Review and photographs by stargatedalek; edited by bmathison1972
While often regarded as the underdog of the two, especially by adult collectors, I have found consistently that Playmobil boasts a quality and variety of sculpts that LEGO simply can’t match, at least when it comes to the zoological variety! Where Playmobil has at least a half dozen molds of sportfish alone, LEGO will use the same mold for a bass and a flounder.
Even still Playmobil animals have rarely been specific to more than a genus level, making this little gem all the more remarkable as a recent addition to their growing menagerie.
Identifiable from other kingfisher species by the orange underside and white bars along the back of the neck, the common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is an interesting choice for a brand that doesn’t focus on animals. Though well known, kingfishers are hardly as dramatic as storks or herons, and this tiny figure has a niche selection of sets it can be used in (and it appears the Playmobil has re-purposed it several times already, including within the ‘StarterPack Kayak Adventure’ and ‘Beaver Lodge’ sets). It’s hard to imagine what aside from other kingfishers this sculpt could serve as in years to come, perhaps a sitting plover?
This sculpt is heavily stylized, being smooth in texture sans for the margins of the beak and eyes. The paint is similarly minimal, with blue and white patterning somewhat messily across the orange plastic body and black applied carefully for the textural details.
What makes this figure worth getting outside of the context of Playmobil is its size. These little birds stand less than two centimeters tall, dwarfed by even the usual size of miniature figures like Kaiyodo or Kitan Club. Though even this is about 1:8 scale (very large for Playmobil humans in 1:24 scale) it’s about as small as reasonably possible, so if you’re on the lookout for small birds in small scales and aren’t a fan of repainting generic bird sculpts, this is a rare opportunity.
Even Playmobil has yet to make a fish small enough for these little ones to eat.