Review and photographs by Indohyus, edited by Suspsy
For many palaeontologists in my age group, the inspiration to become one came from watching the Jurassic Park movies and collecting the toy lines from them. I, on the other hand, became set on the idea from watching the Walking With . . . trilogy, specifically Walking With Beasts when it first aired on the BBC. As it had no toy line, I spent many years tracking any toy line that made the creatures in the show. This led me to finding Starlux, and the first I got was today’s review subject: Moeritherium.
Hailing from the Eocene of Al Fayyum, Egypt, this ancient probiscidian is not related to modern elephants, but branches off from the main family line. Like modern elephants, it was a herbivore, possibly living like modern hippos in semi-aquatic environments. While it did have small tusks, it is thought to have a flexible upper lip as opposed to a trunk. An interesting and possibly cute critter, it is surprising it hasn’t had a figure since the 1970s’. Is it because of that figure that we haven’t seen more? Well, let’s see . . .
The Starlux Moeritherium measures 3.6” from tusk to tail and 1.7” from feet to shoulder, making it quite a squat figure, though quite fitting, as most Moeritherium are around two feet tall. It is painted in a dark grey with patches of lighter grey for the underbelly and areas of the face. It is fitting for an elephant relative, with the patches somewhat matching hippos. There is a little red for the mouth and white for the tusks, which again are fitting touches. These figures appear to be hand painted; at least for certain applications, as I have two Moeritherium and the applications aren’t the same on both.
Accuracy-wise, this is a bit of a mixed bag. Good points include a lack of a trunk and having the correct prehensile upper lip. The tusks are appropriately short, as are the tail and ears. The bad points are in the legs: they are far too long and thin to be correct. The fossil record shows that the legs are stubbier than on this figure. It also looks like it needs to eat a bit more, as it’s a bit too skinny overall. As well, the feet are more paw-like than pad-like. It is certainly a figure with ups and downs.
This is a nice little figure that I would recommend to those who are interested. While it has flaws, they can be easily overlooked. Also, it is the only Moeritherium figure available as of this review, so the options are somewhat limited. While I would love to see a modern interpretation of this animal, this figure will certainly do until that time.
Again, I will warn of the fragile nature of Starlux figures, the tail being the main worry on this figure. That being said, the Moeritheriums I own have had hardly a scratch on them, so I could recommend these to children and collectors, with a little caution. They pop up on eBay reasonably frequently, so happy hunting!