Hyaenodon was an interesting predatory animal that first evolved 42 million years ago and lived from the Late Eocene through to Early Miocene. The first thing to know about them is that they are not related to hyenas. In fact, they were a creodont, a long extinct group of mammals that did not survive the Miocene.
Hyaenodon’s were the top predator of its day and its large head was the key to its success. They had massive heads with a big mouth that was full of interesting teeth, but their brains were small. Its heavy head was supported by a short and powerful neck. While looking at any model of this magnificent beast, this is one area that it very important. Hyaenodon had enlarged neural spines on the dorsal vertebrae, which allow for massive neck muscles that would be powerful enough to support the large skull. On the skull as well, there are attachments that allow for a powerful bite that could clamp and crush the intended prey.
Without any further ado, I present the 2013 Mojo Hyaenodon.
About the toy: The figure is 6.4in (16.25cm) long from nose to the end of the tail and 2.3in (5.8cm) high at the shoulder. The pose of the figure from the tail to the nose is fairly straight, with an ever so slight head turn to the figures right. The mouth is open revealing an impressive set of teeth and a sculpted tongue. As stated earlier the head is one of the most important things on this figure. Hyaenodons had elongated skulls with a lofty sagittal crest for a powerful bite. At first glance it looks very good. There is a small rise or bulge on the top of its skull to represent the muscle and sagittal crest, but I would have preferred this being a little thicker. The jaw proportions look good, with fairly accurate placement of the dentition, though the teeth would have looked a little different. The lower jaw is slender and long. The eyes look nice and the nose is wide. Not saying there is anything wrong with the ears but they stick out like less rounded Mickey Mouse ears.
The rest of the body looks good though the torso might be a little longer than it should be. The shoulders are nice, thick and robust. There is good definition in the leg muscles. There are four toes on the front and back feet. High up on the inside of the front feet is a dew claw. I believe in reality it had five toes on both its fore and hind feet, so that would be a small inaccuracy. If you look at the bottom of the feet they have added toe and foot pads. The tail on this figure is long, but it is in proportion to the figure. In case anyone is interested, if you lift up its kilt, you’ll find it is a male.
The texture and detail on the figure is very nice. I truly enjoy the well sculpted nose with cranial mystacial vibrissae (whiskers). The entire figure is covered in fur textures that are simple but convincing. The colors are rather drab. Most of the upper body is a light brown while underneath the body and jaw it is grey. The nose and eyes are glossy black. There is black around the mouth, inside the ears, end of the tail, toes, and for some muscle shading. The teeth are very white, so I am sure its dentist is very proud. The inside of the mouth is a dull pink.
Playability: There is nothing wrong with this toy when it comes to play time. Everything is blunted the tail is made of softer bendy material, so it is completely safe. The paint job appears to be durable and able to stand up to some rough play. It has a nice open mouth full of teeth that can really grab hold of other figures, and that is usually a big bonus in predatory toys.
Overall appraisal: It is a very interesting mammal that has not been normally sculpted by the mainstream manufacturers of prehistoric life. Not only that, it is an original sculpt, not a copy of the Walking with Beasts Hyaenodon. It is a very well done figure, which is natural looking, but could have used a little more interesting of a paint scheme. There are some very minor scientific accuracy issues but most people will hardly notice. Most importantly the AAA Hyaenodon now has a companion to run, hunt and play with. I would recommend this figure for play, display, and educational diorama use.
Available from Amazon.com here.