I am sure most collectors are aware that Bullyland has produced an interesting collection of prehistoric mega fauna, mammals, and terror birds. One overlooked mammal by most toy lines has been the Irish elk. It was nice to see a company take a chance on an animal that rarely sees any toy love.
History: The magnificent and regal Irish elk (Megaloceros giganteus), along with many of the other giants of that age, grew to an enormous size compared to its contemporary animals that are alive today. Megaloceros giganteus stood seven feet (2.1 meters) at the shoulder, and its enormous antlers spanned 12 feet (3.65) meters across. That is one big rack. To compare it with extant fauna, the largest subspecies of Moose, the Alaskan Moose also stands seven feet at the shoulder, but its antlers only span six feet (1.8m)
About the toy: According to Bullyland, the scale of this figure is 1:24. It is 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) high at the shoulder, and its antler rack is 4.4 in (11.17cm) across. The pose is a rather static one, as the figure is shown standing still, with its head turned slightly to the left (looking at it head on), its mouth agape. This is not a bad thing since it is a male and it is conceivable that it could be bellowing to its rivals during the rut, showing off its impressive head gear.
The antlers are big and proportional compared to its body. Its two pointed ears are below the antlers on the sides and the eyes are pointed forward on its head. There is a shaggy mane coming down the neck all the way to the front legs. The rest of the body is covered in less shaggy fur. A hump is present on the spine just above the shoulder blade. A short tail is on its rump and you can see the slight hip bone protrusion above the rear legs. All four legs are long and slender and end in two toed hooves with two dew claws.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of meat on this figure. The flanks do have a small bulge were the ribs are, but the body is thin. Texturally the head is smooth, and around the neck there are long, wavy, fur patterns, which make up the mane. The rest of the body is covered in smoother fur lines. There are some hints of muscles on the legs, but it is rather subtle. All four legs are rather smooth showing some very small fur texture lines at the beginning of the legs and at the hooves.
The colors on this toy are really drab in basic earth tones. The entire body is a combination of shades from light to really dark brown. Inside the mouth there is a drop of a bizarre pinkish color where the tongue would be. The eyes are glossy black.
Playability: It has an average level of playability. Most kids probably will think it is a regular moose, elk, or deer toy, not realizing it is an extinct deer. Which is fine as kids will find a use for it whether it is played with by itself or in multi animal herds. The toy does well in the safety department, as all the points are rounded, and the antlers and legs are soft and bendable. The paint job will wear very fast on this toy, so it may need the occasional touch ups.
Overall appraisal: One of the biggest problems with this toy is the antlers. They are molded separately from the body and attached above the head. I am sure this was done for ease of production; unfortunately it just doesn’t look quite right. The antlers are also very flexible, so depended on how it is stored or shipped; you could end up with an interesting looking rack. This is unfortunate, as the antlers are the main feature for this animal.
For the most part, this is one toy that will probably not please the average collector. The sculpt lacks the grandeur that this animal truly deserves and the paint job is on the boring side. There are many deer type toys out there, so I don’t think many kids will be begging the parents for this toy.
Whereas this is an easily forgettable toy, there are some other things to consider. First, the only other Irish elk that I am aware of was made by Starlux, so this is a truly rare animal in toy form. It can be also used in education to show deer evolution. It would also add some flavor in dioramas, as this would add some distinction to the normal Pleistocene animals that normally grace dioramas that cover that time period.
Available from Ebay.com here.