THE AFJ REVIEW: DST GHOSTBUSTERS WAVE 1
By Jarrett Kruse
If I could have my dream figures as a kid back in the 80's, these Diamond Select Ghostbusters are the closest thing to what I envisioned. It only took 32 years but they are here and they are absolutely insane and completely worth the wait. This first wave of the Ghostbusters 2016 campaign of figures that will pen-ultimately leave Junkies with what is perhaps the most epic diorama in action figure history! One thing that we learned in last weeks AFJ-MIDTOWN COMICS blog is that Chuck Terceira & Zach Oat of DST have put a whole lot of work into bringing consumers what they have been itching for since the end of MATTEL's Club Ecto-1. Those figures are completely obsolete now and not even worthy of holding the DST Ghostbusters Proton Packs! Its like going from a black and white TV to a stunning flat screen in bright, beautiful colors. There simply is no contest anymore. These are the best Ghostbusters figures that you are going to find with a price point that is incredibly hard to resist.
The new Ghostbusters figures come with 16 points of articulation and stand in a 7-inch scale obliterating the Club Ecto-1 figures in one fell swoop. The bang for your buck continues with the oversized DST packaging that is billed as "display-ready" because of their signature spines for easy shelf reference. Plus, and this is really the coups de grace, the sculpts for the Ghostbusters figures is done by none other than the masters at Gentle Giant. If you are not familiar with their work, then head over to their website and prepare for your jaw to drop. That is a very tough bunch of figure statistics to beat and this first wave is setting a precedent for all action figures derived from a popular film. You are going to want Diamond Select Toys to scoop up every movie property you are a die hard fan of to get this stunning treatment. The wait may have been long, but it absolutely was worth the wait. Let's break down the first three figures available in Wave 1.
A lot of the newer original Ghostbusters fans do not realize that Dan Aykroyd (and fellow Second City alum Harold Ramis aka Egon) wrote the script to the greatest Sci-fi comedy of all time. Ray is really the heart of the Ghostbusters and the most enthusiastic of the team to make investigation and elimination of the paranormal an actual profession. Their have been other iterations of Ray Stantz in figure form but not until DST have we seen such crazy attention to detail and brilliant sculpts. This is Dan Aykroyd at the height of his career captured perfectly with an exact likeness to the famous actor. The piece is absolutely gorgeous with every crease in the Ghostbusters jumpsuit accounted for right down to the famous crest patch on his right arm.
The Ray figure comes with a tremendous amount of extras, furthering the incredible value you are getting in a figure that only costs $25. Another option is to get the TOYS R US Exclusives without the diorama pieces for just $15 a pop! After you see these, you almost feel silly for buying something not made in the Diamond Select way. As if the proton pack and neutrino wand was not enough, Ray also comes with with not one, not two, not three, but FOUR sets of interchangeable hands. Each set is meticulously designed for whatever pose you desire. Want him holding the wand? Check. How about a set with the black gloves rubber cuffs? Covered. Proton stream for the Neutrino wand? Got it. He also comes with a walkie talkie that fits perfectly on the figures utility belt. Throw in the special Ecto-Goggles and this is an absolute home run.
While actor Ernie Hudson is not an "OG" (Original Ghostbusters), he was the first new addition to the squad that really stole the show in his scenes holding his own against three comedy icons. To see him get the DST treatment, in the first wave too which I think sets a precedent for how loved the Winston character has been all these years. It is validation for the character actor who has worked steadily since his breakout as the Ghostbuster who will believe whatever you want him to believe as long as their is a steady paycheck!
The figure does Ernie proud with a ton of gear for this unlikely hero that really did not know what he was getting into. It really is remarkable seeing such care and love put into these figures right down to the pleats and bunching of the uniforms. With a half smile on the facial sculpt replete with a pencil thin mustache, this figure captures the wide eyed innocence of Winston and his accidental entry into the world of the paranormal. The hip swivel, on the Ghostbusters figures (I say this because their are of course some characters being made that are not Ghostbusters, but integral characters from the franchise), is really well done allowing you to make some great movements back and forward. Winston's utility belt is loaded too and he comes with the same extras as Ray (3 extra sets of hands, proton pack, Neutrino wand, proton stream, walkie talkie) but each figure gets his own specialty item and his is the ghost trap! It is absolutely the perfect compliment for the piece and the detail on the trap, right down to the foot lever, is seriously astonishing. The details are all so refined and you just get the sense that this project was a labor of love for DST's Chuck Terceira.
Although Rick Moranis has not been in the spotlight for almost two decades, his contributions to the comedy world are immense. For those that do not know, Moranis left a thriving Hollywood career to raise his family after losing his wife to a battle with cancer. Moranis was yet another Second City alum who had already made his bones in the cult classic Strange Brew but it was Ghostbusters that cemented him as a comedic force.
Moranis plays the quirky, nebbishy accountant in Ghostbusters becoming possessed as "The Keymaster," Vinz Clortho, who is need of the Gatekeeper Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) to release the power of Gozer. The figure is low on extras, save for the diorama piece and is definitely an interesting choice for the first wave. Some have voiced their concern that the Louis figure isn't dead on Moranis, but I disagree. At most angles, the figure still reaches its goal and unless you are looking for something wrong, or to complain about, personally I think its unfounded. Any seasoned GB fan, or novice for that matter, will know who it is. Once I found a solid way to pose him with the two other figures, the likeness seemed to come through better than I had expected. I think that the glasses are the key. And I think that is the most important thing here. The more I examined the figure, with its untucked shirt & wild "electrocution" hair, the more I think it captures Louis and it fits in perfectly with the rest of the introductory lineup of DST figures. Although their are no plans for Rick Moranis to return to Hollywood, he has a terrific legacy that DST has improved upon in spades.
THE FINAL WORD
I was wildly impressed at the Diamond Select Walk-Through at Toy Fair seeing the entire Ghostbusters lineup in all its glory AND the amazing final Rooftop Diorama completed. You honestly do not realize how big the final Diorama is going to be until you take the pieces out from this first wave of figures. Its massive! And its only going to get more exciting with each new wave as you are building a monument to an iconic film in toy form. Its the kind of figures you wished they made way back in 1984 but the technology was just not ready. Now though, you have an opportunity to collect a piece of cinematic history.