Review and images by Lanthanotus; edited by bmathison1972
The giant toucan or toco toucan (Ramphastos toco) is one of those unmistakable birds almost anyone recognizes even with no ornithological background at all. There are a number of models to choose from generally, although quite a number are hard to come by and the quality is mixed. All of them are easily recognizable, but it is somewhat stunning if Schleich makes a figure that outcompetes companies like Kaiyodo when it comes to accuracy.
Schleich’s toucan measures almost 7 cm in direct line and 4.5 cm high including the branch the figure is perched on. Despite this small size, the figure is practically out of scale with almost any other Schleich figure.
The real thing is a medium-sized bird, the size of a large crow or raven. Its most remarkable feature, the enormous beak, measures up to 23 cm in males. Toucans feed mainly on fruits and large seeds, but they commonly include insects, small vertebrates, or eggs and chicks of other birds in their diet. The giant toucan is not a forest dwelling species as are other toucans, but prefers semi open habitats such as forest edges and grassland interspersed with trees and such.
The figure is very well made; the only downsides are the missing red patch of coverts under the tail base, as well as the bland branch where parts of the usual companies’ insignia and production stuff is stamped visible on the sides and upside of the branch. Still, the figure itself is not free of such, the big ‘CE’ is placed on the underside of the tail feathers. I guess there’s only so much you could ask for in a figure that size.
Be that as it is, the overall look is just eye-catching. The bird is shown in a calm, natural pose, perched on a branch. This base stands very stable and can’t be easily be toppled over. The colors are natural and well applied, the color gradient on the bill is well done, as well as the fading yellow/orange around the eyes and below the bill. The feathers are well, and not too deeply, sculpted. The legs an toes are appropriately blue-grey, two toes in front, two backwards.
Schleich’s giant toucan is a really nice and easily available figure, released recently in 2017. I’d be hard pressed to say whether this or Bullyland’s is better, but I may need to decide that once I have that one in my hands.