In 2018, McFarlane's Stranger Things line moved into figures from the second season of the hit Netflix show and as an exclusive for Gamestop in the US, a 4-pack was created of the Dustin, Mike, Will and Lucas in their Halloween Ghostbusters costumes. The set would get a wider global release via the McFarlane distribution channels, and here in the UK was sold via specialist retailers including Forbidden Planet.
Up to this point, the McFarlane Stranger Things figures had used retro 1980's style blister cards for the single releases. For the 4-pack, a more traditional window box was utilised to show all four figures and elements from the card back were translated over such as the race track borders and the 80's movie poster montage to the right hand side that wraps round onto the spine.
The Netflix logo sits top left, while the Stranger Things logo sits on the bottom rail alongside the set name which is given as GHOSTBUSTERS with the characters name listed underneath. The back of the box is split in two with one half in blue and one in red separated by another double tramline border. The blue side shows off the four figures in the set, while the red half acts as a checklist of other releases showing off figures from Wave 1 and 2 as well as the Exclusive Barb figure (also sold at Gamestop) and the squeezable dart. I think it is a neat touch that McFarlane use their older logo on the back a another nod to the nostalgia of the 80's.
The figures are all securely strapped into an inner tray by means of thick white cable ties that do ruin the look of the set if it is being kept boxed. Considering the exclusivity of the set when it was first released a more subtle method of fastening could certainly have been executed. Each figure sits next to their proton packs, with further accessories sat next to their heads. The inner plastic tray is firmly strapped through and to the backing card. And on the base of the backing card we have taped display stands for each figure.
Paint & Sculpt 2.5
I will start with the Lucas figure, as played by Caleb Reginald McLaughlin. The head sculpt is probably the best likeness in the set, although the paint apps does make Lucas look as though he has frost forming on his lips and eyebrows. Lucas is wearing the 80's Halloween Ghostbusters costume which is a soft cream base colour with no other paint apps. This base colour of the uniform - used on all four figures - is not wholly screen accurate and what we should get is a colour closer to the original GB uniforms from the 1984 movie in a very light drab olive colour.
The Ghostbuster logo sits on the right arm and the nameplate on the left side of the chest. Lucas is dressed up as Winston and has the name Zeddemore on the plate. He is wearing a pair of grey trainers.
Moving on to the Will Byers figure, and we have a direct re-use of the body from Lucas with the nameplate updated to Spengler. Will is very slight in the show and both shorter and slimmer than Lucas so the re-use smacks of a decision of convenience and cost saving. The head is a new sculpt and features the bowl cut that Will has in Season 2. The likeness to actor Noah Schnapp is OK, but not fantastic. Will is wearing black trainers with white stripes.
Will's costume in the show was a slightly different colour, so the cream is more accurate here but still off vs the on screen costumes.
Mike is the worst head sculpt in the set. It is another new one, but comes in looking deformed and not even close to actor Finn Wolfhard. Mike has a larger and broader body with an open collar and a grey shirt underneath. He is dressing up as Venkman and the nameplate reflects this
The same larger body is used for Dustin, who also gets a new head sculpt vs the original Season 1 release. The likeness to Gaten Matarazzo is OK, and out of all of them he shows the most character and emotion in the face with the usual smile on Dustin's face - while the others are all very deadpan.
Dustin is wearing plain cream trainers, and my review figure came with a big scratch across the chalky paintwork.
Each of the figures comes with a dress up Proton Pack. These are all the same cast, but have varying decoration. While some of this decor is painted, most is applied as very poor stickers - no transfers or decals here sadly. They are cast in black plastic and have a flexible plastic strap which is then negotiated around the figures arms. You will need to move the arms to the back and bend them at the elbow to move it into position.
Once in place the pack sits pretty well on Lucas with a large flexible hose that runs through to a version of the proton emitter with a trigger like a pressure washer gun. The gun piece can fit into the back of the pack by means of a loop holster. Fitting it into the hands is not easy, the hands are not overly flexible and need some teasing to get the thick pipe and trigger into the hand. Once in place the weapon is cradled by the left hand.
While Lucas only comes with the pack, each of the other figures have another accessory. Will Byers comes with a very impressive 1980's video recorded. This is cast in black with a good level of detail including the buttons, microphone and the tape compartment which is framed in red. The logo TMP Is visible on the handle and on the tape piece.
Now while the accessory is brilliant, using it is pretty difficult with not enough range in the articulation to have Will - or any of the others - bring it up to their shoulder and have them looking through the eyepiece. The easiest way to have Will use the piece is to carry it by the top handle.
Will also has a Proton Pack and you can see the smaller variances with Will having a full white dial in the centre of his pack vs just a smaller clock face on Lucas' pack.
When we get to Mike, we have a small version of Dart the Demogorgon. This probably should sit more with Dustin as Dart was his pet, but it is packed alongside Mike in the box - and either by design or coincident the left hand of Mike appears to be shaped to hold Dart.
Dart is so small that the features are not overly clear. He is painted in green with a cream underbelly.
Mike's pack features a green symbol in the centre and a more faded warning sticker. With Mike being a larger body, getting the pack in place is more difficult and the pack sits much tighter and snugly on the body.
We end with Dustin who's pack is different to the others as it has the Ghost Trap attached. The trap is a very impressive piece, with the yellow & black chevron top and the silver sides with painted controls.
The Ghost Trap is attached permanently to the backpack and the lead is coiled up at the back with the foot pedal hanging to the end. The Trap can be held by Dustin in his right hand, but when not being used it ends up being a bit redundant and has to be slung back over the back to hang loose out of the way at the back.
Dustin's pack features a fourth dial design with a red/amber/green dial with the indicator in the green.
It is also worth noting all four figures come with the clear display stands - printed with the red Stranger Things Logo. These are essential in terms of displaying all the figures as none of them are able to stand unaided due to the shape and size of the feet. The stands have a single peg to and this corresponds to a single hole on the right foot.
The clear stands do arrive a little yellowed like the previous single releases. A black version with the same red logo would have looked slicker.
We have two body types in play here across the four figures, and both have the same 14 points of articulation. The joints used are very visible with pins and pegs at the elbows and knees, and a T-Joint hip that splits into a number of components as the hips joints are moved.
Head : ball joint neck
Body : waist rotating swivel
Arms : ball joint shoulder, single pinned rotating elbow, wrist rotation
Legs : T-joint his, single pinned rotating knee, ankle rockers
The joints on this set are much more robust than the preceding single releases. Some joints, like the knees, are ratcheted to the extreme and are actually so tight to move you may be forgiven if you think they are stuck on arrival.
With no waist movement other than the ability to rotate and with limited movement in the hips, you will find the displays are restricted to neutral posing with the weapons in hand or slung over the backpack. The ankle rockers are much improved on the earlier figures but still do not provide sufficient support and with the feet shaped as they are - none of the figures will stand unaided and the stands have to be used
The premise of this set, based on the wonderful Halloween scenes from Season 2, was very clever. The execution was sadly lacking. The McFarlane figures at this point in time (pre Fortnite & DC) suffered from very similar issues regardless of franchise. The paint is chalky, the faces very poor likenesses and the articulation both clunky and also not supportive of the figures standing by themselves. Even with the supplied stands, the ankles remain too loose to support the figures over time which leads to an inevitable lean on all of them.
The actual Ghostbuster elements of the set are done well with the costumes and accessories certainly looking like 80's Halloween costumes (as they should) rather than looking too good and too much like the movie. The decision to use just two bodies is disappointing as all four characters have a different body shape and Mike in particular looks very odd.
I score the McFarlane Stranger Things Ghostbusters Exclusive 4-Pack a total of 2.5
About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...
action figures, reviews, review, articulation, mcfarlane, stranger things, ghostbusters, will, mike, dustin, lucas, netflix, halloween, exclusive, gamestop