I am using today’s review to introduce an unusual set of animals from a series called ‘Naturally Adorkable’, which was released in conjunction with a Chinese natural history magazine called, well, Natural History. I am not sure of the release date, but I believe 2018 based on when the figures started showing up on the forums and eBay. At first, I thought the term ‘adorkable’ was a bad translation of adorable, but it turns out adorkable is a word; it is a slang term describing something that is ‘unfashionable or socially awkward in a way regarded as appealing or cute’ (which certainly described at least some the critters released in this line). All but one of the figures in the Naturally Adorkable line represent species that are endemic to Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, or the Tibetan Plateau: Chinese pangolin, Bengal slow loris, Himalayan marmot, Tibetan sand fox, Pallas cat, red panda, long-eared hedgehog, Asian black bear, and a sloth (I never bought the sloth, so I am not sure which species it represents). Several of these figures are, to my knowledge, unique at the species level in toy/figure form! To introduce this line, I am going to focus on the Pallas cat, Otocolobus manul.
The Pallas cat is a small wild feline native to grasslands and steppes of Central Asia, with a patchy distribution from the Caspian Sea to eastern Russia and China. Like many animals these days, it is negatively affected by habitat destruction and has been hunted for its fur, so its population has declined in many parts of its natural range. Like many wild felines, Pallas cats are solitary. They spend much of the day resting in crevices, caves, and marmot burrows, and come out at night to hunt. Like most small cats, they prey on smaller mammals and birds.
The figure is depicted in a resting position, so calculating a scale is difficult. The maximum dimensions taken up by the figure are 4.5 cm wide by 3.5 cm deep. The figure does not scale well with standard big cat (lion, tiger) figures on the market, but because the Pallas cat is about the size of a domestic cat, it scales OK with some standard domestic cat figures. The figure is made of a hard, solid resin. The detail is good and the paint scheme is accurate. The facial expression on the figure depicts the traditional ‘grumpy cat’ look of this species.
This figure comes highly recommended to anyone who collects unusual species or, like me, is building a synoptic ‘species’ collection. Because it is made of resin, it is not a toy and should not be played with, for risk of breakage. Naturally Adorkable figures are available on eBay from China. I am not one to promote eBay dealers on the blog, but send me a PM on the forum if you’d like to know whom I bought mine from (I had a very good experience with the dealer I bought mine from).