American Bison (Wild Safari North American Wildlife by Safari Ltd.)

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.

Comments 2

  • Man I tell you what. When I was building the wishlist for my Syntopic Collection, I thought for sure I would get this figure. However, the more image searching I did, the more I gravitated towards the CollectA figure. When I look at this 2018 Safari figure, I see a classic, iconic bison. But the CollectA figure looked more like a wild-type animal to me.

    However, every time someone posts pics of this Safari figure (as shown in this wonderful review), I start to question my decision. I still have to ponder more over time, but this one might end up in my collection someday after-all. If I am going to do it, I should decide soon as the paint quality is always better in the earlier releases of these figures.

    • Yes, I like how the CollectA version has patchy fur on its back and a more tousled head. It looks like a great toy. I bought the Safari one in large part due to its availability and price. I have to order CollectA products online, and pay the shipping, but Michael’s stores stock a fair selection of Safari products, including this one. And plus they keep sending me coupons for 40%-55% off. 🙂

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