Review and images by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
The most famous, most popular, and most feared shark of them all is unquestionably the great white (Carcharodon carcharias). It has appeared in more films, documentaries, books, comics, cartoons, games, and toy lines than any other shark, and probably any other sea creature for that matter. Today I’ll be taking a look at CollectA’s 2015 version. You’ll probably notice that it is a little bit banged up, which is due to the fact that it is one of my young son’s favourite animal figures. He particularly enjoys making it “attack” his parents while happily singing Baby Shark.
The first thing you notice is that this is quite a large shark figure. From the tip of its snout to the end of its tail, our great white measures a good 20.5 cm long and is 9 cm wide at the tips of its long pectoral fins, making the figure about 1:25 scale, on average. Due to the fact that it is balanced high up in a tripod stance on its fin tips, it stands nearly 9 cm tall when resting on a flat surface. Literally towering over most other shark figures. Which strikes me as appropriate considering that the great white is easily the largest extant flesh-eating fish. A big female, which this figure clearly represents, can exceed more than six metres in length and weigh in at around 2,000 kg, although such leviathans tend to be rare.
Unlike many other shark figures that are sculpted either with their mouths shut or semi-open, the mouth on this great white is wide open, exposing rows of sharp teeth. This one is about to bring savage death upon some unfortunate prey. Great whites will eat just about whatever they want, but they much prefer fat-rich pinnipeds such as sea lions, fur seals, harbour seals, and even fully grown northern elephant seals that may exceed them in length and mass. They also prey on a variety of dolphins, porpoises, and beaked whales, and will eagerly gorge themselves on the ample blubber from floating whale carcasses. And yes, they are responsible for more human fatalities than any other shark, but as any shark expert or enthusiast knows, you’ve got a much greater chance of being hit by lightning than being attacked by a great white.
The inside of the mouth on this figure is fairly well-detailed and there are multiple rows of teeth lining the bottom jaw. The gills correctly number five on each side, the fins have the correct shape and proportions, and the caudal keels on the sides of the tail are well-defined. These lateral ridges help maintain a great white’s stability while swimming as well as strengthening its tail. Its top speed is thought to be around 40 kph. Fast enough for it to catch a seal or a dolphin, but not enough, unfortunately, to escape from its one deadly predator: the killer whale. Killer whales also enjoy the advantage in size, strength, and smarts, and just their mere presence in an area causes great whites to flee in fright.
Our great white’s main colours are dark grey on top and white on the bottom, naturally. The eyes are black, the mouth is pink, the teeth are white, and there is very dark grey airbrushing on the tip of the snout and the pelvic fins. While at first glance, this colour scheme may appear accurate, the pectoral fins are missing their signature black tips. The head features too much white and not enough grey. And finally, the division between the grey and the white sections on the body looks too sharp, too clean. It should be more jagged. To CollectA’s credit, though, their online catalog currently features a great white with an improved and more accurate paint job.
Another issue I notice with this figure is that the head is too angular, with prominent ridges running laterally down the head. It ought to be more rounded with a fatter snout. I also find that the eyes also look a little bit too small.
Despite the issues with colour and anatomy, I still think this is a pretty nice great white shark figure overall, one that succeeds in capturing the essence of the real animal with its dynamic appearance and impressive size. I’d have naturally preferred the version with the corrected paint scheme, but I don’t believe there’s a single child who loves sharks that wouldn’t enjoy playing with this one.