Giant Pangolin (Schleich)

Pangolins are a peculiar group of mammals of the Pholidota order. Superficially they resemble anteaters and are often called “scaly anteaters” but they’re not at all closely related to them. Their closest living relatives are actually carnivorans (cats, dogs, bears, seals, weasels, hyenas, etc.) and together they belong to the Ferae clade.

Pangolins have been popular in the media lately because they are suffering heavily due to habitat loss, poaching, and trafficking. There are eight species of pangolins occurring in Africa and Asia, the giant pangolin (Smutsia gigantea) is the largest species and also the subject of today’s review.

Large specimens of the giant pangolin can weigh over 70 lbs (31 kg) and measure 4.6’ (1.4 meters). The Schleich giant pangolin measures 3.5” (8.8 cm) which puts it at about 1/15 in scale. The toy is sculpted in mid-stride with the tips of its claws on its right forelimb just barely touching the ground, and the left forelimb resting on its claws. Some pangolins will occasionally walk bipedally, which along with their “scaly” armor gives them a dinosaurian appearance. Pangolin armor is made of keratin and quite different from reptilian scales.

This figure was released in 2016 and is an exquisitely detailed little toy. The overlapping plates of armor are individually sculpted and nicely textured, with small striations etched onto each individual plate. The head of this figure isn’t much larger than the tip of a pen but all the facial features are sculpted and displayed with clean and precise craftsmanship. No armor is present along the belly region but nor should it be. Pangolins protect their soft belly by rolling themselves up into a ball.

Other pangolins by other companies exist but as far as I’m aware this is the only S. gigantean. Either way, it’s a beautiful little piece essential to any collection that wishes to highlight mammalian diversity.  

Comments 2

  • It is quite intringuing for me this release from Schleich. Not wanting any interpretation of personal vanity, I was asked in 2013 to choose a figure for Mojö Fun range. After thinking a lot once it is hard to decide among so many interesting species, I went for a pangolin. My choice is not only because I love this kind of animals but also because it was then really neglected on mass media despite all the atrocities these creatures were suffering. I know Safari had released before a large one for their Incredible Creatures and a few other companies did it too. Though, at that size, there wasn’t a single pangolin and I was not expecting it from other companies, especially Schleich that keep repeating the same species. Suprisingly, the German company released this figure the year after Mojö’s! Fortunately it is a different species and it is an outstanding piece in my opinion. A strange coincidence once different species do not always represent products to the general market. By the way, it is also not 100% correct that before Mojö’s there wasn’t a pangolin at this scale, Elastolin released one in 1938 and I have it! Ooops, now it looks vanity. 😉

  • It’s an awesome figure with exquisites details.
    I have both pangolin figure.
    Great review of this truly unique animal.

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