Review and photos by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
At one time, the American bison (Bison bison) might well have been the most numerous large land animal on the entire planet, with an estimated 60 million roaming the grasslands of North America. But thanks to a combination of overhunting, bovine disease contracted from cattle, and sheer slaughter as part of the US government’s campaign to subjugate the Plains Indians, only 541 bison remained by 1889. That number has since recovered to over 30,000, thankfully, but it is a far, far cry from the days when great herds literally covered the land as far as the eye could see.
A fully grown male bison can weigh well over 2,000 lbs/907 kg, making it the heaviest of all North American animals and one of the largest bovids. There are two distinct subspecies: the larger wood bison (B. b. athabascae) and the more iconic plains bison (B. b. bison). This 2018 figure by Safari Ltd. appears to represent the latter. It is, appropriately, a fairly hefty hunk of plastic measuring 13 cm long and around 8 cm tall at the shoulder hump (1:40 scale, on average).
This bison is clearly a mature bull. He is sculpted in a charging stance with his head head lowered and twisting to the left, his left front hoof pawing at the ground, and his rear legs planted firmly, ready to propel him forward. Perhaps he’s about to knock heads with a rival bull for dominance, or maybe he’s being confronted by a hungry wolf pack. Wolves tend to mainly target cows and calves, however, and a healthy adult bull is a dangerous opponent for even the largest and most experienced pack.
Our bison is coloured very dark brown on his head, front legs, and tail tuft, light brown for the thick fur covering his shoulder region and the patch on his cranium, and medium brown for the rest of his body. His horns are muddy brown, his eyes are medium brown, and his hooves are black. Precisely what you’d expect for this species.
The thick, shaggy fur covering the bison’s head, along with his dangling beard, give him a distinctly tough appearance, like a grizzled mountain man who’s well accustomed to hardships. The fur over his shoulders is similarly impressive and his thick hooves and muscular legs give off the appearance of great strength. You can almost hear him letting out an angry snort as he prepares to charge. The only thing I don’t like is how the horns don’t stick out more from the fur on the head, but they look good nonetheless.
Overall then, this mighty bison is yet another solid success by Safari Ltd. Strongly recommended.