Review and photos by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
Of the 350 or so extant species of shark, none are more distinctive and immediately recognizable than a hammerhead. But there are in fact nine recognized species of hammerhead, ranging from the adorable little bonnethead (Sphyrna tiburo) to the massive great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran). This review will focus on the scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) by CollectA.
Released way back in 2006, CollectA’s first year of operation, this hammerhead measures 16 cm long and 6.5 cm wide at the pectoral fin tips, making the figure 1:15-1:16 on average for a mature female. Its strong tail is undulating to the left and its mouth is open, exposing a fearsome array of teeth. The main colours are medium grey and white with black eyes and a pink mouth. While this is accurate for the most part, the very tips of the pectoral fins ought to be blackened on the underside.
As with all the sharks I’ve reviewed here in the ATB, this one is a female. I’m not sure why toy companies tend to make all their sharks female. I have trouble believing that none of them are aware of the existence of claspers on male sharks, and it’s not as though they’re uncomfortable about sculpted genitalia, as evidenced by a great many mammal figures. But on that note, terrestrial mammal figures seem to more often be male, so perhaps all these female sharks represent a way of balancing things out.
The telltale “hammer” has indentations somewhat resembling the edge of a scallop shell, hence this shark’s name. An alternative name for it is the kidney-headed shark, although I find the resemblance only fleeting. The open mouth features an array of small, but lethal-looking teeth. Scalloped hammerheads feed on fish like herring and mackerel, cephalopods, and occasionally other sharks, but there is no evidence that they pose any threat toward humans. By contrast, scalloped hammerhead populations have been decimated in recent years due to the demand for shark fin soup.
The profile on this toy is correct for a hammerhead, especially the very tall first dorsal fin. The outer edge of the second dorsal fin, anal fin, and caudal fin is grooved, which is an interesting touch, but not one in keeping with the real animal. And in what I have learned is an all too common error among shark toys, the gills number only four on each side.
Given that this is one of CollectA’s very first products, I think that this is a pretty good shark figure on the whole, the issues with the gills and fins notwithstanding. I especially like how care was taken with the sculpting of the head to make it recognizable as a scalloped hammerhead. It’d be neat to see CollectA or any other company tackle some of the other hammerhead species.