“Mattel Fail”

May 19, 2012

It was recently announced that the 6-inch Ghostbusters figure line will be ending soon. To say I’m not surprised would be an understatement. I saw this coming last year when Mattel canceled the Club Ecto Subscriptions. So I figured now would be a good opportunity to look back and see the many mistakes Mattel has made in their Ghostbusters line, that have all led to this colossal failure.

Before the bashing begins, I will start with something positive. The P.K.E. Meter & Ghost Trap props that Mattel made were excellent. They captured all the details and realism any fan could possibly hope for, and all with a decent price too. Though there were still a number of quality control issues, as other fans received defective props.

The Retro Real Ghostbusters figures were another huge blunder by Mattel. I know when I learned that Mattel had plans of figures for The Real Ghostbusters, I fully expected them to give collectors the He-Man & The Masters of the Universe Treatment. Instead what we got were a line of figures that had no tie to the series, or era of the series. The “Mego” style was the worst choice they could have gone with, but the details, or lack there of, made things even worse. All the gear for the Mego Ghostbuster figures were lazy attempts to just reuse movie designs, or the original Kenner Roleplay toy designs. All of these errors easily led to the downfall of this line.

Next were the large 12-inch Ghostbusters Movie figures. I admit I wasn’t too big on getting these figures at the start, but I still got the first four. Now owning the figures, if I could go back, I would NEVER have bought them in the first place. I have never had such a hard time getting a set of figures to actually stand up correctly. Even the Mego figures stand more securely than the 12-inch Movie figures. Plus, there really just is not that much of an appeal for this large style figure. To top things off, the side box artwork that was to come from having the first four busters, was a complete let down with it’s numerous failures by the artist.

Then there’s also the 2011 Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Originally he was an awesome, giant toy for mine, and many other collector’s collections. However, as we later found out, Mattel did not really test everything like they should have. Many collectors, myself included, have found their Stay Pufts to have yellowing arms & legs. Mattel refused to even acknowledge this flaw for a great deal of time. Luckily collectors were not silent and Mattel finally had to look into the issue. This past week they came out saying they found the problem was a chemical reaction in the materials used. They swear they tested it fully before selling him, but if you believe that, I’ve got some swampland & a couple of bridges I’d like to sell you.

Now Mattel did offer a refund to everyone who owns a defective Stay Puft. However, in order to receive the refund, you must send the toy back to Mattel. What’s that you say, you wonder what happens about you wanting a large Stay Puft? Well, you are out of luck. That’s right, Mattel doesn’t care that they made a mistake, and they are taking the path of least resistance to try and get past this black eye. An honest company would never have taken as long as Mattel did to acknowledge this error. Plus, a good business would actually want to repair the yellowed toy parts, but instead Mattel just wants you to get rid of the toy and forget all about it.

Finally we have the six-inch figure line. While I was originally excited by this line, that quickly faded. What we ended up getting instead of an exciting unique line, was a line of several remolds & boring figures. Yes, the four main Ghostbusters are nicely done, as is the Walter Peck with Containment Unit, but the rest fell flat. Can collectors really say that they had been dreaming of having a full team of “Ready to Believe You” coat Ghostbusters? Or how about Peter in his Ghostbusters II Courtroom Suit? Don’t forget the Ghostbusters II Toys R Us pack, where the team looks like they came from the Jersey Shore with their tans. Heck, Mattel even screwed up Vigo by not even coming close to an accurate held sculpt, and giving him grey hair instead of blonde. After attaining the original four Ghostbusters figures, the rest of the line just felt like lazy & desperate attempts to milk more money out of the collector’s wallets.

Even with all these missteps and blatant failures, I feel Mattel’s greatest fault came from the fact that they just did not care. When you look at all the mistakes they made with The Real Ghostbusters figures, as well as the Ghostbusters II figures, you soon realize that Mattel was never a fan of the franchise. Oh, I don’t doubt that some of the employees were fans of the first movie; I’d guess they’d probably seen it 10 times at most. However, if they wanted everything to succeed, they needed to have employees that were fans of EVERYTHING. They needed to know The Real Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II inside and out to get details right. Instead, they wanted to try and fake their way through it all.

At the end of the day, I am satisfied with only a very few items from my Mattel Ghostbusters collection. I stopped buying the figures before the Rookie figure, as there just was no longer any point. I don’t know yet if I will buy the Dana Barrett figure. What I do know is that I will shed no tears over Mattel ending the 6-inch Ghostbusters line. I can only hope that Sony & Columbia will seriously consider revoking Mattel’s rights for make Ghostbusters toys. We need a toy company that actually cares about collectors, instead of profits.



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