I was pretty young when the Ghostbusters films came out, so I effectively completely missed the first one, instead growing up on HBO replays of Ghostbusters 2. So I have an innate fondness for the film that most Gb fans hate (or at least love to hate). Add to that my near-mad lust for Minimates and Action Figure Xpress' 2010 San Diego Comic Convention set was an immediate must-have.
The set includes all four Ghostbusters, for the first time in one location, in their GB2 "final battle" outfits. This consists of the tan jumpsuits and both Ray and Winston sporting the Slime Blowers. I must confess, though, that to many collectors out there, this set was probably lackluster. Between the previous three boxsets and four Toys Я Us exclusive series, how many "signature" Ghostbusters had I amassed? Two full teams in GB1 outfits - the difference being simply the ghost logo on the right shoulder. Not to mention a full set of the GB2 grey uniforms and several variants for each film/character) not to mention the fact that the most recent series of TRU sets came with a Slime Blower Ray which took away from the "newness" of that feature as well. In all honesty, were I not a hardcore fan of Ghostbusters, Minimates and AFX I probably would have passed on this set... but thank God I didn't, because like most cool things, the greatness is in the details.
First up we have Ray, who is virtually identical to the TRU figure, even down to the "falling under the spell of Vigo" face (which technically he displays when wearing a totally different costume) except for one major difference that I was too dumb to pick up on until I got the two figures together - the TRU figures is in the gray uniform (Ray never wears the gray and the Slime Blower at the same time) while this set has the screen-accurate tan jumpsuit. The Slime Blower is a great sculpt, if not a little too
detailed for my Minimate style preferences, but suffers a similar fate as the TRU exclusive T-800 from the Terminator 2 line in that the accessory is meant to be held with two hands but Minimates can't hold things sideways. Chuck-willing, at some point we'll get a Minimate hand with the opening at a 90° angle to the wrist-peg, but until then Ray has to single-hand the blower or fake it by holding the back of the blower in the other hand. Sadly, the tube is a little short and a little thick, so beware of breakage; I was a little too determined and caused part of the handle to break off. The only real drawback to the Slime Blower torso is that the vest's neckline is sculpted too close to the back of the head, which means Ray's hairpiece doesn't go down all the way; to get it on the head needs to tilt forward the hair to rest at an angle. This, plus proximity to the Slime Tank also means that the alternate devil-pig head that came with Vigo won't fit on either. Sad panda.
While at first glance Egon and Venkman look like simple re-releases, there are enough subtle differences that make them necessary additions to the GB2 collection. The jumpsuit belts are black and proton pack straps are olive green, rather than the GB1 tan and gray, respectively, and the walkie-talkies are yellow. The right shoulders have, of course,
the dumb GB2 ghost logo (I hate jokes in "serious" movies that remind you it is in fact just a movie - there's just no real reason the Ghostbusters would have changed their logo when they reopened, especially to the two-fingered nonsense [they're the second uniforms, simple as that --ed.]) and the head offer up the GB2 looks. They duplicate the faces from the grey suited figures in the TRU series, which gives the whole line a nice sense of continuity between the films. This also means that Egon gets his "tall hair" hairpiece as well.
Slime Blower Winston is,
in a sense, the truest exclusive to set the set. Will he uses an identical body to Slime Blower Ray, he has an all new face/facial expression that is (so far) exclusive to this set. Like Ray, it's scene specific; and also like Ray, it's specific to a scene when he is not wearing this costume. In this case that's gotta be "oh crap there's severed ghost heads all around us in this creepy old subway" face from the "exploring the subway" sequence. Hopefully this is an indicator that that cool/distinctive orange and yellow outfit will be on the way in the rumored TRU Series 5.
The set is also crammed with just about as many accessories as they have tooled up far. This includes the two yellow walkie talkies that come on Egon and Venkman, two proton streams, a closed 'n' coiled ghost trap, an open 'n' ready ghost trap, Egon's slime scooper and the ever-popular
PKE meter. Not a bad haul at all!
Oh, but that's not all - this set also sports two brand new additions to the GB Minimate universe! All previous releases have simply used black hand pieces to represent the gloves of the uniform, but these use the now-familiar Minimate gloves, which gives a surprisingly big boost the "realism" of the outfits. They really help play down the bulky-ness of the torso/backpack pieces and give the whole figure a better sense of proportion. And indeed the torso pieces can be removed to reveal something that has sorely been lacking in the line up until now - secondary costumes painted on the torsos! With the exception of TRU S5 Venkman (which has the same paint here but with the gray costume) this is the first time the line follows the great direction the Marvel Minimates have taken in terms of adding in a sense of construction play and allowing for multiple looks from one figure. While here we get the same "off duty" chest among all four figures (except for Ray, but I'd guess that was just an error on my set...) it is a much appreciated feature and something I hope to see more of in the future (I'm dying for the characters in just the jumpsuits, no backpacks - come on, DST!).
There are only two downsides to this set that I can see: I would have appreciated "slime jet" effect for the blowers, and fleshtone hands to complete the off-duty look, but in the face of all of the other pack-ins and the exceptional sense of detail, I am fine without them. I understand that to some this set may still ring of "retread" to them, and I though I don't agree, I can't say they're wrong. This is basically a boxset of repaints, but you know what? In one fell swoop they introduced and completed an important onscreen signature look for the Ghostbusters which ties directly into some figures they've already produced. It's really one of those sets that is more than a sum of all its parts - taken in total it's fantastic. Add to that this is an AFX exclusive and I find it an must-buy for any Ghostbusters or Minimate fan.
On a final note, I'd like to take a moment and thanks ActionFigureXpress.com for taking on this and all of the other Minimate boxsets. They have really backed the entire Minimate line like few retailers back any product and they give really great deals on all of the regular products. We tend to not endorse any one retailer over another here at OAFE but I personally want to thank AFX for being not only a company that really loves and supports both toys and collectors but for also being genuinely great people themselves. I look forward to visiting their booth every year at SDCC and order/pre-order all of my minimates (and Star Trek) product through them. AFX rules!