Toy Review: Real Ghostbusters Ecto-1, Fearsome Flush, and Bug-Eye
Everything old is new. And with Hasbro now back in charge of toys for the entirety of the Ghostbusters franchise, they’re bringing back the toys from the last time they had the rights. The Plasma Collection still cranks out movie figures, but through Kenner retro branding, the original The Real Ghostbusters toys based on the TV cartoon return to stores this season. The original four action figures already arrived on Walmart shelves. Recently, however, they’ve been joined by The Real Ghostbusters Ecto-1, along with two fan-favorite classic ghost figures: Bug-Eye and Fearsome Flush. Though they sport subtle differences so real collectors can tell them apart from the originals, they look close enough to the untrained eye. And as such, are likely to hurt the value of the originals. But Hasbro/Kenner made these to play with, folks, not sit in boxes like the Lost Ark.
Like many toys of the ’80s and ’90s, these all feature action play gimmicks. Before the revival of Star Wars and the advent of McFarlane, companies deemed such things more important than elaborate sculpts. And for kids, that was the correct choice. Even for adults fidgeting at a desk, it’s surprising how much more fun these things can create.
Take Fearsome Flush, memorable because it’s a haunted toilet. (Oddly one with a Ghostbusters logo on it — maybe it hides out in their HQ, a ruse that might work exactly once.) The toy comes with wheels. Roll it forward, and the monster eyes and tongue pop out. Keep rolling, and they pop back in again. Repeat. It’s fun.
(Special thanks to He Uses Toys! for the loaner of the Egon and Winston figures.)
Bug-Eye’s gimmick is a little different. In fact, as a kid, it was tough. One basically has to punch or karate chop him in the back, and his eye shoots out, pop-gun style. It’s much easier as an adult to make that happen. His body is made of soft plastic to allow for said thumping and squeezing. And both his articulated arms can hold the eyeball. The sculpt overall looks more elaborate than a typical animated style figure, with a creepy grin like a Boglin, and a body with veins all over.
The Real Ghostbusters Ecto-1, of course, was the must-have centerpiece of any collection back in the day, and the perfect way to display the rerelease figures now. Packaged mostly assembled, and with a couple of fun features, it’s a great toy even if it may not be the most accurate Ecto-1 ever. It even has a sculpted undercarriage, unlike some more recent toys that ostensibly aimed higher.
The car seats two figures in the front, and has a back holding area that can fit a lot of stuff. A weapon-enhanced jumpseat attaches either on top of the car, or in a groove in the back that allows it to move in and out. This quite likely inspired the side-jumpseat in the new movie’s Ecto-1.
The Real Ghostbusters toys came out during a brief period where all vehicles for action figures suddenly seemed to mandate seat belts. The belt here fits super-tightly, and getting it just right may challenge the fingers. But Winston will not fall off. Ironically, the front seat has no belt. But getting the driver figure in feels tough enough already.
In an odd design choice, the back window is just a sticker. But then, the front doors have no windows at all. Clear plastic must just cost more.
Notice the crooked tailpipe? That’s the control lever for the ghost capture claw. (Claws wouldn’t capture vaporous apparitions, but kids don’t know that.) Flip it to one side, and the claw pulls out on a string. Flip it back, and pushing the car forward will reel in the claw. A small orange ghost comes in the box, and fits the claw neatly enough.
For around $40, that’s a pretty fun toy. But maybe less so if none of the figures for it seem easy to come by. The Ghostbusters figures came in a standard scale for the time, but compared to the modern default of six inches, they look little indeed.
The two ghosts, on the other hand, come in at $14.99, when they show up in stock. That may numerically sound like twice the original price, but by current standards, it’s downright cheap.
Take a look in the gallery below for many more looks at these toys. Will you pick any up? Let us know in comments.
Recommended Reading: Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History
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