Review and images by callmejoe3; edited by bmathison1972
This blog managed to cover a wide variety of cetaceans before getting to today’s species, the killer whale (Orcinus orca). The public perception of killer whales has a rather dramatic history compared to most cetaceans. In Europe, the killer whale’s status as an apex predator led to the animal gaining a reputation as a malevolent nuisance and threat, much like the ‘’man-eater’’ sharks. Ironically, even to this day, wild killer whales retain no historical human fatality record, dwarfed even by the low frequencies of confirmed shark-attacks. By contrast, indigenous cultures of North America such as the Haida and Tlingit revered killer whales as one of their most sacred holy animals. It was not until the initial attempts of placing these animals in captivity did most Westerners view these animals in a more positive light. The Orcinus genus was once associated with the ‘’Blackfish’’ family of oceanic dolphins, and mitochondrial analyses initially suggested that they were close relatives to the snubfin and Irrawaddy dolphins. However, full genomic studies now reveal that killer whales are among the lineages that are basal to nearly all of subfamilies of oceanic dolphins: the other two being the white-beaked dolphin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) and the Atlantic white-sided dolphin (Leucopleurus acutus). Killer whales are a diverse, cosmopolitan species with roughly 14 recognized ecotypes that genomic studies warrant being assigned into multiple subspecies/species. Of these, the most well-studied are the 3 ecotypes of the North Pacific: residents, Bigg’s/transients, and offshores. Killer whales are the largest of the oceanic dolphin family with females averaging 5-6.5 meters and 3-5 tons and males averaging 6-8 meters and 6 tons. The largest specimen was a roughly 9.6-meter and 9-ton male. Killer whales are very social animals, displaying aspects of matrilineally inherited culture and a variety of strategies for not only capturing prey, but also in stealing, avoiding, and even chasing off fishing boats. This species also possesses one of the largest brains on Earth, second only to sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), though killer whales have a proportionately larger cerebellum. Their IUCN status for the global population is data deficient with certain populations being negatively impacted by threats such as prey depletion, attacks from fishermen, and pollution. Killer whales across the globe are known to consume a wide variety of fish, seabirds, turtles, and marine mammals. However, most populations in the Pacific and Southern oceans are specialists, with only a few generalist populations known in the North Atlantic.
A review of this animal was an inevitability for this site. I am almost certain that the killer whale even has the bottlenose dolphin beat as the most well-represented cetacean in the animal toy industry. Today will be focused on Mojo Fun’s killer whale from 2012.
The orca measures about 195mm in length, corresponding to a 7.8m/25.6ft foot individual at the 1:40 scale. The figure represents a male individual as the dorsal fin is tall and relatively straight, a secondary sex trait for male orcas. At 37mm, the dorsal fin would measure about 1.48m/4.85ft when scaled up. Now as for the overall sculpt, in ways it is a competent figure compared to most, and I really appreciate how the mouth is closed unlike two of the previous ones from Schleich and current CollectA figure. However, the tailstock and body are far too skinny from the lateral view. Another issue is that the pectoral flippers are too polygonal when they should be more circular.
From the dorsal-ventral perspective, the sculpt looks noticeably more realistic, specifically regarding the tailstock. The fluke is a proper shape, and the blowhole is in the correct position. Overall, the sculpt is a bit of a mixed bag, with the profile being the least convincing.
Now as for the paintjob, it checks out for the most part. The size and position of the eyepatch is acceptable given the variability that exists even within ecotypes. The underside even has little dots for the umbilical scar and genital slits. Most of the body is painted the way it should be except for two distracting issues. The first inaccuracy is that the saddle patch does not connect in the back, instead appearing as two separate gray bands surrounding the posterior of the dorsal fin. The other and more concerning blemish concerns the lower jaw.
As we can see, the black-white boundary between the superior and inferior portions of the body runs along the lower jaw, making the lip black. This line should instead terminate at the corner of the whale’s mouth with the lower jaw being completely white. This is the only time that I have ever seen such a mistake. The paintjob is fine. It got most things right, the mistakes made when covering the basics detracts from the quality.
Another issue I have is the left pectoral fin and dorsal fin getting warped. Even after going at it with the hair dryer, this was the best result I was able to get in restoring the original shape. This is a warning for prospective owners of this figure.
The Mojo Fun killer whale is a fine figure. It has a lot of decent qualities while also coming in a nice size. However, flaws in both the paintjob and sculpt hold this figure back, which is especially disadvantageous for animals that are over-saturated. With the plethora of options currently available for the killer whale, only exceptional products will be competitive, mediocrity is sensitive to being overlooked when it comes to this animal. If you are aiming for a killer whale figure at this size, the Papo 2008 killer whale or the current Schleich figure would serve better.