Smilodon, the legendary sabre-toothed cat (not tiger!), is rivalled in popularity among prehistoric mammals only by the woolly mammoth. Despite the fearsome appearance of its huge canines, they were actually quite fragile and could not have withstood the stress of struggling prey. Instead, Smilodon probably used its great strength to immobilize a victim before driving its canines into the throat region for a precision kill.
This 2015 model is the second Smilodon to be released by CollectA. The first one, judging from photos, looked fairly decent, but this new one easily outshines it. First, it’s quite large, larger than I thought it would be. It measures about 13 cm long from nose to tail tip and stands nearly 8 cm tall. And second, the detailing on its body is second to none. The fur has a thick, shaggy feel to it, similar to that of a Siberian tiger. The face is sculpted in a vicious snarl and the animal is poised as though it were about to make a lunge. The canines are relatively soft and bendable, so there’s no need to worry about tooth loss.
No one knows, of course, what a Smilodon‘s colours really were, but the ones on this model look pretty realistic. The fur is yellowish orange with white for the underbelly and paws. Dark brown is used for the many spots on the fur and the pads on the soles of the paws. The ears have black and white, the eyes are dark and light brown, the nose is dull pink with black outlining, the teeth are white, the inside of the noun is light pink, and there are white accents around the eyes and the muzzle. The stumpy tail is white with a black tip and the brown region on the rump reveals that this is a male Smilodon.
As far as scientific accuracy goes, this Smilodon is pretty darned impressive. The paws look just like those on an extant big cat and the limbs look powerful yet graceful. It’s difficult to determine if this model is meant to represent the genus S. fatalis or the larger S. populator, but I’m going go out on a limb and say it’s the former. One thing I do wish is that this model had been sculpted with its mouth open wider. In order to use its huge canines, Smilodon had the ability to open its mouth to an amazing 120 degrees. It would have been very cool to see that ability depicted on this toy. As well, it would have been nice if the sheathed claws had been painted.
The 2015 CollectA Smilodon is an excellent toy that is sure to appeal to fans of all ages. Indeed, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better sabre-toothed cat than this. Highly recommended!