(Scary Little Ugly Guys) S.L.U.G. Zombies

I missed the brief M.U.S.C.L.E. and Monster in My Pocket craze growing up, but now there’s a wide assortment of miniature acronym-wielding freaks, alien robots, Outlandish Mini Figure Guys, and now zombies to collect. As JAKKS Pacific’s incorrect guess to 2012’s Monster of the Year, these S.L.U.G. Zombie 2″ PVC gum miniatures ended up warming the shelves of several Targets in my area. I bought one to add to my zombie collection when they were $3, and waited patiently until their clearance prices dropped to around $1. As you can see, I bought a few:

Packaging
The annoying thing about collect ’em all series like this is that once you start, the tendency is to complete your collection. (My collection consists of an incomplete Series 2, complete Series 3 and Holiday series, with one Series 4 straggler.) When these items are packaged in blindbags, you’re much more likely to scoop up duplicates, when all you wanted was that last themed zombie to complete your collection. That is fortunately avoided here with the windowed blister packs and the 12 pack box that tell you exactly what you’re getting, almost to a fault.

The packaging for both are nice. The blister pack has rounded corners on top to give a clever tombstone impression, the cardboard stock is firm, and the print quality is good. The box is designed like a coffin, with a nicely printed list of miniatures you’re buying on the back. I got the impression that you’re buying all of the series 3 miniatures when you buy this box. Nope!

Both packages include a checklist of the zombies you’ll probably want to collect in this series. After a quick tally, I realized that the box was four miniatures short of the complete series. That is very lame. (I placed quarters next to which ones were missing in the photo above.) Now, it’s easy enough just to buy two of the blister packs to make up your Series 3 box, but then you’ll be left with at least two extra miniatures. At least the checklist is handy for if you’re looking for that last themed zombie and don’t want to rely on memory.

Sculpt and Deco
The overall level of detail of these miniatures is quite impressive, considering how easy it would have been to just stamp out a generic collection of miniatures. They aren’t the cheap miniatures you might find in a quarter toy capsule machine, but might do well in their higher quality dollar counterparts. My only real complaint is that some of these designs are very unoriginal. Here were some of my favorites:

Series 2 – Flesh-Eatin’ Phil

I’m not sure how I ended up with four of these guys. I guess I didn’t count the blister packs as carefully as I thought before I bought them, although either way, I do like the weight (hollow) and feel (large surface areas) of this miniature. The logo on the back looks like a poorly drawn mix between the USPS logo and the Seattle Seahawks logo and is amusing when you take into account that the rest of these miniatures, even this one, feature an otherwise excellent level of detail.


Series 3 – Double-Barrel Carol

French filmmaker philosopher Jean-Luc Godard once said, “all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun.” Good call. I’ve only seen one of these miniatures that stood on a circular base. With the skinny legs, I could see this miniature also benefiting from either a base or maybe a sturdier left leg. I bought two of the blister packs and one came along with the Series 3 box, so it’s a design flaw rather than a production issue.


Series 3 – Trashcan Sam

I like how the designs aren’t compact to a square block, or fit within a generic humanoid mold. Here the arm is bulky, sturdy, and features a high level of detail throughout. There are textures on the hand, folds in the clothing, strands of hair, and of course the faces are a focal point. The zombie faces are distorted, wrinkly, tired, and of course ugly.


Trashcan Sam and Series 3 – Jeet Kune Dead

At first I was surprised that this one even existed because of how much like Bruce Lee it looks. Then I thought about how I know I bought the blister pack because of the Bruce Lee zombie. The PVC gum with this miniature is flexible enough to where you could bend his legs around to pretend he’s doing a highkick. You can also twist his nunchaku, which has a hand holding the handle, around within reason without worry.


Series 3 – Johnny Two-Guns (Not Chuck Norris)

I have a theory with these miniatures, that the more well known the celebrity might be in pop culture, the more zombified or obscured it is, so this miniature has the pose and clothes of Chuck Norris to give off that macho vibe, with a completely different head.


Series 3 – The Towering Terror

This is probably the least zombie-inspired of the batch, being more of a green miniature of Monsieur Roussimoff than a zombified wrestler. I think this is another strength of this series, because I’d rather own zombified pop culture celebrities than zombified [insert generic warrior here].


Series 2 – Mash-Up Mike

Some of these designs really make up for the lack of creativity of others. While the design does have a mild Mr. T flavor to it, I think what I like most about this miniature, besides the shorts and sandals accentuating the tough guy look, is that this may be the closest representation of the mysterious Scumdogg available in mass production. Buy them now before they become collectors items!

Scale
They’re all roughly 2″ tall.

Okay, let’s go into more detail. The S.L.U.G. Zombie miniatures are: Slightly taller than a LEGO minifig, except when that minifig is standing on a second pair of minifig legs. Much taller than a custom-painted Warhammer 40K figurine. Taller than a tan army figurine, or what’s left of this one that came straight of the packaging like this. Much taller than a capsule machine ninja, except when that ninja happens to be foreshadowing a future review by standing on a Hot Wheels car.

By this point, I had noticed a happy accident. To complete the color spectrum, I added a mystery miniature, probably also inspired by M.U.S.C.L.E. but with no identifying labels, and a bootleg Street Fighter capsule toy. That dude wearing purple with black hair is suppose to be Ken from Street Fighter. They were from a line called “Ultimate Fighter Extreme Fighter,” and were of such poor quality that I had to buy at two complete collections. I excluded the Hot Wheels car because one color of theory states that white and black are not colors, but forgot about the skeleton minifig, so oops on that one.

Extra Fun
Somehow I came up with the idea of wanting a backdrop for all of these S.L.U.G. Zombies. I set up my 90s GI Joe playset in my closet, put on the Final Fantasy Tactics soundtrack, and went to work. I carefully constructed a battle sequence, grouping duplicates into teams, deciding strategically where short-range melee and long-range shooters might hole up, and briefly considered doing the same for the zombies. This is why I don’t play tactical RPGs, by the way.

Wrap-Up
Overall, I like these guys as a fan of most things zombie (excluding running zombies), they’re expertly detailed, and certain original/homage characters really stand out from the rest, but I can’t recommend them to a general audience because you’ll always look at your collection and think “I’m missing X” or “I have duplicate Ys.” If you don’t mind having an incomplete set, go for a 12 pack box to get a good collection for cheap or get some of the blister packs with the designs you like the most. I can’t help but think that this series failed more because it might be nearly impossible to collect them all, than on the concept itself. Producing a complete collection in one box like the OMFG (Outlandish Mini Figure Guys) miniatures would have been great, and to capitalize on accidentally buying duplicates, I think these would have been more successful in the toy capsule vending machines.

If you’re still interested in buying some of these Scary Little Ugly Guys, you can try the discount racks at Target, but I never saw them at Walmart, so your best option now may be ordering some online. I bought one stray Series 4 blister pack, so there might be additional miniatures from this line later on.

About Zombiepaper

My interests are very specific and sometimes esoteric: writing, videogames (EarthBound), movies (zombie, martial arts, and animated), music (listening and bass guitar), thrift stores, philosophy, and toys. Also, Cowabunga!

Posted on January 28, 2013, in Reviews, Toys and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Some additional info from the article I was putting together on these:

    The only two major US retailers to carry these were Toys R Us and Target. Of those, the only chain to get series 1 in the usual packaging was Toys R Us, and it was a test market situation. Most locations didn’t get any at all, some got the tombstone packs, and even fewer got the 3 packs. Consequently the 3-pack only figures are impossibly rare, and even the tombstone pack almost never surfaces on ebay. For a long time Toys R Us had the series 1 tombstone pack listed as available on their website, but if you ordered it they’d send you a series 3 one.

    Some drugstores like Walgreens got single blind-packs of Series 1 which were smaller tombstones, but that was also pretty rare.

    Series 4 is the last of the planned zombies. The line was to continue with SLUG Aliens and SLUG Monsters, both of which sound a hell of a lot more interesting than zombies. But after how poorly it’s been handled so far, I’d be shocked if Zombies series 4 isn’t the end of the brand altogether.

    • Thanks for posting the additional research.

      I can’t say I’m surprised that this line is wrapping up/dying. The miniatures are great, highly detailed, and overall would be a nice benchmark for future miniatures, but I think the market just isn’t here yet: who will buy these things? Kids will choke on them, parents will hate them, college students and normal people might only buy the Rambo or Chuck Norris one, so that leaves the miniature collector. Those Bonkazonks are a joke – calling them superhero dreidels are an insult to the Jewish community and superhero nerds – and those Trash Pack monsters also didn’t sell too well at Target, I suspect, since they’re headed to the discount rack en masse, though I may pick one set once their price goes from “caca” to “me gusta.”

      As an interesting comparison, the quarter machines we grew up with are now populated with 50 cent and dollar items, with these awesome buildable figurines [as I recall, you have the Thing] being what I might consider very popular: there are two Marvel series, one DC series, one South Park series, one Disney series, and even a generic football dudes series for good measure. I think the trick to these Buildable Figurines’ success is two-fold:

      First, you have a really great and adaptable design. Mini Muggs look nice and they have a much wider character base to work with, but I don’t like their mold. It’s clunky. With the Buildable Figurines, the circular head and body flow well so there isn’t an abrupt change in design, the design is smooth and “feels right.” The prints are also very effective; the South Park figurines look better than any other miniature I’ve seen, and even characters like Wolverine or Daredevil have little touches, so you don’t need to add anything onto their heads. The designs work with the sphere, rather than are hindered by them. (Even though the SLUG Zombies do, overall, have great designs, they are custom molds. So you can appreciate the sculpt, but there’s a certain thrill with seeing a great print adaptation of Cyclops or Venom on a generic mold.)

      Second, the price is right. $1 isn’t a quarter, but let’s say you’re going to see a new superhero movie, and are loitering around the arcade inside the movie theater because you got there 15 minutes before the preview to make sure you got good parking, and you do your civic nerd duty to check out the arcades. They always tend to have these quarter machines if they have arcade cabinets, and if you happen to glance over at one of these $1 machines with a buildable figurines set, see the Marvel series and think “these designs don’t look half bad,” you might impulsively buy one. That’s kind of how it started with me – $3 ticket to Inception, $1 Iron Man, good times. One of these may be more expensive than one SLUG Zombies on average, but one dollar feels right for these Buildable Miniatures. I don’t even know what a good price for a SLUG Zombie would be, if it were in one of these vending machines: 50 cents for one? $1 for a three pack?

      I would like (or would have liked?) to see more SLUG variations. I agree that zombies alone can get old after a while, and it would be cool to own a SLUG Slug, but I’m not sure how many other people would appreciate that sort of visual pun.

  2. Zombiepapaer, have you got an e-mail address. I’m from RYM. Please send me a message on, not on RYM. All the best and nice work with this site.

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