Lego #21108
Ghostbusters Ecto-1 Review

I can’t buy LEGOs. They’re too much fun. They’re all interconnected. They’re addictive. I try to stay away because it becomes a money sinkhole. It’s best that I just stick to my guns: Don’t Buy LEGOs. But once the Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary set won its turn at LEGO Ideas (previously LEGO CUUSOO), it was a guaranteed purchase. I tried to play it cool. It didn’t work. The LEGO BTTF Delorean was an obvious companion piece. That was two. A few superhero sets snuck in. I couldn’t pass up Arctic LEGO Batman!). And then that set had this cool “block of ice” that you could lock up a character in. Well, that meant I needed Captain America! Hello, HYDRA Tank! It’s a problem. And it’s all this set’s fault.

In 2008, LEGO teamed up with CUUSOO to create a path for consumer-created sets to be made into reality. Ideas would be submitted online and, after reaching a certain level of support, would be reviewed by LEGO for viability. Since then, eight sets have been selected that mostly fall into two camps. A heavy science theme (underwater submersibles, satellites, the Mars Rover, a trio of women scientists) or a licensed item (Minecraft, Back to the Future, & Ghostbusters). I didn’t really know about it until the Delorean being selected brought it to my attention, but it’s a fascinating process. And now one I’m happily following along now as I try to remember that I don’t need every set in the series.

The Ghostbusters set was the seventh selected, and sixth released, coming just last month. I ordered it directly from the LEGO website for $49.99.I was also able to pair it with the BTTF Delorean for free shipping (and a neat little balloon stand set). It was well worth it, even if it has turned into a temporary gateway to drug to more LEGOs.

The set includes a sharply done Ecto-1 based on the first film and four Ghostbusters minifigures. I love the car most, but the minifigures are nicely done. I can see Bill Murray in Venkman and Harold Ramis in Spengler. The likenesses aren’t there for Ernie Hudson and Dan Aykroyd, but I like all four figures. The uniform tampos look sharp and I like the individual initials (subbing in for the too long names) giving each Ghostbuster a unique torso. Each head also has a second, scared face included which makes the whole set a ton more fun.

The only nitpick on the figures is one that’s endemic to LEGO ideas: no new pieces. Since fan submissions have to be built with existing pieces, they also have to get creative with their decisions. On the minifigures, this means some funky hair. Egon is strangely alright as a previously released LEGO man stole his hair and Ray works too; it’s Peter & Winston that just aren’t quite right. Peter’s hair just doesn’t exist in LEGOdom, but I would’ve made different choices to compensate. I think the hair given to Winston would serve Peter better and Winston would look best using the smooth, classic LEGO hair from years past. I need to dig around in my bin and find one to swap out.

The Ghostbusters feature six accessories: their four proton packs, a ghost trap, and the classic LEGO walkie-talkie. These are sharp little creations using existing pieces, smart use of the LEGO whip, for example – but they’re heavy. If you want the guys to wear them, you need to have some plates on hand to lock the guys upright. The ghost trap is okay. I would’ve liked to see a thicker brick and a hazard sticker, but the flat pieces work well enough.

The real gem though is Ecto-1. It looks just as iconic and gorgeous comprised of LEGO bricks as it would in true miniature scale. Both the initial designer and the LEGO team that made it happen did amazing work. Building it was interesting, a lot of internal choices that reminded me of the old “Model Master” days and I loved every minute of it. From any angle I check, it looks great. The front grill, the rear “door”, the searchlight & the antenna, and especially all that curious gear that adorns the roof. Everything from the film looks to be properly LEGOized and the toy looks great for it.

There is just one glaring issue: seating. To get the aesthetics right, there are no doors and the roof has to be removed to fit in three of the Ghostbusters. Yes, I said three. The vehicle is just a little too narrow to hold all four easily. This is a shame because I think, as good it looks, it might even look better wider, but it would be fine if it were just one more row of studs wide. As is, you can place Winston in the driver’s seat and Egon in the back with the display, and then there’s the 2×4 section between them. Technically, if you throw both Peter & Ray’s hands up the air (and use their screaming faces, may as well) you can get everybody in the car in a tight squeeze.

Overall, this is a fantastic set. I think it’s enjoyable for LEGO collectors that don’t know a whole lot about Ghostbusters and I think it’s amazing for Ghostbusters fans in general. You can tell a lot of care went into the set – most of the little drawbacks were things that can’t be helped like the need for reused hair pieces or the clunky nature of the proton packs, so I don’t really track those as big issues. LEGO did wisely include a stand you can build for the four guys too and it’s not shabby. For me, it was $50 to get a sweet Ecto-1 rolling around on my desk. It’s a fun piece to play with and I honestly am happy just staring at the logo tampoed on a LEGO brick. That’s cool on its own. The only sad thing is that LEGO doesn’t technically have the license full-time. I need to get some Ghosts in here!

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19 thoughts on “Lego #21108
Ghostbusters Ecto-1 Review

  1. My roommates have been a bit obsessed with Lego ever since the movie came out (one of them’s a lifelong Lego fiend, but hadn’t indulged that interest in years until the film came out), so there are a few sets around the apartment, the DeLorean among them.

    I picked up a Leonardo vs. Karai set last week, and realized a few days later that it’s actually the first ever Lego set I’ve assembled. While I had Legos as a kid, what I had was a red plastic suitcase full of assorted bricks. I never had any of those sets where you had special pieces and instructions and all that stuff. I was super jealous of anyone who had those (one family I knew had a room full of them. While there was the city-building options there are now, there were spaceships and monorails and all sorts of other things).

    Doctor Who is under consideration for the newest round, and I’ll honestly be a little surprised if we don’t end up seeing a Who set. That one would be a must buy for me. If it wasn’t for the expense of buying Legos, I could easily see myself not only getting a TARDIS and some minifigures, but buying a wide variety of world building sets for the Doctor to visit. I was at the Lego Store at the local mall the other day, and they have all sorts of sets, from London street scenes to haunted houses, though they cost from $200 on up. If money was no option, I’d even consider picking up a Black Pearl from a few years back, or having the Doctor stow away on the Millennium Falcon. The Doctor as a Lego figure would have massive brand-crossing appeal.

    1. How I wish Legos this great had existed during my childhood in the 80’s. Even without the movie lines, you still have Egyptian sets, Space invaders, spies with transforming vehicles, Marvel AND DC, LOTR and so much more!

      Sadly, the Doctor Who sets aren’t going to happen. The BBC already has building sets licensed to Character Options (who also make the figures). Their minifigs are a bit oddly shaped, but have a ton of personality! You can pick up an 11 Doctor at most FYEs and Barnes & Nobles.

      My guess is that K’Nex having a Nintendo license is what put the kibosh on the proposed Legend of Zelda sets, too.

      1. Lego’s legal team cleared Doctor Who for consideration in the Lego Ideas submission process (the successor to Cuusoo). Previous Who submissions were rejected for the reasons you mentioned, but that roadblock seems to have been cleared.

  2. I think it’s a matter if time before I get this and the damn Time Machine. I’m glad you clarified that it’s physically possible to get all the guys into the Ecto. I would’ve struggled with who had to ride on the outside: Ray (he’s The Heart of the Ghostbusters!), Egon (he designed the damn thing), Winston (he has the best lines) or Peter (…mother pussbucket, we have a winner…).

  3. As you noted, “gateway figure” leading into new lines to collect. that’s why I’m resisting this one, as well as financial reasons right now. It’s also why I’ve resisted MU, after upgrading from the 5″ Marvel line to 6″ Legends. I didn’t want to buy into yet another scale!

    that said, I’ve always wanted to build a Lego mansion for my figures, but now that we finally have one in StL*, I can’t do it right now for a variety of reasons. sigh….
    *(West County Mall, the one at 270 and 100/Manchester with the white dove outside.)

    All that aside, this does look like a great set, aside from the hair. Before I looked at the initials, I thought Ray and Peter were reversed. oops. nice addition with Liberty, too! Now we just need Vigo!
    (ad Janine, Dana, Terror Dogs, Slimer…..)

    1. oh yeah, I saw pics this weekend of a Lego TARDIS which opens up to show the control rotor. Not sure if that was a custom build or the eighth set coming, but….yeah. they already have those Lego-esque figures and sets, but I don’t think they’re *Official* Lego sets?

    2. The Haunted Mansion is a nice set if you’re in the market for a finished one. Or just the modular buildings, those are AMAZING. 🙂

      1. Yep. As one who got back into Legos about 5 years ago (I proposed to my wife in a Lego store), my wallet has been steadily depleting. I got back in with full force. Those Modular Houses sets are truly amazing, and they’re my favorite line overall. I have managed to get 7 of the 9 released so far. Even at regular retail price, they’re expensive (about $150 each), but the aftermarket price on the retired sets is ridiculous! Some of them go for $1500 on ebay!

          1. I’m partial to the Grand Emporium, but that could also be because it was the first one I bought and built.

  4. Wow, guess what set I just built today?

    Yep, it was this one.

    It’s a great set and kudos to both the original designer and the Lego designers who made this a reality. The Ecto-1 is just about perfect and looks great, and the ‘Busters are all fully recognizable and can even stand in for their cartoon versions with some imagination (though Egon’s cartoon pompadour was blonde, of course). There’s some very creative solutions in this set to get it “right” and I was very impressed overall.

    Couple with lavish packaging and instructions and it’s one of the best Lego sets this year, and in fact probably for a few years. You picked a good one as a gateway drug!

    Great review as always, since I just built the same set I feel extra involved. Now get that DeLorean built!

  5. Agree with you on all points, especially the gateway drug reference. Since getting this set in last month (like you I ordered it with the DeLorean) I’ve picked the Millenium Falcon, the Lex Luthor armor set, X-Men blackbird jet, a bunch of Simpsons mini figures AND a couple of The LEGO Movie sets for my daughter!

    The best part about LEGO is how easily you can tinker and modify things to your liking. So addictive!

  6. I very nearly bought this set, myself, but managed to talk myself/be talked into getting the Palace Cinema set instead. I definitely don’t regret the Palace, as it’s fantastic and was really interesting to build.

    …But I’m totally going to wind up buying that Ghostbusters set eventually.

  7. Yay! A Lego review! Being a hardcore Lego fan, I love these reviews. I had to trek over to my Lego store on the Ecto-1’s release date (Yes, I could have ordered it online, but I need the immediate satisfaction of having it in hand) to get this one as the DeLorean sold out at my store within an hour. It was so cool to see the types of people in line before the store opened. There were little kids who had never seen the movie, but loved its design, parents who were buying a gift, Ghostbuster fans who had never build Legos, and even Lego fans who just want to support the concept that fan designs can be profitable for Lego. It’s this kind of variety that makes me really love Lego.

    I really enjoyed the build. I had a smile on my face the entire time. So many creative ways to get things done. All of the accoutrements on the roof and sides of the car are totally fun. Even getting the slope of the windows was interesting.

    1. I was really uncertain about what to splash for with my last birthday money, and I decided that I would take the time to visit the Lego store in the town I was visiting just to see what they had. I was extremely pleasantly surprised to see a plethora of Ghostbusters sets still on the shelf, and coupled with the free polybag for any purchase of over $30, plus another free set specially for ViP members, the whole thing was an easy choice. I had so much fun building the Ecto-1, too!

  8. Bloody great review, pics, and comics, as always.

    Nifty set! I’d love to pick up some Ghostbusters stuff, but the stuff I’d most want is so expensive. And, boy, do I know what you mean about Lego being addictive. The Monster Hunters series had me going until I hit the £200 Haunted House wall. The new. improved Star Wars stuff caught my eye, and I’ve tried my level damnedest to stick to just the Tatooine stuff, but some of the sets were just too darn cool to pass up. Spent way more than I wanted to. Then, I saw the new £250 Sandcrawler, and my heart sank. Yet another thing I will probably never own.

    [ShamelessPlug] Oh, well, at least I got some reviews out of the sets I got, over at [/ShamelessPlug] };D

  9. I love this set – minifigures, vehicle, booklet & packaging.

    The Ecto-1 is the first set i bought in some time – I was still coming down from a year-long binge-building-spree, that startet really innocently with a small present I got from a colleague 😉

  10. I like this set but I would have prefered it to have been bigger to fit all four correctly.

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