Who makes it? This northern pike figure is from Elastolin, part of their Aquatic Animals line
When did it come out? It is apparently from the 70s. Although I obtained it much more recently.
Still available? From what I can tell, somehow, yes! There is a German site that claims to have original 70s ones in original packaging. Even though the company kind of folded in the early 80s.
Where can it be found in my displays? Mixed up, of course, with a wide variety of other fish figures.
How does it fit in the collection? It’s a freshwater fish, and a cool one at that. Plus, freshwater fish were not common in these older series at all. The plastic Elastolin figures started in the late 60s, and the aquatic animals probably came later.
Any story behind it? As with any hard to find European figure, the main story on this one is that I found a helpful person in Europe to get one for me! Along with some other things I’m sure. Most likely I traded something to them in return, but I have long since forgotten what. I did know about the figure for some time, but I was surprised to find them still available in original packaging (of course, mine no longer is…)
Notable remarks about this figure (a review that isn’t really a review): First off, it’s very small, 4.5cm long–I am pretty sure that Elastolin, or their follow-up Preiser, were big on models for trains and dioramas, and to keep things to scale even a big fish like a pike would need to be pretty small. In this case, the scale is about 1:35 or so (depending on what length of northern pike you use; I went with the max potential of about 1.5m but of course most are smaller). The sculpt of the figure is pretty decent, well-proportioned with the correct fins in the correct places. The head does seem a little big and broad for the body, but at this size it’s hard to be sure how ‘off’ it is–the body could probably stand to be a little longer, or at least thinner. The big miss here is the colour; northern pike are often more green with stripes, spots and patches in lighter colours, while the fins are light reddish or brown and also patterned. This figure is mostly a cream colour with a grey dorsal surface and bright rust-red fins. I suppose you could go with it as a redfin pickerel Esox americanus americanus if we’re really literal, but that fish is also very paterned. And that mouth, with the bright red, looks like it put lipstick on. It’s quite jarring. But with these older, vintage toy animals it’s not always a surprise. For another example, you can see a blog post I did for a different blog about a Starlux hyena here. In the same way, the style and sculpt is good, but the paint is not up to modern standard.
Would I recommend it? I would certainly recommend this figure for any collection that includes fish, North American or European animals, or just a wide range. That a vintage figure like this can still be purchased (in Europe) is pretty good, and reasonably priced. One other place this fish could be great is fleshing out dioramas from the late Cretaceous onward! A Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops one to be exact, since fossils (of Oldmanesox) have been found in the right times and places! As for a toy, I would suggest finding other fish toys. I still have some figures of pike species for sale and those would be more appropriate for kids.