Dromedary, adult and calf (Wild Animals by Papo)

Review and images by Lanthanotus; edited by bmathison1972

If there’s an iconic animal of the desert, then it sure would be the dromedary (Camelus dromedarius), sometimes also called ‘ship of the desert’ for its rocking moves when used for human transportation.

The dromedary has a long history with humans; it was first domesticated around 4000 years ago in either North Africa or the Arabian Peninsula. Since then, its value to desert dwelling folks has been hardly diminished. It is a very hardy species that is easy to be maintained. The dromedary is an obligate vegetarian, but not picky at all and feeds on even the driest, hardest, and most prickly of plants. It carries mean loads of 250 kg but can also be used for riding or as draught animal. Its most popular character may be the fact, that it can stay without drinking for days even in the most arid conditions, although exact values are hardly significant as a lot of factors are in influence. Next to the attributes, humans have also always made use of the animal’s products, its milk, wool and meat.

The dromedary being the famous one-humped camel has an also popular sibling, the two-humped Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) with which it shares an interesting genetic background that would go beyond the scope of this review. If you are interested, have a read in this Wikipedia article and the given sources.

Eventually we will have a look at the figures. Both are not sold as a pair; in fact, father and offspring would be a somewhat weird choice in dromedaries, as the males do not care about their young but rather spend their time on getting along with as many females as possible. But here we are. The bigger one, released in 2013, represents a male. The calf, released in 2015, is not really marked with the features of either sex. The male stands 9.8 cm tall at the head and is roughly 15 cm long in direct length, including the stride. The calf stands 6.7 cm tall and measures roughly 8 cm in length. For starters this shows, both are hardly in scale to each other, as the proportions of the calf would require it to be much smaller.

That being said, the calf’s proportions are quite well captured in the figure as it the comparably fluffy coat. The head is especially nice with the bay schema’s short snout and big eyes with painted pupils. In color the calf is a greyish brown with brown and darker brown hues.

The male figure also depicts the morphological features of the dromedary nicely. The legs are long, slender and sinewy, ending in large, flat toes. Sadly, their underside is not sculpted for the impression of the thick pads, an opportunity that Papo did not miss on the calf. Thick, calloused skin covers the knees, elbows, and wrists as well as the sternum, all the points of the body that are frequently in contact with the ground in either resting or getting up and down. The belly is round but hips and shoulders narrow as they should. Maybe the neck is a bit too slim in dorsal view, but if you’ve ever seen a dromedary in natural conditions, you may have recognized how surprisingly slim their necks can be. The head is finely sculpted, but the figure sure has a best side, as the eye on the left side of the head should be set a bit higher as it is on the right.

Nevertheless, both figures capture the essence of the dromedary quite well. As is the case with all my Papo figures, these are too made of a very durable material and also the paint job withstands years in a toy bin. Both figures are discontinued but are sure worth to be tracked down on the second market (or try to get your last ones at modellpferdeversand.de).

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