Review and images by Lanthanotus; edited by bmathison1972
The bird life of Middle Europe generally does not flaunt too much color, although if one looks closely there are a few corlorful species, as the gold finch or the green woodpecker. A fairly common species in middle European fields and meadows nowadays is the common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus). It was introduced to this part of the world so long ago that it hardly can count as an introduced species anymore, with first records dating back to the times of the Romans. In some locations the populations require artificial replenishment to stay alive. The species is highly valued by hunters, so they also take care that the stocks stay healthy. Its fame as game animal resulted in its introduction to wide areas of North and South America, as well as Australia.
Despite its popularity there are not many figures to choose from, but I guess that is most often the case for birds. Kids probably simply don’t like to play with birds. While Schleich and Bullyland had pheasant figures in their portfolio, these have been discontinued for almost two decades. Luckily Papo released a very fine figure just last year; let’s have a look…
The figure stands around 4.7 cm high including the flat base and measures 7 cm in direct line. It represents an adult male with a broad white neck ring, as is common in Europe (so it may depict most likely a hybrid rather that a pure blood subspecies, such as P. c. mongolicus or P. c. pallasi). The plumage of the real animal is very complex in terms of patterns and colors, but Papo did a good job in navigating between authenticity and production cost. The body is of reddish brown with lighter bands over shoulders and lower back and decked in small, aligned black dots which are paired with light brown dots along the back. Wing and tail feathers are tan, the tail is finely striped. Above the white neck ring, the figure shows a greenish blue neck and a black head. The facial wattles are bright red, the ‘ears’ greenish blue as is the neck, and in between those ear feathers is a tan stripe, which is really nice, because it shows Papo cared and walked the extra mile – probably no one would have missed it or even knows it should be there. The eyes are big and gold yellow and give the bird a quite derpy look, but in fact, being of the Galliformes order (as chicken), this look does not deviate too much from the real deal.
Aside from the very good paint job, the sculpt really catches the morphology of the animal. The sculpt is not too detailed, but with the complex paint job, those details would in most parts be hidden anyway and the variations in texture in the wattles, the plumage ,and others body parts really fit the figure. In terms of accuracy and detailing maybe only the New-Ray USA figures could outcompete this Papo figure. The only real thing I have to moan about is that I miss a female version and maybe a flock of chicks. Other than that, I’d say this is a must have for any bird figure collectors amongst you.