Tag Archives: Dan Aykroyd

Lego Ghostbuster Firehouse

IMG_1125It’s been nearly two years since Lego unleashed its version of the famed Ecto-1 from the movie Ghostbusters. It’s been even longer since a concept for that vehicle,, as well as the firehouse appeared online. When Lego opted to only do the Ecto-1 set I thought that was it for the firehouse and Ghostbusters fans would have to make due with one very fine set. Imagine my surprise when an email showed up on my account from Lego advertising the new Ghostbuster Firehouse set. I don’t usually keep up to date with toy news so this came as a shock to me. I was quite delighted with what I saw, but a case of sticker shock tempered my enthusiasm some. I got past that though, and would end up making the most expensive toy purchase of my life.

How much is too much for a set of plastic building blocks? Especially when the purchaser is an adult. I don’t know, but it can’t be much more than the $349.99 MSRP for the Ghostbuster Firehouse. Set number 75827 is indeed a pricey one but it’s also an impressive one. Totaling over 4600 pieces, the iconic firehouse is a mighty 2 feet in height and just as long. Multiple hinges make it very accessible on the interior and the three-floor layout provides optimal space for the nine mini figures and three ghosts it comes with. The interior is surprisingly movie accurate, in particular the first floor with the placement of Janine and Venkman’s desks. Pretty much everything important from the films is present including the fire pole, “dancing” toaster, and containment unit. When compared with the layout of The Simpson house, it blows it away in terms of screen to brick accuracy, which is what many adult collectors care about most.

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A cut-away look at the completed house.

With such a large assortment of pieces, the build process is a slow one. Not being one who has extensive experience with Lego sets, it took me a solid week to complete the set basically spending a couple hours per night. I didn’t try to go too fast and wanted to savor the build as it’s what is most fun about these things. Lego sets are like puzzles but with way better results. Because the building is so large, some parts do get a bit tedious. In particular, the actual exterior of the building. Lego tries to break that process up as much as possible but it’s an unavoidable reality of such a set. Other limitations of the set include the lack of a basement, but Lego made the wise choice to tuck the containment unit in under the stairs. Ecto-1 fits inside, but not all the way without removing Janine’s desk, which is unfortunate, but understandable since the set is already pretty damn big. The bedroom layout is not exact to the film either, but sacrifices have to be made somewhere. Lego still managed to fit all three beds into the room without making it look ridiculous.

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Slimed Peter and possessed Dana.

The set includes nine mini figures and three ghosts, one of which is Slimer. Expectedly another set of Ghostbusters are included. For the most part, they’re the same as the four included with Ecto-1 but with a couple of differences. For one, each character now has the no ghosts logo on their sleeve which looks nice. Winston has a different, and better, hair piece so he looks less like Billy Dee Williams. Venkman is the only true variant though as he comes slimed from his first encounter with Slimer (he too sports a superior hair piece to the one that came with the Ecto-1 set). He looks great and I am particularly fond of his angry face. Janine is also included, as are possessed versions of Dana and Louis. Louis even comes with a second head that includes a chin-strap so he can wear a colander on his head to recreate the scene where Egon checks him out. The library ghost is featured and she has a second hair piece to go from calm book reader to screaming ghoul. The ghost from the taxi cab is also included. He looks good, but is kind of an odd choice since he doesn’t have his car and the set really misses Walter Peck. I suppose Peck is generic enough looking that one could find a decent substitute somewhere. Slimer looks great and has movable arms. The other two ghosts are suitable and kind of remind me of the generic ghosts that came with the old action figures. Three transparent stick-like pieces are included for each ghost to simulate flight. All in all, the set includes a nice assortment of mini figures.

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R.I.P. H.R.

The Ghostbusters come armed with proton packs that have to be assembled. They’re the same as the packs from the Ecto-1 set. They also have traps (which look better than the one that came with the Ecto-1 set) and walkie talkies and Egon has a PK Meter. Clutter abounds in the firehouse in the form of magazines, news papers, and cardboard boxes. They seem simple, but add a nice touch of authenticity. The best little nugget of the set though goes to the sticker on Venkman’s backboard which has a note on it that says “R.I.P. H.R.” for Harold Ramis. Way to make it dusty in here, Lego.

If you love the Ghostbusters and have the extra coin laying around, this is one hell of a set and a fun way to spend some free time. The end result makes for an impressive display and if you have kids that you trust, it’s probably pretty fun to play with too. It blows away that old firehouse toy I had when I was a kid (I love how the fire pole accessory here is basically the same concept as it feels like a callback to my old, beloved, toy) and it’s easily the finest Lego set I’ve ever purchased. I can’t think of another set that would make sense for Lego to produce based on the Ghostbusters. I suppose they could do a rooftop scene from the climax of the first film but I don’t think I’d be interested. A big Lego figure of Stay-Puft would be awesome though! I don’t know if this set is worth $350, but I did have fun with it and I don’t regret my purchase. A job well done, Lego!

 


The Ghostbusters Get the Lego Treatment

IMG_0052It’s been thirty years since Ghostbusters first hit the big screen ushering in a new era of special effects-laden blockbusters.The film made unlikely heroes out of middle-aged comedians Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, and Harold Ramis while lesser known Ernie Hudson got a taste of stardom. The film was immensely successful and soon a cartoon was spun-off from its success which lead to even more opportunities for merchandise. Lots and lots of merchandise.
Ghostbusters is one of those rare franchises that has a lot of appeal for both kids and adults. Many have tried to achieve the same thing, but aside from those that can lean heavily on nostalgia, most fail to achieve the same level of success. The adults had the films, which kids enjoyed as well, while the cartoon was aimed directly at adolescents. The personalities of the main characters were unique to whatever version was being watched with only the broader traits (such as Egon being the brainy Ghostbuster) carrying over.
I was introduced to the Ghostbusters via the cartoon, and as a child, probably assumed it came first. When Ghostbusters 2 arrived in theaters it was a pretty big deal. I liked the films, though my assortment of toys were obviously born from the cartoon. I can recall having at least three of the Ecto vehicles, the firehouse, and numerous action figures. I also remember a Transformers-inspired Volkswagon Beetle that turned into a grasshopper. Sadly, once the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arrived the Ghostbusters began to lose the battle for my attention, and my parents’ money. Most, if not all, of those old toys have been either sold, given away, or tossed, though my love for the original film (and to a lesser extant, its sequel) still exists.

The finished product.

The finished product.

This weekend, Ghostbusters is back in theaters for those who wish to see it on the big screen. If the lure of the theater isn’t your cup of tea, then might I suggest celebrating 30 years of ghost-busting goodness with Lego?
Earlier this year, as part of the 30 year anniversary celebration, Lego released the infamous Ecto-1 in Lego form along with mini figures of the four Ghostbusters: Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston. The set was the result of a fan vote on sets created by avid Lego builders. A firehouse was part of the original fan-set, but sadly Lego passed (with no indication the franchise would be revisited, but who knows?). The Ecto-1 is a solid overall set for Lego collectors and Ghostbusters fans. Its external likeness is nearly spot-on and likely only the most avid Ghostbusters fans can spot any shortcomings. This set is obviously of the Ecto-1 vehicle from the first film, and not the more flashy edition from Ghostbusters 2. It took me a full evening to assemble, and once completed I was more than satisfied with the end result.
The fours figures feature a reasonable likeness to the characters they’re meant to resemble. Lego figures are rather limited in what they can do, but little touches such as the lines on Venkman’s face and Egon’s hair do a solid job of giving these figures some character. I would have preferred to see Lego attempt a receding hairline on Pete, and Winston looks more like Billy Dee Williams than Ernie Hudson, but oh well. Their proton packs are a combination of several Lego pieces and have to be assembled. The end result looks pretty good and Lego’s approach proved accurate. The trap, on the other hand, is just so-so but clearly Lego didn’t want to spend extra cash on creating a unique piece of plastic for one lone set. There’s also a build-able stand to display the figures which is a nice touch considering the majority of those who purchase this will likely be adult collectors.

The fab four ready for some bustin'!

The fab four ready for some bustin’!

When it comes to the actual vehicle in the set, Lego surprises with numerous unique pieces. This means no stickers, which is always a welcomed trait for a Lego set. The doors for the Ecto-1 all have printed Ghostbuster logos on them and even the license plates are sticker-free. The general shape of the Ecto-1 is captured quite well, and the mass of junk on top seems accurate enough. There’s a hose piece that’s a little odd, but it was on the original so it’s here as well! There’s really very little to nitpick here as even the rear wheels are covered by the frame of the vehicle. The only real issue with the car is the scale. It’s slightly under scale to the figures and can only hold three figures, seated single file, at a time. Since most are likely to display the characters on their stand, this isn’t that big of an issue and probably the right move. A vehicle that could actually hold all four figures may have ended up being out of scale for the opposite reason.
All in all, this is a great little set. It will set you back around fifty bucks which is pretty much on par for similar Lego collections, though may be just a tad too pricey for impulse buyers. For those that want to see their beloved Ghostbusters in Lego form, this is damn near perfect. Hopefully Lego reconsiders and comes thru with a firehouse (that’s to scale with the Ecto-1) so I can finally replace the toy one I sold at a yard sale so long ago.


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