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!
Posted in mammal
For millions of years, the modern thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), also known as the marsupial wolf and the Tasmanian tiger, was one of Australia’s apex predators. But thanks to overhunting, habitat destruction, and sheer callousness on the part of human beings, this magnificent animal has gone the way of the dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts.
CollectA’s 2016 thylacine figure measures about 11.5 cm long. The main colour is a dull light brown with a cream underbelly and dark brown for the stripes on its back and the pads and claws on its feet. White is used around the eyes and mouth and inside the ears. The eyes, nose, and mouth lining are black, the inside of the mouth is pink, and the teeth are white. This is all in keeping with field descriptions and the few existing pelts and mounted specimens.
The thylacine is sculpted with its mouth wide open, either in a yawn or a threat display. Thylacines were actually capable of opening their mouths to an incredible 120 degrees, although they possessed a very weak bite. The proportions of the figure’s skull, body, and limbs are all correct and the muscles and the sleek fur are superbly sculpted. Despite the superficial resemblance to wolves, thylacines were not capable of running at high speeds and it is thought that they employed ambush tactics rather than open pursuit while hunting.
And now for the most interesting and endearing feature. Like most marsupials, female thylacines kept their young in pouches. And indeed, the tiny tail and rump of a joey can be seen protruding from this figure’s pouch. The joey is coloured exactly like its mother, complete with dark stripes. Very cute, very cute indeed. This toy would be a very good tool for teaching children about extinction and conservation. Now what we need is a male thylacine figure.
This thylacine is a superb toy: accurate, beautifully sculpted, and cleverly conceived. It’s definitely on par with the version from Mojo Fun. I would really love to see CollectA do more recently extinct animals such as the dodo, the moa, and the massive Steller’s sea cow. They all serve as grim reminders of humanity’s terrible capacity for death and destruction. Unless we all actively work to change and improve our ways, we will only see more animals join the thylacine in the halls of extinction.
Thank you once again for the advance sample, CollectA, and keep up the excellent work!
A thylacine review may be an odd choice for this blog; although extinct, it died out far more recently than the prehistoric animals we’re used to reviewing on here. Still, I think it qualifies and I imagine a lot of our readers that collect extinct mammals will probably take interest in this little thylacine released last year by Mojö Fun. Mojö is a company renowned for their abysmal dinosaur toys but fairly proficient when it comes to sculpting mammals both extinct and extant. They’re also the only company I’m aware of to tackle this important and fascinating animal although CollectA will have their version out later this year.
For those unfamiliar with Thylacinus cynocephalus it was a large marsupial predator that died out on mainland Australia 2,000 years ago but continued to survive in Tasmania until the 1930’s. Also known as the Tasmanian tiger or Tasmanian wolf this unique animal was not related to either felines or canines. Being a marsupial means that the thylacine was more closely related to kangaroos and koalas. Humans are more closely related to wolves than the thylacine was. This is an astonishing revelation when you see how similar the thylacine is to canines but any similarity between them was a result of convergent evolution. The thylacine was an apex predator on Australia, having lived a lifestyle similar to canines it evolved similar adaptations. And it was the thylacine’s role as apex predator that was its ultimate undoing. Like other predators the world over it was relentlessly persecuted and pursued by humans due to fear and ignorance until it was completely killed off. Like any recently extinct animal, sightings persist on both Tasmania and mainland Australia but the evidence of its continued existence is poor and it’s unlikely that there are any left.
Unlike most of the models we review this is a model where we don’t need to speculate on what the animal looked like. We have preserved specimens, skins, taxidermy mounts and even photographs and video footage of the animal. So assessing the accuracy of this model shouldn’t be difficult. The model was sculpted by artist Anna Dobrowolska-Oczko who is an expert sculptor of horses and other living animals. She is also an active member of the “Dinosaur Toy Forum” sister web-site, the “Animal Toy Forum”. Those already familiar with her work will trust that this is a well-researched model and it is indeed a spot on representation of the thylacine.
The resemblance to a dog is uncanny, standing on digitigrade feet with a long narrow muzzle and long stiff tail. The body is yellowish-brown with 14 black stripes running from the torso down to the base of the tail, the number of stripes varied in number on the actual animal. The model is very slender, lean and toned in appearance, much like the actual animal.
Measuring about 4.5” in length and standing 2” tall at its highest point this is quite a small model but still packed with a lot of admirable detail work. In particular, I like the addition of small toe and foot pads on the underside of the feet as well as the sculpted Achilles tendons above the ankles. The skin stretching between the torso and the knees as well as the shoulders protruding from under the skin are also worthy of note. The pose is kind of static I will admit with all four feet planted firmly on the ground and the head looking off to the left but in a market lacking thylacine models it’s actually nice to have something simple like this as a neutral visual reference. The face on this model has a sad appearance which I suppose is kind of appropriate.
This is a model that should appeal to virtually every subset of our hobby that appreciates mammals. Collectors of extant animals, or extinct, as well as Cryptozoology buffs and those just intrigued by these unique animals and their tragic backstory. I wish there was no place for this animal on this blog about extinct animals, but due to the ignorant and thoughtless actions of people less than 90 years ago the closest many of us will ever probably get to a thylacine is by holding this beautiful little replica. Let it serve as a warning and a reminder of what we’re capable of as a species.
You can find your very own thylacine over at DeJankins for $2.50. At that price, why wouldn’t you?