Category Archives: mammal

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.

Livyatan (Mega Abissi by Diramix)

If you’ve ever wanted to build a diorama with your megalodon toys, you’ve probably noticed that there aren’t many other Miocene sea monster toys to pair them up with, although luckily plenty of the fish, turtles, and invertebrates alive then were very similar to modern ones. Today’s review concerns a contemporary of the famous shark, but it’s a rendition that’s unlikely to do much to enhance your diorama. Get a load of this rubbery little sea monster, from an Italian company called Diramix.

Livyatan was a toothed whale (odontocete) closely related to the modern sperm whales. It was originally named after Leviathan, the sea monster mentioned repeatedly in the Hebrew Tanakh, but the name had been used previously for a mastodon. All to the good, though, as the describers renamed the whale Livyatan, which is closer to the original Hebrew in any event. The full scientific name is Livyatan melvillei, in honor of Moby Dick author Herman Melville. Livyatan was a large predatory whale, but how large is uncertain, as the only remains so far discovered are of the skull, which was about a meter long. Extrapolating based on other whales, it could have been anywhere from 13 to 18 meters in length, similar in size to the modern sperm whale. It differs from sperm whales in having formidable teeth in both jaws instead of just the lower jaw. The fearsome teeth, up to 35 cm in length, leave little doubt that it was an apex predator.

Diramix markets stretchy, rubbery animal toys in blind bags. Most of their figures don’t bear any marking except to indicate that they’re made in China. Their larger figures (like this one) are also stamped “THE EPIC ANIMALS,” which is the name of their main line of animal figures, consisting of several short-lived series. The Livyatan belongs to a series called “Mega Abissi,” mostly consisting of larger counterparts to the smaller figures in the earlier “Antichi Abissi” series. Livyatan, however, is unique to the larger set.

This Livyatan is typical of Diramix offerings in appearance, although it is larger than most of their toys, about 19 cm long. It does a reasonable job of giving the overall impression of a sperm whale, even including the lengthwise wrinkles in the skin of the torso and tail. The only feature that could really distinguish Livyatan from an ordinary sperm whale at this level of detail is the upper teeth, and they’re included, although substantially blunted. The body–along with several of the teeth–is bright blue instead of dark gray like a sperm whale. The paint work is sloppy, and the surface of the toy is slightly tacky, so dust and everything else adhere to it. The flexible rubber shell is filled with beads, and I expect that a little rough treatment by a kid could easily rupture it, although the packaging is at pains to assure us that both the shell and filling are non-toxic. The flexible material makes it easy to have your Livyatan munch on whatever prey you want to feed it.

Wait, I thought life without the Leviathan was supposed to be nasty, brutish, and short.

Perhaps someday a toy company will make a nice realistic Livyatan toy, but this sure isn’t it. If you must have one, you can occasionally find it offered by Italian sellers on eBay. As far as I know, that’s the only country where it’s being sold. I got mine thanks to the kind assistance of an Italian member of the Dinosaur Toy Forum, but either way you’re probably going to pay more for shipping than for the figure itself, worth keeping in mind if you’re trying to decide whether to hunt one down.

Doedicurus (Jurassic Hunters by Geoworld)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

When it comes to glyptodonts, only two species have ever been replicated in toy form. The first one is the standard Glyptodon, which has been made by many companies over the years (yet many have yet to be reviewed). And then there’s Doedicurus, the one glyptodont that most laypeople can tell is different from Glyptodon because of the spiky club on its tail that would make many ankylosaurs green with envy. Unlike Glyptodon, this animal has been made by fewer companies, with only Kaiyodo, Safari, and this one from Geoworld coming to mind.

The Geoworld model is not half bad for a model of this species. The carapace is covered with many little osteoderms just like in the fossils, but I can’t help but wonder if they are too big. The tail is sculpted correctly with the rings of bone covering it to look like the animal can extend or retract its tail (I’m not saying it could really do that, just that that’s how it looks to me). As for the club, it seems to match the fossils as well. The spikes on this model are somewhat sharp, so be careful should you give this to a kid who is prone to rough play.

The one thing I am not sure about accuracy-wise would be the head. I do not know much about mammals, and in case it was not obvious, I basically compared the model to images of the fossils themselves since they are well known. Reconstructing the face of a mammal seems to be a harder thing to do then reconstructing the face of an extinct dinosaur, so please forgive me for not knowing if this figure’s face is accurate or not. But just to help you decide, I will go ahead and describe it. The face is rounded just like it should be on a glyptodont. The head is also armoured, which is a correct thing to do, but the nostrils and ears are huge. This almost gives the animal a rodent-like appearance, when it’s supposed to be an armadillo.

The figure is painted in a mostly tan colour with the tiny osteoderms and head plate coloured in brown. The toe claws are painted brown as well and the eyes are painted red. In case you’re wondering, this 6″ figure is an entirely original creation from Geoworld, which I think is good, because we all know of the company’s misdeeds when it comes to the paleoart used in the fact cards that come with their models. On that note, the image on the card that comes with this model has not been ripped from any other source that I can think of. Instead, it shows a drawing of the animal that looks an awful lot like the model.


Overall, this looks like your typical Doedicurus and if you want one in your collection, I say you should pick one up if you see it at a store. Unfortunately, these mammal toys have become very hard to find outside of DeJankins, which has proven to be the best source of these models should you care to buy them. It’s a long road ahead to reviewing every Geoworld Jurassic Hunters model I have, so I’m glad to check this one off the list.