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Ray Stantz

Ghostbusters
by Poe Ghostal

Just in time for Halloween, here's our review of the 6" Ray Stantz from Mattel's Ghostbusters Classics line. Ray was only available via Mattel's for $20 plus shipping. But is he worth a Jackson (or two Hamiltons, or one-fifth of a Benjamin, if you prefer)?

Ray Stantz is the heart of the Ghostbusters - a brilliant scientist who's nonetheless quick to jump to the more outlandish or supernatural-based explanation for anything peculiar. His unbridled enthusiasm for the job often overrides fellow Ghostbusters Peter Venkman's cynicism or Egon Spengler's cool logic, sometimes getting them into trouble, but just as often getting them out of a tough spot with his creativity and quick thinking.

The packaging looks the same as Egon's, with the large blister bubble, Ghostbusters logo on top, and some basic (yet unquotable) bio information on the back. But unlike Egon's package, the blister is glued to the card and the figure cannot be easily removed and returned to the package. This was likely a cost-saving measure, but for anyone who liked the feature - well, it's a bummer. You're flat-out getting less for the same price.

As anyone acquainted with this line knows, all four Ghostbusters are going to reuse the the same sculpt, except for the head. The relatively normal-sized torso worked fine for Egon and will probably work for Peter and Winston, but it's really not quite right for Ray. Dan Aykroyd wasn't fat at the time he made Ghostbusters, but he wasn't a slender man, either; he deserved a tubbier torso. It should be kept in mind that it's Mattel, not sculptors the Four Horsemen, that's to blame for that torso re-use.

However, the head sculpt also leaves a bit to be desired. Judging from the look of the 12" figure, it may be that Dan Aykroyd just has one of those hard-to-sculpt faces (like William Shatner or Bruce Campbell). Even the prototype photos of Ray didn't look quite spot-on, and once the figures had gone through the production process they looked worse. However, while the photos still don't look any better, when you're holding the figure in your hand it's not as bad. I'm not sure if it's the stereoscopic effect of seeing the sculpt from two slightly different angles (i.e., your eyes) or what, but the likeness looks nicer in person.

That said, the head does have another problem: compared to Egon's, it's a bit too small. I'm sure part of it is the effect of Egon's hair, but the head does seem to be a little undersized for the body. As with Egon, the rest of the body sculpt is very good, especially the equipment. The detail on the proton pack is phenomenal, and nearly as good as you'd see on a NECA figure at this scale.

Most of the figure is molded in the gray/beige color of the uniform. It has a slight glossy texture to it, which unfortunately makes it more like a toy than you look for on a collector's figure like this. Getting a more matte texture to the outfit would go a long way toward improving the look of these figures. The paint applications are adequate, if nothing particularly special. We do appreciate that the "Stantz" of the pocket is spelled correctly and stenciled nicely, and the Ghostbusters patch is sharp. There's a bit of paint missing around the green shoulder straps; annoying, but if this figure hadn't cost me $20 I wouldn't think anything of it. The neutrona wand ("gun") and cable that came with Egon were very rubbery. They're a bit sturdier here, particularly the cable.

Ray has a balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows and wrists, H-hips, hinges at the knees and ankles, and swivels at the waist, lower thighs, and the top of the boots. Something about the hips on these figures makes them looks slightly unnatural in bent poses, as if the hips were a bit lower on the body than they should be.

Ray comes with the famous Ghostbusters logo ghost. His head and right arm can be popped off so you can remove the ghost and have it float free on its stand - and yes, the ghost glows in the dark. The Logo ghost is a neat idea and is executed well, but ultimately it's disappointing. It would have been much better to get a "realistic" ghost of some sort, or some equipment (maybe a PKE meter and a pair of removable goggles?). The ghost would have made for a perfect pack-in for Walter Peck, who doesn't have an obvious accessory, but the reason they didn't do that is clearly because with the containment unit they'll sell a lot more Walter Pecks than they would if he just had the logo.

Look, if you're a Ghostbusters fan, you know you're on the hook for the four main Ghostbusters, and the very idea of a Walter Peck action figure makes him irresistible. The fact that the Four Horsemen sculpted these figures automatically puts them a step above similar figures at the same scale, and the equipment looks great. But the re-use of the same torso for the more generously proportioned Aykroyd, coupled with the close-but-not-quite-there head sculpt and the cute but a bit disappointing ghost accessory, bring Ray down. He just doesn't offer the value we expect for a $20 collector-oriented action figure.

-- 10/20/10


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