Mammuthus primigenius, the one Cenozoic animal that’s been done to death. Every company has tackled this classic Ice Age proboscid. It’s not a particularly strange animal; in size and general appearance it matches closely with extant elephant species and it’s not nearly as bizarre as other genera such as Platybelodon. And yet, we’re fascinated by it. Perhaps this fascination is instinctual? We lived and hunted and relied on these behemoths for so long during a crucial part of our cultural evolution. They’re so close to us, and yet so far. The last population of these beasts only died out 4,000 years ago, on Wrangle Island. It’s an animal we evolved alongside, and yet will never see again. We still find them frozen in the arctic, and their bones strewn about in creek beds, farmers’ fields and in our back yards. We have a connection to these animals unlike any connection we could ever have with other prehistoric fauna. And I suppose that is why Mammuthus is the one exception to the rule that companies generally ignore prehistoric mammals. So naturally, out of the two extinct mammals produced by Invicta the woolly mammoth was bound to be one of them.
When you take a step back, and look at the entire Invicta collection, their mammoth is perhaps the most underwhelming and mediocre. Honestly when I picked it off my shelf to review it I didn’t think I would give it too much praise. It’s a pretty basic mammoth, and small. At only 4” (tusks included) it’s not even in scale with the rest of the Invicta line. If anything, we want our mammoth figures to be BIG! But upon closer inspection I can find a lot to like about this little guy. No, it’s not as detailed, accurate or awe inspiring as those by Carnegie, Safari, Papo and even Schleich but it has character, and that counts for something. The detail work like with all the Invicta figures is superb. A thick, shaggy coat is present with clumps of sculpted hairs following different contours of the animal’s body. The little top knot of hair is there on the head, tiny eyes and ears are nestled within the beast’s coat. Wrinkles are sculpted down the length of the truck which ends with the finger-like tips of the snout and even a mouth is discernible underneath the trunk.
The mammoth is sculpted with a leaning forward stride, the right forelimb stepping off the ground. It looks as if this mammoth is perhaps moving through some heavy snow as it pushes forward with a stretched out hind-limb, its massive shoulders lifting up its forelimbs as it continues on its lonesome march. And I say lonesome because this model looks to me like a solitary bull mammoth. Despite being a small model it does convey a certain amount of heft. Yes, this is an old bull marching through the tundra, weighed down by his shaggy coat and to a greater degree, his age. He looks old, with small tired eyes straining to see through the blanket of falling snow. Certainly a model that can convey this sort of back story cannot be mediocre? No, I should think not.
Produced in 1975 this is one of the older models in the Invicta line but it has a few unique features. The monochrome version does something that none of the other models do. It has two colors. The entire body is dark red in color, including the eyes and toe nails. It is a monochrome figure. The tusks on the other hand are white, and inserted into the model. They’re not a part of it like the Triceratops horns or Stegosaurus spikes are a part of those models. However they’re secured in there though they are indeed secure, they don’t appear as if they’ll fall out anytime soon. The painted version of the model is grey in color, with white lines painted down the strands of hair. As always, I prefer the monochrome version. It’s also worth noting that the text on the underside reads “woolly mammoth”. This is not like the other models were their genus name is printed on the bottom but I do believe this is the only model Invicta produced that even has a common name, except for the blue whale of course. In terms of accuracy the model seems to stand up pretty well but we’ve always had a pretty good understanding of what these animals looked like so that should come as no surprise. This might even be the most accurate toy in the Invicta range!
One could argue that this mammoth is not really an essential part of a collection, unless you’re an Invicta or mammoth completest. There are tons of other mammoths to choose from. Many of them are larger, more detailed and more dynamic. Amongst a mammoth collection, it does not stand out. Amongst the Invicta collection, it does not stand out. But by itself, when held in hand and examined closely, you’ll find that this is a charming little mammoth with big personality. I didn’t think I would have much to say about this mammoth until I myself gave it a good look over, and found that I like it a lot more than I originally anticipated. Hopefully this review will compel you to take a second look at your own mammoth, or even go out looking for this guy. As usual, it’s off to Ebay to secure one but it’s not a hard model to find, and typically fairly priced. Happy hunting!
Available from Ebay.com here