Playmobil Ghostbusters Ecto-1A Playset (70170)
Recommended for ages 6-12
When I first read Hans Holzer’s Ghost Hunter back in the 1970’s I never imagined that paranormal spelunking would become the cottage industry of popular media in the next millennium and a staple of cable television programming. In retrospect, and IMHO, one of the prime catalysts for this phenomena was 1984’s Ghostbusters.
Though beaten to the screen by Poltergeist, Ghostbusters updated and redefined the moribund “a-haunting we will go” spook comedy formula for the burgeoning MTV generation. As they did with Animal House and The Blues Brothers, Saturday Night Live ex-patriots including Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis applied their inventive spin to the genre and created a unique reboot.
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the release of Ghostbusters Playmobil has created a toy set filled with goodies based around the ghost battling team’s sweet ride, the Ecto-1A. The car’s classic Miller-Meteor Ambulance/Hearse design exudes a sleek 1950’s Cadillac vibe – gotta love those tail-fins. The nearly 13” replica is meticulously detailed to the specs of the Ghostbusters II 1A updates including the second “no ghosts” logo. Tricked out with its roof mounted ectoplasm tracking apparatus it yields an impressive silhouette.
Like their licensed Dreamworks’ D3 Dragons sets Playmobil’s Ecto-1A comes loaded with extras. All four ghostbusters (Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Winston Zeddemore and Egon Spengler) are supplied with the kit. They are of course presented in Playmo person countenance and each is outfitted with plenty of removable gear. Yes, there is room for all the members to ride inside the 1A and gear can be packed too. Access to the interior is gained by removing the roof panel and the back hatch opens to fit your ghost trap. Flexible hoses attached to the Slime Blowers and parts of the car are a nice touch.
Don’t be “a-scared” when you first open the box. While there are plenty of bits and pieces to put together, the well illustrated, full color, instruction booklet will guide you through the assembly process in proper order. Building the kit is part of the fun, and as rewarding as playing with the finished toy.
That said, kids may need some help from parental units or an older sibling to get the tires onto their hubs and three AAA batteries must be loaded behind a panel secured by a screw in order to run the electronics. Otherwise the build was a simple snap together method.
I suggest paying extra attention to where the decals/stickers go. They add intricate detail to the finished piece.
Lights and sounds are activated by separate buttons on the upper array of the car. A flashing cherry top, and front and back multi-colored led panels add a nice kinetic touch as you roll along. Alarm sound effects run through one cycle and auto shut, saving battery power. Though not electronically operated the “Ghostbusters” and “We’re Back…for Hire” signs on either side of the roof appear to be scrolling through use of the good old lenticular effect.
Ghosts in the OS…
There is also a digital feature to the play-set accessed via the downloadable Playmobil App for iOS and Android. The instructions say there are four different ghosts to capture in the included hologram cone. We’ll be exploring and reporting on that part of the action in the near future.
Andy and I have been looking forward to this release since we first spied it at Toy Fair 2019. Overall, I think the appeal of this product goes beyond the age range listed. Fans of Ghostbusters collector’s items should be happy to sit this piece on a display shelf.