Review and images by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
After the kangaroo, the most famous and beloved Australian animal has to be the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) with its thick fur, round face, prominent nose, and even more prominent ears. Not surprisingly then, the humble marsupial has enjoyed a huge abundance of toys, mostly plush ones, but a good many plastic ones as well.
For 2021, CollectA has released a new koala figure to replace their two original versions from 2009 that were climbing and eating. It is posed resting on its hands and rump with its head held high, which makes it 6 cm tall and just over 5 cm long. Indeed, upon taking it out of the packaging, I was struck by how much bigger it was than I expected. Not that I’m complaining, mind you; the size makes it easier for my boys to play with it, and easier to locate when it’s time to put away the toys!
Another noteworthy aspect about this toy is that it is composed of a much softer material than previous CollectA toys. The body gives a little when you squeeze it and the ears and limbs bend rather easily. I don’t know if this is a result of cost cutting or a safety measure, but I can say that, unlike certain other animal figures I’ve reviewed here, I’m very confident that this koala will not be suffering any breakage due to rough play.
This koala’s main colours are medium grey and white, with yellowish grey wash accenting the fur. Airbrushed pink is applied to the insides of the ears, around the dark brown eyes, on the lower jaw, and on the palms and soles. The large nose and the pointy claws are black. Finally, a streak of airbrushed dark brown on the chest represents a scent gland. That, combined with the visible scrotum, makes this individual a mature male. Males are twice the size of females, and use their scent glands to mark the eucalyptus trees in which they live and feed. They can also be quite aggressive in defending their homes, to the point of biting, wrestling, or chasing an opponent out of the disputed tree. But for the most part, koalas limit their activity (like giant pandas, they derive very little energy from their diet) by sleeping for 20 hours a day and foraging mainly at night.
The sculpting on our koala is on par with all of CollectA’s recent products, i.e., superb. The fur looks soft and fluffy, especially on the chest and ears. The palms and soles are wrinkled and the nose even manages to look leathery and soft. The overall proportions appear to be correct and the digits on the hands are properly oriented with the first and second ones opposed to the other three. The second and third digits on the feet are correctly fused, but the first digits ought to be thicker and without claws.
The wide eyes with their glossy black pupils give this koala an alert and aware appearance. This is a bit of a contradiction, as koalas are in fact among the least intelligent extant mammals. Oh, and based on this individual’s relatively short fur and large, outspread ears, I believe it represents the New South Wales subspecies (P. c. cinereus). At one time, this was the most common of the three subspecies, but habitat loss in recent years combined with the 2020 wildfire tragically devastated its numbers.
The 2021 CollectA koala is quite an attractive piece and should make a fantastic addition to anyone’s Australian collection. Thanks go out to CollectA for generously providing me with this review sample. It will be available at online stores in July.