Great White Shark, 2018 (Sea Life by Schleich)

Review and images by JimoAi; edited by bmathison1972

In the waters of New Zealand, Mia scans her surroundings. She sees a colony of New Zealand fur seals. She is the largest predatory shark, and although the tigers, bluntnose sixgills, great hammerheads, and sleeper sharks can reach similar lengths, they are outweighed by the great white (Carcharodon carcharias). There are some seals still sleeping on the shore, and these mammals are a tasty treat for her, along with other mammals, fish, turtles, seabirds, and carrion. It has been over 2 months since she last ate and she is hungry. She knows that these seals are smart and fast, so she will have to catch one off guard. These intelligent mammals hide on islands and reefs to avoid predators, but Mia is able to see above water to locate her prey. Nearby, a few seals just plunged in the water. Cautiously, these seals keep an eye out for predators, as they do not want the same fate that happened to their brethren all too many times, with one taking the lead. Unsurprisingly, there is a rebel that decided to swim off on its own, separating itself from the group. Mia senses its vibrations and decides to give chase. The seal, on the other hand, did not sense the shark approaching until she was about a metre away. Mia, who is in the deeper part of the sea, swims up with her mouth open to grasp the unfortunate seal in her jaws. She leaps out of the water, with the seal in her jaws and she thrashes her head violently, ending the poor seal’s life. The surrounding water turns red as the seal is being eaten. Satisfied with her meal, Mia leaves the area shortly after to head off to deeper water. It will be another month or so before she eats again.

About the figure: this figure measures 19 cm long at the curve from the tip of the snout to the upper caudal fin. Females great whites get to about 450 cm on average while larger ones get to about 540c m and in extreme cases, 600-640 cm. This puts this great white at the 1:24 to 1:34 scale. Like most Chondrichthyes figures, this great white is a female due to the lack of claspers. This figure is part of the 2018 Sea Life collection from Schleich, after retiring the 2013 model back in 2017 (as well as the beautiful manta ray, blue shark, green Sea turtle, and sawfish, figures we have yet to get updates on as of 2021). Included in that assortment was one of the only male great white shark figures.

The figure is sculpted with its tail turned to the right and its mouth open. The nose isn’t protruding, like the CollectA or Monterey Bay Aquarium figures, so this shark is probably opening its mouth to allow smaller fish to pick parasites, or it’s just preparing for an attack. The bottom teeth are sculpted and painted, although they are blunt; they look sufficiently good. There are teeth on the upper jaw but they are not painted and are the same color as the gums. The lateral keel is really pronounced as compared to Safari Ltd’s version, and the shark looks really heavy bodied, similar to Deep Blue, the current largest great white. The gills are appropriately large, unlike the CollectA 2015 one, and the fins look to be at the correct size and proportions. It is also worth noting that the first dorsal fin has jagged edges. Interestingly, this is the first shark figure to have the pores on its snout, known as the ampullae of Lorenzini which helps the shark detect electrical fields generated by its prey, sculpted. Unfortunately, the promo pictures did not do this figure justice, maybe due to the angle of this figure that it was shown, which probably put off many people from picking it up. In hand, it is an absolutely spectacular piece.

The figure is painted in this battleship gray with a white underbelly, typical of this species. While this may look accurate, there should be a little more white on the bottom caudal fin and the pelvic fins should be surrounded by white, not gray. The gray is also in a jagged pattern, which is accurate. The interior of the mouth is this pale pink color, although mine is a little sloppily applied. The eye is painted a jet black color, giving it a lifeless look of many aquatic predators. The tips of the shark’s pectoral fins are also painted on black, which real great whites are known for and many figure companies omit this detail. Overall, this is Schleich at their best!

This is the best version of this species done by Schleich and probably the best great white made for the standard size assortment, along with the Safari Ltd. (2016) and the now-retired 2013 Schleich one, although it is quite small in my opinion. My complaints are that there could’ve been more white on the bottom caudal fin and surrounding the anal fin as well, and I wish it was the size of CollectA’s half-baked attempt at a great white shark, which I had to use multiple knives to customize the gills to make it more accurately proportioned and paint the face a grey color. I find it off-putting as not everyone has the patience to customize their figures and I wish CollectA would retire their sculpt soon and make a more accurate one of a similar size and the Papo one (which is nice but I really can’t get over the poorly-done claspers and tiny pelvic fins). I highly recommend this figure to any marine life or shark enthusiast. While the Schleich 2018 great white shark is still in production, looking back at Schleich’s previous track record for quickly retiring some awesome figures within a mere few years, this figure will probably be retired in a couple of years and be replaced by another, which may or may not be on the same level of quality, so I recommend to anyone who is interested to pick this figure up ASAP.

Great whites from the 4 major companies from biggest to smallest: Safari ltd (MBA), CollectA, Schleich, and Papo:

Compared to a 1:3 Scale Matsuura Kanan. The shark scales in as one of the larger females, but not to Deep Blue’s level:

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