Vault Tales 267 FigureFrenzy Smilodon, Alphadon, Macrauchenia, Hyena

Time to look at a random group of mammal figures. Most are prehistoric, and one is just really old! Old as in, the figure is relatively old (early half of 19th century) as opposed to representing really old animals…that were made more recently (in every case, really recently–like last 10 years recent). Anyway, let’s get to them!

CollectA Prehistoric Mammals MiniBox Smilodon

This first figure is a miniature model of Smilodon from the Prehistoric Mammal MiniBox by CollectA, item 89A1100. Like the other models in (most) box sets from CollectA, the figure is shrunken version of a larger figure from the deluxe series (I discussed it here). For the figure itself, it’s a pretty decent small version of that large model. It is of course simplified, and the paint and sculpt detail are greatly reduced, but the overall figure is still well done. They did manage to get some of the features onto the model that often get missed–such as the large sabre canines and ears. It is too bad that the company printing stamps are very, very prominent, and difficult to ignore. The lettering seems to be visible from every angle, so that’s a bit annoying. Still, a good example of the box of figures, definitely a set worth picking up.

Vivid Imaginations WwD3D Alphadon

I have visited a figure from the theatrical Walking with Dinosaurs theatrical movie before, but that one was less unique. This time it’s a figure that, for me, was probably the most important one for my collection–the metatherian Alphadon (named Alpha in the movie…clever). Overall, a group that we don’t see made as figures very often (unless it an actual marsupial). The figure is of course kind of a generic mammal style, mainly because the only fossils are teeth, but the reconstruction is probably sound. It’s great to see a Cretaceous mammal figure of any kind, although the scale makes it a little difficult to match with other figures. As a series, these didn’t last long (probably because…that movie…) but I was fortunate enough to find the 3-packs in stores. Even better, I also received a second one from someone that was able to get one in a blind bag (another way they were sold), so lucky me, I have two! Overall the series isn’t great figures, but the Alphadon would certainly be a good one to track down.

Safari Ltd Prehistoric World Macrauchenia

Next is a figure that, honestly, a lot of us expected a long time sooner. Back in 2005 or so, Safari released a ‘Prehistoric Life’ toob featuring a number of prehistoric mammals–all of which were released as larger models. All except for one, the Macrauchenia, which seemed odd. Even more odd, a Macrauchenia was released by Schleich a few years earlier…and it looked very similar (but bigger of course). So it was unusual that we never saw a larger model from Safari until 2018 as item number 100127. This figure is very nice, looking like a tall and proud hoofed animal; and also looking nothing like the toob model! Overall, it’s still well-made, and in many ways the pose and colour is probably better. One thing that is really ‘funny’–it appears that it wasn’t that long ago that reconstructions revisited that iconic snout. And it may be that there was not trunk at all, so maybe that nose should be even more like a camel or llama (since ‘Auchenia’ refers to an older llama genus). I would still recommend picking up this model; I don’t think we’ll be seeing new reconstructions any time soon, and it is still very well done.

Elastolin Composition Zoo Animals Brown hyena

Finally, we have a figure (well, pair of figures) made by Elastolin, a company that I’ve looked at before). These figures are an older style, and were made from the 1930s until 1960, and are made of a ‘composition’ material; unlike plastic, this is usually more brittle, and can be made up of woods shavings, glue, starch, resin in others (it is also generally what Starlux are made of). Given that the materials are less consistent, these probably wouldn’t still be considered safe for kids (also, they came from a time where lead was a common toy material too so, yeah). These particular figures are Hyenas, which of course I needed to get. I think, officially, they are supposed to be striped hyenas–but the dark colour and subtle stripes are more Brown hyena like to me. The same model was also later reused in the 1950s as a spotted hyena, but that shape isn’t right. There is a definite retro look to these figures, but given the age, are still pretty decent; even the shaggy mane is clearly sculpted (another feature that has me leaning more towards a Brown hyena identification). These figures are of course long out of production, but seem to show up intermittently in auctions, especially in Europe. It is not unusual that these figures have chips or breaks as the composition material is fragile, but it isn’t too hard to find ones in decent condition, like the ones I have. Definitely recommended retro figures!

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