Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Toy Review – Hanna-Barbera Space Ghost By Jazwares

I love Space Ghost. Not just from the excellent Cartoon Planet or Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, but the original cartoon. I am a huge fan of Alex Toth and all of his old designs from Space Ghost to the Herculoids to his work on Super Friends. He is one of the animators that made me love the medium. Even as a kid I recognized certain qualities of animation and knew what I liked.
I bought all of the Space Ghost toys that Toynami produced years ago. Space Ghost, Brak, Zorak, Moltar, and even Space Spectre.
I’m still disgusted with myself for not buying every single other Hanna-Barbera product they made. The Herculoids, Thundarr, Blue Falcon and Dynomutt. Those are some of my worst toy transgressions. They cost a fortune now and every time I think about them I mentally kick my own ass.
Even though I already owned a great Space Ghost, I wanted to give this one a try. Jazwares has gone absolutely crazy snatching up cartoon licenses lately – Hanna-Barbera, Adventure Time, Regular Show, Nicktoons (some of which I’ll get to soon) – and I want to see if they’re worth buying. You see, Jazwares does not have a very good reputation in the Troublemaker household. We have bought a number of their action figures over the years and more often than not they end up as action figure parts.
In short, Jazwares has historically made flimsy, crappy toys. They usually look pretty good, but fall apart if you sneeze on them.
Viewtiful Joe – headless
Mega Man – minus his right arm (the important one!)
Guts Man(I think it’s Guts Man) – every single appendage super glued
The list goes on. I know I had more experiences than just the Viewtiful Joe one. That one sticks out in my mind because I bought it while I was managing a GameStop and we never got more in so I could return it.
First Glance: This figure definitely looks like Space Ghost. But somehow it manages to look both nicer and cheaper than the Toynami version. It appears to have more points of articulation, but looks… scruffy.
Articulation: It’s amazing that a figure with seventeen points of articulation could be so disappointing.
Head – swivel
Shoulders – ball joint
Elbows – pivot
Wrists – pivot
Abdomen – rocker
Waist – swivel
Hips – swivel/pivot T-joint
Thighs – swivel
Knees – pivot
Ankles – pivot
Ugh. As many joints as this guy has, so few of them are worthwhile. The head barely moves, the arms can’t be positioned to activate Space Ghost’s Power Bands, and the figure’s crotch broke in two when I moved the hip joints. What the crap?
Add on top of all that the fact that the points of articulation are just plain ugly for the most part and you’ve got a sad figure. The cuts are too obvious and the parts joined by pegs have huge, deep holes.
All of the joints are super-loose as well. I had a heck of a time getting this guy to stand up for pictures.
Sculpt: While the overall shape is certainly that of Thaddeus Ghostal, the actual execution is fairly abysmal.
The head is a bit fat, but looks okay. I do like the face sculpt an awful lot. This is one area where the Jazwares team nailed it.
The torso is pretty ugly thanks to the abdominal joint being more of an abominable joint (amiright?)! Sorry. But the thing is just ugly. And doesn’t have much of a range of motion, either. The figure’s crotch looks kind of weird as well; especially once you split it in half by trying to move his legs.
Space Ghost’s proportions are mostly okay. I feel like his arms might be a bit long, but I probably wouldn’t have even mentioned it if this figure weren’t such an unmitigated disaster. The plastic Jazwares used isn’t fit for disposable cutlery. It feels incredibly brittle and cheap. This actually surprised me, as we do have a number of figures from the company and they have a tendency to use decent plastics with good textures for the subject.
I don’t care for the wrist joints. Considering that you can’t pose the arms to use the Power Bands, it really doesn’t make sense for those to be pivots. Actually, now that I think about it, it doesn’t make sense anyway. They should have been swivels. Plus,. They’re ugly.
My biggest problem with this guy is that torso joint, though.
Coloring: Space Ghost is a few different shades of white. It’s not terribly noticeable, but once you’re offended by something you might as well tear it to shreds, right?
The paint applications are about what you would expect from a blister card of birthday treat bag toys you get from Party City. They aren’t as bad as Dollar Tree toys or wrestling figures from Mexico City, but they’re sloppy and do not entirely cover the parts they are meant to. The black on his belt stops shy of covering the upper and lower portions of the sculpt. The red on Mr. Ghostal’s chest shield doesn’t quite make it all the way out to the corners.
The pegs in his wrists are white while the surrounding area is red. That is, of course, unacceptable.
Flair: Space Ghost’s cape is probably the best part of him. I might even like it better than the Toynami one because that one was kind of rubbery and has picked up some colors from other toys it was stored with. I don’t think this one will do that, although given the poor QC on this figure there is a possibility the cape is made from plastic that will give guinea pigs testicular cancer.
But seriously – the cape does look great. It has a nice shape and they got the color right. I like it.
Accessories: Space Ghost comes with Blip the space monkey. Although at this point I’m thinking it might be more appropriate to say Blip the space monkey comes with Space Ghost because Blip is a far better toy for what he is. 
His sculpt is spot-on and his paint apps are great. The costume and face mask are both tight and have clean lines. Blip looks exactly like he does in the cartoon. Yeah, he has no articulation. But he looks perfect. Well, except for the manufacturing stamp on his crotch:
If you’re wondering, this is Space Ghost from the old 1966/1981 cartoons. That’s why he doesn’t have a desk or cue cards or anything.
Packaging: I do love the new packaging for these Hanna-Barbera toys. It has a nice, distinctive shape and the design can carry across all the different licenses and seem right. Also, it isn’t a clamshell. So bonus points for that. Jazwares cheaped out(!) and opted not to print bios or cartoon histories or anything neat on the backs. That’s pretty lame.
Value: $9.99 seems like such a great price for a 6” scale figure these days. It’s hard to believe that’s the price point that kept me from collecting DC Universe figures back when they first hit. But $9.99 is not a great price for a fragile hunk of crap. Don’t be fooled.
Overall: I haven’t reviewed a figure this bad in a long time. If ever. I can’t think of another one that was this crummy. The last figure I can remember buying that was even close to this lousy was a 12” CM Punk from JAKKS Pacific.

1 out of 5

Don’t buy this action figure. If you need a Space Ghost (and you do) save your pennies and buy the Toynami release. You might have to shell out more than you really want, but it should be easy enough to get one still in the package. All of those (relatively) old Toynami figures are pretty easy to find. They can just be pricey if you’re not careful.
Stay tuned – I’ve got more of these new Jazwares animated figures to review and they might not all be this bad.

1 comment:

  1. It's Thaddeus Bach, Tad Ghostal was the name they made up for the talk show which was just a parody, they didn't reveal his real name or origin until the 2005 DC Comics, comic-book Miniseries.