Review and images by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
An inevitable fact of life is that there are very few toys that can withstand rough play, especially from very small children. It was not long after the ATB posted my review of the Wild Safari American bison figure that my little boy dropped (or possibly threw) it against a bare wooden floor, causing one of the front legs to break right off. I considered gluing it back on, but then I figured that it would only break again sooner or later. And since the leg piece was a clear choking hazardous to boot, I simply threw it and the rest of the toy in the garbage. C’est la vie.
Naturally, I intended to promptly replace the bison, but instead of getting another Safari one, I decided to go with the 2014 version of this species (Bison bison) from Schleich. My son didn’t mind a single bit. Truth be told, I’m not even certain he noticed that the new one is different.
This bison is noticeably smaller than the Safari version: about 10.5 cm long and 7 cm tall at the shoulder hump. It is posed with its big head turned to the right and its hind limbs extended apart. However, its front limbs are planted closed together and its tail is hanging down freely, which suggests that this individual is simply looking around as opposed to preparing for battle.
The large scrotum dangling in plain sight from between this bison’s legs reveals it to be a bull. The rear half of his body is coloured medium brown while his furrier front half is a much darker shade. His tail tuft, scrotum, and penis are also dark brown and his hooves are dark grey with black wash. His head is perhaps the darkest shade of brown possible, with black eyes ringed by light brown, a black muzzle, and beige horns streaked with black. Glossy paint is used on the eyes and the nostrils, giving them a realistic moist appearance. Overall, a perfectly good colour scheme for a bison.
The sculpting on this toy is nothing short of excellent. The head and the front half of the body are covered in thick, shaggy fur, complete with an impressive beard and chunky-looking legs. The fur on the rear half of the body is much shorter, but just as intricately sculpted. And, of course, the muscles are well-defined to give this bison a strong and sturdy appearance. And finally, I’m happy to report that, so far at least, this figure has stood up very well to my son’s energetic style of play.
Production of this bison was discontinued this year, but you should still be able to find it wherever Schleich toys are sold, which probably gives you plenty of options. And it’s definitely a worthy purchase.