Thylacine (Wildlife by CollectA)

Review and images by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972

For millions of years, the modern thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), also known as the marsupial wolf and the Tasmanian tiger, was one of Australia’s apex predators. But thanks to over-hunting, habitat destruction, and sheer callousness on the part of human beings, this magnificent animal has gone the way of the dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts.

CollectA’s 2016 thylacine figure measures about 11.5 cm long. The main colour is a dull light brown with a cream underbelly and dark brown for the stripes on its back and the pads and claws on its feet. White is used around the eyes and mouth and inside the ears. The eyes, nose, and mouth lining are black, the inside of the mouth is pink, and the teeth are white. This is all in keeping with field descriptions and the few existing pelts and mounted specimens.

This thylacine is sculpted with its mouth wide open, either in a yawn or a threat display. Thylacines were actually capable of opening their mouths to an incredible 120 degrees, although they possessed a very weak bite. The proportions of the figure’s skull, body, and limbs are all correct and the muscles and the sleek fur are superbly sculpted. Despite the superficial resemblance to wolves, thylacines were not capable of running at high speeds and it is thought that they employed ambush tactics rather than open pursuit while hunting.

And now for the most interesting and endearing feature. Like most marsupials, female thylacines kept their young in pouches. And indeed, the tiny tail and rump of a joey can be seen protruding from this figure’s pouch. The joey is coloured exactly like its mother, complete with dark stripes. Very cute, very cute indeed. This toy would be a very good tool for teaching children about extinction and conservation.

Overall, the CollectA thylacine is a superb toy: accurate, beautifully sculpted, and cleverly conceived. I would really love to see more recently extinct animals from CollectA such as the dodo, the moa, and the massive Steller’s sea cow. They all serve as grim reminders of humanity’s terrible capacity for death and destruction. Unless we all actively work to change and improve our ways, we will only see more animals join the thylacine in the halls of extinction.

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