Smilodon (RECUR)

4.3 (27 votes)

When I first became aware of the company called RECUR I was not sure what to make of them in terms of their collectible value. Scrolling down their prehistoric model list, one can see that they are definitely geared towards a much much younger age group.The designs are a mix bag and consists of mostly dinosaurs with a few prehistoric mammals thrown in the mix.In time, I became more curious about what these models look like in person, so I decided to purchase a couple of figures to see for myself, after all, its only fair to judge them when you actually have seen them with your own eyes in your hands.

After searching their catalog ( they do have a pretty significant collection) for which ones to get, I decided to go for the Ouranosaurus which I ended up reviewing as my first choice since its an under-represented dinosaur and a surprising choice for this brand. There were 3 figures that vied for the second spot: Pachyrhino, Quetzalcoatlus, and Smilodon.I wasn’t sure at that time, but for some reason, I kept on coming back to the Smilodon; there is something about it that I found intriguing. So, I followed my instinct and ordered it.Did it live up to my expectation? Let’s find out.

With a few models from my collection. This model easily dwarf the majority of Smilodon them in size.I have a whole lot more Smilodon in my collection but this give a good sampling.

Smilodon, like so many iconic and popular prehistoric beast has suffered the inevitable overexposure. The toy figure market is saturated with models of this animal and it continues to be a source of inspiration for countless artist. It also have a pretty significant silver screen presence as well from live action computer generated to animated.Now I am suffering from Smilodon fatigue, the animal itself is fascinating and interesting, it’s the toy models of it that got me bored and indifferent to the many offerings.

With the grandfather figure from Marx.

To me, Smilodon suffered from:

  1. Being heavily inspired by the extant lion. Seriously, so many just look like lions with an oversize canines! Most restoration in model form went for the familiar (extant lion) look rather than what the fossil actually looks like.And lets not forget the color as well.
  2. The pose! Why is it that no one seems to want to come up with a pose that is imaginative? Almost every model of this animal has the very same pose: mouth wide open (for obvious reasons), front legs slightly push forward or to add some “dynamism” front right paw up in the air. That’s pretty much it, I can’t think of any PVC toy model that is different from these pose.
A surprising model that captured what I felt was the essence of the animal like no other PVC model has.

With that out of the way, how did this model meet my expectations? I was pleasantly surprised that it actually surpassed my expectation and more. The model at first glance isn’t easily associated with very young children due to the surprising amount of details it has.

RECUR models are targeted for very young kids. Here he is with Diego from the popular Ice Age movie franchise.

As I mentioned, RECUR’s target for these figures are very young kids, and the material used re-enforce that. Unlike other toy models that are made with solid or even hollow PVC and having their pointed features such as teeth, horns, and tail often blunted to meet safety standards, RECUR’s models are made of soft, squishy plastic. This material is so soft that kids could easily squish them without the danger of injuring their little hands and fingers.I’m not sure if the figures are hollow but they do have a small hole on the belly for air to push out and in.

Despite the soft nature of the material it actually retained many of the details as you can see.

I was surprised by how much details this type of material is capable of retaining. The fur and skin wrinkles are clearly visible and done nicely. The model, like most of RECUR’s figures, are large. This guy measures almost 8″ inches long and 4.5″ inches tall so not exactly easy to display it with most prehistoric mammals since most are done at the 1/20 scale. This larger size also give the artist more surface to work with when it came to the small details that are easily lost in smaller sized figures.

The head showing off those impressive canine that the animal is famous for.

Perhaps what really got my attention the most is the way the head is sculpted. It did’t remind me of a lion with oversize canines! There is something subtle in how the face looks like that is different from all the Smilodon models I have in my collection. The mouth like all Smilodon models out there is wide open to showcase those impressive canines but there is also an expression that beautifully capture the agitated state of  the animal without looking too contrived.

Nothing exceptional with the pose. This particular pose is so over used and very predictable.

The distinctive canines are perhaps a bit too thick but it works well with the overall sculpt and is not too blunted.The rest of the teeth are too big and spaced out which at close inspection kinda looks odd. These nuances are, in my opinion, is what sets this model apart from the majority of Smilodon figures out there.

Perhaps the face is where so much of the character emerges. I just love how expressive the face especially those eyes without looking contrived. There is a nice balance to how well the expression is captured.

The rest of the head sculpt is nice and very well executed. The ears are small but full of details in the form of hair. The snout show wrinkles where you would expect to see them since the mouth is wide open and you can also see some spots that marks where the whiskers would be. The nose has a nice “wet” look to it that adds some realism. The inside of the mouth shows the tongue and the teeth which are all cleanly painted with very little bleeding between colors.The eyes are amber and beautifully painted and perfectly captures that feline look.

You can appreciate the musculature on this model from this view.

The body is nicely sculpted that has captured that look of a powerful animal. The proportions are distinctively different from your typical lion-inspired which looks closer to what a fleshed out skeleton may have looked liked. The musculature are surprisingly well defined from head to toes and can be seen where you would expect them. From the folds of the skin to the individual hair, they all follow the contours of the body and muscles nicely.

Pardon the view, a bit obscene don’t you think?

The neck is thick and shows lots of skin folds and wrinkles even the directions of the short hairs are captured nicely. The shoulders also shows some skin folds as well as the shape of the bones that suggest tension. The tail is appropriately short and is held straight out… which is just located above its “private parts… which are very well sculpted…resulting in some angles looking a bit “obscene” ha ha! Yes, it’s a male for sure.

The era of giving Smilodon a lion0like mane is thankfully over.

There was a time when the idea of Smilodon male having a full mane once again like lions were popular. But evidence suggest that this is not the case and thankfully we don’t see that many figures with full mane including this one.The color like so many models of this animal is your typical brown/orange color. The colors on this model actually is more complex that meets the eye. There are lighter shades of brown that highlights some of the tips that are raised. There is also a white color that is used to paint the underside as well as the snout areas of the body. Some yellow is dry-brushed all over the body that adds another layer and depth to the entire color scheme. And to finish it off,  there are dark brown spots that populate the body and smaller ones like on the face, while those on the tail are aligned and almost form a band.The nails and pads are painted black.

Due to its large size, its difficult to fins other prehistoric animals that would scale well with it.

As for the pose, well it has the same generic and predictable pose that I mentioned above. The body is held low to the ground, back legs pushed out. The right front leg is raised up as if the animal is about to swat a prey or opponent while the left front leg is firmly on the ground. The body is stretched out almost at full extent and show a bit of a curve to one side.

As I said earlier, this pose is so predictable, unimaginative, and generic. It would be exciting to see a Smilodon model in some other pose like standing up ( like Papo’s tiger), or even on its side as if in the act of defending its vulnerable flank, or even running. Surely this type of poses could easily be done especially we have seen them used in extant big cats models.perhaps one day a company would be adventurous enough to try something out of the ordinary.

Two very different predators battle it out! The Kelenken and Smilodon are not contemporaries , but it did share the landscape with some huge birds so the Kelenken is makes a nice stand-in.

My only regret is that the model is far too big for it to be displayed with my prehistoric mammals models which are mostly in the scale range of 1:20. It’s a pity since it would have fit in nicely and would make for a dramatic display with some of its contemporaries.There maybe few that could work with a little bit of imagination.

Forget the movie, this is what the True Ice Age would have looked like!

Overall, this model surprised me and far exceeded my expectations. It’s a very well executed model of this iconic predator that once shared and even perhaps terrorized our early ancestors. Though not original in the pose department, there is enough that sets it apart from others and the fluidity of how the body is sculpted captured that unmistakable feline grace.Despite its huge size and perhaps due to it, the model commands attention. With limited shelf space, I found myself choosing it (along with the CollectA one) as the representative out on display and it has quickly became one of my favorite Smilodon model in my collection.

Parting Shot: ” I have a sinking feeling this is not Diego!”

If you don’t mind its large size and the soft rubber material, then this model is worth acquiring. It is still available at a reasonable price. That concludes this review, hope you all enjoyed it. Thanks for visiting, until the next review, stay safe and healthy. Cheers!

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Comments 6

  • glad to see you reviewed this figure,…i see you also have the bullyland smilodon he’s my favorite and the safari one is good too.

  • I just don’t like the overly thick saber teeth. Also to me the pink inside of the mouth seems to cover the teeth on the inside preventing the teeth from being all white.

  • Your review is very well written. I will admit this is definitely not the worst Smilodon you could purchase. I do though have some issues with this one. I think it’s rear portions should be noticeably more diminutive than its frontal regions. This Smilodon’s shoulders I think should be much more bulky and higher. It’s thoracic limbs should be noticeably bulkier than its back legs. Also, the saber teeth are oversized. They do have a good curved, knife like shape, but they are quite big for this figure. I agree though, that this one has a certain charm about it, and there are good qualities about it also as you pointed out, especially fur detail, and color schemes. It is also well painted. I love how the undersides are whitish also. It’s neck is also well done and powerful as Smilodon’s neck was.

    • Thanks. It’s not perfect for sure, but like you said, there are far worse models of smilodon out there. What is surprising is that this is from Recur, a brand not really known for accuracy or high detail. In that context, I’m impressed by it. It’s amazing how with so many figures of this animal out there, how hard it is to find one that just looks and feels right.
      Almost all the models available have something off about then that doesn’t fully capture the essence of this animal.

      • I completely agree Bokisaurus. I think there is just about next to no scientifically accurate Smilodon figures. Nearly all of them have major errors. For some reason toy companies insist on sculpting this animal like a modern day cat and just add long canines. One of the biggest mistake I notice with figures is thoracic limbs that are MUCH to long and much to slender. Also, most figures have much to small shoulders.

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