Review and photographs by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
The magnificent Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is the second biggest of the three extant species of pachyderm, the second biggest land animal in the world, and the biggest land animal in all of Asia. It can be distinguished from its two African cousins largely by its domed cranium, smaller ears, and rounded back. There are presently three recognized subspecies: the Indian (E. m. indicus), the Sri Lankan (E. m. maximus), and the Sumatran (E. m. sumatranus).
In this review, I’ll be looking at both an Asian elephant cow and her calf, the latest in a series of steadily improving proboscidean figures released by Schleich over the years. These ones, as well as a bull figure, came out in 2017. While I can’t be certain, I’m fairly sure that they all represent the Indian subspecies.
While a female Asian elephant is considerably smaller than a male, it still averages around 2.4 metres in height and three tons in weight. This figure stands 8.5 cm tall and is 13 cm long from the front of her trunk to the back of her tail (scale approximately 1:28). She is sculpted in a walking pose with her big head turned to the left, her left front leg stepping forward, and her left rear leg extended behind her. Her long trunk is hanging down with the tip curling up, while her tail is swinging to the right. She can easily be recognized as a cow due to the two visible teats sculpted on her chest as well as the fact that female Asian elephants, unlike African ones, do not have tusks. Some occasionally develop tiny ones called “tushes,” but these are only visible when the mouth is wide open.
The cow’s face and limbs are coloured brownish-grey with dark grey wash to highlight the many folds and wrinkles. Her main body is dark brown with even darker shading. Her eyes are glossy black and there are black markings on her ears and running in a line down the front of her trunk. Finally, her toenails are dirty beige and her tail tuft is dark grey. It’s a realistic colour scheme, and a very welcome change from older elephant figures, which tended to be grey all over.
The calf measures only a little over 4 cm tall and 8.5 cm long. It is posed in a walking stance similar to its mother’s, but it looks as though this little one is hurrying a little to keep up. Its head is turned to the right, its trunk is flailing, its mouth is open, and its tail is held out behind its body. Looking at its underside, I believe that this individual is a female, although it’d be perfectly easy and fine to pretend it’s a male instead if one so desired.
The calf’s colour scheme is basically the same as her mother’s, save for a spot of light pink on her mouth and medium brown for the bushy mass of hair on the top of her head and back. Asian elephant calves are famous for their fuzziness, which decreases as they grow older. For certain, it makes this calf look even cuter.
Both the calf and the cow boast excellent sculpting. Their trunks are covered in wrinkles and the folds in their ears give them a wavy, realistic appearance. Their skin has the elephant’s characteristic wrinkled, baggy feel to them, and I especially like how the skin around the limbs appears to be stretching as the elephants walk. Even the soles of their feet have sculpted wrinkles. And as far as accuracy is concerned, these two rate very well. In addition to the distinguishing characteristics mentioned earlier, their feet have the correct number of toes for an Asian elephant (five on the front ones, four on the hind ones). Moreover, their trunks each have a single finger at the end, which helps them to grip small items. By contrast, both the African forest and savanna elephants have two fingers at the tip of their trunks.
So, in conclusion, if you’re looking to add some nice Asian elephant figures to your animal collection (and really, who doesn’t adore elephants?), then I highly recommend this cow and calf. They are usually available wherever Schleich products are sold.