Well, Halloween is next week, so what better time than now to finally delve in to the marriage of two of my favorite things - Playmobil & Ghostbusters! As long-time readers no doubt recall, I am a mega fan of Playmobil and have been so for essentially my entire life, and the have always veered away from (media) licenses forever (they have done some corporate exclusives/tie-ins over the years with banks, cars, airlines, etc) but with the passing of the company's owner, Horst Brandstätter, a few years ago we've seen a bit of a paradigm shift. Playmobil has finally sold out or bought in (depending on your point of view) to licensing and is launching with Ghostbusters and How To Train Your Dragon themes this year. While I've generally always hated the idea of licensed Playmobil, and this license has been done to death recently, I must admit that Ghostbusters is actually a perfect fit for Playmobil. "Real world" characters, novel "bad guys," iconic costumes, iconic accessories, an iconic vehicle and an iconic base. While it took me a couple months to warm up the notion of what this means for Playmobil, the company, I started buying these up as soon as they hit Toys Я Us - and they are quite honestly pretty fun sets! There's some hints in here that there could be more sets to come (I really hope so!), and Playmobil recently did reveal a set of individually packed Ghostbusters 2 Klickie figures along with a line of Real Ghostbusters sets - so they are definitely in this license for real!
Playmobil - Ghostbusters: 9224 Spengler and Ghost
We begin with the smallest set of the line - a fun two-pack of Egon and a ghost! Egon comes in his standard Ghostbusters jumpsuit, complete with last name printed on his name-badge! I think he, and the rest of the Ghostbusters, get new legs here featuring cargo pants and boots, but they could be repurposed from another line (I don't collect the City theme, so I'm not well versed in its catalog of parts). The colors are nice and the paint deco is very tight and clean. He's sporting the Elvis hair, which I get but I don't really like. That's a bit closer to his Real Ghostbusters look, but it's the muttonchops on it I really hate. I wish they'd have tooled up a new "flat top" style hair piece for him. He comes with a walkie-talkie, PKE meter, ghost-trap, proton pack + wand + stream - he's fully loaded with everything you could want from a Ghostbuster! The proton-pack is a fantastic new sculpt that has a shiny black base which clips onto the figure, and then a dark gray case that plugs on to that, with all the sculpt and paint detailing of the proton packs. The wand connects via rubber hose and it can plug into the pack or be held by the figure, the proton stream can plug on to the end of it. The Ghost-trap connects to its peddle via an identical rubber hose and it has opening doors and a peghole in the center of its open trap. All the detailing on the trap and the PKE meter come from stickers you have to apply, but they're big enough that it's not too hard to get them on correctly. We also get two ghosts, and while neither are from the movies, both are pretty fun. First is a re-release of the genie from the Magician Special Plus set and it plugs into the peghole in the ghost-trap. The real star here, though, is the old-timey ghost Klickie done in translucent, light and dark blues! The colors look great together and the tattered deco is really nice - in fact, this guy could be a very cool ghost for the Western theme! Also - both ghosts glow-in-the dark! To the eye, it's a dull greenish glow (and the hat/hair/coat really limit the Klickie's glow since they are opaque plastic) but in long-exposure photos, the Klickie has a blue glow and the Genie has a green glow - nice! Other than Egon's hair, my only complaint is that there isn't a stand or something that could let the Klickie-Ghost hover on his own or above the trap.
Playmobil - Ghostbusters: 9223 Venkman and Terror Dogs
This is a pretty nice set! We get Venkman, Zuul and two Terror Dogs! It doesn't make a whole lot of sense since Dana/Zuul is one of Terror Dogs, and Venkman is covered in slime... but... it's still a fun batch of figures. Peter has basic shaggy hair, but I would have preferred something more widows-peak-y or brushed back to better look like Bill Murray. He does have an arched eyebrow which helps translate the personality to the Klickie. It is weird that he comes "slimed," though, especially since this is the only Venkman in the line. Zuul looks great, with nice colors on the dress like the gold highlights. I dig her black eyes with red pupils, too. I would really like at least one of these toylines to give us a regular Dana Barrett (so far only the Minimates have risen to that challenge), and Playmobil seems like a good line for that, so hopefully there will be a second series and have her and a non-slimed Peter. The Terror Dogs are fantastic sculpts - a perfect blend of the movie design and the Playmobil aesthetic and they're cast in that gorgeous, classic, unique, "speckled" effect that Playmobil can do with plastic. The dogs have swivel joints at the hips and shoulders along with a great big swivel ring for the neck and hinged jaws. They do seem small, though. They're in scale with the Klickies, I think, but still feel a bit under-scaled in hand. This is a good set, but it does kind of feel like an oddball. It does highlight the lack of a Gozer figure in the line, and given Playmobil's penchant for playsets, this also feels like it's missing the Rooftop Playset. Hopefully there will be a series two with the Rooftop, and this set can plus it out. But until then, then will easily do the trick!
Playmobil - Ghostbusters: 9222 Slimer with Hot Dog Stand
This is the oddest set in the batch, and, honestly, the least appealing or recommendable. It's a hot dog bicycle/stand - which just happens to have Slimer thrown in with it. A quick google search does reveal screengrabs of Slimer with a mouth-full of hot dogs popping up out of a hot dog cart, but I have no recollection of that gag - was it Ghostbusters 2? So, if it's from the movie I guess it makes some sense, but I figured this was more of a "bridge" set to pull in collectors/fans of the City theme. The cart is surprisingly good and is loaded with accessories (and sticker applications) but really the only reason you're getting this is for Slimer. He's a great sculpt with the eyes and mouth being a separate piece inserted into the body, which looks much neater than just paint. Despite looking like it might be a possibility, there is no Glow in the Dark effect here. He's got balljointed (actually swivel/hinged) shoulders, which is fun and offers more posing options than I'd expect. He also has a peghole in his underside... indicating they know he needs a stand... but he gets no stand! Booooooo! That's the biggest annoyance on this set. Aside from the fact that it really should have been "ballroom"-themed instead. But if you're buying this line, you're gonna need a Slimer.
Playmobil - Ghostbusters: 9221 Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
This is my favorite sculpt of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man I've ever come across - it just seems so accurate to me! Being a big, soft thing, it seems the sculpt often wanders to different places or opens itself up for interpretation, but Playmobil nails it here! The only down side, though, is the limited articulation - only four points: shoulders and wrists. One certainly expects, and would appreciate, some kind of head articulation, but alas... On the plus side, though, Playmobil did include a "grip" between the SPMM's thumb and forefinger on both hands so that he can hold accessories, should you so desire. Sure he's under-scaled, but be feels like the right size for this kind of toy line. Interestingly, his red bandana is just paint, rather than sculpt, but the two-tone highlights do a VERY remarkable job at making it appear three dimensional. We also get Ray, but here he's got some marshmallow splatter painted on his torso - a fun variant. He comes with the proton pack, wand (though the rubber hose that came with mine was malformed - split and without the plug on the opposite end - quite surprising given Playmobil's normally high QC), beam and Ray's ecto-goggles. I would have really appreciated a new "marshmallow splatter" head effect/piece too, to complete the look for Ray, especially since he comes with the classic Playmobil hair. But ultimately I just like the Marshmallow Man too much to really complain - this might actually be my favorite set in the line!
Playmobil - Ghostbusters: 9220 Ghostbusters Ecto-1
Now we're talking!!! A big part of the appeal of Playmobil doing Ghostbusters is the ability to do in-scale vehicles - and here we go, one of cinema's most iconic vehicles! The sculpt is perfect and is a fantastic blend of Playmobil and the movie. The top of the car is removable, so that you can get inside (other than the trunk none of the doors open, though they don't have windows so you can still get in there) and they loaded up the interior. There are two spots for Klickies to sit in the front bench (which also has a spinning driving wheel, though it is kinda tough to get a Klickie in place with it there) and two seats in the rear. There's a little rectangle in the back to hold the ghost trap but the coolest thing is that there are four pseudo torsos that the unworn Proton Packs can be clipped on to while not being worn! The top of the car is loaded with a bunch of the detail gobbledygook stuff, and, with the addition of three AAA batteries (though the battery bay door has a screw in it that's tougher to get at than it should be), you can activate lights and sounds via two separate buttons! One button causes the four blue lights to flash blue and the translucent light to flash red. The second button plays the iconic siren sound, and I can not say enough how much I appreciate that it's two separate buttons, so you have have the lights without the siren! There are a good amount of stickers that need to be applied (though the Ghost Logos come printed on the doors) as well as clear plugs for a lot of the car lights, which add a nice sense of realism. The set comes with a ghost trap, a PKE meter and two proton packs/wands/streams. We also get Winston and, oddly, Janine in a Ghosbusters jumpsuit (complete with "Melnitz" on her name badge). Winston make perfect sense here but Janine is an odd choice... but I assume it's to allow young girls an avatar to play in this world, so that is pretty cool. Overall, this is another fantastic set in a petty fantastic line.
Playmobil - Ghostbusters: 9219 Ghostbusters Firehouse
And here's the big enchilada! The whole appeal of Playmobil getting this license... THE GHOSTBUSTERS FIREHOUSE!!!! This is our first toy of, arguably, fiction's second-most famous headquarters (after the Batcave) in 30 years! And it's really, really neat! The exterior is near perfect - all of the bricks are separately tooled/cast parts that you attach and insert on the walls giving it an absolutely gorgeous two-tone look. The base plate includes a sidewalk along the side, which does make the footprint feel larger than expected (10.75" x 17.15"), but it looks good. What is weird, though, is that there is a door towards the front, but it's just a sticker... a functional door there would have been much, much better. Inside, we have a three-level playset. The bottom floor features the vault for the ghost traps, complete with opening door, swivel handle and hinged lever. There is a segmented garage door which you can slide up or down allowing the Ecto-1 to enter - and yes, it fits inside the Firehouse! The bottom floor is exactly the size of the car! Next we have a staircase up (made of individual segments that are a bit tough to connect) to a second floor, then another staircase up to a loft. A pedestal helps support the floors while also featuring the famous fireman's pole. The pole operates via handheld accessory the Klickie holds, and then just slides straight down. It's neat, but it's not much of play feature as it's essentially as fun as just dropping a toy from your hand to the ground. The set is loaded with accessories - a ton of lab equipment for Egon (including a monitor with Vinz' heat-vision Terror Dog form on it!) and some office stuff for Janine (whose computer screen has unique Ghostbusters graphics on it). We get five minifigures, too! Regular jumpsuit Ray, Lab Egon, Louis Tully/Vinz Clortho, Janine (in her Ghostbusters 2 outfit - annoying but understandable) and a wicked cool Librarian Ghost!!! There's also a pack of the static-cling slime splotches (also available with the hot dog cart and Ecto-1). Honestly, it's a bit sparse inside, but it's the goldarned Ghostbusters Firehouse and it's in scale and compatible with the figures and the Ecto-1 - ya gots ta have it!!! It's the dream of a generation come true!!!