FigureFocus 310 Bullyland Gomphotherium

So here’s a fun figure from a line I haven’t talked about enough. Another figure from the Bullyland Naturkundemuseum Stuttgart Prehistoric Mammal line. As I’ve said, this was a wonderful series with a relatively broad (especially for the late 90s) diversity of Cenozoic prehistoric animals (admittedly, all but one were mammals). This figure, the Gomphotherium was especially exciting because it was probably one of the earliest non-mammoth prehistoric elephant figures, barring a couple of hard-to-get Starlux models. And although the latter did include a shovel-tusker, nobody had yet made one of the 4-tusk animals like this.

The figure is expertly sculpted and moulded as to be expected from this era of Bullyland models. As with most of the large-bodied models, it is a hollow-cast PVC-like material; for those wondering, yes they float. There is a bit of an old-fashioned style to it, with a heavy, low-slung body and sort of slow-animal look; this would be a consequence of the time, when these animals were often pictured as slow swamp dwellers. Lots of detail though, and great use of a dark wash over the brown body to highlight the shaggy coat. The tusks are well formed if a bit crowded, and really bring out the distinct structure of these strange elephant relatives. Of course, it wouldn’t be Bullyland of this era if there weren’t some paint flaws, and indeed, the ivory colour on the tusks has chipped in a few places. Worse, it was like that when I got it…

Which bring a story to this figure. I originally purchased it from Dinosaur Farm in the very early 2000s–and they had it listed as “Mastodongomphotherium. So I placed my order…and received the Bullyland Mastodonsaurus by mistake. If you aren’t aware…this is a giant temnospondyl amphibian! Although I eventually wanted it…I hadn’t ordered it. Fortunately, they did send my gomphothere, and I was disappointed to note the paint wear on the tusks. When I reached out, it appears that they actually did pick out their best version–because the whole line was notorious for paint issues. So it has a bit of history, at least for me.

Sadly, this whole line is now discontinued, which is a shame as there are many very nice models in there–not all sculpts (or names) have held up completely, but as collectable models of less-visited fauna, they are true gems on the shelf. The funny thing is that in about 2010 or so, Bullyland released several, though not all, of the line for a temporary run; I already had all of them so it was less important for me! But it does mean that for a short time, at least some of these were available to everyone who wanted one; especially good since prices were getting out of hand on collector markets. I can’t recall if the gomphothere was among them. But the series (and most of the quality of Bullyland animals) is gone now. Fortunately, many of their less common species have been done recently by current companies (I already mentioned an update Gomphotherium from CollectA, for example). Or, in a few instances, done in a lesser form by Bullyland. So for a collector, these are definitely worth the hunt–but for someone just looking for representations of the animals, maybe the more recent ones would be easier.

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