I’m going to be quick this post*. In part because it’s hard to say a lot and in part because I’m almost at a loss for words that it exists, and I have it! Which is why I am giving it pride of place as a standalone post instead of some kind of grouping. As the title says, today’s entry will be one of the oddest mammal figures I have, the percrocutid Dinocrocuta from Sbabam as part of their Kreaturex line called Depredatores Prehistoricos. Those are a lot of odd words that together do not mean a whole lot. Let’s start with the company, Sbabam. From what I can find, it is another Italian toy company that produces all kinds of items. This figure is specifically from the “Kreaturex” series, which appears to be in the vein of (fellow Italians, I think) Diramix and DeAgostini, producing a number of different series of animals that are essentially squishy/stretchy and modelled to varying degrees of success on real animals.
*I honestly believed that when I started!
As with the two others, the Kreaturex seems to be all blind-bag based, and overall larger figures than, say, most of the DeAgostini (Diramix is all over the place). While all three companies seem to really favour artwork and series that exaggerate aggression and cartoonish levels of villainy, that seems to be the entire oeuvre of Sbabam’s Kreaturex–with only one exception (Giant Frogs and Geckos or some such thing) every series refers to the included animals as ‘PREDATORS’ of some kind…even if, say, mammoths or penguins are included; I know the latter are predators, but they still somehow depict them as overly angry monsters. I’m going to be blunt, looking over most of the models, they’re hot garbage (to me). The related artwork is already over the top, but many figures are awkward looking and have strange sculpts that sometimes barely work for the animal in question. I don’t want to dwell, but if you want to see what they look like, the company site is right here (in English, but there are other languages). This figure, the Dinocrocuta, part of the Prehistoric Predators series (it was right in the name in Italian) which was focused almost completely on Cenozoic animals (and Kaprosuchus because who knows why). And despite my harsh overall company critique, I don’t think this figure is too bad.
So given that I’ve been somewhat unkind to the works of Sbabam (still, good on them for making a unique range) how does the Dinocrocuta line up? The head seems a little shorter than might be expected, or maybe the skull vault is too low? It seems a little off for Dinocrocuta, but acceptably big and powerful; I think it might be a reissue of their spotted hyena from the…’Predators of the Earth’ series (as opposed to where exactly?) But with the head and massive bulk, it actually makes a better Dinocrocuta. The hefty body does give the sense of a big, lumbering beast of a predator or bullying scavenger, the kind that could apparently take down rhinos! Oddly, despite the massive teeth seen on the skulls of these beasts, the ‘sculpt’ (for lack of a better term) actually shows some restraint, letting this Dinocrocuta be one of their more subtle models. But then the eyes have the weird black-with-white pupil thing to give them a very odd expressions. The material is an incredibly soft, rubbery skin with some kind of beaded or foam fill–it’s a little stretchy (I will not test) but more squishy, like a weird stress ball. In spite of this very soft body, the figure pretty much stands on its own, and I am grateful for that (I was worried they wouldn’t). The feet sit a little funny, but it stays up (also, kudos on getting four toes per foot).
The paint scheme is pretty minimal. The ‘skin’ is overall dark orange, with some brown washes/highlights on the body, feet and face. The only other paint is on the teeth and eyes. So a simple figure but with just enough attention to feel like they cared a little. Overall, having this figure in my collection is incredibly satisfying; the Carnivora (especially the less represented species/families) is one of my main focuses, and I never expected to see a Dinocrocuta on the shelves. Mainly because, as a group, the Percrocutidae are not generally familiar with anyone except specialists…if they’re even recognized as something that isn’t a hyena (they’re a related but distinct family). It’s a weird figure for sure (in keeping with the source company) but an incredible one to add for any prehistoric-minded collector. I don’t know how available they are in their normal distribution, but Europe overall seems to be where Sbabam are sold. I had to find mine (and, of course, the Hyaendon from the same series) from an eBay seller in Spain, a very trustworthy seller I’ve dealt with many times. Unfortunately, I don’t currently see any of the Prehistoric Predators series available, but I’m hopeful that they’re still in production, it’s a neat figure from an okay line, and worth trying to get!