Category Archives: Yowie

Anomalocaris (Yowie)

Review and photos by Faelrin, edited by Suspsy

For my first review, I will be reviewing the Yowie Anomalocaris. Anomalocaris was one of the largest creatures of its time, growing up to around 1 meter long (or 3.2 feet), and is one of the many species preserved in the Burgess Shale. It lived during the Cambrian Period, and some of its contemporaries included creatures like trilobites, worms, Opabinia, Hallucigenia, and Wiwaxia. Its name means “abnormal shrimp”, as for a while, its remains were thought to be different creatures until more complete fossils were found.

Now on to the figure itself. Like other Yowie figures, its many pieces need to be assembled together to create the figure. It pretty much resembles what is known of Anomalocaris. All key components of its anatomy are present: the eyestalks, the arms which would have been able to grasp in life, the radial mouth parts, the many lobes along its sides, and the fan-like tail. For how small this figure is, at only a little over 5cm (or 2″), the painting is pretty detailed.

The base colour is a red or red orange. Its eyes are painted black, while the stalks are painted white. The tips of its tail lobes are painted white, or maybe a pale pink, as well as the belly. Many tiny white specks are painted on its backside and the back of its head, as well as on the ridges on the undersides of its arms. The lobes are painted more of a yellow colour with tiny red specks, closest to the body, on both the top and bottom of this figure. The outside of the mouth is painted white, and the inside is painted black. The figure’s head can also rotate around and the tail is a bit loose (though these things may be due to letting my mother assemble it upon its arrival).

If you are a fan of Anomalocaris, Cambrian creatures, Paleozoic creatures, or the Yowie figures in general, then this might be the figure for you. Like other Yowie figures, it may be hard to track down though, being an older figure, and originally only available in Australia.

Kentrosaurus (the Lost Kingdoms series C, by Yowie)

Background: Wild Safari Kentrosaurus Foreground: Yowie Kentrosaurus

Despite it being smaller and less grandeur in size when compared to its contemporaries Stegosaurus and TuojiangosaurusKentrosaurus’s look is snazzy enough for the major dinosaur toy brands to show it some love from time to time.  As with many of its fellow sterosaurids it had a small yet narrow skull that ended with a beak which would have been useful while sniping off plant stems and leaves.   It also had a double row of small plates running down its back which transformed into spikes on the hips and continued down the tail. Along with the tail spikes there was a long spine on each shoulder.

If you don’t know and you are wondering, what is the Yowie toy brand?   Well, they are a confectionery and publishing brand that originated from Australia and teamed up with  confectionery giant Cadbury to make foil-wrapped character-shaped milk chocolate that came in a plastic egg. Within the capsule there was a multi-part collectable model which included animals from Australia and around the world. The Kentrosaurus is from 2002 series C, which had 30 figures and 6 limited edition dinosaurs.

About the toy:  It is hard to follow up the ever impressive, spectacular, Arnold Schwarzenegger in feathers, Wild Safari Tyrannosaurus Rex review that proceeds this one. That figure is the epitiomy of  grandeur and majesty of dinosaurs in toy form. Due to its size, the Yowie Kentrosaurus is not quite as majestic, and is easy to overlook, but lets not underestimate it.  At a height of 1.1 in (2.79 cm) and a length of 3 in (7.62 cm) it is a small figure on par with the Kaiyodo figures.  In the pictures for this review, I posed it with the Wild Safari Kentrosaurus (which is really small) just to show how small the figure really is.   The figure comes in four parts, head/neck, tail, body and legs right and left sides.  When put together, it leaves a little articulation in the head and tail, to be able to move them up and down slightly.

The head on this figure is really small and the neck is at an appropriate length.  The body has a gut that sags and looks well fed.  The legs are slightly bent which makes it look like it is ambling along at a slow pace, most likely foraging on nearby vegetation.  The tail is raised with two spikes at its tail.  The figure only has three colors on it.  a light green for the body, legs, and head, creamy white for the underbelly, and an orange streak that runs from the head all the way to the tail.  There is a small dot of black for the eyes.  There is not a lot of texture on this toy, just some bumpy skin and lines on the plates.

As for the scientific accuracy, it is not perfect.  The good news is, it does have a  squat body with a small head, and a combination of plates and spikes along the back. Unfortunately it is missing the shoulder spike, the spikes on the back look like pegs, and the tail is way too short, but what do you expect from such a small figure that came with chocolate.

Playability: For kids in the 3-6 range it can be fun toy to play with. Older kids might like it as well if they are dinosaur fans.  It is made from four separate  pieces that snap together, which can fall apart if played with roughly. This  might lead some parents to super glue it together to keep it from falling apart. The plastic is not super brittle but it can break if treated too roughly.

Overall:  I personally like this little guy.  I find this diminutive toy a fun, cute, little gem of a figure.  Yes it lacks perfect accuracy, and the seam lines are visible, but that doesn’t mean it can’t find a place in your collection.  Of course if you place on the shelf next to the Tyco Kentrosaurus, this little guy would look newly hatched.  If you are interested to find this small, but wonderful figure (in my opinion), off to places like ebay you must go, as this figure has been retired for quite some time.

Groenlandaspis (Lost Kingdoms by Yowie)

The Devonian period, commonly known as the Age of Fishes, was home to a wide variety of bizarre aquatic animals. One of these is was Groenlandaspis (“shield of Greenland”), a tiny relative of the fearsome Dunkleosteus. Like Dunkleosteus, Groenlandaspis was an arthrodire, part of one of the earliest lineages of jawed vertebrates. This little fish was first made into a toy by Yowie, a company that sells miniature animals packaged with chocolates, as part of the Lost Kingdoms line in 2001. Most Lost Kingdoms figures were based on Australian fossils, and Groenlandaspis fossils are fairly abundant in Australia, as well as in Greenland where they were first discovered. It’s funny that they chose a fish named after Greenland rather than something more typically Australian like Buchanosteus.

Yowie Groenlandaspis

But on to the figure! It comes in 4 easy-to-assemble pieces. The name of the animal is printed on the inside of the belly, so if you were to find it in a flea market, it might be hard to know what you’re looking at. (The other inscription, “CSPL,” stands for “Cadbury Schweppes Proprietary Limited,” Yowie’s parent company in Australia.)

Yowie Groenlandaspis
Once you’ve assembled the pieces, you have a serviceable, if cartoony, rendition of a small arthrodire. The most distinctive feature of Groenlandaspis, relative to other ancient armored fishes, is the tall spine on its back behind the head. This figure clearly shows that spine, although it is a bit blunted. Some of the sutures between the plates match up with the actual fossils if you squint, but it almost seems coincidental when they do. The seam where the head piece of the figure meets the body pieces does roughly line up with the joint between the thorax of the real animal and its head.
Yowie Groenlandaspis
Groenlandaspis had a broad lateral flange, part of the thoracic armor, just in front of and above each pectoral fin. The flange would have been continuous with the rest of the armor, rather than having a strong seam as this figure suggests. The seam is where the two pieces of the main body meet, but it has the unfortunate effect of making it look as though the fish has a long armored pectoral fin like some antiarchs had. Coupled with the high dorsal crest of the armor, it makes this figure look a lot like a Pterichthyodes in particular. What saves it is the face, with a relatively pointed profile and the mouth all the way at the front, rather than oriented downward as in Pterichthyodes. The overall slope of the head is actually spot-on.
Yowie Groenlandaspis
With the lateral flanges, Groenlandaspis would have looked like a caltrop when viewed head-on, an impression that isn’t conveyed in this figure. Also, until I took this photo, I never noticed that the nostrils are painted slightly crookedly.
Yowie Groenlandaspis

Like other Yowie figures, this is a small one, about 7 centimeters long. That makes it about life-size. Groenlandaspis was tiny and no doubt adorable.

Yowie Groenlandaspis
On balance, this figure does a reasonable job as a caricature of a highly distinctive prehistoric fish–right number of fins, roughly correct overall shape. If you like your figures highly realistic, it might not be for you. But if you’re willing to tolerate stylized, slightly goofy figures for the sake of having obscure animals in your collection, this and the rest of the Yowie Lost Kingdoms line might be right up your alley. I wouldn’t recommend it for very young children given that it comes apart into some pretty small pieces. Yowie Lost Kingdoms figures have been out of production for over a decade, so you’ll have to find them secondhand from auction sites or maybe a friend in Australia.