Friday, March 14, 2014

REVIEW: SLUG Zombies Series 3 - Trashcan Sam

Produced by JAKKS Pacific | Released November 2012

SLUG Zombies...?
Whilst I'm not a believer in luck or curses, there's an annoying synchronicity between the toy lines I like to collect and toy lines that get cancelled. It seems every time I find a range of toys I really like, they never stick around for very long. Of all the lines I've seen die, perhaps the most frustrating was the SLUG  line. A fantastic homage to the MUSCLE and Monster in my Pocket-style of Keshi toys, SLUG (Scary Little Ugly Guys) was an umbrella brand that would have seen its creators, JAKKS Pacific, releasing other sub-lines such as Aliens and Monsters had they continued beyond the initial Zombie theme. Unfortunately, whether due to poor sales, weird exclusive spreads, the Zombie theme overstaying its welcome or just not finding an audience, the SLUG line was canned before the proposed collection of 100 figures was released.

Despite its commercial failings, the line was a strong, fun throwback to the 80s and 90s little rubber guy figures and although the line is now dead, it's always irked me that I never completed our Review index of the figures that were released (and the few ''pre-release'' press figures we received from JAKKS Pacific before the line was cancelled) so with that in mind, we'll be revisiting the line over the coming months not only to complete the list but also to celebrate just how awesome these little guys where.

So with that in mind, here's our look at Series 3's Trashcan Sam.

Trashcan Sam
Whilst the majority of the Zombies in the SLUG line could be described as ''walkers,'' the designers had the foresight to mix things up a little by also adding in some ''boxed'' characters, such as the coffin-breaking Jon B. Gone, the Return of the Living Dead homage Decayin' Dom, Egyptian Empress Cleopatra Commin' Atcha and a host of other such ''emerging'' characters. We can now add another character to that roster in the form of Trashcan Sam.

Available as an exclusive in a three-figure pack along with Decrepit Katie and the (non-exclusive) Chuck Norris tribute Johnny Two-Guns, Trashcan Sam is a perfect example of the SLUG Zombie line's tight sculpting and fun, gross-out comedy.
As you can see - and as his name suggests - Trashcan Sam is a zombie trapped in - or climbing out of - a trashcan. It's a neat design (my guess is he climbed in looking for something to snack on between brains and got stuck) and the execution certainly does justice to the concept.
Trashcan Sam's sculpt is neat, with some great little touches to the character including the seemingly obligatory torn clothing but there are also some character-specific details like his baseball cap (and I love the detail on the adjustable band) and his ghastly expression. But it's the trash element that really sells the concept. From the banana peel on his shoulder to the fish head poking out at his breast and the bugs crawling over his body and the can itself, there are some great touches that are, as always, sculpted and produced with an incredibly sharp level of detail.
There are a couple of minor issues with the figure, though. First up, the trashcan is rather oddly shaped. It appears to have been flattened, although I'm guessing it's simply to be a better ''fit'' for the character's shape. And speaking of Sam himself, whilst he's proportioned well in isolation, he's rather large when compared not only to other figures in the line but also to the trashcan. It's a minor issue but if you spend any time looking at him it'll probably start to bug you if you're the sort of person these things get to... Still, the close-up details more than make up for any scale issues and I mention it simply in passing.

Final Thoughts
As I stated in the intro, it's a real shame that the SLUG Zombie line didn't find a large enough audience. They're a fun, creepy, icky line of toys that have enough of a Garbage Pail Kids/MUSCLE vibe for us oldies but are gross-out and fun enough for the youngsters to enjoy. And Trashcan Sam is a great representation of the line in general.

From the fun high concept to the close-up detail and execution, there's a lot to enjoy here. If you're the sort of person who scrutinizes their toys or likes to display stuff that's going to catch the eye then you'll really dig Trashcan Sam. I've owned the figure for over a year now and I still spot new stuff whenever I look at him.

Yes, his proportions are a little off and the trashcan does hide the lower half of his sculpt but part of the fun of the SLUG Zombies line is seeing different and new takes on the ''classic'' zombie and this manages do that perfectly.

Great sculpt work and a fun concept add up to a cool-looking figure.

Image Gallery


  1. Too bad the line failed it had tons of potential.

    1. I know. I don't think the product itself was the problem. I think it was just poorly marketed and distributed. It's such a shame, as they were great fun.


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