I want you to close your eyes, close your eyes and travel back, back to a distant era. It’s 2002; “Spider-Man” is #1 in the box office, the “X-Files” broadcasts its two hour finale, the UK is declared free of foot-and-mouth disease and Schleich, a company now notorious for its abominable depictions of prehistoric life was actually a competent company worth collecting. Boy how the times have changed!
Among the Schleich releases of the time worthy of note was their take on the mammalian answer to the ankylosaurs, the Glyptodon. Schleich at one time released quite a few decent prehistoric mammal toys, along with other obscure prehistoric animals. They don’t do that so much anymore but thankfully companies like CollectA and Mojo have picked up the slack in the mammal department. Unfortunately, no one is really out there tackling the Glyptodon these days. The few models of this unusual armadillo relative that do exist are all pretty good, but sadly hard to find. The Schleich model is no exception in either regard.
I don’t normally get to compliment a Schleich model in the accuracy department (although, this is my first Schleich review) but based on what little I know about prehistoric mammals and Glyptodon in particular this guy stands up quite well. The armored shell and head are both accurately and meticulously sculpted with hundreds of individual scutes and the tail is ringed with its bizarre series of bony rings running down the length.
Texturally it’s a fun model to hold. The head sculpt appears quite accurate as well, complete with the deep lower jaw that no doubt support the jaw muscles needed for this animal’s herbivorous diet. It makes for a somewhat ugly looking albeit charming face, but there is no evidence that these were attractive looking animals. Quite the opposite in fact, these were strange looking animals and if the skull is any indication the head was no exception. The limbs are short and stout and although the forelimbs possess the right number of four digits per limb, the hind-limbs also have four where there should be five. Beyond that I’m hard pressed to find anything else scientifically wrong with this model.
Visually the model is eye catching simply because it represents such an odd creature but not a lot of artistic license was taken here. The model stands static with its tail leaning towards the right but with the real Glyptodon no doubt being a rigid animal I’m at a loss to think of a more dynamic pose for this model. The entire figure is brown in color and while it would have been nice to see some sort of patterning or different color variation on the shell it’s not like most extant mammals are particularly colorful anyway. Each scute and osteoderm is tipped in white but this detail could easily be mistaken for paint run-off on an older model. That’s what I initially thought it was but rest assured it was an intentional choice. At about 4.5” in length this model is considerably larger than the Invicta Glyptodon, but still small enough to comfortably fit on a shelf.
Although we’ve seen a recent spike in prehistoric mammal models, none of them should be taken for granted. Models of Glyptodon are still only rarely produced. This model from the golden age of Schleich is a well-made, accurate and fun addition to any collection of prehistoric animals. Although some sellers will undoubtedly attach high price tags to this rare oddity I can confirm that with a little patience you can find one at a reasonable price. I got mine for $10 on eBay, a great price for sure but I would easily pay double that. For my next review I’ll be returning to the Invicta models, and it does tie in with this review as well. I’ll let you figure it out from there!