As a kid of the 1980s, I loved LEGO, Playmobil, action figures, and video games. And The Real Ghostbusters and tons of other things - I always thought it would be cool if LEGO had one or two sets from licenses to add to their city sets, just for fun. A ghost could menace the Motorcycle Shop, and you could call in Venkman. It was not to be, until recently - and now Playmobil is getting in on it with their first licensed fictional characters. I picked up Slimer as soon as I saw it in stores, in part because it looked like the worst set. I would say this is accurate. The Hot Dog Cart is a mold dating back to at least the early 1990s, and I believe it was also used earlier than that - but I can't find evidence. Like LEGO, Playmobil recycles parts in the name of both efficiency and cost. Compatibility between sets for over four decades just happens to be a handy by-product. Slimer can use the same accessories as the figures I grew up with, which is great because the set is mostly excellent. It has but one flaw, and we'll get to that.
This set is a toy that rewards toy collectors. If you've never bought any Playmobil before, it's a nice set. If you have a collection, you're going to love this.
Make no mistake about it, you're paying $17 for Slimer. The cart has been used previously for hot dogs and ice cream in other themes, and it's a heck of a nice accessory - but Slimer is the one big new piece in the set. He has a hole in his bottom you can use to mount him on a pole if you have such an accessory around. His construction is pretty good - not as rock-solid as other creatures and apparitions, but good. You can see a little gap between his green skin and off-white teeth, and there's a tiny gap at the top of his head that could be used to pry him apart. The arms plug in to the body, and the range of articulation is amazingly good - or, typical Playmobil. The figures have ball-jointed shoulders and swivel wrists, so the figure can wave his arms around and actually move food right in front of his mouth. This is fantastic - you can put the soda straw, hot dog, or hamburgers right in his mouth. The Green Ghost's eyes are painted black and very expressive, with a painted pink mouth to help bring it to life. If you have some sort of umbrella stand or other pike, you can have him floating around. If the set had such a stand, it would be the best thing in the world - instead, it's just pretty good. At this point I assume this is the only Slimer we'll ever see, unless they do a clear or glow-in-the-dark variant in another set some day. I can only assume this would happen if they did some sort of figure/ghost sets on the cheap, or continued the line with the characters from the new movie or classic cartoons.
Assembling the figure and cart is speedy. The umbrella has 4 stickers, the cart has a handful of labels, and the condiments require a sticker to be wrapped around them as well. The cart snaps together quite nicely, with a whole cooking area plugging into a socket with all sorts of lids and sneeze guards. It's impressive, except for just one part - the umbrella's pole. The light grey accessory is made of rubbery plastic, while traditionally these have come in a hard plastic that stays upright. This one sags. I'm trying to seek out a good replacement because it's already sagging minutes out of the box, I can't imagine how awful it will be in a year or two. It's not good enough - the rest of the cart is dang near perfect with its grill, cooking surfaces, a yellow basket with soda bottles, and places to store food. And rolling wheels. It's just lovely, as is Playmobil's old-school way. A lot of these older sets were engineered perfectly and can really only be improved with more paint and stickers. This one adds stickers. And that terrible rubbery pole.
A new innovation in this set are green silicon slime splatters in various shapes. They cling to one another or a clean flat surface, so the splotches can hang on the glass display case or on the side of the cart. They're sort of like Colorforms, and I assume this means it is imperative you keep them clean to function. They cling nicely without adhesive, and are a nice optional accessory for the set.
The figure with the cart has no name, but looks like the epitome of 1980s New York street vendors as seen on TV and in the movies. He has that hat, that sweater, and that apron to give the look of a guy who's been doing this for a long time and will continue to do so for decades to come. The figure is pretty much the same as every Playmobil figure in that it can stand, sit, and hold his gear with zero fuss. The buck is perfect, and everything just works. Except that friggin' umbrella pole. Also he's a little scruffy, so that's a plus.
This is Playmobil's first licensed theme based on a work of fiction - NHL Hockey seemed to do just fine, and How To Train Your Dragon is next on the docket. Funko co-licensed Playmobil and various things for jumbo figures, but Playmobil is doing them in the regular size. I've often felt that Playmobil could rule the world if it picked up a few licenses, as a Batmobile or Ecto-1 could do wonders in your growing Playmobil city collection. This is a real toy, with lots of parts and pieces to lose. It's also kind of ridiculous, given that Slimer could have been included in literally any other set. They know the green guy is popular, so you're going to have to shell out to get him, I'd argue he's worth it if you are in to toys of this nature. I'll probably cave in and buy another set before I finish photographing the set for review. The entire collection is under $200, which is pretty good when you compare it to Kenner's 1980s line and inflation. Now where is my Playmobil Fearsome Flush?
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