BUILD: ECTO-1 from SFMuk Admin's blog

Maker: Polar Lights... RIP =(

Type: Injection moulded snap kit

Price: £7, reduced from £13

Bought from: T K Maxx (seriously)

If 1982, for me personally, was the golden year for the amount and quality of sci fi and fantasy movies, 1984 is probably the silver year. From that years bountiful crop, there were a few surprises, a few new discoveries and names to look out for, a new odyssey, two older odysseys, aswell as a few disappointments, and the genre defining really big flop, and also the second giant leap at CGI. Amongst this crop, a big budget yet unexpectant mega hit emerged. The brainchild of Dan Aykroyd and later Harold Ramis, Ghostbusters became the surprise hit of the season, taking on the big boys and winning.

One of the stars was ‘The Ghostbuster mobile' also known as The Ectomobile, but is actually christened the Ecto-1. Designed by John De Cuir, the car is absolutely wonderful. For some reason, some folk think it used to be an undertakers car in its previous existence. This is wrong as its an old school American ambulance, as when the character of Ray delivers it from the scrap heap, it still has its sirens in place so where this undertakers car notion comes from I do not know.

Unlike other specific character orientated movie and tv vehicles, the Ectomobile is absolutely convincing on screen. The reason for this is its simplicity. A trait only shared with Back to the Futures DeLorean . These are not some new flashy vehicles with which you have to suspend your disbelief to accept. These are just everyday real things that have big greeblies extended to them, so they end up being customised for, and catered to the story. It's this simplicity that makes them not only work but function successfully to the story at hand.

So much so that even someone like me who has absolutely no interest in cars what so ever feels excitement and delight when this kit of it finally appeared on the shelf of a local toy shop and I had to have it.

Like every Polar Lights release the kit comes in the famous clamshell box. Boasting over 50 parts, this one does not have a window cutout on the back though. One very cool graphic design addition to the box design is the printing of four angle views of the promo model around the four sides of the box, front, back, left side and right side. I found that very clever. Opening the lid, the inner sides of the box has some ectoplasmic green slime graphic art to add to the subject matter at hand.

Inside the box, the kit parts are seperated nice and snugly by their bags, and the kit comes in three forms of plastic. The majority is molded in white plastic.

Then there are the chromed parts and four clear parts, one of them being the windscreen, with one clear dark piece for the rear portion windows of the car.

You also have a sticker sheet (as opposed to decals) for the license plate, wheel logos and of course, the iconic no ghosts logo.

As I have come to expect from modern Polar Lights kits, the plastic parts are of a high calibre. Moulding is nice and clear, with the white plastic not too hard or too soft, but just right, and nothing, not even the delicate parts snapped or broke when removing them from the sprues.

After taking some pics (sorry that they're still shown in the bags), I decided to bypass the ‘sink in' feeling of assessing the kit parts and wondering on the best time and ways to build it, and just got on with it making use of the time I had available.

I began with the three parts that comprised the chassis, the interior and the bottom. I wanted a grimy looking car, I mean, after all, this is New York and it's a car that encounters ectoplasm, so think dirty white with some weathering on the lower portions. I went for a dark grey interior and I went for gunmetal for the undercarriage.

Though PL's paint guide seems good and on the level, I decided to stick with the colours I used on the body, anything that is supposed to be black, I made dark grey, anything that is of metallic origin, such as the ladder and the roof rack, I made gunmetal and so on.

Being a Snap kit, construction is of course easier and less time consuming than glue, and for a snap kit, the part fit is exceptional. The only issue I found was the chromed rear bumper/lights one piece. I could not get that to fit on seamlessly, and alas there is a gap on the right side.

The kit has an age range of 8 years and up. But younger modellers may need just a bit of assistance with the removal and construction of some pieces as I would imagine craft knives are not the kinds of tools they would carry in their crayon box.

The tyres attach to a metal rod and the fit is excellent, unlike some other car kits where the balance and centering is not as good (naming no names). The two halves and the parts and bumpers in between are then screwed into place usefully with 4 Phillips head screws.

The instructions are standard PL, in that you are given an exploded diagram which on the whole is fine, but I must say, when the instructions are like so and not depicted in stages, you may find that you will miss the occasional part and have to go back looking for where its supposed to be.

They also don't indicate or display when and where the stickers should be put on. Logic dictates that these should be added before the external wrap implements of pipes and ladders are added.

The stickers are not numbered and the instructions say to look at the box art for placement.

These stickers have their good and bad points. The good is that they can be removed easily to finesse their placement, the bad is sometimes the cutting is not dead centre, so on some of the logos the black outline is cut out. The other bad point is that they don't really stick full on due to the nature of the logo, such as the fingers and the little ghost cap, the small surface area they are printed on will rise and loosen.

Once construction is complete, its time for some finishing touches with a dry brush of black for the final weathering details. And there you have it, one Ectomobile.

I'm the wrong person to ask about accuracy, but there are only two things I can point out. The license plate should be yellow and not the pinky orange of the sticker, even the box art has this right so I don't know why the kit is different.

The only other thing is the car logo is missing off the front of the bonnet, (I think its Cadillac), and probably a licensing thing. Then for the eagle eyed among you, on the left side of the roof rack, one of the canisters has two stickers on it, one a big apple sticker and the other, some chemical sticker, I'm not sure which, but it is not included in the kit, probably for more license reasons.

My one disappointment is that the kit parts do not lend themselves to lighting in any way. Headlights and siren lights are all chromed and only the emergency light rack is clear. Of course, one could try accurizing it from cannibalising light fixtures from other car kits but maybe I will leave that for another time, it is a snap kit after all ;)

In summation, this was a great kit, highly workable with the texture and manufacture of the parts just right. Shame about the rear bumper issue, the sticker manufacture is slightly tacky, but other than that, the rest was a breeze. The dimensions are spot on, the size and details good, and with that, this builds into one nice kit. Highly recommended. Thanks for looking and I'll leave you with a few more views.

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By SFMuk Admin
Added Jan 10 '14



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