Review and photographs by Loon, edited by Suspsy.
It may seem odd to think that whales are artiodactyls, or even-toed ungulates, the group of mammals that includes hippos, pigs, antelopes, deer, giraffes, sheep, goats, and cows. Obviously, modern whales don’t walk around on land, but, around 50 million years ago, their ancestors did. One of these ancestors, Pakicetus, known from the Eocene of what’s now called Pakistan, may not seem like a whale at first blush. However, features like dense limb bones, whale-like inner ears, and a long, narrow skull perfect for hunting from the water show its affinity to modern whales.
Released by Paleo-Creatures a couple of years ago, this Pakicetus model is one of the best early whale figures on the market. Admittedly, there aren’t many of those, but, regardless, this is still a really well-done representation. At about 4¼ inches (11 cm) from nose to tail, this figure’s around 1:19/1:20 scale.
The figure comes with a flat base depicting a coastline, a nice reminder of the environment the animal lived in. While the sand is nicely sculpted and the paint is naturalistic, the most outstanding part of the base is the water. Created entirely from paint, the glossy look and white paint make the water look real. Combined with the pose of the figure, it seems like this base is telling a story, perhaps the first tentative steps of whales into the water.
As for the Pakicetus itself, this figure is very much in line with modern reconstructions of the animal. The only conceivable inaccuracy could be the amount of fur, which, given Pakicetus’ semi-aquatic nature and close relationship to hippos, may be a bit much.
The head in particular features some of the characteristics that make clear its status as an early whale. The skull is long and narrow, with nostrils still at the front and eyes positioned upward and close together, similar to a modern crocodile.
The paint on the figure is also pretty good. The color scheme is pretty naturalistic, with a nice orange appearing on various spots. Although, the colors may be a bit too vibrant for this animal’s lifestyle. There’s also a wash that helps to bring out the fur.
This Pakicetus is undoubtedly one of the best prehistoric whale figures out there. As stated previously, there aren’t many, but I feel this figure holds its own despite that. It’s nicely detailed, very accurate, and has a base that not only accurately depicts its environment but also helps tell the story of the origin of whales. I’d highly recommend this figure for anyone fascinated by the history of these amazing animals.