Who makes it? Schleich, as part of their African animals back when they were a larger part of my collection, if not my outright main company. This version lightened up the paint job to more brown than orange. It was released using product number 14347.
When did it come out? Many years ago…many! Around 2005 or so maybe?
Still available? Not easily. It wasn’t around for very long, and it is retired (and replaced) now.
How does it fit in the collection? Well, I have certain taxonomic groups of animals and species of animals that I will (almost) always add to my collection. Hyenas are right at the top of that list, so it’s a given I would have it. A couple, I think, actually. Plus, at the time, I was still inclined to get almost every Schleich animal of interest, so that was another reason.
Where can it be found in my displays? The carnivoran shelf Hemnes1Aγ
Any story behind it? Only as part of my quest to collect hyenas! The first version was probably the first high end figure, definitely my first one. I personally think this was an improved paint job, so of course I have a couple. At that time—early 2000s—there wasn’t much for any hyenas. Now there are lots of spotteds. I got a few, and I think one ended up as a Xmas tree ornament…
Notable remarks about this figure (a review that isn’t really a review): This is the original Schleich spotted hyena sculpt, so that gives it some history (in a better paint job, at least I think so). It was also the first major-modern-company sculpt that I am aware of (maybe Bullyland but…they were never widespread enough). As a hyena, it’s recognizable if not great. The head is fine and it’s recognizable as a hyena, but there is a cartoonish element to the figure that never really worked for me. It just seems to lack the goofy/scary charm of the real animal.
Would I recommend it? If you can find it for a decent price, sure. There are better ones now, but historically Schleich probably had the first widely available one. It’s a decent scale for most human figures as well, about 1:23