So here’s a neat little set from GeoWorld that, well, didn’t last long. They aren’t especially great models, but feature a few animals that you never really see. And a few that you pretty much always do…
I was kind of fortunate that these were briefly available right when I started the online store. Most of my GeoWorld order were the first two Jurassic Hunters series of larger dinosaur figures. But there were other things of interest–the only one I brought in was a Travel-to-Go set of prehistoric mammals, catalogue number CL447K; there were dinosaur ones as well but the figures were reissues of basic dollar store dinos so not worth it. But the Ice Age series featured some interesting figures, and wasn’t expensive. And they came in a container that looked like a block of jagged ice. Or maybe an iceberg.
Anyway, the set featured six small models, sort of toob-sized. The quality can best be described as on par with Innovative toobs figures; identifiable (especially with the cards) and decent design and paint, but will never be mistaken for Safari or Kaiyodo. But beyond design, the series featured a some interesting animals. And yes, a paper playmat and some plastic rocks because then the item count is higher. The playmat is pretty decent though. Makes a nice background!
The figures are an assortment of animals that are frequently made as representative of ‘Ice Age’ mammals. The Woolly Mammoth and Smilodon are pretty much givens as figures–I’m pretty sure those two especially have shown up since at least the Marx prehistoric figures days, probably earlier. But not pulling punches, the figures in the set here are probably not even that great. But they’re okay. The third figure that gets made at least sometimes (although less frequently) is the Coelodonta Woolly Rhino. This one is made a little better, probably because the basic rhino with crazy horns is more familiar for companies. In any case, these three are definitely the most familiar as far as ice age figures go. But it’s the other three that are far more interesting.
The trio of the others features two unusual predators and a very unusual herbivore. At least the two predators–both very big cats–are at least Pleistocene animals. And, as far as figurs go…I’m really glad that there were identification cards. Because they are really not that obvious. One, the Cave Lion, is kind of different–seems to be lacking the basic shape of a lion; honestly, it almost looked like a non-felid. But at least it isn’t just a white lion or something. The other cat is clearly cat-like, but honestly, I don’t think Giant Cheetah is the first thing that comes to mind…although probably not as fast, Acinonyx pardinensis should probably still be more slender longer-legged. Maybe better as a giant jaguar (an ice age subspecies)? Finally, an anthracothere, Anthracotherium which is absolutely not an Ice Age or Pleistocene animal…but it’s cool that it exists. Kind of hippo-like, but not enough to stand in for the giant species or anything. But it’s not bad. Definitely different. Interestingly, these mini figures are represented in a larger form by Cornelissen. I haven’t had a chance to look at any yet, but overall they look very similar; the Anthracotherium looks a little less hippo-like.
It’s probably good that the large figures might still be around because, as has already been mentioned by the past-tense wording earlier…this set is no longer available. I seem to recall it being discontinued/unavailable by the next time I wanted to order from the supplier (the obscurity of some species made it popular). Overall, the whole GeoWorld company kind of went (or continues to go through) a lot of changes, additions, new and old items…and there was a bit of collector concern for a while that many of their models and artwork was cribbed or copied from the work of other artists that didn’t grant permission or receive recognition. Those disruptions are probably why their prehistoric mammal line saw almost no distribution (they were not copies of the mini ice age figures), and their pre-dinosaur figures were never released (they didn’t look great, but still, unusual animals). It is a set that can absolutely be considered worthwhile for collectors if you can find it just for the obscurity. Especially those last three animals–I want to say that the Cave lion and giant cheetah have shown up with RPG sets (I think the Ral Partha Beastmasters included both cats). But there are no other anthracotheres that I’m aware of–but there are lots of 3D makers and RPG figures out there, and I’d bet I could be proven wrong. Still, there is not any set quite like this one!