- The Washington Times - Friday, June 7, 2019

Thanks to the proliferation of film, comic book and cartoon characters, companies are bombarding consumers with an incredible selection of action figures. With tongue in cheek, let’s take a peek at some of the specimens worthy of a place in Zad’s Toy Vault.


German toymaker Playmobil celebrates the 30th anniversary of “Ghostbusters II” and National Ghostbuster Day on June 8th with a child-friendly, collector-loving buildable recreation of the team’s famed vehicle used in the 1989 film.

Figure profile: Five years after the team defeated the demi-god Gozar, Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson), Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) and Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) returned to fight the spirit of Vigo the Carpathian and another round of unruly apparitions in New York City.

Of course, they needed a modified version of one of the most iconic vehicles in movie history and Dr. Stanz further tech tweaked his hybrid ambulance and hearse (sitting on a 1959 Cadillac professional chassis) to help battle evil.

Price: $59.99.

Accessories: The almost 13-inch-long, primarily white vehicle features a windshield, rear-side windows (no coverings above the four doors), a rear door that lifts up, six compressed air canisters, antennae, radar dish, movable steering wheel and a detachable roof.

The interior has enough room to store all of the equipment with even areas to mount proton packs and seat four figures.

The Ecto 1A also has a more robust collection of lights flashing on the roof and longer sound function. Note: Bringing both to life requires three AAA batteries (not included).

Now, hit a button of the roof to start up two banks of yellow, blue, green and red twinkling emergency lights and a red flashing beacon with a siren (lasting roughly a 60 seconds) and another button to hear the famed odd siren sound that lasts 10 seconds.

Another new addition, and perhaps the coolest, is a faux-LED digital marquee on either side of the roof area. Hold the vehicle at the right angle and one side displays a flashing “Ghostbusters” sign and the other flashes “We’re back …”  and “for hire.” Both signs are in glowing green capital letters.

It’s all a faithful recreation for sure, but I would have loved to see what was under the hood this time with maybe a detailed engine, Playmobil style, added.

So let’s move on to the included 3-inch-tall Playmobil-ized versions of Egon, Winston, Raymond and Peter.

Each is wearing the dark-grey flight suits from the second film; sport some mild articulation (head twisting, and arms and legs that move up and down); and fantastic paint detail highlighting a name patch, Ghostbusters II logo and zippers and belts.

Each gets mix-and-match accessories highlighting the best of the ghost-busting arsenal.

For example Winston and Raymond can wear a beige vest that attaches to a slime-blower backpack. The device has three tanks attached via rubber tubing to a grey metallic-colored sprayer to unleash an included plastic reddish-pink stream (positively charged, pinkish Psychomagnotheric slime).

Peter and Egon have a beige vest that attaches a removable Proton Pack with a soft rubber tube connecting the Neutrino Wand. They can also use a ghost trap, toss around a globule of sticky, pink silicone slime or, exclusive to the set, a Giga Meter (a black handheld device with twin antennae and a translucent orb attached) to detect an apparitions energy.

Additionally, owners get a high-tech ghost trap that was released by Playmobil last year.

First, download the Playmogram 3D app to a smartphone (iOS and Google Play compatible) and then assemble the trap connecting a pyramid-shaped plastic bin (translucent on three sides) to the opening.

Open the app and choose from one of four famed ghosts including Slimer, rest the trap on the smartphone’s screen and the ghost three-dimensionally appears, also making some noises while floating within the bin area.

Finally, press a foot pedal icon on the screen and the ghost gets sucked into the trap with some colorful electrical bursts as he gets pulled down. Pretty cool, eh?

Builder’s advice: Geared for youngsters 6 years and older, the set requires only the assembly of 103 pieces to build the Ecto-1A and the cool devices. The figures are ready out of the package.

It took an adult roughly 30 minutes to mainly add to the chassis stuff such as tubes, lights, a rear working door and those cool marquees.

Once again, the only challenge that may require parents helping the youngster are putting the slightly too soft rubbery wheels on the rims and placing those darn, sometimes way too tiny 24 tiny stickers on the vehicle and accessories.

What’s truly impressive is the amount of already painted on logos (ghost flashing the peace sign), striping (black, orange and yellow) and messaging added to the side of the vehicle including “We Believe You,” “CALL JL5-2020,” and “Call Us” in cursive. Yeah, it further cements the collectible element.

Watch it: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has just rereleased both “Ghostbusters” films on the 4K format in five-disc steelbook package ($65.99) to celebrate the 30th and 35th anniversaries of the films. The latest editions also offer two hours of archival extras, some never before available, such as long-lost deleted scenes, the cast on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and a promotion reel of Mr. Murray and Mr. Aykroyd pitching the original film at ShoWest.

What’s it worth: For collectors and rabid fans that bought Playmobil’s beautifully designed Ecto-1 in 2017, the “Ghostbusters II” version, with the load of accessories, should be a no-brainer.

The company has done a great job of offering a sturdy and easy-to-assembly design that shines in either a display case or has all of the pieces and figures necessary for a new generation of fans to dive into many a ghost-busting adventure.

Also available for serious fans is an original Ghostbusters Collector’s Set ($19.99) with the four team members dressed in the first film’s beige jumpsuits and loaded with accessories include a P.K.E. Meter and even a version of a slimed Dr. Venkman.

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