Vault Tales 207 FigureFrenzy Hyena, Dodo, Cynognathus, African wild dog, Arsinoitherium

So here’s a random assortment of mostly mammals (and adjacent) figures. And one extinct bird, just to mix it up. Most of them are pretty good too!

Schleich Spotted hyena (2015 release)

Let’s start with a figure that represents one of my favorite animals (mammal edition), a Spotted hyena which, yes, I’ve covered a few already (even an earlier Schleich one). This one, item 14735, was released in 2015 as part of their current Wild Life Africa series. As with many of the Schleich series, they seem to go through different new set names but a series of some kind, geographically distinguished as African, is pretty consistent. This is definitely the best version that Schleich has produced, although there is still something…not quite right about it. For example:

This is what a hyena should look like. I don’t think there’s actually a figure that really looks like this.
I took this photo at Busch Gardens Tampa in April 2019 back in the grand days of being able to travel.

The neck isn’t quite long or skinny enough, and the legs don’t seem to be tall or slender enough. Still, it’s always great to see more hyena figures (it would be nice to see the other species more often though). This Schleich one is still available, and being Schleich is probably very accessible. Definitely a good model to add to a collection. It’s always a good species to add to an animal collection.

Innovative Kids Groovy Tubes ‘Gone Extinct’ Dodo

Next, we have a figure from one of the Innovative Kids game+book series. This one is called Gone Extinct, and explores animal extinction from the earliest animals to the most recent, unfortunate examples. And as with the other series, the book came with an assortment of animals that were represented in the book, some of which are unique as figures. This one, the Dodo is of course not unique as a species, but the choice of colour is…definitely a bold choice. Still, it’s a decent figure, and is part of a great set as. Of course, the whole line of books/games is out of print, which is kind of awful because there was so much potential. They do show up for resale sometimes, but I’ve seem some high prices for them. Not that they are seen very often.

MojoFun African Wild Dog

Next up, another currently available figure, again featuring a well known predator from the African savannah. Released in 2012 as item number 387110, this was a figure released in the early days of MojoFun. And it demonstrates why their modern-animal figures were immediately popular. The sculpt is really well done, and the paint job is excellent. One thing to note is that the material is a little more fragile than many other companies, but they seem to still be pretty solid. They look great on the shelf, and are definitely a recommended model for a collection.

Safari Ltd Prehistoric Life toob Arsinoitherium x 2

Next up, a pair of Safari figures, two paint versions of the Arsinoitherium from the Prehistoric Life toob. Originally released in about 2007 or so under item number 681004, the toob featured a number of prehistoric mammals…and a tree and volcano. This was also the year that Safari released a range of larger prehistoric mammals too, which made it a good year for fans of the Cenozoic! We didn’t see more until only recently. But, it should be noted–the toob is still available, but has undergone some major revisions. In particular, the paint jobs. The original is a dark grey, with an ochre wash over it, giving it a unique look. The newest one is just a flat light grey and…that’s about it. The sculpt and texture is the same, but clearly the attention to detail and paint is no longer there compared to when it was first released. As it is, this appears to be an ongoing thing with Safari–so always get the toobs that interest you as soon as they are released! In this case, you can get the Prehistoric Life toob, but if you can find it, definitely try to get an original one (if not, the current toob figures are still nice).

Play Visions Cynognathus

Finally, we end on the most prehistoric figure…and the oldest model as well. They were seen before in a clades post about the eucynodonts which was essentially different versions of this Cynongnathus figure. Anyway, it is a commonly seen figure, often showing up in random bagged and bin sets. The markings on this one indicates that it was part of the Play Visions dinosaur set; unlike most of the Play Visions series, they did not create their own models (or at least did not do it on their own) and instead issued painted versions of a series produced by Mech. The paint highlights give them a little character, but even when they were released in the 90s, most of the models were pretty old-fashioned, and this Cyngonathus is no different, definitely leaning toward the ‘reptile’ part of the common moniker ‘mammal-like reptile’ (even though cynodonts are pretty much the sister group to the mammal lineage itself, but anyway…). They’re fine as figures, definitely not something to put a lot of effort into, but worthwhile if you get them (whatever version you get).

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