I’ve spent all week complaining about Mattel’s 6” Ghostbusters Classics line, but in the end it is a perfectly acceptable toy line. The only problem I really can’t get past is the pricing. I can deal with the farmed parts and the wonky, sometimes inappropriate accessories; but I honestly feel that twenty bucks apiece is ludicrous. It is at least five dollars over what would be reasonable, especially when you consider that the price point for the larger, MEGO-style figures is also going to be twenty dollars.
But in the end, I’m satisfied with my Ghostbusters and realize things could have been a lot worse. Like McFarlane could have made them.
However – with what I think are a few minor tweaks and more logical decisions, what is a perfectly acceptable toy line could have been fucking awesome. And that’s what I’m going to discuss today.
These are all of the different ideas that I would have executed if I were in charge of the line. To be fair, I know very little about the costs involved in bringing a line to market, licensing and selling online. Maybe the problems that I have with the line are simply unavoidable. But judging from comparable toy lines and thirty-plus years as a toy aficionado, I kind of doubt it. Here’s how I think it should have gone down, taking into consideration that all of these initial releases need to feature elements taken only from the first movie:
1 - Two versions of Egon would have been offered initially – slimed for SDCC and non-slimed for Matty. He would have included a PKE meter, a trap and the subway ghost instead of Slimer. He would have included one of nine pieces needed to build Gozer’s gateway & staircase (this thing would be big).
2 - Ray would have had a heftier torso. He would have included goggles, a trap and the library ghost. He would have included one of nine pieces needed to build Gozer’s gateway & staircase.
3 - Winston’s actual figure is just fine. He would have come with a trap and a ghost. He would have included one of nine pieces needed to build Gozer’s gateway & staircase.
4 - Walter Peck would have had a better head sculpt – probably frowning. His accessories would have been his briefcase, the subpoena envelope and a ghost. He would have included one of nine pieces needed to build Gozer’s gateway & staircase.
5 - I would have stuck with the slimed Venkman as the initial offering of this character. I think it is the version that would attract the most casual fans. Of course, I also would have tried to offer him as the first in the series as a hook, but I understand licensing Bill Murray took some time and Mattel wanted to get the line underway for the anniversary last year. It’s not like every figure hasn’t sold out, anyway. Venkman would have included Slimer and a dining cart. The cart would have a post to mount Slimer on and another post like the one we got would have been included as well. He would have included one of nine pieces needed to build Gozer’s gateway & staircase.
Now we get to the point where I have a major divergence with Mattel. I know their future plans include Ray (and presumably Spengler and Venkman) in the get-ups from the commercial. I wouldn’t bother with these. Let’s get the rest of the characters from the first movie out of the way first.
1 - Janine Melnitz would come with a desk accessory. The phone would have a separate handset that the figure could hold. She would not include a ghost because the desk is so large. She would have included one of nine pieces needed to build Gozer’s gateway & staircase.
2 - Louis Tully would be in his messed-up Vinz Clortho-posessed clothes and include a dog statue. He would have included one of nine pieces needed to build Gozer’s gateway & staircase.
3 - Dana Barrett would be in the red dress and include a dog statue. She would have included one of nine pieces needed to build Gozer’s gateway & staircase.
4 - Gozer would have included the final and largest piece to complete the gateway & staircase diorama. Hence, no other accessories. And yeah, I know NECA already did a Gozer; I'm pretty sure Mattel wouldn't hesitate to cash in on the naked God-lady phenomena, though.
5 - The mayor and the Archbishop would be a con-exclusive two-pack and would include the easel from the meeting in the mayor’s office. They would not include a ghost or a gateway piece.
And that would cover the first official series, released over the course of twelve months, which brings us to SDCC 2010. There would be an SDCC exclusive four-pack of slimed variants of Venkman, Spengler, Zeddemore and Stantz. The above two-pack would be considered the end of the first series and the following would constitute the beginning of the second. Months would alternate between the first movie and the second.
1 - A clean Peter Venkman would be the initial offering of the second series. In his grey coveralls from the second movie for SDCC and in his beige ones for Matty. He would include a trap and a ghost. He would include the first of nine pieces needed to make the River of Slime playset (which would include a big-ass can of pink slime).
2 - Dana Barrett (V2) in her workout gear. She would include a chair with demon arms coming out of it that could grasp the figure. She would include one of nine pieces needed to make the River of Slime playset.
3 - Louis Tully in his Ghostbuster coveralls. He would include the version of Slimer from Ghostbusters 2 (yes, at this point I think you can pull off another figure of the green spud). He would include a piece for the River of Slime playset.
4 - Peter Venkman in his long coat – from the visit to Dana Barrett’s apartment in the first movie. He would come with that goofy apparatus and a refrigerator that opens up. Inside the refrigerator, there would be a spinning panel – one side junk food, the other side Gozer’s gateway. He would also include a piece for the River of Slime playset.
5 - Dr. Janosz Poha would include a ghost version of himself with a ghost baby carriage (with a spot for the forthcoming baby Oscar figure). He has a piece of the River of Slime playset.
6 - Egon from the opening scene of the first movie in the Public Library. He would include his gear, a slimed cardfile, a Petri dish and a stack of books – no human would stack books like that. He also includes one of nine River of Slime pieces.
7 - Ray from the scene at the museum would include his gear and the painting of Vigo the Carpathian. One side would be lenticular with a River of Slime and a monster face alternating with the normal painting. The other side would be the normal painting. Ray would also have a piece of the River of Slime playset.
8 - Winston in his grey coveralls from the second movie. Yeah, I know this should have been a first movie release, but I’d rather see Winston in his grey coveralls than in a plaid shirt, wouldn’t you? He comes with a slime blower and a ghost. He also includes a piece of the playset.
9 - Vigo the Carpathian in corporeal form. He includes the altar for the forthcoming baby Oscar figure, the circle of candles on a floor piece, and the final piece of the River of Slime playset.
10 - Dana Barrett (likely in a not-quite-accurate shirt) and baby Oscar (likely not naked) as a SDCC exclusive. They would come with the slime-filled bathtub, which would be a soft vinyl accessory made like a puppet – you could put your fingers inside and make it move like in the movie.
And that wraps up series two. The above set would be accompanied by a four-pack of the Ghostbusters in the scene from the second movie right after Stanz, Spengler and Zeddemore have come out of the sewer and run into Venkman and Dana, also available at SDCC 2011.
And that does it for now. I wanted to figure out a way to make the third series’ buildable accessory the Ecto-1, but my brain is just out of steam right now. I’ll try to put that one together later.