We sat down with Toy Bro, aka Jared Elswick, to talk Slithe. Though sitting down is hardly what we did, because we were super excited to be opening a new ThunderCats action figure again—the first time in five years! Check out Toy Bro’s full review below and read our Q&A.
TC.org: Hey Jared! Can’t believe it’s been almost nice months since last we talked ThunderCats ULTIMATES! A lot has happened this past year, especially in the toy community. What changes have you noticed? And PowerCon is just in our rearview mirror. How was that for you?
TB: A lot has changed for sure, there’s no doubt about that. Obviously the big thing is delays and while it’s gotten pretty crazy I’ve just kept on rolling with it. Outside of just not buying, there’s not much I can do about it, so I’m taking the “it’s all delayed so everything is on time” approach to this. It’ll all get here when it gets here. As far as PowerCon, it was great. It was nice to see folks in person for the first time again, just to catch up, but being at a con on its own was a nice change of pace. Getting to buy toys in person, seeing a room full of crazy vintage rarities, and just hanging out with some of the folks that make this stuff was a much needed break.
TC.org: PowerCon had lots of updates in terms of ThunderCats, but nothing “new”. What are your thoughts on this approach from Super7?
TB: I’m not surprised. I didn’t expect reveals at PowerCon especially since they’d said they weren’t going to get new stuff out there until we had Wave 3 in our hands. And to show us new stuff while also telling us that one figure was being delayed would have probably sent mixed messages. It was nice enough for me to just see the test shots and see figures packaged up that aren’t out yet. To get a real taste of how big Mumm-Ra is was exciting all on its own, since it’s been so long. It’s like seeing him again for the first time.
TC.org: Wave 3 is currently shipping in parts from BBTS, and Slithe and Captain Cracker were first out of the door. This was a surprise to many collectors because the day before Super7 had announced that the wave would start shipping in October. Thoughts?
TB: I don’t know for certain, but I’m quite sure that BBTS (and EE) just get straight shipments of their own freight due to the quantity they’re buying. And the figures come from the factory in single character cases, so Slithe and Captain Cracker arrived first, and BBTS I think smartly pumped them out. It’s odd to not get them from S7 directly first, but I think the sooner these are in people’s hands, the better, so we know what we’re working with.
TC.org: We’re obviously discussing Slithe first, but back in January we were hoping to be talking about Tygra next—this curveball called the pandemic really threw things off. So let’s touch on Tygra really quickly. You saw him in person at PowerCon. Were you pleased?
TB: Outside of the known errors on the figure, which S7 has assured us are being addressed, I think he looks good. Being my favorite ‘Cat, it’s one of those situations where I want to be super lenient but also super critical at the same time. I just want a good Tygra figure, and I think this is going to be it.
TC.org: Does the packaged version of Slithe you saw there match the version you got? Do you know if those were the final samples?
TB: I believe they were final samples, and Slithe does look very much like what I have. They made specific callouts in the display on figures that were “boxed” but not final, like the Wave 2 figures.
TC.org: Can you describe Slithe in five words?
TB: He’s a big, beefy boy.
TC.org: Are you surprised by the sheer size of this mutant? I know Bebop and Rocksteady surprised us back when they came out, and Brian alluded to the fact the Slithe is huge, too.
TB: I’m not sure I’m surprised by it—he should be big—but it’s different once you get him in hand and you see just how big he is. He’s not Mumm-Ra and certainly not Mon*Star big, but he’s a different kind of figure from the rest. He’s humanoid, but he’s got a very different design aesthetic and posture, which makes him unique among the ‘Cats so far.
TC.org: Scale wise, do you think he pairs correctly with the others in this line?
TB: I think he fits in well. He shouldn’t be tall-big, he should be a squatty, hulking kind of big, and I think they pulled that off well enough. He’s incredibly broad and deep, even more so with the tail, so he’s got a different kind of size that lines up with all the weird shapes we see across some of the villains in the ‘Cats world.
TC.org: Of his two faces and many accessories, which will you personally display him with and why?
TB: Easily the vintage axe. Mostly for nostalgia purposes, but also because I think it’s the most visually interesting piece, with the gnarled wood staff and the jagged axe blade. The other stuff is great from a toon perspective, but that LJN axe is just cooler.
TC.org: Slithe’s packaging is a bit different in the sense that it’s deeper to fit the figure, right? You probably saw that Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living’s packaging is much bigger, too, while still keeping the same look.
TB: His box is much bigger. Something that we’ll see more and more with this line as we get deeper into it, I think. The “normal” figures will all have the standard box size, but Slithe has a much deeper box. And then of course Mumm-Ra’s is bigger all around just because he’s so massive.
TC.org: Is this figure worth the $45 we paid for back in the day? Would you have paid $55 for it?
TB: Yes and yes.
TC.org: The delays and the decision to pull Cheetara just weeks before being shipped out had some vocal collectors reacting negatively. Do you think that Slithe redeems the line, in a sense? Can collectors sit back and take a moment to enjoy him, and have faith that Super7 is doing what they set out to do—give us a line of ThunderCats figures we were denied five years ago?
TB: I think Slithe will give folks a chance to breathe a sigh of relief. He is fantastic, truly. I still think ‘Cats has some kind of curse on it, but Super7 is doing what they can to get this rolling again, and honestly Slithe is a great example of what they’re doing with the line. They really knocked him out of the park and I think people will be happy to get some new figures in general with this wave. But when they open this guy, they won’t care so much about the other “issues” for a bit.
TC.org: How do you feel about the differences between the prototype and the final figure?
TB: It’s been so long since we even saw that prototype that I had to go back and look, and honestly I’m perfectly happy with the figure we got. The proto is a more fully painted, obviously, but I think Super7 did a solid job translating this one from proto to production.
TC.org: Would you call Slithe the best figure in the line so far?
TB: It’s hard not to say that. The “newness” of him is elevating the figure for me quite a bit because he’s the first new figure I’ve opened in five years, really. But also, he’s just a good solid figure through and through.
TC.org: Probably until Tygra comes along, right?
TB: Ha. As good as Slithe is, that’s what I’m hoping!
Jared “Toy Bro” Elswick is a longtime toy collector and hobbyist. In 2017 he turned his passion for action figures into a YouTube channel in order to have an outlet for expressing his views on the properties he collects. It has since become a huge part of his daily routine to review, discuss and promote action figures on YouTube and across social media.