Well it wouldn't be Halloween at OAFE without my annual roundup of Ghostbusters toys! It's kind of amazing to think back to time when we had no figures from the movies, and here we are... with the fourth license-holder starting a third series of action figures ('cause the Mezco One:12 set seems to have just been a four-pack, not a line. But of course, this all not to mention the Minimates and Playmobil lines!). Hasbro obviously jumped on board to capitalize on the release of the new movie, Ghostbusters: Afterlife... but thanks to ye olde Covid-19 that movie's release got delayed from its original July 10th 2020 date, and with it virtually all of Hasbro's Ghostbuster plans. They did get out this first wave of their "Plasma Series" of 6" collector figures, no doubt meant to be a lead to a second series from the new movie, as well as a series of Walmart exclusive reissues of the original Kenner figures. So... how do these stack up!?
Hasbro: Ghostbusters - "Plasma Series" Dana Barrett
Let's just get it right out of the way up front - there is nothing exciting about these figures or, indeed, this entire line. Effectively the only appeal here is just that they're (well... NEW - a major kryptonite for many a collector - and...) in the Hasbro "style" - which honestly is the best "house aesthetic" out there these days for mainstream stuff. And Dana here is a good case-in-point of that... I was surprised and bummed that they did Zuul... because we already have two. But, I suppose it is both the most iconic and most toyetic of Dana's costumes in the movie(s)... but still... been there, done that. She is a better figure than the Mattel version and a nicer sculpt than the DST version, and better articulated, to be sure. Interestingly, her torso is cast in the same skintone as her limbs, so she gets an odd crop-top effect if you bend her too much at the mid-torso balljoint. Hasbro also took DST's lead on her left arm, making the sleeve separate from her dress, as opposed the slipped-down plunging neckline of the costume. This certainly allows much more poseability and, honestly, doesn't look nearly as weird or off-model as I'd have expected. Her likeness is a great sculpt, and is probably the most accurate to Sigourney of any toy of the actress, but there is something lost a bit in the paint. Overall, she sets the precedent of this whole set - ever so slightly "best in class" with the real winner for "best version of Ghostbusters figures" being some a degree of combination of the Mattel, DST and Hasbro lines... She comes with the Terror Dog's torso to build up that beast.
Hasbro: Ghostbusters - "Plasma Series" Egon Spengler
Egon is probably the best of the four Ghostbuster figures here. He shares the same core body as the rest of the guys but his likeness is markedly strong, and is probably the most clearly "best of the three lines." Including his glasses as part of the head sculpt feels both "retro" and uniquely successful, mainly due to really clean, sharp paint for the rims. He comes with the right back leg of the Terror Dog, the standard removable proton pack and an "activated" PKE meter. The PKE meter feels a little undersized, and the only paint on it is the green screen, which seems weak. The handle has a little peg on it that plugs into a hole on Egon's belt (well, actually Peter and Winston's belts too since they all share the share sculpt). The line in general seems under-scaled compared to other Hasbro lines like Star Wars Black and Marvel Legends. Venkman seems to be the tallest of the figures and is still just a little over 5¾" tall... so... that's weird and a bummer.
Hasbro: Ghostbusters - "Plasma Series" Gozer
Somewhat amazingly, this is only the third Gozer action figure. I skipped the original NECA one and boy did the DST one leave a lot to be desired... so I'm pleased to get a re-do here. The NECA one is probably the most screen-accurate, but this one feels the most "right" as Hasbro has idealized the look a bit, giving Gozer's unitard a texture throughout beyond just the weird balls. They also used a semi-pearlescent very, very light pink that helps bolster and the look and vibe of the character. In a movie with so many iconic designs, it's always amazing at how "low rent" this "big bad" has always seemed, but the figure does the best it can with what the movie gave us. Plus - she comes with swappable "regular" and "lightning" hands! The lightning-hands are great, but they are textured and a little smaller so they won't really be usable for Marvel Legends (my first thought once getting them in hand). Gozer brings us with the Build-A-Terror-Dog's head; and the nature of its sculpt makes it almost seem to be ready for wall-mounting in a hunter's trophy room.
Hasbro: Ghostbusters - "Plasma Series" Peter Venkman
Man... Bill Murray is just an unsculptable face, I suppose. It's better than DST's, but just barely since the headshape here seems off somehow, and it's not quite as "caricatured" as the Mattel version, but I think Mattel edges a bit closer to accuracy, weirdly enough. Pete once again stands alone with his uniquely untucked pantlegs, but otherwise is 100% the same sculpt as Egon and Winston. He comes with the same proton pack as the others, which is fully removable thanks to a peg/hole on the lower left strap. That's a huge improvement over the initial Mattel figures, though it's of course not as detailed as the DST version. It's a three-part affair, with the green soft-plastic for the straps, a black semi-hollow block for the pack (with a peg that plugs in to a hole on the back of the figures), and then the proton wand and cord is one piece. The wand can be held fairly well, and plugs on to the pack over the right should. The sculpted plastic cord isn't too difficult to work with, but after seeing the use of rope on the retro figures below... I can't believe they didn't use that technique for these! Following the lead of the previous lines, each figure gets one unique accessory, and for Venkman that's a ghost trap. It's pretty good, and hollow/open underneath. It's closed and lacks the pedal and cord, and from what I can tell there is nowhere on the belt to hang it. He brings us ole BaTD's front left leg.
Hasbro: Ghostbusters - "Plasma Series" Ray Stantz
Peter has unique shins and Ray gets a unique torso giving him Aykroyd's subtle pot-belly. He also gets a unique belt too - it has a small black hook where the peghole is on the others. Presumably that's for his goggles to hang from, since the ghost-trap doesn't really fit on it. His unique accessory is, once again, his famous but underused goggles. His likeness is the weakest of the batch, and it's just definitely but not easily place-ably off. Certainly better than that weird, pinched face from Mattel and kind of sideways from the odd DST likeness... one starts to wonder if the license even includes Aykroyd rights, or if he has approval and a strong sense of dysmorphia. Otherwise the body has all the same quality in sculpt and articulation we've come to expect from modern-day Hasbro - with butterfly shoulders to help with holding the proton wand (even though that joint doesn't have a super pronounced range of motion, but it is welcome and helpful). I'll say these are my favorite sculpts yet of the jumpsuits, but they are SEVERELY hurt by a lack of paint... seriously, just a giant lump of shiny beige plastic... it's easily the biggest flaw of the figures and Hasbro really, and I mean REALLY, needed to give these guys a simple paint-wash of basic color dye to take the edge of the plastic-y sheen and bring out the detail. Seriously and honestly, I'd even have given up the unique accessories or taken a price jump to get that small bit of extra paint. It really kneecaps these figures. Ray comes with the Build-A-Terror-Dog's front left leg, too.
Hasbro: Ghostbusters - "Plasma Series" Winston Zeddemore
Winston is... a new head and skintone on the same figure we've already talked about thrice, so... He come's got a pretty decent likeness, with a bit of a dead-eyed smile. It's way better than the DST version but, honestly, not quite as good as the caricatured Mattel head, I think. He comes with the proton pack and wand, the BAF's back right leg, and the sole proton stream in the series. It's built from a firm plastic translucent stream that's plugged into a soft plastic electricity jumble whose base plugs on to the proton wand. It's got a nicer sense of dimensionality that the Mattel stream but a wider, and less accurate, spread of electricity than the DST stream, but of course wins over that one by being translucent. Its inclusion is welcome, but also highlights that the others don't have one. If any Hasbro line was in need of an accessory set (maybe as a Pulse exclusive) it'd be this line.
Hasbro: Ghostbusters - "Plasma Series" Build-A-Figure Terror Dog
Eeeeeeh... it's not great. The articulation is odd, with 18 points: a hinged jaw; barbell neck; balljointed shoulders, elbows and ankles (with rocker pins); then swivel hips and balljoints on the back legs at the lower "knees" rather than higher/regular knees. It's the back legs that are particularly odd and restrictive (I should also add that I've just noticed in my photo that I have the back legs on the opposite sides than they should be; see the boxset version below). The sculpt is pretty soft, and it does kind look like there are remnants of excluded articulation cuts on the limbs. Paint is also quite simple with just an odd silver overspray along the spine, which is much more noticeable in person than photos. Honestly, this is on par with the Mattel line, and, really, I just expect more from both Hasbro and a Build-A-Figure. The sculpt isn't as good as the old NECA version (which still looks the best) nor is the articulation as "good" as the DST dog, so... meh. It's the weakest figure in the series, which is particularly underwhelming as a Build-a-Figure.
Hasbro: Ghostbusters - "Plasma Series" Tully's Terrible Night
Honestly, I only got these figures partly because they exist and, mainly, cause I got wrapped up in the Toy Fair hype and pre-ordered the set (oh, if only I knew the new movie and any additional product would be delayed; and that these figures would hit pretty solid markdowns). So, by the time this exclusive set was revealed for "PulseCon 2020" I was pretty underwhelmed... but still got it out of a sense of compulsively "completing the collection." Much like the main series itself... there just isn't anything exciting or interesting about this set. Just a chance to get a second Terror Dog then yet another Vinz Clortho... yawnsville. At least this Tully/Vinz has red eyes - it's a one-shot gag but at least it adds a slightly different vibe to him from the Mattel Louis and the DST version (who, I suppose, also had red eyes). The likeness is probably strongest on this figure, but it's still far from a slam dunk. And... I just don't get this line... it makes sense in a vacuum but it feels like Hasbro didn't even look to see what the other companies had done before. I would have dug a pre-attack Louis here instead of another Vinz, just to mix things up a bit. He is the first Louis to get a fully removable colander-helmet, so that counts for something, and is kind of the highlight of the set. The dog is just a straight re-release of the BAF... they didn't even give it different horns, annoyingly. This set cost $50, versus the individual figures' $20, and comes in a big box with a lot of empty space and Louis in an "action" pose which may have slightly warped his legs. In absolutely no way is this set worth that price.
Hasbro: Real Ghostbusters - "Kenner Classics" Peter Venkman and Grabber Ghost
I never had the original Real Ghostbusters core figures so this set of Walmart exclusive reissues are a very welcome chance to right that wrong after nearly 35 years. These figures recreate the original Kenner releases from the '80s, though the impression I got from the PulseCon "panel" is that these are new sculpts as opposed to casts/scans of the originals. These guys are about 4¾" tall and that uncommon size feels nice in-hand - they seem a bit bigger than expected. The industry seems fairly evenly split between 3¾" and 6" for the most part, but I really like this roughly 5" size. Articulation is at the classic "big five" and while the guys get all the same unique coloring as the original cartoon and figures, it's not very clean here. The hair in particular has issues across the four.
Hasbro: Real Ghostbusters - "Kenner Classics" Winston Zeddemore and Chomper Ghost
While each figure is a completely unique sculpt, each comes with the same proton pack and wand/gun accessory. They're cast in the now iconic deep blue and have a yellow rope/string connecting the want and pack - seriously it's so surprisingly effective that I can't believe that none of the subsequent toys have used that approach! The figures can hold the wands, instead they slip on over the arms almost like a shield. The wands include the also now iconic curvy proton stream, which extends about 5½" out and can be spun around by twisting the bit protruding from the back of the wand. It's a surprisingly fun play feature that still entertains so many years later! I do wish the streams were removable though, especially since there are clips on the pack (which simply just plugs in to the figures' back) includes clips on the right to "stow" the wand. And, of course, each figure gets a unique color for their stream.
Hasbro: Real Ghostbusters - "Kenner Classics" Ray Stantz and Wrapper Ghost
One of the other highlights of the classic figures was that each came with a unique ghost for the figure to bust. Those ghosts are included here once again, each cast in a different shade of translucent plastic, which is a harder material than I imagined. Each ghost is a fun and unique addition, though not really based on anything (at least from the movies). Interestingly Egon's ghost is hollow with an open mouth, as if it's meant to go over a figures head despite not really fitting well - but the other three are solid pieces. And, especially getting them along with the 6" line... well it really highlights how that series has no real ghosts for the boys to bust!
Hasbro: Real Ghostbusters - "Kenner Classics" Egon Spengler and Gulper Ghost
Egon is the most iconic of this group, mainly thanks to his uniquely distinct hairdo (which used to the make me confused with the movie as a kid since I came to live action after becoming a fan of cartoon). There's also something about his teal-ish jumpsuit that's really great, especially once paired with the red glasses and platinum blonde hair. Man, I really hope Hasbro does a Real Ghostbusters set in the "plasma series" - much like the DST figures, I really think those more articulated and modern bodies would look great in the classic cartoon colors! This series also included redo's of the classic Slimmer and Staypuft Marshmallow Man, but I'm happy to leave those behind as it's really these guys that I am the most desperate for and very happy to have. It sounds like this retro line will continue, so here's hoping Hasbro will do new figures of ghosts from the show in this style rather than only reissues of classic figures!