Review and photographs by ‘Bucketfoot-Al’. Edited by Plesiosauria.
Papo has produced some excellent prehistoric toy dinosaur figures recently as you undoubtedly know – not always accurate but always 100% high quality, with remarkable detail. But this review is about one of their discontinued figures from our more recent past. I am talking about their running Mammoth figure. It is still available from a few internet shops including Amazon.com (here) and comes up on www.ebay.com fairly frequently.
The main knock on this figure for me was that it is done in 1:40 scale, rather than the larger scales of the other Mammoths (Bullyland, Safari, Schleich, Procon). But there are enough 1:40 scale figures around now. Wild Safari and Bullyland, Schleich and even Procon produce many of their larger prehistoric mammals in 1:40 scale, while some smaller animals are rendered in larger scales. So a viable 1:40 prehistoric mammal collection can be assembled (if you happen to care about all the figures being in scale like I do).
Having said that, it is still 8.5” long and about 4.5” tall at the shoulder. What makes this sculpt unique is not only the pose; although it has body hair it is fairly closely cropped to the body and one look at the sculpt makes knowledgeable paleofans instantly realize that, unlike the other companies’ Mammoths, this one is not the Woolly Mammoth.
Instead, this older Papo version is clearly a Steppe Mammoth (Imperial Mammoth, Columbian Mammoth, Sungari Mammoth were all versions of this species), which was the largest Mammoth ever, some (like Sungari) up to 17 feet tall at the shoulder (!) and weighing anywhere from 10-15 tons, making it one of the 3 largest mammals that ever lived, right after Indricotherium and its distant older cousin, the Deinotheirum, with which it was roughly on par size-wise. One way to tell is the size and shape of the head and tusks vis-à-vis the body. It screams ‘Steppe Mammoth’. So this makes this piece unique in PVC Mammoth annals.
Now on to the sculpt itself. Like Steppe Mammoths, which had a variety of tusk shapes (some flared outwards, some straight ahead like in this figure), the model features accurate, fiendishly long tusks of the ‘straight ahead’ variety. (The much smaller Woolly Mammoths generally had more upwards curving tusks, shorter bodies and larger humps and more body hair.)
True to most Papo figures (the new Papo Woolly Mammoth sadly excluded) the level of detail and general accuracy of the animal make it, next to the Safari large Wooly Mammoth, one of the two best Mammoth figures out there. But you’d better look quickly as its becoming rare to find – though the prices are still quite low ($9 – $20 range, on ebay and a few Internet shops that still have it).
This is my favorite PVC Mammoth, I only recently got one for my 1:40 scale collection, and boy am I glad that I did! (Look at ‘Hans’, the Schleich 1:40 human figure next to it in the photos for an idea of its size.) A few photos from several angles give a far better appreciation of the sculpt than the Papo stock photo . (Have you ever wondered why the stock photos released by all of the Paleo figure companies invariably fail to show the best side of the animals? Ever noticed that? Poor quality control, I would guess!!!) Anyhow, any Mammoth fan needs to have this one as a part of his/her collection. I doubt that we will see another PVC sculpt of a Steppe Mammoth any time soon, and this one earns 5 STARS for both accuracy and detail quality.
Currently available from Amazon.com (here)