Safari Ltd has released several new tubes in 2010, or Toobs, to be funky but grammatically incorrect, each of which contains a selection of prehistoric critters. But before we pour these new toobs out for review, let’s take a look at one of the existing toob sets. We previously rummaged through the Feathered Dinosaurs Toob here, so now we’ll cast our eyes over the 2005 ‘Prehistoric Life Toob’. As with all of the tubes, the lid consists of a spinable globe for “extra playability”.
While it says prehistoric life on the package, the set is far more specific than that because it contains an array of extinct Cenozoic mammals. In Safari Ltd speak I think “Prehistoric” means Cenozoic, because their Prehistoric Life Collection is also dedicated to extinct mammals. There are nine life-forms altogether in the tube. The set is supplemented by three pieces of scenery: a volcano, a pine tree, and a hunk of meat cooking on a spit! The figures are all about 6 cm long and are not to scale.
There are two hominid figures, one is a male with a spear and the other is a female holding hands with a child. The underside of the green bases identify these figures respectively as “Caveman throwing spear” and “Cavewoman with child”. Their pronounced brow ridges and deep jaws suggest that they are supposed to neanderthals: Homo neanderthalensis. All three figures are dressed in traditional movie-land caveman garb, the man and child wear animal-skin trunks while the female has a fur dress that Wilma Flintstone would be proud of. The female is also holding some sort of stick, has hairy shins and a shocking mullet. Moving swiftly on to the other wildlife in the tube…
According to the names imprinted on the tummy of each critter, the animals in the set are a Wooly mammoth, Arsinoitherium, Doedicurus, Giant Sloth, Sabre Tooth Tiger, Andrewsarchus, and Macrauchenia. A short description of each figure follows:
The wooly mammoth looks particularly cheerful. Its head and trunk are raised up. Its mouth is open and its eyebrows are raised in an expression of delight. In fact, even the flared nostrils at the tip of the trunk seem to purvey a sense of fun. The Arsinoitherium is a spectacular animal; you can find out more about it in our review of the large Prehistoric Life Collection version here.. This figure has an air of realism lacking in some of the other figures in this set. In pose, the toob version is basically like a smaller version of the Prehistoric Life Collection version of this species (Reviewed here).
The saber tooth tiger (a misnomer by the way, Smilodon is not a tiger and ‘saber tooth cat’ is the correct term) is a little cartoony, but I think this is mostly down to the extremely pink nose. The stocky muscular sculpt is very distinctive for the genus Smilodon. The short bob-tail is raised and the right arm is swiping out, while the mouth is wide open bearing the eponymous saber-like fangs. The striped paint job is reminiscent of true tigers.
The giant ground sloth is depicted leaning on its haunches, supported by its tail. This Megatherium is rudely prodtruding a fleshy purple tongue. The figure has large inwards curved toes. The Andrewsarchus is depicted striding stealthily and bearing its teeth. The pose is almost identical to the larger Prehistoric Life Collection version of this species (Reviewed here). The colouration is also the same, yellow fur with black marks and a black tuft on the tip of the tail.
Macrauchenia is a goofy looking animal with a protruding and dangling nose. It has white tufts on the elbows and on the face, and the tip of the nose and tail are picked out in dark brown. This one has a lot of character and is my favourite figure in the set. Incidentally, This figure is highly reminiscent of Schleich’s Macrauchenia figure (not yet reviewed on this blog, but featured on Tetrapod Zoology here.)
The final animal in the tube is the glyptodont Doedicurus. The unmistakable spiked tail is accurately rendered. The figure has a cheeky face and the tail is striking out wildly. The rough bobbly texture of the armour is picked out with grey highlights. Once again, the pose of this tiny figure is almost identical to the larger Prehistoric Life Collection version (Reviewed here).
Overall, this is a fun set with a diverse array of interesting creatures. Lots of potential for dioramas and highly recommended for small children.