REVIEW: Ghostbusters Ecto-1

Set number:
21108
Release year:
2014
Theme(s):
, ,
# of parts:
508
# of figures:
4
RRP
GBP 44.99 / USD 49.99
WARNING: this review may contain content unsuitable for children.

Promotional image
21108 Ghostbusters Ecto-1 promotional image

All right folks: everybody and their dog has been reviewing this set since it came out, but a couple of people have asked for my perspective on this set, so here it is. Tonight we’re going to be taking a look at LEGO Ideas/CUUSOO set number six, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original Ghostbusters movie.

This means that Peter Reid’s Exo Suit is going to be LEGO Ideas set number seven, even though it was announced before this one. We at SilentMode.tv are looking forward to that one.

The Packaging

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Already there are some similarities with the Back To the Future CUUSOO set (The DeLorean), with the shape and design of the box. There’s a very faint image of the Ghostbusters HQ in the background, and all the attention is given to the iconic Ecto-1 car and the accompanying minifigures.

Back of the box

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Ironically the back of the box shows… the back of the car! It also shows a couple of other things, namely that the minifigures can fit inside Ecto-1.

Scale reference

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One of the minifigures – in this case Egon – serves as the scale reference in this set. You can also see that all four Ghostbusters (Rick Moranis doesn’t count) are included.

You can do it too [if you have a large enough mob]

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Virtually the same as with the other sets under the CUUSOO brand, one side of the box shows the basic and gravely oversimplified steps in getting your idea realised as an official LEGO set. As we’ve seen with news of the upcoming Research Institute, a horde of angry feminists very much counts as “support”.

The Contents

Instruction book

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As we’ve come to expect, the instructions are printed on much stiffer paper and comes in the form of a small paperback book. The box art is duplicated on the front cover.

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Here to express his excitement at getting a Ghostbusters vehicle is Gewinne!son. He’s been waiting for this one impatiently since the news broke.

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Near the back of the instructions is a customary page about the winning project owner, who in this case is Brent Waller.

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And on the opposite page is a few words by the set designer… in this case, two designers.

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Scattered around the instructions at various points are funny lines taken from the original film. These would probably make more sense if you’ve seen the film.

Boat studs

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As you can see here, the set contains a total of 18 Black “boat studs”, including four printed ones. According to a certain web site, this is the fourth instance of a printed “boat stud” – find these parts under round plates.

New jumper plates

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Along with the grooved variety of 1×2 jumper plates, this new variant – with a stud holder in the centre – initially surfaced in Minecr..aft sets, and are making appearances elsewhere. I’m sure some nifty advanced building techniques can be accomplished with these.

Uncommon parts

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In this picture, the part people have been going most nuts over is that 4×3 minifigure display tile in Medium Stone Grey, of which there’s only one in the set. I have a feeling these are going to be incredibly ridiculously priced, once the resellers and scalpers get their way.

Even more so than the Dark Red “Apollo studs” (1×1 round plates with holes), which were previously found in the now defunct Games theme and were thought to be phased out as a result. These were some of the most hoarded parts of all because of their rarity, but now they’ve started appearing in colours other than White, things have gotten interesting.

Speaking of White: the 4×4 corner plates are also uncommon, and are usually found in large sets. I have a few of these and haven’t had any reason to use them yet, but I get an inkling that we’ll see more of these being used in the future.

It was either these or the ones in Dark Stone Grey, but I remember when I was building SIMO Retreat and the Alice mosaic: those 1×1 plates in Medium Stone Grey were very hard to come by (at a reasonable price). While they have appeared in a large number of sets, they’re usually in very small quantities – unless you get the bigger, modular building scale sets.

Brackets

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As you can imagine, the Ecto-1 makes heavy use of SNOT techniques, and so we’re presented with quite a few bracket parts. If one of these parts doesn’t whet your appetite, you probably don’t like brackets.

Bows and “baby bows”

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You’ll be pleased to know there isn’t a DSS in sight, as even those 2×2 bows (or curved slopes) in White are printed, with the Ghostbusters “ghost” logo.

Metallic Silver

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Some more good news: we have a selection of parts in Metallic Silver, which is often superior to Flat Silver (the shinier but cheaper-looking kind). You’ve probably already read the analysis of these parts on The New Elementary, but what you should know is that I hoard these colours like mad. Don’t trust me if I give you one of these sets as a gift, because all these parts will be missing.

Transparent colours

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Apart from two types of six-stud wide windscreen, we get hold of some fairly uncommon 1x2x3 and 1x2x2 Trans Brown/Black panels, and some 1×2 tiles. We’re not so excited about the Trans Dark Blue cheese slopes – which you’ll get more than enough of if you collect and open City polybags and sets – but we do like the Transparent 2×2 dish.

Best of the rest

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I won’t talk your ear off about this selection, but just a few notes:

  • The two 2×4 double slopes in White (part 3299, top left) are very uncommon parts, with their only other appearances being in three long retired sets (the last of which was in 2006). Hold on to these while you can.
  • We get two 1×2 tiles in Bright Light Orange, serving as the Ecto-1’s license plates, and they’re both printed.
  • Although the “grilled cheese” slopes are also Metallic Silver, I don’t really hoard them.

They’re ready to believe you

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So here they are: the four Ghostbusters in their uniforms, almost how we remembered them. The astute will have spotted I’ve gotten the two left figures’ hairpieces wrong – they look alike to me.

Left to right: Ray (Dan Ackroyd); Peter (Bill Murray); Egon (Harold Ramis); Winston (Ernie Hudson). Heck, their names are even on the back!

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Jailbait: * gasp * “Ghostbusters! I love men in uniform!”

The Build

Minifigure display

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The fact there’s only one minifigure display tile in the set leaves us wondering what it’s going to be used for. In fact, I had a bit of a scare, worrying that I’d been short-changed.

Well it turns out that this display doesn’t use the display tiles at all, but instead employs a 2×16 White plate with a danger-striped decoration on top.

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Making a point to fit some Black neck brackets on to the figures, each of them take their place on the display – with the correct hairpieces this time.

Proton packs

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What would the Ghostbusters be without their proton packs? Since new moulds weren’t on the cards, we get these part-built offerings instead. A 1×1 plate with clip attaches to the centre, to provide a way for the minifigures to wear them.

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Jailbait: “Mmmmm…”

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LEGO seems to have a thing about whips and other S&M paraphernalia in its sets, but in this case they serve as the cords to attach to the proton pack’s blaster. This is one place where the Dark Red “Apollo studs” come into play.

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The proton packs look incredibly bulky on the minifigures, but they do the job.

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The very last thing to do is to give Winston a makeshift ghost trap, and Egon and Ray walkie talkies. Peter can’t complain, he gets the girl after all.

Ecto-1

Get ready for a long building process! Hopefully you’ll have all of the parts (in unnumbered bags, by the way) ready… I didn’t have that luxury.

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Unlike The DeLorean, the chassis for the Ecto-1 is mostly brick-built. This also happens to be the one time I’ve ever seen 2×2/2×3 brackets be useful for anything.

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It’s here where that minifigure display tile comes into play, only for it to be completely covered up by other elements. It makes me wonder why they bothered including it, apart from the requirement for a 4×3 plate (two 2×3 plates may not have sufficed).

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We get the rear bumper early, making use of a printed licence plate and 2×2 curved slope. Unlike The DeLorean, this bumper sticks firmly to the vehicle.

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A whole bunch of those brackets we saw earlier come into play, to line the sides of the vehicle. We also use the last of the “Apollo studs” inside, while a steering wheel is added.

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You’ll notice the front bumper with headlights and grill has also been added, as well as the hood and both windscreens.

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The trademark Red stripes on the sides of the vehicle are made using these Red elements…

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…which are then covered up with White elements to form the sides of the car.

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Check out the detailing on the back of the car, it looks very retro!

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The Medium Stone Grey “robot hands”, or clips, are used to achieve these tilted windows to give the car that unique shape. A very clever technique! I don’t remember what that Blue flextube thing is, though.

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The roof of the car is a mishmash of seemingly random parts, until we see it all come together. At this point I found myself running out of Metallic Silver round plates, and was very concerned about not having enough of them to complete the set.

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Being very careful not to undo your hard work, the roof attaches to the car by way of the front windscreen and a pair of 1×1 Black round plates on the rear windscreen.

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The very last detail to add is an antenna to go on the hood, and a light that attaches to the left of the vehicle.

The Completed Set

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You’ll be pleased to know that I wasn’t missing any parts in the set after all: you might have noticed I’d made a mistake with the hub caps used for the wheels (which, by the way, are those cool new ones used in Heartlake Shopping Mall) Fortunately this oversight was easy to correct, replacing the 1×1 round plates I had used with those weightlifter weights.

But here it is: your very own Ecto-1 Ghostbusters vehicle, with your very own crew of Ghostbusters.

Do they fit?

One thing you might be wondering is: do all of the Ghostbusters fit in the Ecto-1?

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The answer is yes.

Leftovers

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Surely you have one of these new brick separators by now, but if you don’t… well, here’s one for your collection. Many of the smaller parts also have spares, as we’d imagine, but for some reason I have two Metallic Silver 1×1 round plates left! Sweet!

The Verdict

Are you ready? Here we go.

First off, we have a very well designed model of the Ecto-1, that looks just like we’d imagine a LEGO model of an Ecto-1 would look. In terms of swooshability, it handles like we’d expect a vehicle of this shape and size would on the roads (it’s a remodelled ambulance rather than a sports car). Even though it looks much more like a display piece than something we’d play with regularly, I didn’t have any problems with delicate parts and things breaking – so it looks like a little was learned from The DeLorean experience.

I liked the acknowledgement of Brent Waller’s design being close to what LEGO would put out, which makes a change from all those other CUUSOO/LEGO Ideas projects that don’t seem to give a fig about how an actual set is put together. When I had my projects on CUUSOO, and even when I first started building my own MOCs, I gave thought as to what a set would be made up of, the distribution of parts etc. and possible price points… which is something I don’t think a lot of people – if anyone – appreciate.

I know that people were concerned – as they were with The DeLorean – about the inclusion of minifigures in the set, when I knew that it was a given. The minifigures aren’t exact likenesses to the movie’s characters – at least not for me – but at least we have them. If anything, I’m more curious as to what these figures look like with Brickforge’s ghost busting equipment (which I don’t have to hand) compared to the parts built ones this set offers.

One person over on Brickset mentioned the absence of Janine, the Ghostbusters’ secretary/receptionist – as part of the ongoing discussion about “gender equality” in the wake of a certain upcoming set – who could also be considered an iconic part of the films. My thought is, if Janine was included in this set, then LEGO would have had to include the headquarters – no matter how you look at it, it would have to be the whole building – then we wouldn’t be looking at a GBP 44.99 set.

Some people have also been complaining about the absence of Slimer, although I’d argue that Slimer was more iconic to the cartoon than the movies. In any case I would say there are many different types of ghosts in both the movies and cartoons, as well as there being ghost minifigures from Monster Fighters and a few sets from way back when, so there are plenty of other things for the Ghostbusters to catch. If you really want a Slimer, why not make your own? Or you could purchase a custom Slimer from minifigs.me, which looks like it would do the job.

Let’s talk about the pricing though: GBP 44.99 makes this the most expensive LEGO Ideas/CUUSOO set to date, not including scalper/reseller prices for the older sets. Even though this set has over 100 more parts than The DeLorean, I’m uneasy about the pricing because, even though I like the Ghostbusters movies, I wasn’t heavily-into-it-jumping-up-for-joy-cult-status excited about the set coming out. On the other hand, look at all the cool pieces we get in the set. Those printed elements, the Metallic Silver parts, the minifigures and even the wheels will burn your wallet on the grey market.

One thing I’m disappointed about is the apparent lack of material from the Ghostbusters movies. The signs were there from the back of the box, but I was left with an empty feeling upon seeing the instructions.

It would have been awesome to have one or two words from the actors themselves, or anyone involved in the making of the film, much like the Michael J Fox Foundation spread in – you’ve guessed it – The DeLorean. It would have been great to read trivia about the movie scattered around the instructions, much like the aforementioned set, especially since this set was intended to mark the movie’s 30th anniversary. At the very least, a few more of those memorable lines from the first movie would have sufficed. Instead, all we get are the first couple of pages with a brief overview of the first movie’s plot, and only four or five quotes in the rest of the book.

One thing that would have really helped – although I’m not sure if it would have been possible – is a mention of the late Harold Ramis, who played the Ghostbuster I liked and identified with the most in the movie. It’s a shame he didn’t get to see the set being released, or indeed the 30th anniversary.

Another gripe I have is that, while we could just about get away with it with The DeLorean, it’s impossible to fit the Ecto-1 and the instructions inside the box once it’s been assembled. I don’t have the space to keep it on display, and I wish the box had different dimensions so that the Ecto-1 – with instructions and figures – could be stored inside.

With everything said: it’s a great model of an iconic vehicle that you should get while you can, but you’ll have to get your enthusiasm for Ghostbusters by watching the movie [again]. I’m giving this set 7.8/10.

I don’t want to see any more iconic vehicles reaching 10,000 until someone comes up with a Knight Rider project. Someone (far more popular than me), somewhere (most likely in the States), please make it happen.

Thanks for reading.

Bustin’ makes her feel good

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Jailbait: “Ohhhhh… I’ve been slimed… so warm…”

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Julian: “Yesss, that’s it! Perfect money shot! Hold that pose…”