Review and images by PhilSauria, edited by Suspsy
There are not too many of the major brands given to recreating prehistoric fauna in plastic that have not had a woolly mammoth in their range at one time or another, but the number of woolly rhino figures out there might be lucky to crack the double figure mark if a tally were taken. Just talking your mass-produced figure here and not the high end resins and kits. I guess that the mammoth is a much more majestic animal and probably therefore a more marketable proposition.
This year, however, as if some companies are trying to redress the balance we have not one, but two ancient rhinos on release. The subject of this review is a stocky, well-researched, and very detailed creation from Safari sculptor Doug Watson, released as part of the Wild Safari Prehistoric World collection.
While generally known by the name woolly rhino, its scientific handle is Coelodonta antiquitatis (Bronn, 1831), an animal that could be found roaming parts of Europe, Russia, and Asia in great numbers back in its day. Being an animal from the relatively recent past, its remains range from skeletons to mummified bodies with hair intact and, I believe, stomach contents in one case. Climate change is considered one cause for their extinction, but predation by a certain bipedal hominid cannot be ruled out either!
However, the plastic variety can still be found in plentiful numbers in various retail environments, measuring 17 cm (or just under 9 inches) from curved horn to short tail, and standing 8 cm (or just over 3 inches) at the shoulder. It is similar in size to the now-retired Papo version of this animal. Unlike mammoths, the makers of woolly rhinos have not agreed on an unofficial standard size, so that while this one can stand shoulder to shoulder along side the Papo version, it does stand horn and shoulder hump over the Bullyland and Starlux ones. But it still has to look up to its ancestor, the Safari Missing Links woolly rhino.
The sculpt depicts this stout Ice Age mammal in a walking pose with its front foot halfway through a step and its short ears facing forward. This makes it look alert and with a sense of purpose as it strides on. Fur detail covers the figure, as is to be expected, with bare patches around the eyes and nose. The body is basically rendered in shades of brown, with darker bands around the shoulder and edge of the stomach. Grey is used for the eye surround, muzzle, and toes. The light brown eyes are glossy and lifelike. And further anatomical features would seem to indicate that we have a male specimen here.
I was pleased to see a new version of this animal being released, expanding the choices for those interested in adding an iconic Ice Age mammal to their collection and boosting the tally of versions of what has been an animal overlooked by many manufacturers down through the years. The release of this figure and the soon-to-be-released (at the time of this review), very impressive Elasmotherium caught the interest of this collector, who likes to have a few ancient mammals around as well as dinosaurs and prehistoric reptiles. At this point in time, the Safari woolly rhino has hit the shelves and online listings, so there should be no trouble in getting your hands on one should you wish to do so.