Who makes it? Schleich, from their too-limited run of prehistoric mammals. Item number 16518
When did it come out? I believe it was 2002…although some snuck out for Christmas of 2001
Still available? Nope. Not at all. They didn’t last long either.
Where can it be found in my displays? With…so many large prehistoric mammals. Of course.
How does it fit in the collection? At the time I was primarily a Schleich collector, and prehistoric mammal collector. So this series was a given!
Any story behind it? At the time, Schleich was easily the best overall toy animal company (how things change…). But until then they hadn’t done much with prehistoric mammals; I didn’t care for their dinosaurs and it would be years before they made some prehistoric reptiles that I did like. But the mammals coming out was a big deal, since the only other large set available was Bullyland, and they were almost as hard to get outside of Europe as…now, really. Fortunately, I knew a shop that was bringing them in so I didn’t wait long!
Notable remarks about this figure (a review that isn’t really a review): First off, it’s a big figure. The whole series was meant to be 1:20; at 18 cm long, assuming a real length of 6m (admittedly a max size), it’s more like 1:30. That’s also assuming it’s meant to be Megatherium, but I can’t recall if the specific species was indicated. The figure itself is unique in that it’s a quadruped; there is only one exception that I can think of, the much smaller Play Visions bulk bin figure–normally, they are posed in an upright feeding pose. The sculpting on this figure is incredible. The fur has been textured very well, giving a static PVC figure the appearance of a shaggy coat. The overall colour is brown, with various washes and shadings to give it life. The muzzle is a lighter colour, and the eyes are painted a shiny black. The tongue is sculpted as sticking out, and this is another trope of ground sloth figures–but the tongue is even sculpted in a curved, licking shape with shades of pink. This figure truly embodies what Schleich used to be–so much care was put into these figures, they were almost art. Definitely worthy of the museum-quality label.
Would I recommend it? I will admit, there are a lot of ground sloth figures. It’s one of the trope species, alongside Smilodon and Woolly Mammoths, that seems to appear in every set (glyptodonts of various species are almost one…and all of these are of course in the Schleich series). But, if you can find one, yes. Yes. Get this one. They were not around, and they can be expensive to find one in good shape (especially the paint). The unusual pose and attention to detail makes the Schleich stand out above the rest (even if it, yeah, sits lower). Of nothing else, it would complement one of the good upright figures (the Bullyland is highly recommended) in a display. I’ll admit that it could even be used to represent a different species–it kind of looks like a model of Megalonyx jeffersoni that I am familiar with from a museum display. But, of course, you have to find one first. I would recommend sources in Germany, Schleich vintage figures are often easier to find there!