So last week Keith reviewed the Brick Bank and now this week I take a look at one of the biggest LEGO sets of all time… the Ghostbusters Firehouse HQ. When this was revealed I was drooling as it’s like the ultimate modular but it does come at a price – £279.99 to be exact!!! You know I have an issue with current big sets being very underwhelming compared to their price and when I got this set to review I was wondering if it was worth £279.99 of anyone’s money. For me that’s more than I pay in food all month and almost 2/3 of my mortgage. I do feel certain sets are becoming unobtainable for the average working class LEGO family.
Get ready to bust some ghosts at the Firehouse Headquarters!
There’s definitely something strange in this neighbourhood! Slide down the fire pole into action, power up the proton packs and start zapping! The Ghostbusters™ are chasing Slimer and other mischievous ghosts. Round them up in the containment unit! Take samples of slime to the lab and analyze photos in the darkroom. Or grab a pizza and relax with a game of pool in this detailed play set packed with features true to the movie classics!
- Includes 9 minifigures: Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz, Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore, Janine Melnitz, Dana Barrett, Louis Tully, Zombie Driver and Library Ghost.
- Also comes with Slimer, Pink Ghost and Blue Ghost.
- Slide the Ghostbusters™ heroes down the fire pole into action.
- Chase the ghosts and secure them in the containment unit.
- Turn the librarian old lady into a scary ghost with the double-sided face and extra wig!
- Run tests on Louis in the lab to see if he’s possessed!
- Suspend ghosts around the building’s exterior with attachable transparent arms.
- Dodge the slime oozing up through cracks in the pavement.
- Accessory elements include an alarm bell, fire extinguisher, computer, phone, toolbox, tools, jars of slimes, magnifying glass, camera, camera rolls, arcade game, toaster with slime, fridge with frozen pizza, milk and cheese, and much more!
- Features opening walls for easy play access.
- Features over 4,600 pieces.
- Ghostbusters™ minifigures come with decorated arms.
- Measures over 14” (36cm) high, 9” (25cm) wide and 14” (38cm) deep.
- With walls opened out, measures over 14” (36cm) high, 18” (46 cm) wide and 14” (38cm) deep.
- Firehouse Headquarters doors can open to fit the 21108 LEGO® Ideas Ghostbusters Ecto-1 inside!
So to the review. There was a lot of talk about this set with not one, but two versions getting to the review stage on LEGO Ideas and also the Swiss Ghostbusters version. No one but those involved in the design process will know for sure when LEGO decided to do an official version, so if you like a good conspiracy then maybe they did copy existing LEGO fan-made versions. I highly doubt that though, as LEGO have done their usual spin on sets and crammed it full of stickers and play features. More on the stickers later, but I honestly think LEGO need to realise that people buying this set are not buying it for their kids or to be played with, so stop putting in play features and design it for what people intend to do with it which is build it and display it!
Right, with that off my chest let’s move on. I’ve got the Helicarrier but it’s fair to say this box is a beast and weighs in at a staggering 6416g. The box is the largest in the current LEGO portfolio with the same dimensions as the Helicarrier (58 x 48.5 x 18.5 cm). The box has a CGI-enhanced image of the set in all it’s glory, with the back showing the many, many features it has. Did I keep the box? Nope, it’s now been recycled.
The booklet is also a monster. The cover image is vertical but the instructions are presented horizontally within its 418 pages. Now usually I like instructions on a black background (see my Architecture reviews) but I struggled to see the black and reddish-brown elements clearly on the background. The inside cover has info on the films and a full page spread of all the minifigures with two further pages in various languages (again about the films). Then it’s on to the build before finishing with a 5 page inventory of parts!
Before we cover the build, let’s talk about the collection of minifigures included. In all we get 12 minifigures but that’s open to conjecture as I include ghosts in that. We get the four Ghostbusters, Janine, Dana and Tully. Then we get the zombie taxi driver and the ghost from the library along with my personal favourite Slimer, and two other ghosts. All 4 of the Ghosbusters have new printed torsos complete with logo on the arms. Venkman has a slimed suit and face which is so cool. The only real change to the 4 is that Winston has a new hair piece. The team get plenty of accessories including a ghost trap with printed yellow and black 1 x 2 tile which appears to be exclusive to this set.
The other minifigures are all exclusives and Louis Tully has a torso print that reminds me of Emmet’s PJs. His head is reversible and you can replace his hair and head with the helmet and new helmet when he is being tested in the movies. A great touch I have to add. Dana Barrett comes in the outfit when she has been possessed and as a young lad it’s a great moment in the original movie that LEGO have captured greatly. The final human is Janine the receptionist who comes with a custom-printed torso and double-sided head, but her hair and legs are common minifigure parts.
Now to the ghosts, of which we get two human-style ones. One is supposed to be the taxi driver with a unique head and torso, but the beret and legs are common elements. Second is the library ghost, which comes with two different hair elements and our young one finds very scary! She has the new ghost LEGO bottoms introduced in Ninjago/CMF series and makes this probably the best ghost of all time!
Last, but definitely not least we finally get Slimer and we all know Ghostbusters just isn’t complete without him! The element is new to this set in a trans-bright green moulded one-piece. The blue and pink ghosts are identical moulds, but in different colours and with different prints. They have irregular bases and a trans-clear plain minifigure head is inserted into each to enable them to rest horizontally for display purposes.
Altogether, a great collection of minifigures and I don’t think LEGO could have done a better job on these IMO.
Now onto the build. For starters you get 4,634 parts for your money. The build is broken down to 14 stages, with each stage linked to the numbered bags. For smaller sets I find that pointless, but for a set of this magnitude it makes perfect sense to break it down into a number of smaller build stages. It also means you could do a stage a night if you wish and that’s exactly what I did. It took two weeks, but you know what, I enjoyed spreading out the steps and I think I appreciated the attention to detail and the build much more than if I had rushed it getting it built as quickly as possible.
As previously mentioned it’s broken down into 14 stages, and then broken down further; bags 1-4 do the ground floor, bags 5-7 do the main part of the 1st floor, bag 8 does another part of the 1st floor, bags 9-11 do the 2nd floor, bag 12 does another part of 2nd floor with bag 13 completing both floors and the final bag doing the roof.
We build Winston Zeddemore, then start the pavement on the large 32 x 32 baseplate. For modular fans, the build has a very similar feel. Part of the pavement has the pink ectoplasm oozing out, represented by trans-pink elements. For some bizarre reason we add the Ecto-1 license plate to the floor as we start to create the foundations, then we head backwards and connect the smaller 16 x 32 baseplate using tiles. The foundations of the build is done using the light bluish-grey masonry bricks. As you build you find you are actually building two walls, an outer and inner one. The outer one starts in light bluish-grey whilst the inner is a mix of dark green and white. We build the first of the hinged section as well which allows the main side of the building to open up. We complete bag one with 3 lockers (why 3 and not 4 is beyond me). Each has a sticker to label it, except for poor Winston. Even though he is one of the main cast he does not get a locker!
We then move on with the ground floor with bag 2/stage 2. This bag comes with Tully. We now build the second hinged section at the rear allowing full access to the interior. One of the highlights of this section is the containment unit which is hinged at its base. After this floor you don’t actually come back to this area until bag 13! We then switch back to the walls and to keep costs down the internal sections are done using dark green 1 x 6 x 5 wall panels.
Bag 2 is a quickly done and left me looking forward to day 3 and bag three. We move back to the locker areas and the internal column support. For this part the build uses black 2 x 2 round bricks with dome bottom and a black lamp post! In this section we finally see the completion of the ground floor walls and this includes adding all the black framed window elements. The windows are offset inwards and cleverly allows the build to emulate the contours of the actual building. We also carry on the internal walls but switching from dark green to white using bricks and panels. We then work on the front entrance of the building – on the left you have a door built into a door and on the right we see a new element in the form of a black 1 x 6 x 5 wall panel which has a corrugated look. These would be great in grey for buildings and containers! A 1 x 8 tile is placed above the doorway with a sticker featuring the set number and name along with some 1×1 printed blue round tiles.
Bag 4 and we are still building the ground floor! The next minifigure we get is Janine. We then construct some internal features and the room beams that act as supports for the upper levels. The use of Technic bricks as beams form a sturdy frame but with the addition of tiles and lights it really does add an extra feel to the floor. We also add the Ghostbusters sign outside, though why this iconic sign wasn’t printed was a stupid own goal by LEGO. IMO for £280 I’d expect them to go above and beyond. I’d personally rather have printed elements then play features!
Once the ceiling is done we switch back to the ground floor furnishings and construct the desks, cabinets, Janine’s desk, lamps and seating. There are lot of cool minor details such as an old-fashioned telephone, desk lamp and computer which completes the ground floor but I will revisit this at the end as it has a major issue…
Bag 5 sees us moving on up with the start of the 2nd floor. First we complete Ray, before cracking on with the floor which is fixed using 4 6 x 16 reddish brown plates. Next we work on the interior floor using tiles forming part of the bathroom, as well as constructing parts of the kitchen using dark flesh for cupboards, drawers and doors, along with a corner sink. The outer wall then switches from grey to dark red. People complained about using dark red instead of dark orange or red but personally I prefer this colour. To complete bag 5 we also add the first round of windows to this floor.
Bag 6 again sees the use of large panels, this time in tan to complete the inner walls. We add further details to the inside, with 3 beds lamps and a cool arcade machine. This is a real highlight but again is spoiled by stickers. We do get printed ring pulls on the cans of soda and a printed cereal box which is cool, before adding more units and the fridge. We continue this section with bag 7 and we get our first ghost in the form of the librarian. It’s then straight back onto the internal details with the kitchen table and chairs. The table is packed with plenty of items including the mood slime toaster from the second movie. Internal walls are then added using tan elements to separate the kitchen and bedroom. This section is completed with the front windows and more Technic room beams (which are very similar to the ground floor) with tiles and lights used to add a finished look to the level.
In bag 8 we complete the front left side of the 1st floor and this connects to the larger of the hinged ground floor sections. The walls are similar to the rest of this level but it’s all about the interior with a fantastically detailed bathroom. The floor is black and white and we get a shower, sink and toilet. The toilet has slime overflowing on to the floor so I added Slimer at the end to look like he came out of it and slimed Venkman! Next we add more windows and Technic elements so it lines up to the rest of the floor.
Instead of completing this floor as you might expect, we skip it and do the larger section of the next floor. We also get Venkman in bag 9. The next floor follows the same blueprint as the previous floor so a bit of repetition dilutes what has so far (on the whole) been a fun build, but then it’s something one expects on a building of this size. The internal features though are different with the use of different shades of blue tiles to represent carpets – plus we build a pool table 🙂
We build the walls as before but unlike the previous floor it is an open plan with loads of internal details such as a dartboard and desk with old computer (complete with a CRT monitor). The screen is a sticker which displays the head of Zuul, Gatekeeper of Gozer. The build follows straight from bag 9 into bag 11 with the Dana Barrett minifigure. We then complete this floor’s walls with ornamental detailing adding to the finished look and for a 3rd time we round off the floor with the Technic parts for the roof beams with lamps and tiles to add the finishing touch.
Bag 12 is similar to the bathroom on the outside but this time it’s Egon’s darkroom. We start with Egon and then crack on with the section that sits on top of the bathroom. The floor is tiled with sand green and white tiles and as it’s a darkroom the clear window glass is replaced by opaque white window glass. The interior walls are covered with stickers of the photos of Vigo before they go up in flames in the 2nd movie. We even get a camera and a fire extinguisher outside which is a nice touch.
Bag 13 sees the completion of both the 1st and 2nd floors as well as the taxi driver. This section is part of the rear hinged section and connects the floors with internal staircases. Each level has a fire escape allowing access to the ground and roof. The fire escape is a great side feature and when you add this to the build so far, it really starts to look impressive.
The build is finished with bag 14 and it’s time for the roof. This is a great finish as the roof also includes three sections to allow for the hinged sections. The use of a pair of modified 1 x 2 bricks with vertical clip holds the hinged sections closed when desired. The final details are added such as the new fireman’s pole (that actually works) and the traffic lights outside, along with a rubbish bin. You also add some clear rods to put the ghosts on the side of building to look like they are floating round the building which is quite cool!
So there you go, it’s built! It is a mammoth undertaking, but overall it’s an enjoyable build and it’s one you are proud to have on display. This is the ultimate modular, so if you are a modular fan you will enjoy it though it’s not without its flaws such as some repetitive sections which one has to expect. I love the double depth walls as it allowed for different colours of internal wall, but I know the use of dark red annoyed a lot of fan boys. Luckily for me it didn’t matter at all.
If you like the Haunted House hinged feature this took it to another level and the detail inside the build is amazing. Highlights for me are the arcade machine and bathroom build. I said it was huge, so it’s worth noting that this is currently the 3rd largest LEGO set behind the Taj Mahal and Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon. What I failed to mention is the back of the building is only one brick deep and in doing it one brick deep it is an eyesore, but then who actually looks at the back of a model?
Obviously we don’t get the Ecto-1 included, but then if you buy this then the chances are you already own the Ecto-1 set. Regardless of what you think, the designers did a crap job of making sure the car fitted into the building. It does… but not without issues. You have to basically take the internal ground floor desk out so it fits in and then take even more out if you want to close the doors. I think this actually spoilt the build slightly. You’d think this should have been better thought out by the designers.
I also think for the price, stickers should not appear at all! The fact is stickers don’t last so if you use them, how long till they start peeling and ruin a £275 set? How much to get a replacement sheet in a few years when it’s retired?
If you are a Ghostbusters fan this is a dream come true, but it’s for a niche market and as I said it’s very hard to justify the set for this price. With a family I struggle to justify spending £50 on a LEGO set, but spending over half my mortgage bill is just not going to happen. If you’re fortunate enough to have the money to buy this, then it could be your flagship set but at the same time ask yourself – could the money be better spent on something else? In my view yes it can…
Disclaimer: All our reviews are our own personal views, thanks to the LEGO ARP team for providing us with sets to review.