Category Archives: mammal

Quagga (Mojo Fun)

The quagga (Equus quagga quagga) was a South African subspecies of zebra, immediately recognizable by its unique stripe pattern. During the 19th century, it was hunted relentlessly for its skin and meat, and to eliminate it as competition for domestic animals. Last minute attempts to preserve the species failed and the last known individual died in captivity in 1883. An effort is currently underway to selectively breed Burchell’s zebras with reduced stripes, but they will never be the same as the original quagga.

Mojo Fun’s 2013 take on the quagga measures 10 cm long and stands slightly under 9 cm tall. Its colour scheme is in keeping with what we know of the animal’s appearance: brown for the upper portion of the most, white for the underbelly, legs, and tail, and very pale beige for the stripes and main. Black is used for the muzzle, eyes, and hooves.

This individual, which is clearly a male, is standing tall and proud with its right hind hoof pawing at the ground. The tail is moulded to the left hind leg, which I find somewhat unfortunate, but not disastrous. As far as accuracy goes, this is a perfectly good rendition. Aside from its colours, the quagga’s anatomy was virtually identical to that of the still-extant Burchell’s zebra, to the point where telling their skeletons apart is said to be impossible.

Sculpting on this quagga is decent. The musculature is well-defined, the hide has a pitted texture to simulate fur, and the hairs on the mane and tail are done well enough. Overall though, it’s safe to say that this equid isn’t sculpted nearly as beautifully as the ones from CollectA or Schleich.

Like most recently extinct animals, the quagga is seldom depicted in toy form, so I’m very grateful to Mojo Fun for producing this one. I wish I could say that we as a race have learned something from its extinction, but I fear that is just wishful thinking. 🙁

Neanderthal (Starlux)

Review and photographs by Indohyus, edited by Suspsy

Time and new discoveries are incredible for changing ideas and concepts in every field of science and nature. Such is the way with the genus Homo, of which we humans are now the only living members. Our closest cousins, the Neanderthals, are an example of this change. The old views of them being stumbling brutes, only capable of grunting and violence are gone, with new discoveries showing that they had a form of language, cave paintings, and adornments (although they were still capable of being violent). There aren’t many figures of Neanderthals, however, possibly due to being too close to humans. Of course, the original dino toy line, Starlux, had their own examples.

The figure is a similar size to other Starlux figures, being 3.7” high (from base to club) and 1.8” wide. The colouring is based on the Caucasian skin complexion of certain modern humans, likely because Neanderthals are our evolutionary cousins. The pose is certainly of the time: very dynamic, maybe about to strike down prey. Feels a bit Wacky Races to me, but it’s passable.

Despite the older look, this figure does look pretty accurate for a hominid. The musculature is correct for the skeletal structure, and appears reasonably robust and rounded, at least in comparison to the human figures that Starlux produced. Even the hair seems accurate to modern ideas, though slightly too dark. Not too bad. Though the clothing doesn’t all the way around the crotch, no genitalia is present.

Overall, this isn’t too bad, despite the age. With CollectA and Safari producing Neanderthal figures of higher quality, you can overlook this figure, but this is still worth considering. They pop up on French eBay seller sites fairly frequently, so the choice is yours.

A final (obligatory) warning: the Starlux figures are made with different plastics to modern lines and are much more brittle. Most of the versions of this model have small bumps coming out of the club, but this one’s looks like they were knocked off. Proceed with caution.

Mammoth Skeleton Tent with Cavemen (Playmobil)

As storm clouds gather overhead, a trio of human hunters work quickly to finish erecting their shelter. Fortunately, the mammoth that they recently killed and butchered has provided far more than just food. Its large, sturdy bones form an effective structure while its thick fur hide acts as a waterproof covering. As the hunters settle down inside their new dwelling, they are joined by the fourth member of their party: a faithful tracking wolf that they have raised from a pup.

It’s been quite a while since I last wrote a Playmobil review. Today I’ll be presenting a very interesting set from the 2011 Stone Age series: the Mammoth Skeleton Tent with Cavemen. We’ll begin with the bare bones, if you’ll pardon the pun. The aforementioned skeleton consists of nine pieces, all them coloured pale grey save for the white tusks. Most of the pieces are made of hard plastic, but the tusks and tail are made from softer, flexible material to ensure safety and prevent breakage. Once assembled, the skeleton holds together very firmly. And I mean very firmly. Granted, the limbs can be removed with relative ease (they’re supposed to, as you’ll see in due course), but the skull and tail are practically sealed in place.


From the tip of the tusks to the rump, this skeleton measures 20 cm long and stands about 13.5 cm tall. The head, shoulders, hips, and tail all rotate, making it reasonably poseable. And while this skeleton is admittedly lacking a mandible and some vertebrae, it’s still unmistakeable as a specimen of Mammuthus primigenius. Pretty impressive for a children’s toy. Interestingly, while the “living” Playmobil mammoth has a larger head and tusks, the skeleton has a higher back and is wider at the shoulders.


Here are the three cavemen who come with the set. I call them Charles, John, and Mauricio. As you can see, they have the same dark hair, tanned skin, and fashion style as the two that came with the sabretooth set, indicating that they’re all part of the same tribe. Charles is decked out in an impressive bison headdress and cloak, suggesting that he’s the leader of this merry band. Their accessories consist of a jagged-tip spear, an axe, and a broken femur bone. Perhaps that last one is for their canid companion.

And here he/she is, a light brown wolf measuring slightly under 8 cm long. It’s generic-looking enough that it could pass for either an extinct Canis dirus or an extant Canis lupus. Its detailing is simple, in keeping with the Playmobil aesthetic, but it does have sculpted fur on its head, limbs, and tail. It is also jointed at the neck, shoulders, and hips, making it a fun little figure to play with. It’s just a shame that the eyes and nose aren’t painted.


Here we have a large, dark brown mammoth pelt moulded in the shape of a tent and made out of rubbery, flexible plastic.

And here’s the main section of the set, a large base plate sculpted to look like rocks and sand, complete with a dead shrub, a live fern, and a blazing campfire.

To assemble the tent, you first need to remove the limbs from the skeleton. Attach the main section to the underside of the pelt, attach the hind limbs to the entrance way, then peg the whole thing into the base plate. The resulting structure is big enough for all three cavemen and their wolf to shelter under. Of course, real mammoth dwellings were considerably more complex, but again, this works very well indeed for a children’s toy.

Overall, the Playmobil Mammoth Skeleton Tent is a really fun and educational set that any young prehistoric fan should enjoy. Not to mention a lot of older ones. As I’ve mentioned in my previous reviews, the Stone Age series was discontinued back at the end of 2011, but you may still be able to find it online.