Here’s one of those figures that I was very excited to get when they first came out, and I still have a lot of them from those days! I am speaking of the Play Visions Striped Hyena figure, one of eight figures in the Wild Dogs bin figures series. And yes, first off–it isn’t a dog, wild or otherwise. It’s a hyena–and would have been more appropriate with the Civets and Mongoose series but they made their choice. At least they made the figure! And they’re pretty okay!
In terms of design, it’s a little…heavy…compared to the real animals. The figure has a fairly blocky head and short snouted, and the legs seem a little chunky. And the body overall is a bit wide. But the overall colour pattern is actually pretty realistic. It has the light base colour with random black stripes and grey highlights. The paint on the face is a little heavy, and much of the grey paint seems unneeded. Plus, the eye paint is…almost racoon mask-ish. Really most of the black markings are a bit too heavy. But, again, looking at this figure, it would be pretty clear what we’re looking at. One thing that is notable–the striped hyena is notable for the mane they erect when scared–but they did a great job of sculpting in the mane in a relaxed form. It’s just too bad that they just painted across it, instead of highlighting it differently. I suppose a good painter could do it, but that’s not me. (Side note–I once painted one of these figures to look like a brown hyena…poorly…but the heavy body kind of suited it better).
Back when they first came out I was pretty familiar with a toy store owner that let me go through the new catalogues (way more fun than website catalogues) and nearly choked when I saw the new Play Visions sets–including a hyena in one (also, the AAA Spotted hyena which I haven’t gotten to yet, but that’s something else). He agreed to bring in the whole bin, just so I could get a set…of course, in good time, I wound up with way more than that; partially to because he did bring in a bin of them for me, and partially because it’s fun to have lots!
These figures are of course long out of production, since Play Visions cancelled most of their really cool sets due to issues with bootlegging and such. It’s too bad because this is one example of the really cool species and figures that Play Visions could do. And today, many of these figures are very collectable for many people–and can be hard to find. Usually they pop up in auctions and such–or trades with other people (that’s why I only have four…I could only find three for the photos!) There are a few other striped hyena figures, though not a lot (several are vintage). But this is a good one and can be worth the hunt for a collection!