Review and images by JimoAi; edited by bmathison1972
When it comes to dangerous sharks to humans, most people will always think about the great white, the tiger, or the bull shark. However, there is a runner up for the most dangerous shark that not many people have heard of, and it’s the oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus). The U.S.S Indianapolis incident was when these sharks were probably at their most infamous: it is said that after the U.S.S Indianapolis was hit by Japanese torpedoes, 900 men made it into the water alive, but only 317 made it out alive. Those that perished were said to be eaten by sharks, mostly oceanic whitetips. If those really perished from the shark attacks, this would make oceanic whitetips the shark that has killed more humans than all other species of sharks combined! However, most, if not all, of the men likely perished due to the elements rather than being eaten by hungry sharks. Oceanic whitetip sharks can be found around tropical and subtropical oceans around the world. They are a large shark species that average about 3 metres though the largest could possible get up to 4 metres. They are recognizable for their rounded dorsal fin and pectoral fins and get their name from the white tips on their fins. They feed on many species of fish including marlin, mackerel, tuna, oarfish, dolphinfish, and many other bony fish, other sharks and rays, gastropods, cephalopods, and occasionally seabirds, turtles, and marine mammals. There was an instance of an oceanic whitetip bearing the scars from an encounter with a large deep sea squid, perhaps a giant squid. Though once extremely common and widespread, recent studies have shown that their numbers have decreased drastically. Like many sharks, they are caught as bycatch and they are hunted down for their oil riches livers and of course, their fins, obtained in a very cruel manner to make the disgrace known as shark fin soup. This causes them to now be listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ by the IUCN.
About the figure. In the last few years, the only oceanic whitetip figure available was the tiny Kaiyodo Aquatales Series 2 figure. Then, in 2019, Safari produced 2 figures of this species in the form of a standard figure and a TOOB figure. It was certainly a big year, especially for those who loves oceanic whitetips!
The figure measures about 15.2 cm from the top of the caudal fin to the tip of the blunted snout, which puts it about the 1:20 to 1:26 scale, depending on the size of the individual you are going for. The figure is sculpted in a neutral pose which may put off some people, but I’m totally up for it as it looks like this shark is just leisurely cruising. It has the topical requiem shark body plan: a rounded snout, smallish gills and a caudal fin with the top being longer than the bottom, but not as long as compared to thresher sharks and a lack of a lateral keel that mackerel sharks possess. However, there are a few features that sets the oceanic whitetip apart from other requiem sharks: the rounded dorsal and pectoral fins and the trademark white tips on the dorsal, pectoral and caudal fins, which gives the shark its common name. Others, like the whitetip reef shark, has white tips on its fins, both species are completely unrelated and they live in completely different habitats: the whitetip reef prefers reefs and is more benthic while the oceanic whitetip prefers open seas and is of course a pelagic species.
This figure is, once again, a female specimen due to the lack of claspers. Her eye is an ochre yellow with a slit pupil and is glossed to make it more life-like. Her mouth is semi closed like most shark figures mad a few individually sculpted and painted teeth are visible. There is the correct number of gill slits, 5 on each side, and there is even a lateral line sculpted along the body!
The colour is this light gray with some speckling. While this may look accurate, I do wish it is more metallic and a hint of copper in the colour, like the TOOB figure and the Kaiyodo figure. Outside of that, this is a perfect figure that did this species a long overdue debut in the toy figure business.
Despite the colour scheme, I think this is one of the better Safari Ltd. shark figures. It’s a nice size, accurate and, overall, a visually appealing figure. This figure is relatively inexpensive and is still pretty commonly available in places like Safari Ltd.’s website, Amazon, and anywhere that sells Safari Ltd. products. I can’t recommend this figure enough to anyone who loves sharks and marine life. I can’t wait to see what other sharks they make: maybe a smalltooth sand tiger shark, an upscaled great white shark, or maybe new rays.