Most kids love dinosaurs, this is a fact. Other prehistoric creatures too but as we know many non-dinosaurs are still called dinosaurs, so the umbrella term here is dinosaurs. Kids love dinosaurs. Most adults however end up losing this interest, it’s a shame really. Who decided that dinosaurs were kid stuff anyway? Well as it turns out, I am an adult that likes dinosaurs (prehistoric non-dinosaurs included) and I’m also a father. Dinosaurs are popular around here. My daughter inherits all of the dinosaur toys I’ve gathered over the years that don’t end up on my shelf. She knows the names too; Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus. She knows more obscure genera as well. Enter the ichthyosaur. For Christmas she received a set of dinosaur magnets that included this not-a-dinosaur. Naturally she thought it was a dolphin. I told her, “it’s not a dolphin” so now she says “this is an ichthyosaur, not a dolphin”. I’m proud; she’s not even three years old yet. So now she needed a toy ichthyosaur. There aren’t many to choose from, at least not many I would feel comfortable giving a three year old. And then while reading through the Dinosaur Toy Forum I see a conveniently placed eBay ad with a very attractive looking, large ichthyosaur, for only $7.00. So now my daughter has a not-a-dolphin and I have something new to review.
This ichthyosaur that has now stolen my daughter’s heart was made by Playful Home. I’ve never heard of them but they’ve also made other marine reptile toys including a Lioplurodon and Plesiosaurus. The toy is quite large, about 9”, and made of a soft squishy material; perfect for a toddler. What genus or species it’s supposed to be is beyond me but it is quite obviously an ichthyosaur; a narrow snout, large eyes, four flippers, dorsal fin, and a tail with a prominent lower lobe. It’s sleek and smooth, cute even, and certainly fun to play with. No doubt it’s simply just Ichthyosaurus itself.
The paint job is quite pleasing. I suppose that’s what caught my eye in the listing. The body is blue with some silver flecks along the flanks. A couple orange flashes adorn an otherwise white belly. The snout is orange with black bands. The vibrant eyes are blue with large black pupils. Come to think of it, these colors are rather familiar. Indeed, it’s directly copied from a Schleich figure. Oh boy, is it a knockoff? It’s certainly straddling that line. The model itself doesn’t look much like the Schleich but the coloration is identical. Other toys from this company are obviously “inspired” by others as well, namely the Dunkleosteus which is quite a shameless knockoff of Schleich’s model. The Lioplurodon is quite clearly based on the CollectA model too and so with that being the case, Playful Home won’t be getting my money again.
Overall I quite like this toy. I bought it for my daughter but it’s something I would just as happily place on my shelf. The fact that it’s a knockoff was something I wasn’t aware of upon purchase. If supporting this kind of theft is something you can’t condone then by all means, pass it up. I wouldn’t blame you. But if you’re a fan of icthyosaurs, or have a child that is, then this is a pretty good bang for your buck that’s fun for all ages and looks great with a collection of marine reptiles.