Review and photos by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
Between its knobbly head, its enormous flippers, and, of course, its noticeably humped back, the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is quite unmistakable. I fondly remember seeing an entire pod of humpbacks on a whale watching trip with my family off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, way back when I was only four or five years old. I think it was about the only time I ever went on a boat in the ocean without getting seasick!
Released in 2009, the CollectA humpback whale is posed with its flippers swept back and its tail swaying to the left, which gives it a length of 21.5 cm and a width 11 cm wide. The main colour is very dark grey with airbrushed white on the ventral side and fins and shiny black eyes. There are also rusty brown accents highlighting the barnacle clusters on the humpback’s throat, flippers, and tail flukes. Unfortunately, these accents have been applied rather carelessly, as simple blotches over the sculpted clusters, which themselves are little more than slightly raised bumps. As a result, it looks like this humpback is suffering from rust.
The humpback’s sculpting in general, however, is fairly decent. The throat in covered in numerous long grooves and there are smaller grooves scattered here and there across the body. The back features a double blowhole and a small dorsal fin atop the signature hump. The edges of the tail flukes have a rough, worn feel to them. The head features rows of knobs called tubercles, which are in fact hair follicles. Yes, as a mammal, the humpback does retain a little bit of hair. Many millions of years ago, its early ancestors such as Ambulocetus and Pakicetus were probably covered entirely in fur.
And then, of course,there are the humpback’s flippers, which are lined with thick knobs along the anterior edges and proportionally larger than any other whale’s. Not only do these flippers allow for good maneuverability, they also serve as effective weapons against the humpback’s main enemy, killer whales. Excessive barnacle growth on the flippers can even become an asset rather than a liability, as they function essentially as armour, adding even more pain and punch to any blow the humpback delivers. Humpbacks are highly gregarious and protective creatures that not only interact regularly with other whales, dolphins, and pinnipeds, but even actively defend them against killer whales. There is even a possible case of a pair of humpbacks actively guarding a human diver from a tiger shark in 2018.
Overall, I’d say that, while the CollectA humpback whale probably isn’t the very best plastic representation of its species to come along, it’s definitely a solid one that’s well worth its price tag.