At last, I have managed to find time to take pictures of my Christmas presents !
As all of you, I was informed on this forum that the Australian brand Southlands Replicas would not survive the Covid crisis. I am, since this summer, in a very low collection phase but this bad news did not leave me the luxury to wait anymore to get these wonderful models. So, when my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told them that I would be glad to have the (almost) full Southlands collection before it is no longer available or available at a ridiculously high price.
I have to admit I had never heard about Southlands Replicas before joining STS. I think Roger told me first about it and I remember I was quite pleased with the pictures he showed me. However, now I own these figures, I have to say that I hugely underestimated their quality. Some of them could be easily mistaken for CollectA or golden-age Schleich (although I think that Southlands figures look closer to CollectA's than to any other brands') and are only betrayed by their glossy painting which, as some of you know, I have never been fond of.
If the compagny was not doomed to disappear, I would probably not have got the whole bunch at once. I was quite interested in that brand, more than in Safari for example (I am definitely late oredering my first Safari figures !) maybe even more than Mojo, but its figures were not available in my usual Ebay shop and I was not familiar with those German websites you are all always talking about. Moreover, some species were very interesting for my collection while others had already been done by major brands such as CollectA and Schleich and were, thus, much less indispensable. I definitely did not need another Tasmanian devil with the stupendous CollectA rendition and did I really need another wombat species ?
However, as I already said, time was running on to get these models at a fair price. So, I asked Roger to indicate me a website where my parents would be able to find the whole family and asked them to take everything except the horses and the prehistoric mammals which I don't collect. I also told them to skip the eagle which I don't like (I think it has quite strange proportions
) and let them decide about the grey kangaroo which I don't like neither because of the base and the platypus which is perfectly sized with the other Southlands figures but would not be compatible with my Papo model which I love and was not ready to replace even if it's too big.
The red kangaroo male, as most of you know, has become almost impossible to find but it did not bother me as I had planned to skip it too anyway. As Roger once proved it with a comparison picture, it is not too big to go with the Schleich females but its pose makes it look huge. And, as Kostas told me by PM, it is rather disturbing to have a kangaroo as tall as your giraffes ! Anyway, its pose was a bit too daring for me, a Schleich collector used to animals with "4 static legs and head turned to the side"
The thylacine was not available neither. A shame since it would have made a good male for my CollectA female.
I knew, thanks to that topic I created not long after discovering the brand [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
, just a few days after joining this community, that, except for the platypus, all figures I would get for Christmas would be compatible with my major brands collection. There was no surprise, I knew exactly what I would get but I think it's better like that.
So, there were twelve little gift wraps under the tree when I woke up on the 25th december ! I am 28 years old but my favourite Christmas are always those during which I get childish gifts. Being an adult basically sucks and is mostly disenchantment and suffering, childhood to the contrary, is a lost paradise. We played a game with my parents and I had to find which animal was in each wrap. I did no mistake so, I was allowed to keep all of them. As a result, here they are :[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
This is a family picture you are all already very familiar with but I had to post mine ! Since Southlands is a very popular brand on this forum and many of you recently acquired the full collection like me, I think there is no need to show you individual close-ups of each figure again.
Instead of that, I have decided to focus this topic on what I like the most in this hobby... COMPARISON PICS ! 1. The Emu[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
As you can see on this picture, I already had an emu in my collection, the Mojo one. I had hesitated a lot between Mojo and Southlands' models at that time buf finally went for the former. Indeed, my usual Ebay seller had started to sell Mojo and I was about to do my first Mojo order. The emu was available so I did not think twice and add it to the cart. I was not likely to buy Southlands figures any time soon so the Mojo rendition would be fine enough. Anyway, both were the same size and too big for my Schleich ostrich.
Then, I began to regret my choice when the infamous Ser Andrew (I heard he tried to rob some of you
) whom I never had any issue with personally (that's why I find this story hard to believe), sent me pictures of his new Southlands acquisitions including the emu next to the same Schleich ostrich as mine.
Although both renditions are the same size, I realised that the Southlands one fitted better with the ostrich because the streched posture of the body did not make it look as bulky as the Mojo model. Furthermore, I had always secretly preferred the Southlands figure but, as I explained you, had bought the Mojo one because it was easier to get for me.
Now I have both, it is clear to me that the Southlands emu is better. The very thick legs may look strange, I agree, but you know I am a collector much focused on paintjob and especially heads' painting. And, in my opinion, the Southlands replica got the head pattern more correctly than the Mojo model as the blue naked skin spreads usually higher on the face :[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
However, some individuals may have darker heads so I guess both are fine but again, the Mojo emu does not look as real and as "alive" as the Southlands one in my opinion.
Because of that, it is closer to the CollectA and Schleich "standards" and thus, fits slightly better with their figures (in my opinion again) :[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
You can also see here that the Southlands emu goes perfectly with the CollectA cassowary as far as proportions are concerned : it is taller but slimmer and not as stocky or bulky as the cassowary, just as it should be. To the contrary, the Mojo emu is both taller and bigger than the CollectA cassowary and it's obvious on the second picture that it would be heavier than the Schleich male ostrich which is almost impossible. On the other hand the Southlands model would almost fit with the ostrich as a very tall emu as it remains slim enough not to look disproportionate. In the end, it is not too big : the ostrich probably is too small
As a conclusion, this emu was a good surprise ! I may not say it is a masterpiece because it's hard to me to get very enthusiastic about a species I don't like that much, but it is still a very nice model which really makes me think about CollectA. There is no way I would ever buy the Mojo figure now but since I already have it and it fits pretty well with the Southlands one, I don't think I will sell or trade it neither, unless someone here wants it very bad. Now, it's the turn of Papo to release their emu which I will probably buy too as Papo is easily available to me. Indeed, if the real product looks like the promo pic, it is certainly going to be a serious competitor ! I will, then, end up with three emus which is much more than wished or planned
That's a bit of a shame, Papo should have released a rhea, nobody has ever released a rhea while it is a very well-known and common species in captivity.2. The monitor
As far as Australian monitors are concerned, I am most familiar with the Gould's species. A sand goanna standing on its back legs would have been great but I am still happy with this gorgeous perentie. Standard size reptile figures are rare enough not to be missed, especially when they look so... reptilian
Yes, that's probably what stroke me the most when I discovered the figure : how amazingly Southlands had managed to catch the reptilian look of monitors.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
The skin is especially highly textured and the throat wrinkles are truly amazing, making it look almost alive. The paintjob is also remarkable with all those small white brushstrokes on a darker base making it look like true reptilian leather. The head is also very nicely painted and these blank eyes are again, so reptilians.
The pose is typical of a perentie, raised on its front legs, but I still would have preferred the fully standing pose of Gould's monitor, much more fun to me. I understand however that Southlands chose to represent the largest and most impressive Australian species.
The only reproach I could address concerns the belly. I don't know what a perentie's belly is supposed to look like but I suspect its patterns not to be as clean and geometrical as on the Southlands figure.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
As you can see from the comparison pic, Southlands' perentie couldn't have worked better with the Schleich Komodo dragon than it actually does. The perentie is the largest monitor in Australia and the fourth largest in the world. It is only 1 m/50 cm shorter than the Komodo dragon. However, it is much slimmer and lighter than its cousin and my comparison pic shows it very well.
Just like the emu, and maybe even more so, the Southlands perentie is a high quality figure, perhaps one of the best renditions of a reptile we have seen in this hobby.
EDIT : Now I am thinking about it, a comparison with the Schleich bearded dragon, another Australian lizard, would have been interesting but I did not think about it when I selected the figures I would get back home with me to make this topic...3. The platypus
I knew perfectly that the Southlands platypus would not be compatible with my Papo, sizewise. I also knew that Southlands Replicas was one of the rare brands which worked effectively at a certain scale, which meant that its platypus was the one correctly sized. Knowing that, but refusing to replace my oversized but much more detailed Papo which I loved so much, I was facing a dilemma. I also felt like it was a shame to skip the platypus while I was getting the whole bunch of current species. So I let my parents decide about it.
They chose to order the tiny platypus and I was not disappointed when I opened the gift wrap : it was so cute
Of course, being so small, it was not as finely detailed as the Papo model but, on the other hand, it would fit better with my other Australian fauna.
However, it was only when I put it next to its giant fellow that I got fully satisfied of my acquisition...[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Although not being at the same scale... they actually fit very nicely with each other
I mean, the Southlands platypus looks like a miniature of the Papo.
As a result, I will be able to use my new figure in two different ways. Displayed with my other Australian animals, it will be a correctly sized platypus. Displayed with the Papo platypus, I will do just like Adam and prentend it's a baby platypus 4. The echidna
It was, by far, my most Southlands wished species. I mean, who has never dreamt to own a figure representing an oviparous hedgehog ?
The echidna, although being unknown to most normies, is an iconic species for any animal lover, a must-have species but, curiously, no major brand has ever produced one which is, in my opinion, incomprehensible
However, who needs a CollectA echidna when we have the very nice Southlands one ?[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
It is a very simple, monochromic model, but echidnas are not very colourful animals. The lack of contrast, especially on the nose and spikes could be reproached to this model but I think Southlands made a good choice with this discreet and subtle paintjob. The nose is slightly grey/blue and the spikes are just a little lighter than the fur. The result is very elegant, subtle and even sophisticated despite its simplicity.
The sculpt is also great. You don't really know if this echidna is sitting or walking but this unusual pose with a lightly raised body allows you to see the animal much better than if it was stuck to the ground. But what is most impressive it that this model is actually very small (the smallest after the platypus) but yet, the pose is very refined and the level of details quite high. Still, the figure is, again, very simple.
"Simple but highly effective", that's what I would say to sum up my opinion about this figure.
As far as size is concerned, I could have taken a comparison picture with a Schleich hedgehog or porcupine but since these animals have nothing in common with the echidna apart from the spikes and general aspect, it would not have been relevant. A comparison pic with the other monotreme, the Papo platypus, would not have been very interesting neither since it would have looked ridiculous. The only thing I can tell is that I am happy that my echidna was meant to go with my other Australian fauna rather than my other small animals such as rodents or insectivorans.
A fan-favourite ! 5. The dingo
The dingo was a necessary species to my collection, although it has never been such an absolute must-have as the echidna or quoll.
Like some of you, I had an issue with this model's nose which looked too big and round to me. Then, I saw Pardo's figure and was fully convinced. But now I have it, I realise that Pardo took pictures in a way that avoids showing the nose face-on and that it is actually quite big and round for my taste, making this dingo look friendlier than it should.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
That's certainly not a main issue though, the figure remains a nice one and the only decent dingo currently on the market (I have never really liked the Safari rendition).
The dog is walking with the head turned to the left so it's a perfect pose to please both Roger and I, Papo lovers and Schleich ones
The eyes are quite expressive, I like them.
Unlike Pardo, I don't think this dingo is "somewhat smaller than most western brand wild canids". I have seen dingos in a zoo and they are not big animals, significantly smaller than a grey wolf. Wolves weigh up to 40 kg while dingos are only 10-20. African dogs weigh usually 20-30 kg. So this Southlands dingo is perfect to go with its closest relatives, the Schleich grey wolf and the Mojo African hunting dog. Pardo pictured it next to the CollectA jackal but I have always thought this jackal was a bit oversized, especially when you compare it with another CollectA canine, the maned wolf.6. The kangaroo
I have never been fond of the Southlands grey kangaroo because I highly disliked the base (I can accept it for birds but not for mammals). However, I had already a dozen of red kangaroos and it was still a new species. Moreover, the pose was interesting although a bit to daring for my tastes of boring Schleich collector
So, I let my parents decide whether or not they would order it and they actually did.
Now I can hold it in my hands, I can say it is an ok figure, still not very exciting to me and overall "Meh/20".
Among my many red kangaroos (5 from Schleich, one from Papo), I chose the most recent Schleich one to take that comparison pic, because I assumed it would be the one most of you had.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
I can hardly think about two other figures in my collection that fit so badly with each other ! I mean, both are roughly the same size but does not seem at the same scale AT ALL. Something is just not working. I think the issue comes from very different proportions and I am aware I might be too used to Schleich big heads to realize that Southlands' figure got the correct ones...
Anyway, I am happy to own this model because I feel like it would have been a shame to have the whole array of current species from Southlands except this one and it is a new species in my collection (and the only decent model of that species).7. The possom and the tree kangaroo
Owning a possom and a tree kangaroo is a necessity for any animal figures collector. However, I am much more familiar with the common brushtail possum and Matschie's and Goodfellow's tree kangaroos than the species chosen by Southlands replicas, namely the mountain brushtail possum and the Lumholtz's tree kangaroo. I did not even know about the existence of Lumholtz's tree kangaroo before seeing Southlands' figure ! But I love to discover new species so that's great ![You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Aesthetically speaking, these are lovely figures, quite simple and not very textured but still truly effective, as it seems to be Southlands' trademark. I especially fancy the tree kangaroo and its very long tail and pretty blue eyes. It seems to be a strange but beautiful species, more mysterious than its well-known Papuan cousins, I would love to see it in real. I also firmly believe that it is better sized than Safari's Matschie even if it is quite obvious that I will have both sooner or later as the size difference is not too disturbing and Matschie's tree kangaroo is one of Safari's best recent models in my opinion.8. The koala
Although it is a common species I already have in my collection, it has always been in my plans to get this koala female. I saw pictures on this forum and found her absolutely adorable
I also knew that it would perfectly fit with my Schleich models and it actually really does :[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Don't they look cute as hell together ?
Maybe, if this year's CollectA koala is rightly sized, it will join my lovely family as a second male. For the moment, my favourite one remains the current Schleich male and I have to say I am a bit disappointed in the Southlands' female. Or, more precisely, I am disappointed in the sample I received.
The visible seams does not bother me that much but it does not seem to be the best painted sample. First, there is a bit of dirtyness above the right eye. Then, the left eye is not completely round as the right one, which gives her a strange expression. Finally, the pink spot on the lower lip is not totally centered.
Of course, these are just tiny details and the figure is still very enjoyable, especially as it looks to have been made especially to go with the Schleich male
He is very grateful to me (he told me) because now, he has two mates for himself and is going to have twice as much fun
(but also twice as less tranquility
)9. The wombat
As some of you know, I had already two wombats : the CollectA female dans the Schleich male, both from the common species. But Southlands offered us another species : the southern hairy-nosed wombat. Unlike the grey kangaroo which I was not very excited by, adding a new wombat species in my collection truly enjoyed me, so it was quite wished figure, not as wished as the other completely new animals though. I had first learnt about the Safari rendition and added it to my purchase list. But then, I talked with Roger about Southlands Replicas and he advised me to get their model instead, because we all should support small and deserving brands as passionate collectors we are. I took his argument into account and kept it somewhere in my mind. However, because I did not carry out my duty, Southlands did not survive the Covid crisis and I barely managed to save this wombat before the Safari competitor becomes the only one available on the market. And now I have it, I know I definitely made the best choice.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
I have to confess I have never been fully convinced by either the CollectA or the Schleich renditions. The CollectA female is fine but I find it a bit boring and not "spectacular" enough as a CollectA figure, although the joey in the pouch provides a certain added value to the figure. The Schleich male would be a better model in my opinion if only it had slightly smaller eyes because here, it is spooky as fuck !
As a consequence, I truly think the Southlands model is the best wombat on the market. They managed to catch perfectly the southern hairy-nosed wombat's placid expression whithout exageratting it as Schleich did with the friendly look of the common species. And even better, this new comer fits perfectly with my Schleich/CollectA pair !
As a male, it is exactly the same size than the common male from Schleich but it is also significantly chubbier and thus, it would be heavier than the Schleich male if both were real individuals. A common male weigh up to 39 kg while a southern hairy-nosed one can reach 32 kg. However, I just have to pretend that my Southlands figure is a large specimen while my Schleich model is a smaller one. Anyway, I absolutely love that comparison picture because you can really see the differences an tell apart the two species from each other (ears' shape, muzzle's lenght...)
However, I can't help but feel a bit sad about that single hairy-nosed wombat looking at the joy in the eyes of his common cousin, delighted to be a dad and husband. So, maybe, I will try to find a girlfriend for him so that he doesn't become as hateful and embittered as his owner.
So if someone has a comparison pic with the Safari model, I am very much interested ! 10. The quoll
That was my second most-wished species after the echidna. I was lucky enough to see quolls in real (they are very rare in captivity) at the marvellous menagerie in Paris, but they were from the eastern species. However, I am glad that Southlands chose the tiger one because it is the largest and most iconic of the genus (but the eastern quoll is still more beautiful, especially the black individuals).
Quolls should be better known and more popular marsupials. Watching them is very enjoyable as they can move really fast and are quite dynamic animals. And they are predatory marsupials and cousins of the fierce Tasmanian devil ! By the way, after Pardo, that's my turn to show you how nicely this figure works with the CollectA devil.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
It is quite unlikely a major brand is going to release another quoll anytime soon and there is no need to as this one is very decent. I may have obted for a drabber brownish painting for a less glossy result but I am not gonna be finnicky about it, it's a much satisfying rendition. However, although I love this figure for the species it represents, it does not impress me as much as the perentie, emu, echidna or even wombat from an aesthetic point of view.11. The devil
If I had to skip one figure from the bunch I got from Christmas, it would be this one. However, I am still happy my parents chose to order it because, once more, I think it would have been a shame to have all the models except one (and I also miss the thylacine which would have made a good male for my CollectA female).
The CollectA Tasmanian devil is a masterpiece, it was the first figure I got from them and it fully convinced me about the quality of what I now consider as the best brand ever. No other model could challenge it, certainly not the Southlands one, I knew it. But I still decided to add the later to my collection because I had a much precise idea in my mind.
As you know, I especially like to celebrate marriages within my collection. And since I am myself a product of hybridization, I love to pair figures from different brands with each other. So, when I saw that the Southlands devil was smaller and slimmer than its CollectA counterpart, I was sure I could make it a perfect female for the Chinese brand's asexual model which I would then consider as a male.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Problem is... the Southlands devil is marketed as a male... and actually has visible male genitals...
So, since the CollectA model could either be a male or a female, and the Southlands one is clearly a male, I am going to change my plans and pretend the new comer is not the mate but the son of the CollectA... mother
However, this figure ends up being even glossier than I thought, which, as you know, is not a feature I appreciate. Furtehmore, it has its mouth open and is baring its fangs, exactly like the CollectA figure. I would have preferred a different pose and attitude... But that's not a disaster as both still work very well together and I knew from the start that this one would be one of my least-favourite.
Perhaps, one day, I will try to find a dad for my young Southlands male. Unfortunately, the Safari figure has its mouth open too
(it seems that western brands are unable to represent the Tasmanian devil differently
). Yet, I am interested in a comparison pic if you have both models in your collection.
As a conclusion, Southlands Replicas is a very good surprise to me. I knew their figures were nice but I firmly believe pictures cannot do justice to a brand whose strenght lies in simplicity and sobriety : you have to see these models in real to realise how fine and subtle they are despite a first apparent simplistic look.
Except the perentie and the emu which look like pure CollectA highly sophisticated masterpieces, most Southlands models are not heavily textured and the paintjob can look more basic than what we are used from major brands.
BUT, it does not prevent those models to look just right, accurate. "Simplicity but high effectiveness", that's how I would sum up my opinion about Southlands Replicas.
So, I would like to thank this forum for making me discover that great compagny before it disappears, especially Roger who told me a lot about it through PM. I was happy to create this topic as I enjoy a lot sharing with you my first contact with a completely new brand, such as I did with Mojo almost one year ago (here is the topic : [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
). I can't wait to do the same about Safari ! I hope it will be soon but I still have to rekindle the flame of my collecting mania...
So, to sum up :
- I absolutely love because of the quality of the rendition : the emu, the perentie, the wombat, the echidna
- I love because of the originality of the species : the quoll, the tree-kangaroo, the possum
- I was slightly disappointed or just do not really care (but am still happy to have them) : the kangaroo, the koala, the Tasmanian devil