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Hasbro's Kenner Classics: Ecto-1 Review

 By Paul Rudoff on Jun. 4, 2021 at 12:00 PM , Categories: Toys
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Hasbro's Kenner Classics line continues with the Kenner Classics: Ecto-1. Read on to find out more about it...

The Kenner Classics: Ecto-1 (henceforth only referred to as the Ecto-1) brings back one of the Kenner line's most iconic items.
GHOSTBUSTERS KENNER CLASSICS ECTO-1
(Ages 4 and Up / Approx. Retail Price: $49.99/ Available: April 2021)
It's a (proton) blast from the past with the GHOSTBUSTERS Kenner Classics Ecto-1 from Hasbro! Inspired by The Real Ghostbusters cartoon, with design and deco influenced by the toys from the 80s, the Kenner Classics Ecto-1 toy features moving wheels, an opening tailgate, a roof-mounted swivel blaster seat, and a deployable ghost claw so kids can imagine bustin' and capturing ghosts with the included ghost figure.

The Kenner Classics Ecto-1 is perfect for those wanting to relive the glory days of Saturday morning cartoons and ghostly green juice boxes or those who want to introduce a new generation of fans to the Ghostbusters. Available exclusively at Walmart.
The retro nostalgia starts with the packaging, which replicates the iconic look from the 1980s, but with a few modern-day accommodations.

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(original on top, Hasbro on bottom) (click to enlarge)

Hasbro has taken great care to make the new packaging look as close to the original as possible. You have that great image of Egon and Winston in the Ecto-1 with Peter in the gunner seat on top, which was recreated near-perfectly. I won't detail all of the other changes, but the most notable is the removal of the "Who You Gonna Call?" song lyric from above The Real Ghostbusters logo. This allows Hasbro to avoid paying a royalty to Ray Parker Jr. (and Huey Lewis).

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(original on top, Hasbro on bottom) (click to enlarge)

The back has various photos showing the different functions of the Ecto-1. It's a pretty close match for the original, though the Peter figure in the upper left photo has been replaced with a diagram because "* figure not included". You'll also notice that the new Hasbro toy is an officially-licensed General Motors product, complete with seal of authenticity. The original doesn't carry the seal because - let's be honest here - nobody back then thought they needed to pay royalties to the car manufacturers for products based on their cars, and the car manufacturers didn't bother to ask for any. Now that the car manufacturers know that there's money to be made, they're gonna make sure that they get their piece of the pie. Of course, in this case, I don't think Hasbro really needed to license anything from GM because it's not a replica. The car is stylized and lacks the hood logos that are so often airbrushed out of vintage photographs.

Open up the box and you'll find the vehicle, gunner seat (aka "swiveling blaster seat"), orange ghost, sticker sheet, and instructions. The instructions do not try to replicate the original instructions, though they serve the same purpose. The sticker sheet contains all of the decals that go onto the car. Just like the original sticker sheet, there are three No Ghost logos (for the two side and one back doors), two license plates (for the car's front and back), and one blue pane of "glass" for the back window. There are a couple of differences to note here. The license plates have "ECTO-1" written in a completely different font. The logos are die-cut differently. In the original, the cut created a border around the logos. The Hasbro stickers cut right around the edges of each logo itself. This is why there is thick blackness around the logos on the sheet. That allows for the cut to create a thin bit of blackness around the logo.

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(original on left, Hasbro on right)

Once applied to the car, it looks like the image below. I bet that image is giving you all of the nostalgia chills. There is so much to take in.

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife's gunner seat was inspired by the one from the original Kenner Ecto-1, which sits atop the car. It swivels around so that the "GhostBlasters" - the original Kenner toy's name for the two red guns that flank the seat - can shoot in any direction. The gunner seat can be stored in the back "for undercover work" (as per the original Kenner toy packaging). The seat has a nice tight fit in the hole on the top of the car.

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Just like the original, the new Hasbro Ecto comes with a small orange ghost. He looks exactly the same, though it has been reported that he's a bit more translucent and has a shinier look to him. The bottom of the ghost has a bit of a ridged effect on it, while the original was said to be completely flat. The ghost is meant to be used with the "ghost claw" winch on the back of the Ecto-1. Please read the instructions so that you'll know how to properly use the claw. The exhaust pipe is a locking mechanism that can be easily broken from misuse. With the exaust pipe set in the "unlock" position, pull it out and hook the claw around the ghost. As the car drives away, it'll then pull the ghost inside the Ecto-1.

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I don't have the original Kenner toy anymore, but Ghostbusters News reports some differences; in addition to the sticker and orange ghost differences that I already mentioned. There is a little bit of line work on top of the windows on the original Ecto-1 that goes straight across. It looks a tad bit different on the new release from Hasbro. The wheels/tires on the original Kenner release have a bit more of a metallic shine, almost a mirrored effect to them; while Hasbro's wheels are silver and shiny, but not reflective. Looking at the undercarriage of the car we see a rather significant difference. At the back end, the original one from Kenner has the ghost claw mechanism gears exposed. That's actually been covered up now, which I assume is due to a safety regulation that Hasbro had to comply with. I actually prefer it being covered up because it looks better, and provides less of an "accident waiting to happen".

Kenner Classics: Ecto-1 carries a MSRP of $49.99 and is available exclusively at Walmart.

Original Kenner images courtesy of the Ghostbusters Wiki. Other images scanned and/or photographed by me or provided by Hasbro. This item has been provided by Hasbro for review on this site.

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