Life as a prehistoric predator, even one as powerful and ferocious as Smilodon fatalis, was far from easy or enjoyable. A recent study done on thousands of specimens collected in California found that 4.3% of them had sustained trauma to their backs and shoulders. This is most likely a result of them having to wrestle heavy game like bison and camels to the ground before delivering a killing bite.
Today I’ll be taking a look at CollectA’s first stab at Smilodon. Released in 2009, this mighty machairodont measures in at just under 12 cm long, and like most of its plastic brethren, is sculpted in a threatening pose with its mouth open. Wide open, at roughly the 128 degree angle that a Smilodon‘s gape could achieve. It’s easy to imagine this individual cornering potential prey or confronting an adversary.
The main colour here is rust with beige on the muzzle and the underbelly (sloppily applied), black markings, claws, and lips, dark brown pads on the feet, a pink nose, gold eyes, bone white teeth, and dark pink for the inside of the mouth. While the markings are hardly unique, the rust shade does help this toy stand out among the other Smilodon representations. The sculpting for the fur is decent enough, though not outstanding. The same goes for the musculature.
Which brings us finally to accuracy. Just like with Tyrannosaurus rex, it’s very, very hard to make a Smilodon figure that isn’t immediately recognizable to all. The head on this one is quite good, and I especially like the super-wide gape. However, this toy does fall victim to the usual common flaws: a neck that’s too short, a back that should be more arched, and paws that should be larger.
To be honest, this old Smilodon isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It’s certainly not as impressive as the 2015 version, or the one from Safari, but it’s definitely a more handsome sight than Schleich’s. In the end then, I would sum this toy as satisfactory.
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