Who makes it? A Chinese toy company called Chick Yuet, part of a set of mid-sized vinyl prehistoric mammals
When did it come out? I got it in 2006 or 2007. So around then maybe?
Still available? Sadly no. They appear to have gone completely out of business around 2007-2008. And these mammal figures went with them. Worse, right before their demise photos were found of a version of the set of the figures as even larger ones. And later on, a musk ox started making the rounds that appears to be part of the set.
Where can it be found in my displays? On one of the many shelves of prehistoric mammals. Obviously!
How does it fit in the collection? As I’ve said, I am a collector of prehistoric mammals. But unlike some taxa–Smilodon, Mammoths, Ground sloths–Synthetoceras has not been made very often at all (exactly twice so far, and the other one is much older, but probably easier to find).
Any story behind it? The short version is that it was a random find at a dollar store, of all things! But there’s more to it–we were actually there trying to find a flamingo figure for my son (I can’t even remember what made him need that…kids…). We didn’t find one, but while there I noticed what appeared to be an entelodont! Which was crazy, because those didn’t exist at that time (other than a AAA one–many people don’t realize how lucky we are about how many entelodonts and other exciting Cenozoic animals are made now, even compared to 15 years ago!). So of course I started scrambling through the shelves to see what I could find. And what I found was a box full of them–6 species to be exact. The expected mammoth and smilodon, plus a woolly rhino, hyaenodon, entelodon, and of course this Synthetoceras (it goes without saying that the Smilodon was there in lowest numbers). I immediately bought everything I could, because I knew people that would appreciate them too. This was before social media or forums–so people that I was email-friends with were among the people that I spread them out to. Over the years, I found them in exactly one other store, in another city, and bought all of those too! But I no longer even have a full set (Smilodon and Mammoth people needed it more than me!)
Notable remarks about this figure (a review that isn’t really a review): Okay, so let’s be clear–it’s still a dollar store figure, not a museum-quality figure. It’s clearly part of a low-cost bulk set. As a sculpt, though, it’s pretty decent, despite the clearly visible seams. The face is a little short, and the legs are maybe a little long, as (maybe) is the tail. It’s at least got the even number of toes, and the horn configuration makes the identification crystal clear. The paint job, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. The overall bright yellow is an odd choice (most of the set were more natural, although the Smilodon was bright orange). The mane and back have a black wash across them, giving the look some character. The legs have white socks, which seems fine. The red eyes seem…odd…as well. Finally, horns. The nasal horn is in a stark black, so that’s cool, but the horns on the top of the head are in the same yellow as the rest of the body. It seems like these should have been black as well, at least to make them look like horns (the texture is smooth though, as opposed to the hair texture on the rest of the body, so that helps). Maybe they were going with an ossicone thing? That would have been unique! The figure itself is a decent size–just under 8cm at the shoulder, putting it around 1:14 scale.
Would I recommend it? I want to tell every collector of prehistoric animals to chase this one down. It’s a little big for many collections, but come on! It’s a protoceratid, how many of those are made? As I mentioned–two. And the other one is a Starlux figure. Oddly, despite finding one of those in good shape (they’re very breakable) you’ve still got a better chance of it. This figure is so cool, but sadly nearly impossible to find. It was dumb luck when I did find it, and it would take dumb luck to track it down again. Maybe the molds still exist, maybe another company will find them and reissue them? I hope so, because I love when figures of less common animals get made, and this is definitely one of them. So keep up hope…or maybe one of the current producers of excellent figures will take it up? That would be great.