as a gag gift for your coworker.

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 4: Slimed Peter Venkman
Wow... what the hell is this? Diamond Select gained the reputation of "the company that will release anything" back when they were doing Marvel busts and statues with utterly bizarre proportions and those (beloved, but) weird-looking Star Trek: The Next Generation figures. Fortunately, they've moved away from that more or less, but this figure is just a shocking reminder of that era. I mean - who saw that head sculpt and said "yes, this is something worth releasing! No changes necessary!" I remember when it was first revealed on Facebook somebody commented that this guy looks like a blow-up doll, and that's just a spot-on description. Dead eyes, no expression, and "°O°" mouth. DST ended up deleting that post since EVERYONE pointed out how bad this figure is. Beyond the terrible head, it's identical to the previous Venkman but now has a smattering of green "slime." (I will give them credit for continuing the slime paint on to all the extra hands and gloves, though) That's annoying for two reasons - first, Chuck originally said that the Select line would only include notably different costumes (like Quittin' Time Ray) and that variants like Slime and Marshmallow wouldn't include diorama parts. Secondly, that terrible head is presumably meant to be Murray's screaming expression as Slimer flies up to him - thus is makes no sense to have him covered with slime. Plus, Slimer's slime is translucent in the movie, not green. But... really who cares - DST certainly doesn't. This is just a filler figure pure and simple, clearly meant to save some cash against the expensive base tooling. It's just kind of offensive that DST gave so little shits here. "Eh, Venkman's the most popular - just rush out a cheap variant." But, if you want to build that rooftop you, gotta buy this mess. At least they packed him with two pieces you can kind of live without. The most significant for the build is a small obelisk while the substantive addition is one of the stone Terror Dogs. The sculpt for it is pretty great and it's a nice, solid hunk of plastic - plus, how often have the dog sculptures ever been made!? But since you're more-than-likely to get the actual Terror Dogs, you could live without this piece, and avoid this awful, worthless figure.

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 4: Slimer
Given how loaded the Ghostbusters in this line were I was very excited to see what DST was going to do with Slimer (especially in context of what NECA had released) - and I was stunned when they revealed him. I mean... his arms are insanely huge. Have they never actually seen Slimer? Or any other toys of him? Or their own, fantastic, bank of him? What the hell happened here!? How did the studio even sign off on this? Interestingly, in terms of accessories Slimer gets three alternate heads, one with a mouth full of hot dogs (which I learned from readers last week was a quick gag in the first movie once the Containment Unit is shut off) and then two heads with the same expression but different faces. I don't understand why the faces are different but assume it's some impressive kind of attention to detail (and yet the arms are way off model) but it would have been nice to get a head with a big, wide open mouth or something. The heads swap easily and Slimer's articulated with the shoulders, elbows and wrists getting balljoints. He comes with what looks like an awesome stand but is, in reality, the WORST "flight" stand I've ever gotten. There's several segments all connected by removable hinges that can only barely support the figure's weight; and only then in a trepidatious vertical alignment. Plus the hinges have short pegs and thus fall out of the pegholes in the stand-arms very easily. It was such a frustrating experience. Slimer comes with the top half of the right Gateway for the Rooftop and an interesting and really cool touch is that DST included a peghole in both the top and bottom pieces of the gateway on both sides so that the stand-arms could be unplugged from the base and plugged in to the wall! I was super excited about this, and then very bummed out when I tried it with these garbage stands that can't support Slimer's weight - such an epic fail that again suggests DST is asleep at the wheel on this line.

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 4: Gozer The Destructor
FINALLY! The big hole in the Mattel collection! Gozer is a surprisingly good sculpt, with REALLY crisp details on the (really weird) bubbles and lines stretched over her costume. The likeness is okay, but looks more like Sigourney Weaver to me than Gozer. What's really bizarre, though, is that while she comes with an alternate head and hands... they are so wildly similar to what she comes with on it's absolutely pointless to include these. The second head has a slightly open mouth and slightly wider eyes while the hands have slightly bent fingers. Really, DST, what the hell? They're not even different enough to warrant picking up at second figure at Toys R Us to display both "looks." Between this and Sex Doll Pete, whoever was designing/sculpting/running/approving Series 4 must have really been checked-out with this line. Especially since Gozer has one very obvious accessory requirement - electricity bolts from her fingers! It just... I mean, really, guys... what the hell. Especially given that that's her big action on the rooftop we are only collecting this entire line to build, it seems like a damn-near necessity for the line! Makes me think I should fork over the big cash for a NECA Gozer just to get those electro-hands, now, to warrant this big diorama. She comes with a giant corner of the building, which is kind of surprising - given who she is, it seems like packing her with the stairs or the backdrop or something more relevant to the portal would have made more sense. But at this point, if you're buying these you're buying all of them so it's not really that big of a deal.

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 5: Terror Dog
Yes - Terror Dogs! The other thing missing from Mattel's collection! The sculpt is kind of weird and the body seems off-model a bit. The head is AWESOME, though, and a beautiful sculpt! A very, very nice touch is that they included alternate horns so you could make both Terror Dogs and they'd be properly unique. Which is no doubt a big part of why the TRU release has been impossible to find! The figure is loaded with articulation, though he's so bulky none of it really works at that well. Still, though, you can just pose him neutrally and he looks good thanks to the terrific head sculpt it's articulated jaw. He comes with the backdrop for the gateway which is a big, rolled up lenticular mat with a vaguely 3D graphic of Gozer's kingdom (complete with Terror Dogs in it - accurate to the film, but logistically wonky for the display given that I have a toy of them too). Originally DST had said that they were going release a reversible thing so you could have the door way open or closed, but alas this only has the open doorway. We also get a baggie of plastic clips which hold the graphic in place on the doorway. And, finally, now with the fifth and final series we get printed instructions on how to assemble the rooftop!

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 5: Library Ghost
I want the "old lady" version of the Library Ghost. I get that the "monster" version is more dynamic and interesting, but that old lady was so much more memorable and creepy to me. It'd make for a perfect Select style two-pack, if this figure came with the other version as her "base" (like how the first series of Star Trek Select figures came with Khan as a pack-in). The sculpt here, though, is really nice and detailed and she has plenty of articulation. She comes with the same awful stand as Slimer and though it's cast in black plastic here it continues to ever so barely work. She comes with the last Obelisk and the other stone Terror Dog statue. The statue is the same sculpt as the one that came with Crappy Peter above, which is understandable but a bummer since I recall that in the movie they are posed a bit differently. She also gets the Rooftop assembly sheet and a stack of books which is, honestly, very impressive in how detailed the paint work on it is. It's a filler accessory but MAN they did a killer job with it!

DST - Ghostbusters, Select Series 5: Taxi Driver Ghost
And, lastly, we have the Taxi Driver Zombie/Ghost - the one oddball entity in the franchise as he's not cartoony nor translucent and glow-y... so, take THAT, film's internal logic! We only ever see this guy from the shoulders up (hence the hover base with the Mattel version) but DST did a really nice job completing out the look of this guy. His head in particular turned out remarkably good! He's just as fully articulated as Walter Peck and the rest of the figures and comes with a steering wheel he simply isn't able to hold... Classic DST on this line. His part of the Rooftop is pretty significant - gets the top of the gateway! It's two big pieces which connect in the middle via large pegs and is pretty secure. There is a relief of a god-head that's a separate piece that slides in the front over the seam to complete the look.

DST - Ghostbusters, Select: Roof Top Diorama
And now we come to it. The piece de resistance, the reason we're all here. My immediate impression? It's HUGE. And I mean HUGE. It's way bigger than I expected seeing the individual parts, reading the dimensions, or even seeing it in person at C2E2 this spring! Not until you have to keep moving stuff further and further away on your table as you assemble this beast does the actual size of the piece really sink in, or the mad genius of what DST has accomplished. This sucker is 16" tall, 18¼" deep and a whopping 33½" wide!!! Finding a place to display it intact is going to be a feat in and of itself! The parts all assemble fairly easily and securely. Some connections I had to apply more pressure to than others, but ultimately it came together in a snap! I was worried about getting the lenticular graphic in place but it was really easy, too. The clips they designed for it work great (and they even included extras to be safe) and they fit on to the pegs snugly - tight enough to hold it in place but with just enough give to be able to get all eight rings on the pegs. The only thing that's weird about the base is the gateway "interior" pieces. The two floor elements fill in the depth of the gateway interior, and have different sets of grooves. Some work with the staircase piece while four long vertical grooves seem to serve no function at all. Mixed with the fact that the staircase has to be removed in order for the lenticular graphic to fit in place I gotta suspect that plans changed mid-stream in designing and releasing the Rooftop as for how they were going to handle the interior effect. Overall, the sculpting is pretty nice and the whole thing is recognizable as the iconic Rooftop, but a lot of tweaks were made to get this set to work as a toy. None of the steps are big enough for the figures' feet and the gateway is done in forced perspective. It may be a bit off-model but it's still instantly recognizable and already massive as-is. I would have appreciated the stairs to be more figure-friendly but other than that my only "complaint" with this is that there aren't closed doors for the gateway. I think I might actually prefer than look ultimately since it'd allow this to be a bit of a backdrop for all fifteen figures as opposed to feeling like it should be a diorama for five of them. Overall there are some pretty good things about this line, and some pretty frustrating things too it, too, so is it all worth it? If you're a fan of dioramas, definitely!

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2 Responses to Rustin's Spoils of the Week #194

  1. Louche says:

    sure Janine is nice, if you like her looking like an old granny.
    I don't know why people seem to have this memory of her being an old lady in the first movie? The haircut and glasses, I guess.

  2. yo go re says:

    The rooftop looks awesome, but seeing all these together REALLY makes me glad that I decided to skip the line...

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