Review by Patrick Król Padilha
Today’s review is going to focus on a prehistoric mammal model, one of my favorites among all mammal figures I have. The animal it represents is the Woolly Rhinoceros, actually defined on the tag by genus and species as Coelodonta antiquitatis. This model predates the start of my collection in at least six years, so I didn’t really witness its release for the first time nor could I buy one when it was largely available. I couldn’t find on the blog anything on the Safari Missing Links Alive set, so I think an introduction may be relevant.
Safari is big toy company today, responsible for the Wild Safari line and Carnegie Museum line of prehistoric critters and was this same company that back in 1997 released a new set of seven new prehistoric mammals called Missing Links Alive. The collection includes the all famous Saber tooth (Smilodon), Woolly Mammoth, one adult and a calf (Mammuthus primigenius) and a Family of Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis), represented by a Male Adult Neanderthal, a Female Adult Neanderthal and a Young Neanderthal Child. The thing is, despite the amazing quality of the models, the collection was discontinued by Safari, when they released a new Woolly Mammoth as part of Carnegie Collection in 2003. The set now is quite rare and much sought after by collectors, what makes them a bit expensive in some cases.
Back to the Woolly Rhino, I can say it is an awesome model; I dare say the best Coelodonta toy ever made. It’s big, has a dynamic pose, pretty well detailed, the fur texture is very nice and the horns give the animal a powerful aspect, as its mouth is open in a warning gesture. Maybe the animal is a bull defending its territory from a rival or he’s trying to make a predator go away; this model has a big mouth just like the real animal, as it used to browse on plants with low nutritive value in the cold grasslands of northern Europe and Asia during the Ice Age. The model also presents two hump-like structures, one over the shoulders and a smaller one over the head in between the ears. Probably the humps, like in other animals, were used as a way to store fat as a source of energy during the really cold winter when food was more difficult to find. Despite the well sculpted fur coat, you can see some muscle shapes of the animal especially on the head of the model. The ears are reduced in size as they should and the eyes are small round black spheres with tiny white dots as pupils.
The number of hooves seems right, 3 per foot. The model also has a long tail sculpted but it’s attached to the body going all the way down almost between the hind legs. On the belly it’s stamped with the following text: “Wooly Rhinoceros © 1997 UNITED EXHIBITS SAFARI LTD. MIAMI.FL MADE IN CHINA 8406-61.” The model measures 17 centimeters long and 12 centimeters at the higher point (tip of the horn). It is painted with a beautiful brown mahogany color, there are some darker blackish faint stripes going down from the top of the back to the legs and if you look very closely you’ll notice a very subtle golden/yellowish dry brush on the fur. The hooves and horns are painted in a light tan/brownish color and the teeth are white, in a maroon painted mouth with a light pink tongue.
All in all, this model is an excellent depiction of the animal, very vivid in a powerful threatening display; the left front leg is a little bent as if it was going to start a gallop toward an enemy. I recommend to everyone that likes prehistoric mammals and can afford one, because it has become quite rare and mostly fetch high prices on online auctions. The original price was 17.50 USD, but if you want one now, probably your best shot is to watch EBay and prepare your wallet.