Playmobil The Real Ghostbusters 9385 Venkman with Helicopter Playmobil, 2018
Day #2,375: December 22, 2021
Venkman with Helicopter Chopper, cape, skeleton ghost
Playmobil The Real Ghostbusters
Item No.: No. 9385 Manufacturer:Playmobil Includes:Peter Venkman, PKE meter, wand, energy beam, Proton Pack, clear green Skeleton Ghost, headgear, cape, 2 red lightning bolts, chopper, sticker sheet, Ghost Trap Action Feature:Blades spin, cannons shoot water Retail:$19.99 Availability:May 2018 Other:Chopper is the same model used for 4824 Firefighting Helicopter, 5842 Rescue Helicopter, 4423 Press Microcopter. That last one was the first instance I could find, and it was from 2004.
I opened Venkman with Helicopter a few years ago, but due to some complications with the hose parts you must break apart, it sat unreviewed. (I had to order new parts from Playmobil, which shockingly took only three days to get here and more shockingly included some parts for sets that they somehow still had despite the set using it being discontinued over 15 years ago. Playmobil's service is shockingly good.) Now that it's all together, I'm comfortable saying this is a worthwhile - mostly - set. I'd have paid $20 for a Kenner-style Peter Venkman figure, but this also includes a vehicle and a clear green skeleton. Now that Hasbro has shifted mostly to collector and fan stuff, the toys look incredible - but the weird magic we got in the 1980s and 1990s with off-model action toys based on movies that weren't appropriate for the target age group went away. Thank goodness for Playmobil's anachronistic tendencies.
I believe Playmobil's license to make new Ghostbusters products has expired, but you can still find some of these sets pretty cheap. Especially compared to more recent licenses, these are arguably a bargain for a certain kind of fan person my age who is me. (Apologies to Dana Gould.)
Peter reminds me of my old Kenner figure which I got when it first came out - with a couple of exceptions. The hair is much mellower, without the curl - if anything, it's kind of bland. But the costume coloring brown with green trim is dynamite, with the "no ghost" patch on the arm and printed detail all over showing the belts, pouches, zippers, and other elements that don't necessarily need to be sculpted. While the other heads in this line - especially Egon and Ray - look more like the cartoon, Peter's just fine. I'm not amazed, but the costume makes up for it and Playmobil heads are generally best when they're a little generic anyway.
Peter's accessories include the same Proton blast nearly every set in the line includes, in addition to blue Kennerian recolors of the proton pack, ghost trap, and PKE meter with yellow cables. Playmobil opted to mimic some of the Kenner toy colors for the accessories rather than the black colors on the cartoon, which certainly makes me very happy. The wand can be mounted on the backpack, which can hang on the side of the chopper or on Peter's back. Similarly, there's a mounting bracket for the trap too. There realy isn't anywhere for the PKE meter or energy blast to go, so you'll need to take care to not lose them.
He is joined by Playmobil's long-in-service skeleton figure, now cast in clear green plastic. It has a jointed head, arms, and uni-leg. You can clip a black cape over it and for some reason, he has clear red lightning bolts. The bone-colored skeleton - if memory serves - was first released in the 1990s, and now they're doing glow in the dark versions in Novelmore too. It reminds me a lot of the Batman villain Blight, but it doesn't remind me of anything in particular from the Ghostbusters toys or cartoons I remember from when I was a kid. It's a clever use of existing parts, but if Playmobil dropped this figure from the set and dropped the price, I'd not have missed it. (Similarly, if they did something as weird or creative as the Eyeball Ghost or whatever the Clockwork Orange Wolverine Butterfly was, that would be neat too.) I like it. I just don't "get" it here - plus it doesn't really interact with the water-squirting vehicle.
The helicopter is another reuse of a long-serving vehicle mold, and it still holds up. I had to apply a tiny handful of stickers on the blades, with much of the decoration being pre-painted. Some very subtle yellow energy bolts are around the cockpit, in addition to generous slatherings of red and numerous caution markings. A diamond pattern under the blad really stands out, and the caution and no-ghost paint on the back are no slouch either. They really put some money into paint on this one, which is unusual as so many Playmobil vehicles are completely molded in color..
In addition to the places to mount accessories, you can put one figure in the driver's seat and the blades all spin. You can also fill a bladder with water and squirt it out, but I opted to not do this as it's a hassle to dry things out. One feature I particularly got a kick out of was a little loop on top of the blades, so you could hang this from a hook on a ceiling or dangle it from a rope. While most Playmobil toys are terrific models and often very decent replicas, they're not necessarily an action toy. This is an action toy, and feels like something Kenner might have sold in 1988 or later as they started coming up with original vehicles based on the cartoon - but that would never appear on-screen.
Playmobil - like Kenner - will use old molds as long as possible, and this is a fine example of how they got a ton of mileage out of numerous elements. I don't think a single piece of this set was a new mold - but somehow, all of it works as a licensed toy. By coloring an old news helicopter like the Ecto-1, they managed to get even more mileage out of their manufacturing investment and that's kind of amazing. To me, it's a new toy - I didn't have any of the old choppers. It's a great tribute to what may well have been the golden age of licensed toys, where the main characters look just like your heroes from TV but everything else was a fabrication of a toymaker somewhere in Cincinnati.
I assume fans of the movies - or really, anybody but kids or those who can appreciate an oddball action toy - will skip this one. But for those of us who happily got up early on Saturday mornings for The Real Ghostbusters and then stumbled on more episodes in syndication on weekdays that we watched every single day, this is a gleefully daffy throwback and a kind of toy Playmobil seems to already be avoiding. New sets from Star Trek, The A-Team, and James Bond are high-end replicas with pricing to match. There's no Mr. Spock's Space Station, no Mr. T Action ATV, no Odd Job Task Rabbit Action Kit - so far, they're playing it straight. I hope they exercise some toyetic license because I want to see what a Space Away Team Action Set would look like. For now, I'll happily enjoy the sets I already have, and Dr. Venkman can go hunt down ghosts in the Playmobil Old West Goldmine or the Roman Arena. It's kind of nice to have a preposterously big toy line with nearly five decades of history so other action heroes can go visit just about anywhere.
16bit.com is best not viewed in Apple's Safari browser, we don't know why. All material on this site copyright their respective copyright holders. All materials appear hear for informative and entertainment purposes. 16bit.com is not to be held responsible for anything, ever. Photos taken by the 16bit.com staff. Site design, graphics, writing, and whatnot credited on the credits page. Be cool-- don't steal. We know where you live and we'll break your friggin' legs.