Earlier this year, it was announced, to much delight, that Hasbro was now the latest company to hold the title of master toy licensee of Ghostbusters and new merchandise was coming soon. At the big Toy Fair event in February, Hasbro did not disappoint and revealed new action figures, announced a re-release of the classic Kenner The Real Ghostbusters line, previewed a children's line, and brought Ivan and Jason Reitman onto the big stage to show off a replica prop of the Particle Thrower featured in the upcoming 2021 movie, Ghostbusters: Afterlife and based on the actual movie prop used by the actors during filming. Officially known as the Ghostbusters Plasma Series Spengler's Neutrona Wand, fans got a first look at the thrower in Afterlife's first trailer as one of many old pieces of equipment left by the deceased Egon Spengler that is discovered by a family he never knew after they move into his farmhouse in Summerville, Oklahoma and when Phoebe was thrust out of Ecto-1 in a gunner suit.
The Ghostbusters Plasma Series: Spengler's Neutrona Wand released at the beginning of September 2020 and is currently for sale. The official description on Hasbro Pulse's website is:
Hasbro's passion for the franchise exudes from the Spengler's Neutrona Wand. In the making of this product, Hasbro went to the set of Ghostbusters: Afterlife and examined the real prop. They were extra meticulous down to taking exact measurements, taking a 3D scan, and even went the extra mile of conferring over the 3D model with Ben Eadie, who was the armorer in charge of the movie props. They listened to his feedback, corrected the model, and implemented changes. The Spengler's Neutrona Wand is not fully metal like the movie prop but they only supposedly differ by a few pounds. There are a lot of fine details you wouldn't normally see in a toy based on a movie. There's the paint job made to match the movie prop, faux wear and tear, faux welds, rust bubbling under some spots to show age, metal knobs instead of plastic ones, metal screws, and metal switches. Also taking a cue from the movie prop, you can't just do whatever to turn on the wand. You must follow the correct sequence: you must flip up the bottom switch on the gunbox, then flip up the top switch, flip up the activate switch on the left, pull the green lever towards you to extend the wand, and push intensify to fire! You're treated to all the sounds and lights heard and seen in the movies. And to boot, like the movie prop, there is a motor inside the gunbox that rumbles when the wand is turned on. Then, like the movie prop, you have to manually push the wand's barrel back in. Even turning the switches off and pushing the barrel back also has its own set of classic sound effects. The wand's barrel light also pulses when idle and automatically shuts down if left on and not used. The power knob atop the gun box is adjustable and turning it will change the power and intensity of the stream through the various sounds, vibration and visible LED lights. Hasbro has thought of everything when it comes to the extrasensory experience.
Hasbro's careful attention to detail doesn't start and end with the product. Even the box that it comes in has a part in the movie, an old rusted military metal long box that the thrower is found inside of. The box measures 25 inches in length x 6.5 inches in height x 6 inches in width. I would estimate the box, with everything inside, weighs about 3 to 4 pounds. In addition to the metal box inspiration, there is also the stock Ghostbusters motifs like the caution stripe from the Ghost Trap. There is also a sleeve over the center of the box that displays product photos and information. As a result, the box is likely not something the collectors and fans will rip up and throw away so casually. It will take a few minutes to cut the three pieces of cardboard binding keeping the wand in place. The black, square shaped instruction manual is tucked in near the gunbox. There should be two plastic bags, one containing the base of the stand and the other containing the other parts for the stand and an adapter piece for the battery cover. The three AA batteries required are not included with the product and you will have to purchase that on your own.
In addition to all this, Hasbro included even more. As a hat tip to 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game, and last year's Remastered re-release, there is an orange button by the wood front grip that allows you to toggle modes from the standard proton stream to the Plasm Distribution System a.k.a. Slime Blower, the Dark Matter Generator's Stasis Stream, or the Composite Particle System's Meson Collider. The sounds and barrel and effects will change to match the mode. Unfortunately, no Boson Darts or Shock Blasts. And if you press the intensify button and use any stream for around 15 seconds straight, it will overheat and ring the alarm like in the video game. Unlike the game, you can't vent. The wand will turn off and you'll have to turn off the three switches turn redo the activation sequence.
The only mechanical flaws I've come across is for every 30 times I turn on the wand, the proton indicator bar and the orange light near the clippard don't turn on but turn on the next time as normal. The $99.99 MSRP might make some people balk at first, but if you consider all the details and design put into the Spengler's Neutrona Wand, a mass produced toy based on a movie, you're getting a really good deal and a lot of bang for your buck. For the sake of comparison, the Hasbro wand is $30 cheaper than Mattel's similar Neutrino Wand when it came out in 2013. The Hasbro wand uses way less plastic according to various product reviews. It does not have Mattel's cross the streams function but in its place are all the very cool features from Ghostbusters: The Video Game. And as a result, it's a product that can be for everyone: the casual fan who just wants to have the toy and play the heck out of it, the collector who can put it on a stand that comes in the box with some minor assembly, or the prop building fan who is experienced and well versed to swap out parts and mod it to their own liking.
Hasbro even included an adapter for the back end of the thrower, where you put in the three AA batteries, that you can use for the split loom to attach to your own prop pack or even to past Proton Pack products like Rubie's Spirit Halloween: Proton Pack from 2017 with a little elbow grease and a mount kit. At the moment, fans are already making their own mods. Although the wood grip doesn't seem to be removable, with some work, the rubber tape grip could be removed and the wand can be made to look more like the original version. If you plan on attaching it to a prop Proton Pack, it appears either a three quarter or one inch split loom tubing will fit over the adapter but some electrical tape may be needed. Small parts like the v-hook, metal banjos, the tube connectors on the back, and clippard are also said to be easy to replace. I'm sure many will race to change the barrel tip to make it more straight. Some parts here and there can be sprayed or brushed to look less shiny. The options are practically unlimited and in this day and age, it's not too hard to find mod videos posted by fans or to seek out advice on forums or social media.
A high end but inexpensive product with tons of features and stunning attention to detail, Hasbro's Ghostbusters Plasma Series Spengler's Neutrona Wand is built by fans for fans. As of the time of this review, the wand is sold out on Hasbro Pulse's website but it is still available on retail websites, including Entertainment Earth and GameStop; and for $104.99 at Big Bad Toy Store. Hasbro has stormed out the gates at the top of their game and I can't wait to see what else is in the works for their Ghostbusters line. A remote controlled mobile Ghost Trap or Polaroid printing Ecto Goggles would be fantastic! Sure, a 1:1 scale Proton Pack sounds like the logical next step to connect to the wand but if you know any prop builders, it is to make just one requires a lot of time, effort, and money. The economies of scale to mass produce a pack that is comparable in detail to the wand would not be conducive. It's a hard pill to swallow but who knows, maybe in the next couple years Hasbro will figure something out to make it feasible. It has been a few days since I got this product and played with it but I am still extremely pleased with and impressed with this Neutrona Wand. Picking it up is always like the first time and I'm filled with pure joy all over again. It exceeded my expectations and I highly recommend purchasing it. It fact, buy at least two. One to use, one to keep mint. Or one to use, one to mod. Whatever you want!
And if that wasn't enough, the Neutrona Wand isn't the end. The Hasbro Pulse Con will be available exclusively for viewing on the Hasbro Pulse YouTube Channel. Programming takes place on Friday, September 25 at 11 am EST and Saturday, September 26 at 10 am EST, with each day's festivities ending around 5 pm EST. The Ghostbusters panel takes place on Sunday in three parts. It concludes with Jason Reitman, director and co-writer of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, taking fans on a tour of the Ecto-1 that was used in the movie then making an "exciting reveal" and the Hasbro team unveiling the next toy inspired by the Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
This product was provided by Hasbro for free for review on the Ghostbusters Wiki.