As a massive Ghostbusters fan, I was delighted when Brent Waller’s Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Cuusoo submission racked up the necessary 10,000 votes to trigger a review by LEGO and subsequently got the green light to go into production. While slightly disappointed that we understandably wouldn’t be getting the Ghostbusters firehouse in addition to ECTO-1 and the Ghostbusters minifigures, I’ve still been greatly looking forward to getting my hands on the set, and it was therefore with some excitement that I took delivery of a review copy of Set 21108 Ghostbusters a couple of days ago and dived in.
So how did the set turn out ? Read on to find out…
Box & Contents
The box is the same height and width as that of some of this year’s City Traffic sets such as Set 60061 Airport Fire Truck but it’s not as deep. Rather than opening via thumb tabs, the front of the box is secured by tape seals and can be neatly lifted up when the seals are cut, thus avoiding the need for box destruction.
The box art is fairly simple, but that’s no bad thing. A picture of the ECTO-1 model and the four Ghostbusters minifigures against a backdrop of green smoke covers the front of the box, with just the Ghostbusters branding, the LEGO Ideas (formerly Cuusoo) logo, the set number and a “10+” age recommendation for company. The box lid is framed by black and yellow striping like you’d find on the top of a Ghostbusters ghost trap.
The back of the box shows ECTO-1 from behind plus an action shot of Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Winston Zeddemore in minifigure form attempting to capture an unseen ghost and contain it in a ghost trap while Egon Spengler looks on. There’s also a series of smaller images in the form of a film strip which provide some close-ups of the set and remind us that 2014 is the 30th Anniversary of the first Ghostbusters movie. One of the sides of the box (below) highlights the four Ghostbusters minifigures and zeroes in on Egon Spengler at 1:1 scale. Harold Ramis, who played Spengler in the Ghostbusters movies, passed away earlier this year, so it’s fitting that his likeness is getting the star treatment.
Opening the box reveals a chunky instruction booklet and six unnumbered bags of various sizes containing parts. There’s no sticker sheet.
The instruction booklet (front cover below) is surprisingly compact at around 19.5 cm by 12.5cm, and over 100 pages in length with stiff cardboard front and back covers. In addition to the building instructions the booklet is packed with interesting information and amusing touches that will delight Ghostbusters fans. The building instructions are printed against a black background and are generally easy to follow, although it was occasionally tricky to differentiate between dark bley, flat silver and trans clear elements. Interspersed between building steps are some classic quotes from the first Ghostbusters movie – a nice touch.
Additional booklet content includes some backstory and a plot summary of the first Ghostbusters movie, a brief history of ECTO-1, and related photographs and imagery including the photograph below. There are also a few words from Brent Waller, who was responsible for the original Ghostbusters Cuusoo submission, and from Marcos Bessa and Adam Corbally, the LEGO designers who were charged with turning Brent’s designs into a viable LEGO set. Lastly, we get a two page inventory of parts contained within the set, and advertising for LEGO Ideas. The booklet content is excellent, but there’s an issue with the binding – instead of staples a different binding technique has been used, and after just a few minutes of light use the binding started to come apart and pages started to fall out. I hope this is an isolated issue, but I’ll nevertheless be reporting it to LEGO Customer Service.
You can see a selection of the more interesting and/or uncommon elements contained within the set in the picture below. The three printed elements are unique to the set, as I believe are the black whip, the dark red 1 x 1 round plate with open stud, the flat silver 18 degree 2 x 1 x 2/3 slope with 4 slots, the flat silver barbell weight, the flat silver 1 x 1 round brick, and the lime green round 1 x 1 tile. The set also contains a light bley modified 3 x 4 tile with 4 Studs in the center (not shown in the picture) which has previously been seen in black as a Collectible Minifigure stand. The rest of the elements featured in the picture, including the blue 14L pneumatic hose, the white wheel and the white 33 degree 2 x 4 double slope, aren’t unique to the set but have only appeared in at most a handful of sets previously.
The set includes four minifigures – Egon Spengler, Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Winston Zeddemore - all of whom are unique to the set.
Each of the minifigures has a different head print and hairstyle, and fans surely won’t have too much difficulty identifying the Ghostbusters from these alone. The designers have done a good job capturing the essence of the characters through their facial features and expressions, and they’ve also nailed Venkman and Spengler’s hair particularly well I think. Each Ghostbuster has a reversible head print as you can see from the photographs, so when the going gets tough you can rotate the heads and make the guys look suitably stressed out…..
In addition to their readily recognisable face prints and hairstyles, each individual Ghostbuster has a unique backprinted torso, with their initials on the front and their first name on the back. Some artistic licence has been employed here as in the Ghostbusters movies the guys have their surnames, rather than their initials, on the front of their overalls. Similarly, I’d question the colour of the torso, which should really be nearer to grey or dark tan. Such details aside, I have to say that the printing on the front and back of the torsos is crisp and detailed, and the torsos look great.
All the minifigures have generic, unprinted tan legs. Since the torsos have printing at the bottom to represent a utility belt, the plain legs look absolutely fine.
Each Ghostbuster is supplied with a proton pack. These are nicely realised and utilise a few of the new elements mentioned earlier (the black whip, the dark red 1 x 1 round plate with open stud, and the printed black boat stud) to get the authentic movie look. The proton packs attach to the minifigures by way of a black neck bracket with back stud; I’ve chosen to photograph the minifigures above without the neck bracket as with the bracket in place the figures look slightly odd and elongated, but it’s a necessary evil if you want to attach the proton packs.
The minifigures come with a custom display stand, complete with printed Ghostbusters logo. As well as improving the display value of the set, the weight of the proton packs tends to make the minifigs topple over backwards so the display stand is invaluable for keeping the Ghostbusters upright and ready for action. Three of the four guys get accessories - Winston is provided with a ghost trap, Egon and Ray get walkie talkies, and Peter gets…..nothing. After all, the only thing he really needs is a few wisecracks and he’s good to go, right ?
Aside from my comments about the use of initials on the front of the torsos rather than surnames, and some reservations about the choice of tan for the overalls, I really have nothing bad to say about these minifigures – I think they’re superb. Great facial expressions and choice of hair, excellent printing front and back on the torsos, superbly realised proton packs, and even a nice display stand to show them off – fantastic !
With the minifigures and display stand assembled it’s time to tackle ECTO-1. The model is deceptively complex and parts-intensive, and consistent with this, the building instructions occupy 79 pages of the booklet which is fairly substantial even in these days of hand-holding.
The chassis consists of Technic bricks at the front and back connected by large brackets and an 8 x 6 plate; the Technic bricks confer additional strength and have holes through which the front and rear wheel axles pass. A prominent feature of the build is the sheer number of SNOT elements used, predominantly brackets of various shapes and sizes. Use of these elements makes it possible to better reproduce the contours of the vehicle’s bodywork, amongst other things. Despite the number of building steps, I fairly raced through the build and you can see pictures of the finished vehicle from various angles below (click to enlarge).
Overall, I think it’s a nicely proportioned model which does an excellent job of reproducing the subject matter at this scale. In addition to looking good on the outside, it even manages to include a rudimentary interior, although as a result of the relatively small scale it can’t accommodate all of the minifigures and their gear at once. Even so, three figures can fit inside at a time which is I believe more that Brent Waller’s original model could accommodate. As well as the driver’s compartment, the interior features a separate space containing a printed 2 x 2 slope which represents some sort of control panel.
The windows running along either side of the passenger compartment are very elegantly designed, consisting of a stack of transparent panels alternating with light bley 1 x 2 modified plates with arm up. It’s tricky to describe, but basically the stacks lie on their sides with their studs facing towards the back of the vehicle and are held in place by way of the arms on the modified plates which click into clips projecting upwards into the interior of the vehicle. This holds the side windows firmly in place, and also angles them slightly to achieve the best cosmetic effect – ingenious.
The roof is completely covered with lights and mysterious Ghostbusting equipment. It can however be easily removed to provide access to the interior. While it looks as if there are two blue hoses attached to the left side of the vehicle, there is in fact only one hose which loops back on itself; the loop is tucked away beneath the Ghostbusting gear on the roof, although it can be quickly moved out of the way should you wish to pop the roof off.
Other neat features worth mentioning include the front engine grille which utilises a host of metallic (flat silver) elements, the illusion of whitewall tyres via clever use of white wheels plus flat silver barbell weights for hubcaps, and the use of elements printed with the Ghostbusters logo on the sides and back of the vehicle rather than stickers. My only gripe is the slightly awkward styling of the front of the vehicle above the headlights, although I’m not really sure how this could have been improved.
This is far and away my favourite Cuusoo/LEGO Ideas set to date. While I was a little disappointed at how the DeLorean came out and fairly ambivalent about the other previous Cuusoo releases, I have no such reservations about this set which I think is excellent. It’s a fun build, ECTO-1 is robust and well-realised with tons of detail, the minifigures are great, and love and attention have clearly been lavished on the content of the instruction booklet, with only the binding of the booklet causing me concern.
I’m still awaiting confirmation of pricing and a parts count, although a quick totting up of the inventory in the instruction booklet came out at 481 parts total including individual minifigure elements. It’s hard to see anybody with even a passing interest in the Ghostbusters movies being disappointed with this set, and it’s therefore easy to recommend. I believe that it’ll be available from 1st June.
Many thanks to Kim from the LEGO Community Engagement & Events Team for supplying the set for me to review.