Playmobil The Real Ghostbusters 9388 Stantz with Sky Bike Playmobil, 2018
Day #2,328: August 12, 2021
Stantz with Sky Bike Figure, bike, weird designer art ghost
Playmobil The Real Ghostbusters
Item No.: No. 9388 Manufacturer:Playmobil Includes:Ray Stantz, PKE meter, wand, energy beam, Proton Pack, Eyeball Ghost, headgear, 4 launching rockets, bike, sticker sheet, Ghost Trap Action Feature:Rockets fire, Bike wings open and close to simulate wings Retail:$19.99 Availability:May 2018 Other:Shares parts with 5288 Top Agents 2 Skybike from 2012, 2021 Back to the Future Part II 70634 2015 Hill Valley, and more in between
It took a few years, but I finally opened my Stantz with Sky Bike set. It's neat! Also I was looking up reviews of it, and didn't see anything substantial beyond a picture or two and "oh it's good" which is basically about as valuable as a book report summarizing the back cover. Given that this set is now a few years old, and as of my writing this selling for about half price on Amazon, shouldn't people have been buying these by the bucketload? Yes. It's a good set with an unsettling original design for a ghost monster.
This set draws inspiration from The Real Ghostbusters cartoon I loved as a kid, but also Kenner's matching action figure line with its non-cartoon vehicle and a ghost I certainly don't remember from when I watched the show. Ray seems like something that would match a real 1980s release, while the bike - with the splatter slime - feels a bit more like a late 80s or early 90s design, while the eyeball ghost is straight out of late 80s gross-out toy land. This feels like an absolutely wonderful original design made by someone who knows, likes, and understands toys of that specific era.
Ray feels very Kenner - there's a blue proton pack with a yellow cable, just like the old 1980s figure. His goggles are colored to match, and flip up nicely. There's a blue PKE meter, a matching ghost trap, and of course the obligatory proton wand blast effect you can clip on to the neutrino wand. It's great! The colors match the cartoon design of Ray pretty well, and the printing is clean and generally excellent.
His companion is a bizarre designer art toy that somehow crept into a Playmobil set - with one bulging eye, another removed an dplaced in his hand, and a grotesque smile - also a blacked-out socket from where the eye was - this is probably one of the most disturbing Playmobil figures I've ever seen. It's brilliant. If they sold this thing for $20 in a gallery by itself it'd probably have sold better - in this set, a generic sheet ghost, or Slimer, or something from the series would've probably helped to sell the package. With the somewhat visible bones, the green hair, the tattered clothes, and the absolutely horrifying face, I can't really understand why it's even part of a licensed set like this. The artists behind it did a great job, but in this context, one has to ask "why?" Or maybe "Why not?" since they got something creative and weird out, and I assume down the road that this blue creep is going to be why people will want this set. Ghostbusters fans will come and go, but a weird figure is forever.
While $20 for the figures alone is rather expensive, the sale prices I'm seeing online - $12 or so shipped - is arguably a bargain. And that's before we even get to the vehicle part.
The Sky Bike assembles quickly and is mostly good - one of the wheels on mine doesn't spin very well, and two of the rockets are a little loose in the launchers. But other than that, it's basically a lot like an old Kenner M.A.S.K. toy in that it's a bike, and then it has pop-out wings for a flight mode. It's a real toy! More specifically, it's a redeco of an old non-licensed toy, which is also the kind of thing Kenner was famous for doing in the 1980s. It clicks together easily and the flick-rockets fire pretty far. Unfortunately, they don't necessarily hold in place - so the clear, neon green projectiles could fall out if you aren't careful. The vehicle has no problems holding a standard adult figure in pants, plus there's a nice mounting area for the proton pack. Unfortunately, there's no on-board storage for the beam, the trap, or the PKE meter - so expect to lose those if you aren't careful.
The design is pretty slick, with lots of great printing and just a few stickers. The big red stripes, caution markings, and diamond plating are pre-painted - as is the slime splot. You have to put on the dashboard, the brake lights, and of course the PKE and ghost trap stickers. It's almost TRON-like in its design, and in the right colors would probably scratch that particular retro-itch nicely. The pop-out wings add a bit of imaginative fun to the toy, but it doesn't really interact with the ghost figure (beyond it being able to pilot it) so this is strictly a one-person vehicle.
Playmobil's reuse of old tooling is something of a legend, with some figures and accessories being in service for decades - this one in particular was available on and off for at least eight years, and may well be redecorated again as Playmobil figures out what it wants to do for pop culture sets. Most of the 2021 reveals tend to be very by-the-book products, but this one carries a lot of that retro toy whimsy we don't see anymore. And probably for good reason - most kids ages 4-11 want screens, not toys, and older fans tend to push for the utmost authenticity. They're more likely to want the Ecto-1 or Ecto-1A, and a $20 bike like this is somewhat expensive for a novelty - but that's why the blue ghost makes it so interesting. It looks like an Aquabats villain, or an old Ed "Big Daddy" Roth sketch, or something out of Madballs. As a set it holds together nicely, but since we're overwhelmed by new, adult-focused collector toys, it just sort of fell by the wayside and probably didn't get the love it deserved. Well, I like it. For half price, you should go ahead and treat yourself. It's weird enough to make it fun and I got my money's worth here.
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