Hot Wheels' Ghostbusters Ecto is our top TV model

25 February 2013
imports_CCGB_hw-ghostbuster-mom-1_43603.gif Hot Wheels' Ghostbusters Ecto is our top TV model
Hot Wheels releases a true big-screen auto legend in 1/43 scale, the Ghostbusters Ecto 1A. ...

Ghostbusters Ecto 1A

Who ya gonna call? That was the questions on the lips of filmgoers in 1984 with the release of director Ivan Reitman’s amusing spook-hunting movie, Ghostbusters.

The catchy theme tune, sung by Ray Parker Jr, seemed to stay in the charts forever and spectral characters such as Zuul, Gozer the Gozerian and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man delighted audiences.

The script surrounded oddball parapsychologists Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz and Egon Spengler who, after losing their respectable university jobs, set up a paranormal extermination service.

But besides the film’s main actors, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, the other star was the highly modified 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance, named Ecto 1. Ironically, Cadillac also sold the basic vehicle as a hearse, which seems fitting considering the Ghostbusters’ storyline!

Converted by Universal Studios, Ecto 1 sprouted bizarre and outlandish ghost wrangling gear, such as Proton Packs, Ecto Goggles and a variety of traps. In the film, the barge-like vehicle was bought for $4,800 and ‘renovated’ by Stantz in his converted firehouse home-come-headquarters.

Ghostbusters was a box office smash and grossed $13.6 million on its opening weekend in the US… so a sequel was inevitable. The imaginatively titled Ghostbusters II, again helmed by Reitman, took five years to reach cinema screens and garnered mixed reviews from critics. Its story involved the spirit of Vigo the Carpathian, a 17th century tyrant, being trapped in a painting on show in a New York City gallery… and his efforts to return to life.

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Besides a return for the main characters, the sequel also allowed further modification to Ecto 1, which by then was known as Ecto 1A. New gadgets included a digital announcement board on either side of the roof while the logos were also updated.

Autos in Hollywood films often become as famous as their human co-stars, and Ecto 1 was no exception. Obviously not as cool as Steve McQueen’s Mustang in Bullit, but easily as, if not more, daft than the car used by the Blues Brothers, Ecto 1 and its 1A version won an army of fans. Three cars were actually built – two for the films and one exclusively for the Universal Studios theme park.

In model form, the Ecto 1 has already been released but now Hot Wheels has given us the updated vehicle from the sequel, in 1/43 scale. There’s an almost slavish attention to detail but that’s what we discerning collectors expect.

It’s just that there’s an awful lot to cram in on a vehicle such as this, and Hot Wheels has done well. The digital display boards are faithfully reproduced and mounted in the right places; they flank an already very busy area, with communications dish and a host of phantom-foxing paraphernalia.

Moulding standards are very high on the plastic parts and vivid colours emulate the kit seen on the film vehicle. In particular, the three light banks display enviable detail and correct colouring. At the rear, the car’s red step with anti-slip texturing is splendid. One also quickly notices the dainty light clusters within the tail fins which are also dutifully rendered. A very fine addition is that of the photo-etched metal mesh grille at the base of the bonnet/hood.

White paint is notoriously difficult to apply without the under-colour showing through, but Hot Wheels has done a creditable job here, with only slight bleed-through on the bonnet ‘spine’.

The remaining body panels on our sample all displayed good opacity. Interior detail is also attentive, with good seats, Proton Pack rack and other gear. Finer points such as the floppy radio aerial and “Call us… we believe you” slogans all ensure a correct rendition, which would be a worthy candidate for any fan of film-related models. Just remember, don’t cross the streams…it would be bad!

The 1/43 scale rendition stands up well against Hot Wheels’ 1/18 scale version.

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To see a video of the 1/18 scale model click here

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