Smilodon (2011)(Papo)

One of the more bizarre proposals I’ve heard recently is that Smilodon and other machairodonts may have had large, drooping jowls to protect their famous (and fragile) fangs from the elements. I’m not convinced of this reconstruction myself, but I do find it rather amusing. Speculation will always be a large part of paleontology.


The Papo Smilodon was released back in 2011, so its fangs are out in the open for all to see. It is posed in an extreme crouching stance with its muscular limbs taut and its mouth open in a roar. No proper predator would ever let out the slightest peep during a hunt, so it’s doubtful that this guy (you can clearly tell this is a male) is stalking game. No, more likely he’s confronting a rival who’s been trespassing on his turf. Or maybe he’s facing down a vicious pack of dire wolves or a hulking short-faced bear bent on stealing his hard-earned kill. Or perhaps he’s been cornered by a band of early human hunters. In any case, this big cat is ready to rumble!


The Smilodon measures 15.5 cm long. Its colour scheme appears to be based on an African lion: tawny brown and white fur with dark brown on the ears and the tip of the tail, grey claws, black for the pads on the paws and the accents around the eyes, nose, and mouth, light brown eyes, a dark pink nose, pink and dark purple for the inside of the mouth, and creamy white dentition. It’s perfectly possible that Smilodon was coloured like this, but I much prefer my machairodonts with spots or stripes on their pelts.


The detailing on this toy is very impressive. Finely sculpted fur covers the entire animal and the muscles in the limbs look well-defined and powerful. The ribs can be felt on the flanks and the wrinkles on the muzzle add to the Smilodon‘s enraged appearance. No major anatomical inaccuracies to be found here, although the overall build is probably too sleek and streamlined. And the inside of the mouth is quite a disappointment. Look inside the mouth of just about any Papo theropod and you’ll see plenty of fine sculpting detail. But aside from the simple tongue, the inside of this cat’s mouth is flat and plain.


In conclusion, while I like the versions from CollectA and Safari better, this is nevertheless one of the better-sculpted, more fun Smilodon toys currently available. Recommended.


But if the standard appearance isn’t your cup of tea, there’s the upcoming 2017 version with tiger stripes and a lion’s mane. Looks like it’s wearing a babushka to me.

13 Responses to Smilodon (2011)(Papo)

  1. The hips simply look too narrow for a feline of almost any stripe (npi); the body comes across as lithe but not powerful. As for the Smi-lion-don upcoming – doesn’t work for me unless I treat it as a speculative exercise. Meh. Papo is usually excellent at dynamic poses; but while cats are capable of wonderful body contortions I’m disappointed almost all Smilodons seem to replicate the same (albeit iconic) posture. Look at some of the Tiger toy poses, or just watch your housecat at play …

  2. The anatomy certainly seems off in this model, and unfortunately I’m not into the mane on the 2017 model. Manes probably developed exclusively in lions and don’t seem to have been very widespread in the felidae family. Hence, a smilodon with a lion-like mane seems unlikely to me.

  3. They never quite get the head shape right.

  4. I find many inaccuracies with the current Papo Smilodon. I have never been a fan of this figurine. I don’t find it scientifically accurate at all. It looks far to slender, and almost canine like in appearance with very poor blunt cannines. Then just to be fair, there are next to no Smilodon figurines out that are very scientifically accurate at all.

    • Yes, I find it slender also because of its musculature.

      • I can’t even acknowledge its musculature because I can’t get past how inaccurate it looks. I don’t even find it cat like in appearance. I think it looks nearly canine to me. Viewing this figure from the air , its terrible. Its forearms and paws look like a dog’s do.
        Smilodon was FAR more stocky, particularly in its frontal areas than this figure portrays.

    • It is a bit on the slimmer side for a Smilodon, but the paws don’t look that bad to me. And sadly for adult collectors, you’re unlikely to find a Smilodon toy with properly sharp teeth due to safety laws. Can’t have a kid pricking his finger with this thing.

      I’d say the Wild Safari version is the most accurate one to date.

      • I understand the safety laws reason to not make the teeth too sharp, however the Mojo figurine has the canines beautiful and yet they are still safe for kids. The Mojo figurines sabers are knife like and flat, not conical and walrus like as the ones on the Papo toy.

        To myself the figure with the most Scientific accuracy is the old Safari Carnegie Smilodon.
        Its sculpting is not up to the modern standards in details, but in pure scientific accuracy, I find it vastly more accurate than most. It teeth are however terribly sculpted.

      • Shame, back when I was a kid it was Darwin in Action. Easy Bake and Creepy Crawlers that got hot enough to burn you, Cabbage Patch kids with motorized jaws that would trap fingers and hair, Moon Shoes, those finger-crushing rolling platforms in gym, lawn darts with real metal points . . . it was a jungle back then!

      • When they revealed that figure at the time and still did not have the prototype from a visual or material point of view I figured that it would be an epic figure like the lions, tigers and other felines of the company. The surprise is that I was somewhat frustrated. That is not to say that it is a bad figure about even more when the new smilodon 2017 from Papo convinces me quite a bit (at least with his flaws is a more real figure.That does not mean that it is bad.

        As for the teeth if they can harm the children. I understand that there are figures far less suitable for children like Schleich’s pentaceratops than I can even cross an eye to a child, or figures like the Augustinian himself to put examples.

        Although as mentioned has flaws that does not mean that has its charm thing I do not see the smilodon 2017 of Papo. I can not imagine a smilodon with black mane sincerely and from my point of view is not as well finished as the figure mentioned.

        • I am not a fan of either Papo Smilodon , the 2011 one or the 2017 new one. I mentioned before that I do not think Papo’s Smilodons are Scientifically all.
          It IS possible for accurate saber teeth to be made, and still not be dangerous to a child…This is the example I have:
          The Mojo Fun Smilodon. The Mojo Smilodon has the best saber teeth of any mainstream Smilodon toy, yet they are not dangerous to a child.

          I also cannot imagine a Smilodon with a thick black mane
          I do not like what Papo has done with this brand new figure either.

          I will stick with my Safari Missing Link Smilodon (1997) and Carnegie Smilodon (1988)

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