…Well, what else was I gonna call it …?
Welcome to the TLCB review of the new Lego Ideas 21108 Ghostbusters Ecto-1 set.
I was in my early teens when this brilliant film was released, and I have fond memories of it. It was pleasing to find on seeing it recently that it’s aged quite well. Unlike some of it’s audience… and of course that 1959 Cadillac ambulance still looks effortlessly cool.
Turns out it looks cool in Lego as well.
This was always gonna be a day 1 purchase – I knew that as soon as I saw the preview pictures. Unlike the DeLorean model, Lego has stayed very close to the original designer’s idea, making it the most realistic minifig scale car I’ve seen from them by a long way.
You have to pay for this excellence. Forty five smackers is a lot for an 8-wide car, however you look at it, although as we’ll see, Lego have done their very best to make the outlay worth it.
First, the box. In common with other Cuusoo / Ideas sets this comes packaged in a sturdy, high quality Architecture set-style box that’s beautifully illustrated with an atmospheric shot of the car and the four main characters in Minifig form. On the back, we’re reminded that it’s the film’s 30th anniversary. Just in case anybody who saw it first time around doesn’t feel old already…
Instructions are a similarly high quality square-bound book with glossy pages, lots of interesting snippets about the film, the characters and the car, and the instructions themselves are interspersed with quotes from the movie to enjoy as you build. Take your time over it. It’s like doing an Architecture set, where you’re learning about the building as you, er.. build. The only thing that might annoy is the book’s inability to lie flat; but what are paperweights for ?
It’s quite rare for me to be remotely interested in a set’s Minifigs, so I’m no expert on such things… The four main characters do seem to be a pretty good representation of Venkman, Stantz, Spengler and Zeddemore. I have seen comments elsewhere about Venkman’s hair not being right but it looks fine to me. I told you I was no expert… I like the way his sardonic features do a passable impersonation of Bill Murray though. All of the heads are printed on both sides, to provide a scared face when the situation arises, which it will… The four all wear identical torsos with their initials printed thereon, which you’ll need a magnifying glass to read, but it’s a nice touch. They also have identical backpacks, well greebled with all their ghostbusting gear, and Zeddemore has his, er his…. ectomplasmic activity sensor thingy as well. All in all, these are excellent. Probably.
The meat of the build is, of course, the car. A white ’59 Caddy ambulance fully equipped for any paranormal emergencies. Building it serves as an object lesson in how to form a perfectly shaped minifig scale car. Lesson one: you’ll need a lot of brackets. Lots and lots. Those new 2 stud long curved slope pieces will come in pretty handy as well… Anyone used to just building City style cars is in for a surprise: this is building at the very top level of moc quality, and it shows in the finished article. It’s scaled properly to the wheels, it’s stance and proportions are spot on, the level of detail is right for it’s size (the only thing really missing is door handles; but then I can’t think of anything that wouldn’t look clunky – that’s one of those things that’s better left out, I think), even the side windows have the correct ‘tumblehome’ and trimmed edges. All extremely impressive in a model this small, although that does mean that nothing opens.
Fortunately, the roof with all it’s… stuff comes off for playability. Three figs will fit inside (someone’s gonna have to walk, unless he wants to lie down in the back…). For such an intricate model, it’s surprisingly sturdy too.
One of the reasons it looks as good as it does is the use of silvered pieces for the bumpers, for that typically Cadillac chrometastic look. If they’d have stretched to silvered instead of grey pieces around the windows as well it would look fantastic. And be even more expensive… Another bonus is the fact that there are no stickers (Hallelujah!); everything that needs to be is printed, including four 2×2 curved slopes with the Ghostbusters logo and the ECTO-1 licence plates.
This is a model that screams quality. It probably wasn’t subject to the same cost constraints that may have hobbled the (cheaper, worse) DeLorean; and I’m glad that a lesson may have been learned. Collectors will pay for quality, and this is very much a display set; one to perch proudly on your mantelpiece and await the ‘wow’s from visitors. Or pose it atop your television and sit back to enjoy the film…It’s better value in the US ($50) but even in Europe, it’s worth the price of admission. 10/10.