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.