With an estimated length of 24.3’ (7.4 meters), shoulder height of 15.7’ (4.8 meters), and neck length of 6.6-8.2’ (2-2.5 meters), the Paraceratherium is believed to be the largest land mammal that has ever lived, or at the very least among the largest. Despite this astonishing fact, this gigantic hornless rhinoceros has been largely ignored in our hobby until recently. Itoy recently released a model of the genus and CollectA has one slated for release later this year, which replaces their 2009 version. Aside from those you have to look pretty far back to find a toy Paraceratherium and today we’re looking at the very first, the Lido-Nabisco Baluchitherium.
It should be noted that Paraceratherium has gone by a few different names, hence the name of this figure. Growing up, I knew the animal as Indricotherium. As usual, the taxonomic history is pretty messy. We won’t get into it here. I’m labeling this review with the name that the toy was labeled as for the sake of simplicity but will also tag the review under Paraceratherium.
For whatever reason, prehistoric mammals seemed more popular 50-60 years ago than they did in subsequent years, until rather recently. We now, thankfully, seem to be witnessing a prehistoric mammal renaissance, with a nice diversity of figures from the likes of Safari, CollectA, Itoy, Eofauna, and others. But when I started collecting about a decade ago, good prehistoric mammals were hard to come by. And yet, some of the first prehistoric animal toys represented animals that still haven’t been revisited by contemporary companies. Such is the case here with the Lido-Nabisco toys.
In the late 50’s and early 60’s Lido-Nabisco included toys of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals as premiums with their products, like Rice Honeys cereal. The dinosaurs were all standard genera that still persist in popularity today, but the mammals were truly remarkable, including such species as Alticamelus, Macruchenia, Barylambda, and of course the subject of today’s review. These mammals were largely inspired by Rudolph Zallinger’s Rise of the Mammals mural. While the Mesozoic critters are generally easy to find, the Cenozoic critters are harder to track down, because of course they would be. My own Baluchitherium came to me in a mixed lot of Marx and MPC toys and lots of that sort are a good place to start hunting these toys down. For the time being, this figure is the only Nabisco figure in my collection.
As should be expected, the Nabisco toys are rather small. The Baluchitherium measures 2.25” from nose to tail and stands 1.25” tall at the shoulder. Using shoulder height places the toy at 1/233 in scale! The figure is silvery gray in color and all the original releases of these toys were either silver or gold, later recasts came in an array of other colors.
The reconstructed look of Paraceratherium has changed little over the years and this toy looks how you would expect it to, about the same as the Itoy version but at a smaller size. It’s basically a hornless, long necked rhinoceros. The Nabisco toy is detailed with thick, overlapping skin folds and it possesses a pointed, prehensile upper lip like what you would see on the extant black or Indian rhinoceroses. It could be that Paraceratherium had a short tapir-like truck which is what CollectA has chosen to give their new figure.
The Nabisco Baluchitherium has short, pointed ears held against its head, and nostrils and eyes are sculpted on it as well. Aside from that, there isn’t much else to say about it. It lacks defined digits but on a cereal premium this small, and this old, you shouldn’t expect much. Despite that, it holds up exceptionally well for its age. It has no brand or genus name printed on it, so figuring out what exactly it was took a few minutes of research.
The Nabisco Baluchitherium should appeal to vintage toy collectors and/or prehistoric mammal aficionados. Although it doesn’t pop up on eBay often it’s not usually too pricy when it does, most of the Nabisco mammals appear to go for about $10 each. If you’re patient, you can also track it down in a lot where you’ll get a bit more bang for your buck. Good luck, and happy hunting.
I really am impressed at how well this holds up despite its age (reminds me of the Marx Moschops, for example). Congrats on getting your hands on this fascinating little vintage figure.
Oh it hold up alright, I still like it more than either of the CollectA figures! I’m gonna have to track down the rest of these, at least the mammals.
Nice to see a review of this little gem.
I have the set and this is my favorite figure, and for a long time the only one I have of this amazing giant until I finally got the Starlux and later the first CollectA.
Great review and wonderful look back at history.
Thanks! It is a little gem, indeed.
The Nabisco toys are incredibly charming, as I’ve discovered recently; and the mammals in the series look rather impressive for their minute size.
I’ve seen it speculated that prehistoric mammals fell out of favor because they just couldn’t match the growing novelty of the dinosaurs, which makes sense to me. A Baluchitherium is an incredibly large animal in its own right; but put it next to a Brontosaurus or Diplodocus and the scales are going to tip dramatically.
That makes sense. Mammals have always lived in the shadows of dinosaurs, literally and figuratively. It’s still true, I see bird shadows pass over me all the time. 🙂