Ostriches Set |
The other other white meat
African Safari Playmobil Set
Item No.: No. 4831
Includes: 2 ostriches, eggs, nest
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: Spring 2010 (USA)
Other: Some US-exclusive mass-market sets include the ostriches in a different set configuration
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I don't know what took so long, but this is the first Playmobil set I'm reviewing. I'm a huge fan of the line, I had a few sets as a kid and then in college I found out there was a homeless guy being blown out via mail order... which I missed out on until several years later when I bought it on eBay. Hundreds of dollars (and sets) later... well, here's the Ostriches Set, part of the African Safari line that popped up in the USA in 2010.
At about 3-inches tall, each ostrich has two points of articulation. The neck can move, and so can the legs-- and that's it. This allows the figure to do things like a normal ostrich, like stand... and maybe look around a bit. That's all they do, right? Stand and be expensive, gourmet hamburger meat substitute? Because of their status as a meat substitute, the wings are not articulated despite being a separate molded piece. It really does enrich their appearance, but it doesn't make them extra fun or anything. Well, I guess you can pose them to moon you, that's pretty cool.
While limited articulation isn't unusual for Playmobil animals or figures, but the German toymaker opted to make the legs totally removable. As you can see in the photos, this allows one of these birds to "hatch" the egg accessory in a little dirt nest. Clever! They pop on and off fairly easily.
One thing that fascinates me to no end is that most Playmobil toys' color comes from plastic, not paint. Playmobil figures' eyes and mouth are actually injection-molded brown plastic, and animals are constructed similarly in many cases. The ostriches seem to have molded black eyes and orange beaks, which gives them a very distinctive (more expensive) appearance. The plastic color they use is pretty much textured like the many animals produced over the years, giving the ostrich little tiny almost invisible streaks of color. Since the Playmobil MO is basically to look vaguely like a child's drawing, this gives it a subtle, nuanced, scribbly appearance which really works nicely.
The display base is... well, it's a display base. You can plug in some shrubs and stick the eggs on it. It's a nice accessory that helps display the figures, so if you're an adult with a thing for large flightless birds this might be a good desk accessory for you. Since the set has two birds-- one mostly grey, and one black with white-- you get the beginnings of a fine feathered family, or an expensive lunch at the Fuddrucker's.
If you can't get enough ostriches-- or don't like this set-- Target and Toys "R" Us sold an exclusive smaller safari outpost set in late 2010 that essentially remixed the entire theme's sets at a lower cost. If you're lucky, you might still be able to find them. (You are not lucky.) I like this set a lot, for eight or nine bucks it's a fun addition to the ever-growing German plastic zoo that, as of now, really could use a wooly mammoth. (Get on that, Germany.)
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