Widely considered to be the Holy Grail of any diehard Kenner Real Ghostbuster fan, Egon's Lab was one of the most interesting and well thought out toy concepts Kenner created for the Real Ghostbusters line. However, it was a toy that almost never went into production from the start. It was passed over by management time and time again where little enthusiasm was shown for a toy they believed resembled that of an “introduction level concept”. On the contrary, Kenner designers knew it would be a sure hit with Ghostbuster fans and continued to discuss the “could be, would be” toy concept. In an attempt to pass approval once and for all, Mike Katauskas created a mock up of the playset to demonstrate the playability and overall look. The presentation finally convinced management to approve the project for preliminary design and development. This allowed Kenners Product Concepts (Prelim for short) department to fully realize this vision. That department was responsible for both the creation of new toy lines and product extensions for existing lines. It was here that David Griffin directed the project through several alterations before being passed on to the model shop where it was patterend for production stage tooling. Kenners pattern designers and "Protoconcepts" department gave the playset the aesthetics and engineering of a production ready, fully functional toy. However, due to poor sales and near cancellation of the Real Ghostbusters animated series, the project was interrupted and the line as a whole was cancelled. Egons Lab suffered the same fate as several other ambitious concepts Kenner had planned to release throughout 1991 and 1992. Although internal Kenner photography and the like suggest that these playsets are in production ready form, they are in reality early hand-assembled models consisting of in house injection molded parts – some handmade and some ordered by oversea vendors. To date, all that is known to remain of this project are 2 early mock up presentation examples and 3 fully functional hand-painted models: 2 of which are fully decorated with hand-cut photo printed decals. The last 3 examples (those resembling that of a production ready toy) consist of a hand-painted resin cast hardcopy base along with several painted hardcopy and first shot parts. The base is crafted from one solid piece of blue resin and was painted grey. This was a process Kenner referred to as protomolding. Protomolding was an in-house process where Kenner would generate a hardcopy of a sculpted or patterned toy part (or figure) from a silicone or aluminum mold. The medium typically used in this process throughout the 90’s was a 2-part blue (or grey) dyed resin (see also, dynacast - used throughout the 70's & 80's). The first shot parts were cast in production ready steel molds by an oversea vendor, but show signs of in house modifications (cutting, drilling, etc.). In the final stage of development, first shot items could undergo necessary changes before mass-production began. To date, no completed first shot playset examples are known to exist.
Article written by Josh Blake
Information and photographs compiled by Josh Blake
Please do not use without permission from the author