Review and images by Lanthanotus; edited by bmathison1972
A few weeks ago, forum member Sirenia introduced Papo’s gharial to this blog, a magnificent model of an unusual and fairly unpopular crocodile. The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) enjoys a much greater popularity, though if the species really “enjoys” its popularity may be a point to discuss, as with other crocodilians it suffers from hunting and habitat loss. In the toy world, modern crocodiles are basically divided into two “species”… crocodiles, with the Nile crocodile as the example, and alligators with the American alligator as the example. There`s quite a few models to choose from, so how does Papo’s 2019 offering stand in this crowd?
Papo’s representative measures 19 cm in direct line and stands 3.5 cm high at the head. This makes is a perfectly sized toy is a fair scale with a great number of other PVC toy figures of different brands. The plastic used is flexible enough to be safe for playing without damaging either players or the figure. The mouth is articulated in the upper jaw and the mouth closes shut with all tiny but sharp teeth in line, another example of Papo’s ability for high standard casting. The whole model is of supreme quality anyway, the scales and scutes are intricately sculpted, the claws and teeth sharp and pointed. I do not know how Papo can make this and still qualifies for all the safety requirements to be sold worldwide while other companies give their models blunted teeth and claws, often to a ridiculous degree.
Proportions of the model are spot on, the head and snout are comparably short, low and broad, the body robust and the tail thick. Also the flanks, legs and sides of the tail are comparably smooth as in the real animal. In regards to accuracy, there is one point that diminishes the otherwise perfect rendition. While olive green is said to be present in American alligators I have yet to see a specimen of that hue. The usual base color for that species is black or very dark brown or gray with a brighter underside, juveniles also have yellow or tan markings or bands. I guess Papo decided against those dark colors because most people associate a crocodile with “green” rather than any other color. But paint jobs can be changed.
Other points for discussion, such as the number of rows of scutes on the back or which teeth of the lower jaw shown while the mouth is closed, are all within the range of variations in different individuals, so I deem it safe to say, Papo hit the nail here.
Papo’s alligator is lifelike in appearance, though the perfect sculpt with the tiny eyes still gives the model that menacing, lifeless look crocodilians are feared for (next to their stealthiness and sharp teeth). The model is sturdy, fun to play with and damn cheap for the quality delivered. So aside from the color, this rendition of the American alligator is in my opinion the very best toy model on the market.