Who makes it? From the last run of the original Australian Yowies Series, the Forgoten Friends B set.
When did it come out?About 2002.
Still available? No. They were always limited runs–kind of an Australian version of the Japanese Dinotales. Right down to being made of plastic pieces that needed to be built!
Where can it be found in my displays? I have a whole lot of Yowies on display. It’s with them. They’re an eclectic bunch.
How does it fit in the collection? I’ve always looked for unusual carnivorans for my collection, and I don’t know of any other Atlas Bears. So of course I had to get this one.
Any story behind it? It was part of a blurry time. Tracking down this series of Yowies was tricky. The internet wasn’t quite as useful as it might be now, and even just finding a photo of the figure was hard. Fortunately, there were ways at the time, through email lists and such, and I found at least one contact in Australia that I still know to this day!
Notable remarks about this figure (a review that isn’t really a review): Well, first off, the Atlas Bear was a unique African population of the brown bear. And this figure is…not brown. Even though we know the colours, since the last known one was hunted in the 19th Century. So there’s that–it should be brownish-black with a reddish underbelly, because we actually know that. It shouldn’t have a pink nose either, apparently there were no muzzle markings. As for its bear appearance, well…Yowies kind of missed the mark, to put it bluntly. The hips are higher than the shoulders, the legs seem too short and the feet too big. It’s more like a cartoon bear…or what happens when a company makes a lot of marsupials makes a bear! And then there’s the material. Like all Australian Yowies (there were also UK Yowies, single-piece solid models) from the late 90s to the early 00s, they are all multiple pieces of plastic that must be built like snap-together models, again just like Dinotales from a similar era. But they are not of the same calibre by any means–the pieces are much chunkier, and the seams are terribly obvious. But they have their charms.
Would I recommend it? Well, given all that…probably? Yowies collectors (it’s a big thing in Australia, still, and the recent revival of the company has certainly helped) will of course want to have this to complete the set. And people, like me, that track down the more unusual species would be interested. So it’s worth it from that perspective. But if someone is a stickler for high detail and accuracy…there are a lot of brown bear figures. In all kinds of sizes. I would say for with that. One thing’s for sure–these are not kids’ toys, they fall apart too easily!