As NECA continues to find success with its Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lines of action figures, the company has sought to branch out beyond the usual source material in an effort to give collectors more of what they want and also likely to just keep the hype train rolling. NECA started first with doing figures based on the original comic appearance of the turtles in the Mirage Studios series which has lead to video game, movie, and cartoon adaptations. The cartoon is, by far, the most popular and successful it would seem and a natural complement to that television show is the line of comics released by Archie while the show was in production titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures. These comics started off as adaptations of the show, but soon went their own way. It’s through this comic that many characters fans would come to enjoy in both the Playmates toyline and the show actually originated. One of the most popular characters to debut in this fashion has been the sometimes evil mutant, sometimes alien, turtle Slash!
Slash is someone we’ve talked about recently as Super7 just sent out their take on the beastly snapping turtle. That figure is based on the Playmates release which really honed in on Slash’s debut where he was more bad guy than good. It likely made sense to someone in marketing to basically have an anti-ninja turtle in the ranks of the bad guys and that toy set the stage for the character’s introduction in the show, even though toon Slash would end up being quite different as far as temperament goes. Slash as he was presented in the comics was a little more nuanced. His home world was destroyed by industrialists which essentially sent him into a frenzy that landed him in an intergalactic prison of sorts where he befriended Krang. Not really knowing how evil Krang was, Slash helped him and was introduced as a villain to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but he’d eventually come to realize that Krang was no friend of his and was taken in by the Mighty Mutanimals which basically made him a good guy. A lot of other takes on the character seem to have followed suit where Slash will start off as an adversary before becoming more ambiguous and even heroic. His debut was in an issue of the series written by Stephen Murphy, though I can’t find a credit for who actually created the character, but many on the Archie staff were unhappy with how the Mutanimals characters were treated when brought over to the cartoon and I assume Slash was no exception.
Slash, being a popular character within the fanbase, makes some sense as NECA’s debut in the Archie universe. They have done two versions of the character already, one for the video game and one for the cartoon, but both utilized the standard ninja turtle mold. I like both interpretations of the character, but my main criticism with each release was that Slash was too small. He doesn’t necessarily need to be taller than the turtles, but he should have more mass. NECA seems to have heard that criticism from the fanbase as this version of Slash is on the newer Tokka base body. It’s amusing to me because in the vintage Playmates line, Tokka was basically a repurposed Slash so the cycle is complete! This body though gives Slash that thicker, more physically imposing, appearance that I think fans wanted from the other figures. TMNT brand director for NECA, Trevor Zammit, has even indicated they may redo the cartoon version on this body. They have been saying similar things about April for awhile too so I certainly wouldn’t hold your breath, but as the toon line gets further into deep cut territory it wouldn’t shock me to see a fan favorite like Slash revisited once again.
Since this is the first in a new subline from NECA, we should talk a little about the box. It’s in the same shape as the Fugitoid and Loot Crate Claw Shredder packaging which is that of a trapezoid and features a window display on the front with artwork on the sides and product shots on the rear. All of the art is done by former Archie artist Kevin Mitchroney who also previously worked on the San Diego Comic Con exclusive carrying case from a few years back. It’s great to see NECA continue to seek out an authentic artist for these lines as it really does add to the presentation. Of course, ultimately the box is just trash that houses the action figure and mine has been ripped open, but I still think the box is pretty cool. Slash comes on a plastic tray that is easily removed from the box, if you want to preserve it, and the backdrop is that of his home world, if I’m not mistaken. Possibly my biggest pet peeve with this release starts here as every limb and accessory for this guy is held down by an annoying, plastic, tie-down. I hate these things so much because you have to pull on them to stretch them and then snip. You can try to rip past them, and I ended up doing that for the optional hands, but these little things get everywhere and leave your fingers sore. You also can’t do the rip technique for anything painted, which for a NECA figure is almost everything, as that could damage the paint. I find the tie-downs unnecessary as the bubble is plenty strong enough to keep the figure in place, but maybe it’s extra reinforcement to appease mint-in-box collectors, but screw them! NECA, please, ditch these things!
With that out of the way, lets actually talk about the figure. Slash when standing upright is about 5.875″ tall. He is one of those characters that’s a bit hunched forward so he’s never as tall as he could be. He seems to scale well with the toon turtles, and I’m assuming if they do Archie turtles they’ll be the same height, and that promised mass is certainly on display out of the box. He is just a chunky boy. Most of the figure is cast in a muted green, but then painted over, to give him a matte finish. He has some black linework on his muscle lines and the plastron which helps the figure to pop. The warts on his skin are done in a darker green and the plastron brown. On the back, his shell is cast in a much richer green and features a lot of that linework featured elsewhere. It’s also on his belt, and the metallic portions are painted white with a hit of blue shading which gives him a very comic-like appearance. There’s no panel shading so the approach here is definitely similar to the Mirage line. As for the new sculpt, the new parts are the plastron, hands, shell, and obviously the head. I love this expression Slash is sporting with one eyebrow raised and his sharp teeth all on display. The paint on his head is really clean and: Look! – painted shoulder pauldrons! His trademarked blades are also quite pointy and a little sharp and if I have one critique with the sculpt it’s that I wish they were longer like they are on the box art. In terms of presentation issues, it’s basically just paint imperfections here and there. There’s a small blob of white on the back of the belt that I might try to remove and there’s a couple of rough spots. One is on the edge of the plastron above his right pectoral and the paint is pretty choppy around the thigh joint on the rear of the leg. There’s also a bit of paint transfer around the the knees on mine from the kneepad to the thigh. That joint was also stuck out of the box and I think it’s because of the paint there. When you use as much paint as NECA does, these blemishes are bound to happen and overall I’d say it’s at an acceptable level here. Especially since the alternative would be to use less paint which I am not in favor of.
Slash, being a chunker, is not the most impressive figure when it comes to posing. He has pretty much all of the joints one would want, but his design limits his range. The head is on a ball peg and since it’s positioned forward he doesn’t get as much range as one might hope. He can look up a little, down a little, and to each side a little. Perhaps if he had more of a neck he could get better range, but as it stands it’s a bit lacking. The shoulders are ball-hinged, but he has those white pauldrons to be mindful of. The right one on mine sometimes wants to curl under the shell when positioning the arm which makes me worried about paint transfer. He basically isn’t going to get his arms out all the way to the side, and since he’s a turtle, he can’t rotate all the way around either as the shell gets in the way. We do have a biceps swivel after that and the elbows are double-jointed. Because of the elbow pad, he’s basically only good for a 90 degree bend. If you really work at it, you can possibly get him to go past that. The hands swivel and all feature horizontal hinges, which is a bummer for the accessories. It also kind of stinks that he can’t rotate his blades at all. In the torso, there is a waist twist that’s either single or a double-ball, but because he’s a turtle, it doesn’t allow for much movement. The hips are ball and socket joints with a thigh swivel. He can just about hit a full split, though the built-in thigh swivel doesn’t seem to want to move much on mine. Instead, the hip mostly pivots on the ball and socket, but that might be enough rotation for most. The knees are double-jointed, but like the elbows, you’re probably not getting past 90 here. The ankles are hinged and have a rocker and both work well. In terms of joint tolerance, I would say most of the joints are on the tight side. The right knee is the only one I had to heat up, but the shoulder hinges seem especially tight as well. The hips are a little on the loose side, but he’s holding himself up even at the widest stance possible so it’s not presently an issue. Because of the blades in his wrists, the wrist hinges are pretty tough to make much use of as you definitely don’t want to rub the hands on those mostly white blades. It mostly just highlights the need for vertical hinges as those would be far more preferable than what’s present.
Slash does come with a few accessories he can make use of in the form of weapons and spare parts. Out of the box, he’s equipped with fists, but he also has a set of gripping hands and clenchy, style, pose hands. Swapping them is a bit tricky because of the blades, and the fit is also rather snug, but do-able without any heat. In terms of weaponry, he has his kris sword which some refer to as a sai. It’s just a crooked, short, sword and it has the same white and blue paint app that his belt and blades feature which I like a lot. Based on most of his artwork, I think it could have been made a little bigger, but otherwise it gets the job done. Slash also comes with a bladed, hook, weapon and it’s mostly known as that thing that came with all of the vintage turtles. I have no idea if he actually used such a weapon in the comics, but I’m probably not going to make use of it. That’s it though. It’s definitely not a lot, but for most it will probably be enough. I think an extra head is always nice to have, but admittedly, I really like his present expression so I’m not sure another would be any better. I find it curious that he’s depicted with his little, toy, palm tree on the box art, but NECA declined to include one with the figure. It’s made more odd since they’ve already tooled such an accessory for the toon Slash. The only thing I really miss is just vertically hinged gripping hands. It would have also been cool if the bladed wrist weapons were removable just for some different posing opportunities.
Slash is a pretty cool looking figure. I suppose I didn’t need to write as much as I did up to now when I could have just said that and been done with it, but it’s the truth. He just looks cool. There are some issues with the articulation and paint, but the overall package seems to overcome that just fine. And since he’s the debut of a new line, there’s an added element of excitement at play as well. Slash is just the first, and still come to are Man Ray, Jagwar, and Dreadmon with more certain to follow. It would seem that NECA is prioritizing the Mutanimals first, and I think that’s a sound strategy since some of them have never been in plastic before. This figure is currently being sold at specialty retail for around $38 which is basically what NECA Ultimates are starting to retail for these days. It’s higher than I would like, but I have already seen this one discounted in some places. I do not know if there are any plans to bring any of this line to big box retailers like Target. The fact that Man Ray was unveiled quite a while ago and no preorder has gone up makes me think there’s a chance he’s going to one of the big stores initially, like Fugitoid, before specialty gets a crack at him. Unless the plan is only to do one figure from this line per year. I actually have little affection for the comic this figure is from so I don’t know how deep I’ll go on this line, but I liked this look enough for Slash that I got it anyway. I’ll probably do the same with at least Man Ray since he never had a proper appearance in the cartoon. For fans of those Archie comics though, this is pretty exciting and I hope they’re happy with how this figure turned out.
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