Category Archives: mammal

Thylacoleo (Southlands Replicas)

Australia was home to many amazing beasts during the Pleistocene epoch. There were echidnas the size of sheep, lizards the size of crocodiles, wombats the size of hippos, giant flightless birds, and short-faced kangaroos that stood up to three metres tall. The thylacine was alive and flourishing. And then there was the “marsupial lion,” Thylacoleo carnifex, the largest carnivorous marsupial known to have existed. Around the size of a jaguar and equipped with vise-like jaws, powerful arms, and murderous thumb claws, it was probably more than capable of bringing down prey far larger than itself.

Thylacoleo is the second figure from Southlands Replicas. About 13.5 cm long and 6.5 cm tall, it’s posed with its mouth wide open, its right hind leg planted far back, and its right arm raised high and poised to inflict a most painful blow upon something. The main colour is dark brown that gradually fades to beige on the underbelly, light brown stripes, black for the claws, pads, and nostrils, yellow eyes, a muddy brown nose, pink mouth, yellowish teeth, and pink inside the ears for good measure. As with nearly all prehistoric mammals, no one knows for sure what Thylacoleo‘s colours really were, but this looks perfectly plausible. The inside of the mouth and the fur are beautifully sculpted, as is the underlying musculature. This is a rugged, savage-looking beast.

The marsupial lion possessed a number of unique physical characteristics which are all well-represented on this toy. The head features a short muzzle and a large, flattened nose. The mouth features extremely large upper and lower incisors, which is in stark contrast to the canines found in canids and felids. Also visible are the blade-shaped carnassial premolars, which would have functioned like giant scissors, and the large jaw muscles. Thylacoleo possessed the strongest bite of any mammal in proportion to its size; it could have chomped down on a victim with nearly the same force as a much larger African lion.

The Thylacoleo‘s arms are bulging with muscles and end in huge paws equipped with curved claws that would have been retractable in life. Largest and scariest of all are the thumb claws. Analysis of the limbs concluded that they were more suited for climbing than running, and claw marks found on cave walls show that the animal was a capable climber. Perhaps Thylacoleo hunted by lying in wait in trees and then pouncing on prey as they passed underneath. This has led to jokes that it was the basis for the “drop bear” legend. Some researchers surmise that it killed its victims by seizing them with its strong jaws and then slashing and stabbing away with thumb claws, while others claim the opposite: it held its victims with its claws and then used its jaws to crush the throat or the spine. Either way, it’d be a gruesome death.

Southlands Replicas has really knocked it out of the park with this figure. Intimidating appearance, excellent sculpting, appropriate colours, and quite, quite accurate. Thylacoleo has long been one of my favourite prehistoric mammals, but unlike Smilodon and the woolly mammoth, it has thus far not been popular with toy manufacturers, baffingly. Hence this toy is an even greater joy. I dearly hope to see a Procoptodon or a Diprotodon from Southlands Replicas in the future. Heads up, CollectA and Safari, you’ve got some new competition!

Thylacine (Southlands Replicas)

Please join me in welcoming Southlands Replicas to the Dinosaur Toy Blog! Based out of New South Wales, this fledgling brand’s focus is on Australian wildlife, both past and present. Appropriately, their very first figure is the legendary and tragic thylacine.

This thylacine is meant to represent an adult male. It is sculpted in a threat display with its feet planted, its head raised, and its jaws open to the full 120 degree extent, exposing all its sharp teeth. Alternatively, it could just be letting out a very big yawn. Either way, it looks impressive!

At around 11 cm long, this male thylacine is about the same length as the female from CollectA, but considerably beefier and taller at 6 cm. Its fur is coloured light brown with a white underbelly, black stripes on its back, medium brown stripes on its tail, and black claws and pads on its feet. Its head features a black nose and mouth lining, light pink for the inside of the mouth, a maroon tongue, off white teeth, medium brown eyes, and pink inside the ears. There is also a bare patch of salmon-coloured skin on its underside, with a visible scrotum.

The detailing on this thylacine rivals that of any of the mammals from CollectA or Safari. The sleek fur is meticulously sculpted and the folds of skin on the back of the neck give the animal a realistic appearance. The muscles in the limbs are nicely defined and the proportions seem to be in keeping with all we know about thylacine anatomy. Paint quality, however, is an issue. The tail on my thylacine was slightly warped when I took it out of the packaging, and when I tried bending it back into a stiffer pose, the paint began to chip! I’ve never had that happen with any of my animal figures before.

Aside from the paint chipping (which I certainly hope isn’t a widespread issue), this is a really great thylacine figure with excellent detail and a fierce appearance. Southlands Replicas clearly has the potential to become one of the best animal toy companies out there. I certainly hope they tackle Australovenator, Kunbarrasaurus, Muttaburrasaurus, or some other Australian dinosaurs in the future!

Woolly Mammoth (Mini Cuddlekin by Wild Republic)

Review and photo by Bryan Divers, edited by Suspsy

Meet Ellie, the favourite of favourites in my whole dinosaur collection! I was so inspired by her that I even draw a cartoon called “Skinny and Ellie,” featuring a caricature of her. Ellie is a Wild Republic woolly mammoth, also known as a Cuddlekin. But she is also part of the Mini Cuddlekin family; being only eight inches long and about five inches tall, making her perfect for travel.

img_9410

The pattern of her fur is also beautiful, with a soft, reddish-brown, felt-like material composing her face, trunk, mouth, legs, rump, and tail. It is very possible that mammoths’ hair was shorter in these areas.

img_9411

Ellie’s cranium tuft and the areas around her hump, shoulders, and stomach are made of longer, dark-brown plush. Mammoths had longer hair on the top of their heads and on their bodies, so that is also nicely accurate. Other nice details are the black nostrils stitched in her pink trunk tip and her open mouth, also made of the same pink material. Black hairs crown the tip of her tail as well. I also really admire that the white tusks grow out of brown tusk sockets attached to the sides of her face, rather than just being stitched directly to her face. This detail is overlooked in a number of stuffed woolly mammoths and elephants.

img_9412

Ellie is, without any doubt, a five star toy in my mind. She is beautifully artistic in her construction and as appropriate for any mammoth-loving child as for an adult mammoth lover who likes to travel with a little friend, like me. She is easy to find in museum gift shops or online at Stuffedsafari.com, Amazon, or eBay, where I got mine.

img_9409