Mattel’s Retro Action: The Real Ghostbusters aka The Gangs all here (well, almost)

I call this one, "Ghostbusters under glass". Er, I mean plastic. Whatever. I've got the set so there!


Once again I turn your attention to the guys who chase down the bumps in the night. Well actually, these Ghostbusters went to work all hours of the day and night, but primarily on Saturday mornings. And the fiends that struck terror were actually very brightly colored more reminiscent of a Rainbow Bright doll than say Pinhead from Hellraiser. Oh well, they’re still fun.

Having touched on Egon already… ( ) I’m going to do my best to avoid any unnecessary redundancies in this review. The bodies are still greatly improved from earlier Retro Action Assortments and the Velcro fasteners on the back of the jumpsuits still please me more so than the snaps found on the Retro Action Super Heroes. With those two main commonalities pointed out let’s get down to the business of reviewing this terrific trio of tortured soul terminators. It’ll be fun!

Point #1. What it is.

Mattel’s Retro Action: The Real Ghostbusters Ray, Winston, Peter and Egon

Point #2. Where they came from.

You've seen one RA Ghostbusters backer card, you've seen 'em all.

Again this line is a Toys R Us Exclusive however I acquired all of mine through ebay by way of my now good pals at Page 3’s Game Zone ( and another fine e-tailer Kokomo Toys ( I offer up both if them as very reputable dealers. And I also direct you to their personal websites versus their ebay listings so you can get what YOU want without these fine folks getting jacked on the latest round of ebay fee increases. I may be a great example of “a fool and his money” but I do know when enough is enough when it comes to sellers fees on ebay.

Point #3. The Good.

Along with the Standard Issue Proton Pack, Ray also comes with this... um.... super dooper turkey baster?

Nothing beats a complete set. Well the set as it stands so far (we’ll get to my gripe in a second). The cartoon accurate look along with the accessories really adds a great deal of value to these toys. And I would be remiss in not pointing out the fact that all but one of these figures have a really cool, cartoon accurate accessory outside of the standard issue Proton Pack. And while Dr. Venkman does not come with any extra special gadget, the fact that this one doesn’t suck body wise (as compared to the SDCC exclusive) is  good enough for me.

Mr. Zeddemore here is the only Ghostbuster to come with a trap so I hope he never takes a weekend off.

Another thing about the accessories is that they do fit well in the hands of these Real Ghostbusters. There is a slight drawback but I’ll get to those points in a moment. For now though I want to stress that it is really cool to see that Mattel has went the extra mile to offer up 8 inch scale accessories that really do augment this line greatly.

Venkman is so cool he needs no extra accessory. Unless of course you count his charm and smarmy attitude.

The head sculpts for Peter and Ray are also nice interpretations of the 2 D characters. Winston’s likeness is lacking but in all actuality I’m just glad he was made at all. Still I do have to admit that when I look at these guys lined up and compare them to the images from the cartoon, Winston here looks more like a guy playing Winston more so than the real deal. I’ll consider him Winston’s stunt double Carl. While they don’t really look alike, through the cameras lens during the fast action shots, he’s close enough.

Point #4. The Bad.

Of all the GB's Winston's sculpt is lacking in the likeness department.

To show that I am a fair review and not always “Yay Mattel!” I’m going to do a bit more complaining than what your used to reading from me dear reader. The reason isn’t that I’m wanting to improve my “street cred” and show you that I really am an “old school thug that will slap you down when called for” it’s really just a matter of what I believe is poor planning / consideration Mattel took with this line.

To really make the collection complete we MUST HAVE Slimer. Janine would be nice but the Ghostbusters without Slimer is like peanut butter without jelly. Considering the kick that Mattel has been on with the whole “build-a-figure” concept I think they really missed a great opportunity here for a Do it yourself Slimer. One arm with Egon, one with Ray, The Lower body with Peter and the Upper Body and Head with Winston.

For those out of the toy loop real quick 411- “Build –a- Figure” refers to the way Mattel has included different body parts with different figures in a particular wave to create a complete figure. Great marketing concept considering you have to buy each figure in the Wave to complete this super exclusive figure or pay through the nose for the bits and pieces on ebay.

I also mentioned that the line is lacking Janine. Honestly this really isn’t that big of a deal to me. Sure she was an important character on the cartoon but not as important as Slimer. Considering she is pictured on the back of the card I would almost bet that she will be a Matty Collector Exclusive. That would make sense to me. The same think with Mr. Stay Puft. He really had no role in the cartoon series anyway.

Another thing that I have to comment about is the “retro” art style they have applied to this particular backer card. Why? This show is from the 80’s not the 70’s. The off center layouts really doesn’t work. If anything they wanted to stay true to the “Retro” feel they should have used photos of the toys instead of the animated images. That’s the way it was done in the 80’s. I’m just saying.

And finally my last gripes, The body improvements are nice, but posing is a bit limited. When taking some of the group shots I had an idea to actually have the guys zapping the CTVT Ghost but to pose them with their Proton Shooters was next to impossible. Also while the accessories are great to have the plastics used on the ghost trap and the super doper turkey baster/ thermometer is too stiff to adjust. Still not a “bring me their heads” foul but a bit of a n annoyance.

Point #5. Why I like it.

The likeness to the cartoon image is good but should be a bit chubbier in both face and body IMO.

After all of that how can I possibly say I like these figures? Simple. For me these figures are a great throwback to the final days of major network Saturday morning dominance. In 1986 the networks hadn’t lost their market share to Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, The Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, etc, etc, etc.

Exactly the same head sculpt as the SDCC exclusive.

And even though the cartoons were quickly and

cheaply made with numerous corners cut in the animation process, those once a week offerings were golden. “What are you talking about Jim?” It’s nostalgia, but not just for the show and characters but for an entire pop culture genre that really doesn’t exist anymore. For Pete’s sake you can even buy the complete series of the Real Ghostbusters cartoons fro back to back viewing versus once a week. I guess the affection I feel (and perhaps you too) for pre 90’s cartoons may be because they were rare so to speak. And the weekly wait between installments made the heart grow fonder. Pardon me while I wipe away my tears of nostalgia that are coupled with sighs of old age. And yes I meant “sighs” and not “signs”.  I guess Mattel’s marketing isn’t as lacking and misguided as I thought. Damn you Matty. Damn you.

Point #6. Why you should or shouldn’t get one.

Why you should:

I was wanting more of an action pose for this shot but honestly it was a bit tough to get the hands, arms and proton packs to cooperate.

These guys are a colorful assortment of fun. They also meet with every other reason as to “why you should” that I’ve mentioned with other reviews of the Retro Actions. The only thing that I can really had for these guys specifically is that they are a team and regardless of a personal favorite one without the other three just seems off balance and wrong.

Why you shouldn’t:

"Oh Crap!"

From a quality standpoint there is no reason whatsoever that I can really point out. The only concern might be that the line end here and no factory made Mattel Slimer gets made. That really would be a bummer.

In Conclusion

With my list of gripes I can’t honestly say that this complete line is a true out of the park homerun for Mattel. I will however say it is a pretty fair “bases loaded with Matty at the bat” offering. Now let’s just hope that Matty doesn’t strike out and leave us all hanging with no Slimer or Janine. Still though it is a fun looking line that for me fills up some of my Nostalgia cup. It’s just not quite enough to make it “runeth over”. Now – Go Play! – Jim 06/08/11

The RA Ghostbusters a re bright and welcome addition to the Toy Box crew and collection.


* Extra note slash plug… If you are by chance interested in picking up one of the CTVT Gruesome Ghosts for your Ghostbusters to kick the crap out of may I recommend my pal Vini in OKC. He’s a very upstanding seller and a very nice guy too. The figure is what it is and not his or my fault. But Vini does have the best price around on all of the CTVT stuff that he has in stock. Check him out… Tell him Jim sent ya!


Jim Bumgardner is a 20 year veteran of the broadcast industry and currently serves as the news director for television station TKO 8 in Harrison, Arkansas. Jim is the father of two the husband of one and firm believer in the power of toys for both the mind, body and soul. You can contact Jim via email at or visit his website at


All images and products are the sole copyrighted property of it’s respective owners. Specialty photographs and graphic work used for this article were done by Jim at the TKO 8 Studios located at 500 N. Main St in Harrison, Arkansas. “Little Jim” was created by Dawn O’Connell of Little Buddies Action Figures. Learn more about getting your own Little Buddy at

Author: Jim Bumgardner

Jim's Toy Box features programming that is inspirational, uplifting and motivational all the while offering encouragement to those who wish to make the most of this life in preparation for the next.

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