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First Look – Ghostbusters Slime Blower Winston Zeddemore

Well, it is going to be several days before we get to the bottom of the latest review sample box sent over by Mattel. The great thing(s) about that is there is a wide array of different lines we will be covering and tons of pictures for you to peruse. We have finished off the Masters of the Universe portion so now we are moving on to another beloved property that has its roots in the 1980s – the Ghostbusters! There has been some shifting around in the release calendar as of late for this line, but it looks like Matty has everything ironed out for the rest of the 2011. Coming in the June 15th sale is the third release of the year – Slime Blower Winston from Ghostbusters II. As you will remember, he was originally supposed to be the first figure out of the blocks this year but Mattel did us a major solid by going back to the design and made some changes to the figure based off of collector feedback. Well, the fruit of their labors has arrived just in time for his on-sale date next week and we have the rundown ready to go for you.

Slime Blower Winston Bio

You know, I think the GB2 gets kind of a bum rap. I mean, there was no possible way that it would not be held up against the genius original, but really most movies (in my opinion) would have a hard time eclipsing that bright light. On its own, I actually enjoy part two quite a bit. Of course it is not as good as the original, but it is serviceable in its ridiculousness and is certainly one of those movies that, when I see it as I flip through the channels, I stop and keep it on. I dunno, I guess there is just something comforting about seeing that group of guys together again, knowing that the ‘busting continues, even if it did not end up like they had envisioned (they got stiffed on the whole Gozer bill by a bureaucratic bookworm). Plus, it has Vigo. If you have been reading our First Looks for a while, you will surely be bored to tears with all of the Vigo quotes and references that I have made, so I will refrain for now (keeping fingers and toes crossed for him to be revealed as the final figure of the year), but Vigo makes GB2 a lot of fun for me.

Smile for the close-up!

Another thing about the sequel is that it takes a very strong aspect of the original, the gadgets and “little toys”, and amps them up and expands upon the library. Yeah, GBI brought us Proton Packs, PKE Meters, traps and the colander helmet, but 2 has tons of cool new stuff to wonder at as well. The best of all of the new implements (with no disrespect to that twisty thingee Ray uses to analyze the Vigo painting) is the Slimeblower back pack. As you know, that is central focus of this release and the first time ever (I believe, but it might have shown up in the vintage Kenner line) that we have gotten one in plastic form. Frankly, this “accessory” alone would have the potential to put this latest Winston figure near the top of all of the Ghostbusters figures released thus far, and while we will examine it in detail, there are a lot of other aspects about this figure that make it a major success.

"Football Pads" detail

However, it was almost not meant to be. If you need a quick rundown of the history of this figure, there is a very good reason why it was bumped by six months from its originally scheduled release date of January 17th. Way back last summer at SDCC SB Winston was shown along with several other GB reveals for 2011. During the Mattypalooza panel he certainly garnered the most praise for a release as this is one of the most sensible variants that the GB line could possibly offer. However, once fans got a chance to really look him over a major flaw was discovered: the slime blower, the major crux of the entire figure, was hopeless undersized. Yeah, to say there was a strong reaction to this misstep is a bit of an understatement, and really, it was warranted. I mean, the original figure did not even have the “football pads” harness. It’s kind of a big deal. However, we would not be left in the lurch.

Matty went back to the drawing board with the whole rig and made several corrections to bring it up to standard. First, the back pack tanks were brought up to size and the padded harness was added to fill out the details. I will get to the examination of the final product in a moment, but making that change was a major step for the line. Often times, due to tight and tedious production schedules coupled with marketing deadlines, once a figure has been revealed to the buying public, it is too far along in the process to make any changes. The thing is, if Mattel would have held to the original release date for Winston, I would have believed it. However, they did the right thing in my opinion: they took the time, delayed the released and did the figure CORRECTLY. I truly feel that this is the best way to go, when it is possible. Now, I know that if you move something around another figure needs to be ready to step up and take the release slot so a lot of balls need to be in the air at any given time, but if it is possible this move makes for a much more satisfying release.

Blower Gun Detail Right
Blower Gun Detail Left

I am a firm believer that constructive collector critique goes a long way in improving any action figure line, and I am also a firm believer in giving absolute and due credit. So, fans of the GB line, well done with this. While there was some outrage at first, the feedback that was provided was, for the most part, well put and well placed. I am also giving Mattel absolute credit for making the choices and changes that they made because in this case, and in my opinion, they made all of the right ones. They originally showed us a sub-par figure and they listened, went back and ultimately delivered one of, if not THE, best figure in the line. I know this drawn out process will not always be possible of course, but man, what a difference it made. Bravo to the GB teams, you guys done good. If you go down the list, from any given showing they changed the slime blower, the harness, the belt, the gloves and I *think* the head too. That is a considerable amount of effort put into a figure that really deserved it. This is a very positive story.

Cool and Functional hairdos

So yeah, when you put all of those things together you should get an awesome figure, right? In this case, absolutely. From a top to bottom figure release, I am pretty sure that this is my favorite figure in the line so far. There is so much to talk about here, especially for a line that does rely on a lot of part sharing, but really the sharing in this case has become almost moot because even though Winston’s body is almost completely reused from before, you will barely notice. So to get into detail, where do we start? Well, let’s see about that titular slime blower, shall we?

First off, and as already mentioned, it is in the proper scale which is great. This pack goes a long way in making for Winston’s iconic look from film two and the detail put into it makes him definitive. The large center tank of the purple goo spewer (dirty!) come up over the top if Winston’s head and has the big strip of caution tape down the back. The two side tanks (which I assume provide the pressure required for propulsion) have the gauges at the top and the hoses that connect to the bottom of the central storage tank. The most detailed portion though is the “gun” portion. It is attached to the pack with two small and flexible hoses and contains the two requisite handles for wrangling such a massive conveyance device. I know there are a lot of very detail-oriented GB fans out there (especially when it comes to the equipment) so they will correct me if I am wrong, but to me it looks like Mattel got all of the little details on this just right. It also occurred to me that you can pose Winston a lot more naturally holding this than even the standard proton wands. The regular pose looks like it came right out of the movie and if you have easy access to the Statue of Liberty, you will have her dancing in the streets in no time. So, the major selling point of this figure is also the strongest feature.

Tripod Trap

Now, looking at the mass on this thing will make you realize that lugging one around by normal seatbelt straps is basically a recipe for shoulder lacerations. So thankfully, Mattel also added the harness to the figure. The affectionate “football pads” moniker is aptly placed, if they Ghostbusters go out of business (again) Winston can join the offensive line of the New York Giants in this thing. They are as big and bulky on the figure as they are in the movie, but the pads also do not inhibit the articulation, and that is always a plus. He has an entirely new torso piece, but it is very similar to the standard version, except the, you know, the pads. Either way, it works. I like that they cause the tanks to ride up higher on figure and they have details (like the plates on the front) that I have never noticed before. Coupled with the tanks, the harness makes for a very cool get-up for this figure and if I had one nit to pick it would be that there is not a “slime stream” (like the proton stream) included with the figure. I think it could have looked really cool though I understand that the color and shape of the slime coupled with the shape of the gun could look slightly suggestive. If you have a mind for such a thing of course.

Winston also comes with another new toy introduced in the second film, the tripod trap used to catch the ghosts in the fine crystal store. I must admit that, even in a line completely dedicated to the movies, I never thought that we would actually get this trap. I mean, it was in the movie during a montage scene for about three seconds. That is Star Wars-like completion here. I am sucker for getting any piece of Ghostbusters equipment in this line though, so I will welcome it for sure. It looks movie accurate and I think it will go well hanging out in the vintage Firehouse play set in my GB set up. This is not an “everyday trap” and is utilized under very specific situations, but it is good to have one at the ready because us just never know when a pretty pesky poltergeist is going to invade your local Waterford Crystal store. It is a nice touch that it can turn on the stand and the three little beam projector whatswhosits can rotate into different positions.

Every Buster has function!

For the figure itself, Winston has the regular GB legs and boots (neatly tucked in as he is no Venkman), arms and the belt with the yellow thing from the GBII box set. So, if you have any of the previous GB releases you will know what to expect in terms of articulation. He has the proper glove hands that have seen a few releases now and retains the yellow tubing that goes from leg to pack (or vice-a-versa). I am glad that the design team took note of the accurate color for his jumpsuit as well. While the busters wore those gray suits briefly in the movie (and for a lot of press pictures which is why I think so many people think they are the standard movie two togs), by the time the slime blowers came into play, they were all back to the standard tan uniforms.

On Patrol

Finally, this Winston features an all new head sculpt that is hilariously accurate to the movie. For some reason the GB team has been able to nail Winston’s look (more so than any of the others) in this line and this new sculpt is no exception. Winston has traded in his mustache for a clean shaven, toothy smile – I guess he took a quick bath in some of that positively charged slime to counteract his previous dip in the underground river. His haircut is also dead on and speaks to the time and place of the movie. Yes, it is totally in style for the late 80s, early 90s, but it also runs deeper than that: hip-hop(?) living joke Bobby Brown provided the new GB song for the movie so Winston had to play it extra cool for his scenes and bring some popular influence. Someone had to counter act Ray hopelessly dancing to He-Man chants at kiddy parties and even though Venkman is extra cool, he doesn’t have the most happening hairdo. It looks good, but it is also the spot of my one hang-up with the figure: he suffers from a little bit of that “looking up” syndrome that has snuck its way into several different lines. It is not bad, but you can see it, especially when compared to the other GB figures. I will be interested to see if it is just this sample (I hope) or if it is an application issue. Like it said, it is not as apparent as I have seen in past figures, but it is there. Otherwise, I think they nailed the likeness.

Yeah, you still need a Proton Pack
Time to Jet!

In simple terms, Slime Blower Winston is in the running for best Ghostbusters figure yet. On a higher level though, the saga of the lifespan of this figure is really a good action figure story. What started off as a potential large misstep was made great through fan vigilance and Mattel going the distance. It has been an opportunity to “make it right” and in a way, acknowledge a mistake and proving they can do better. This is the internet, it was invented for complaining (and nudie pictures) but I think the action figure community at large can be passionate about dislikes but forthcoming enough to extend praise. It is nice when we can see the latter play out. I hope once people get this figure in hand we will see the ultimate reaction and go from there. Winston is a great looking figure and his story is even better – it has the same feel-good vibes as being doused with the positively-charged slime. I am excited for Ray to come along later this year as I know he will be done right in terms of his equipment. Now, if we can just get a new Aykroyd head sculpt… Anyway, be on Matty at noon on the 15th, you won’t want to miss this one.

Ray, we'd like to shoot the monster

*Thanks once again to the crew at Mattel for sending along this sample for review. I am really looking forward to what SDCC will reveal for this line.

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3 thoughts on “First Look – Ghostbusters Slime Blower Winston Zeddemore

  1. Make other figures Mattel. Your Ruining the ghostbusters line for me. Let me guess what the next figure is…. It’s ray going to the store figure. God make other characters other than the ghostbusters

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