Review and photographs by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
While the Nile crocodile may be the biggest and deadliest predator in Africa’s waterways, it is still no match one on one for an even bigger and arguably more dangerous resident. A creature that rivals a rhinoceros in weight, can outrun a human on land, and boasts an immense mouth full of savage teeth. That’s right, it’s none other than the common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius).
Hippos are among the most popular animals on the planet, regularly appearing not only as plastic figures, but other merchandise such as plush toys, baby towels, and, of course, the very famous and very noisy tabletop game, Hungry, Hungry Hippos. CollectA’s second stab at an adult hippo came out in 2018. It is quite a hefty figure at 14 cm long, 8 cm high, and slightly over 5 cm wide [editor’s note: the figure is 6.0 cm at shoulder, making it 1:25 in scale). Also very solid and heavy too, enough so that if you were to drop it on your toe, it would most assuredly hurt!
This individual is dramatically sculpted with its huge head raised and its cavernous mouth opened to 110 degrees. Real hippos can open their mouths to a maximum of 150 degrees, so good on CollectA for staying within that range. The four upper teeth are shaped rather like spikes while the bottom four are far larger and more like blades. The largest are the two lower canines, which are about a centimetre in length. On a real hippo, these would be up to 50 cm long and razor sharp along the edges. All of these teeth are for the sole purpose of combat, and they are lethally effective. Most fighting takes place between rival males over territory and mating rights, but females can be just as ferocious when it comes to defending their calves. Both sexes will attack anything that they consider a threat or an intrusion, from the crocodiles that share their habitat to animals attempting to cross over or simply wanting a drink. Or boaters. All that being said, while our hippo here could be in the midst of a savage battle, it could just as easily be opening its mouth to eat a nice juicy watermelon from a zookeeper. I’ve seen hippo feedings in zoos many times, and it’s always a pleasure.
The hippo’s base colour is dull pink painted over with flat grey for a fairly accurate skin tone. The eyes are glossy black, the inside of the mouth is dark pink, and the teeth are beige. Overall, this is a pretty good paint job, but the smaller sculpted teeth visible inside the mouth on my hippo have not been painted. At first, I thought this was a case of CollectA cutting corners, but after viewing images of other people’s hippos, it turned out that the unpainted teeth are a factory error. Just my luck!
The hippo’s sculpting is truly superb. The body is covered in wrinkles and creases, and while it looks very plump, it also looks very strong and very tough. I especially like the fat folds of skin where the neck meets the shoulders, along the bottom of the neck, and at the joints in the limbs; they really help give an impression of how thick a hippo’s hide is. The wide tip of the muzzle is covered in tiny pits and the inside of the mouth is nicely detailed. Even the lower canines feature grooves in them. This is as good as it gets at this scale and for this price point.
In conclusion then, I firmly believe that the CollectA hippopotamus is the best-sculpted and most accurate rendition of this massive and mighty beast presently available on the market. Hands down. My little boy is also extremely fond of it, and especially enjoys pretending to have it bite his mommy’s toes!