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In Search of Thylacine Replicas

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 2nd, 2008

Matthew Bille, author of Shadows of Existence and other books, approached me with a question over the weekend, which I have seriously pondered often: Where are the Thylacine replicas?

Does no one produce affordable, hard-plastic, scale-model, museum-quality representations of the Thylacine (a.k.a. Tasmanian Tiger)? Does not Thylacinus cynocephalus, the wolf-headed pouched dog, one of the celebrities of extinct animals thought to be a living cryptid, deserve a replica?

Such replicas are helpful in lectures, exhibitions, and educational demonstrations about well-known and often-mentioned current or recent cryptid expeditions and research. Where are the Thylacine models?

Surely, it would be as popular for a seller as the little replicas they have of the Tasmanian devil (below).

tiger

I knew of one form of small replica of the Thylacine, which I owned. It is a pewter Thylacine, 8 cm long and 4 cm high (below). It is an attractive item, and I recall that it was the one figurine that Jeffery Vallance had in his Thylacine part of the Bates College cryptozoology exhibit, which I also had in my room devoted to artifacts, skulls, models, figurines, and footcasts from my museum there.

thylacine2

The pewter Thylacine is still available in Australia and Tasmania, apparently.

But my search was for a typical replica, in the tradition of Schleich, Papo, Safari, Bullyland, Noah’s Pals, Britains, and other producers, and thus continued onward.

Stimulated by Matt’s question, I sent out some emails to associates in Australia and elsewhere who might know if any Thylacine replicas existed.

Chris of Australia’s Wherelightmeetsdark replied: “It seems the Thylacine figurines are even more non-existent than the animal itself.”

Darren Naish of Tetrapod Zoology, who has probably the UK’s most sizable collection of cryptid-related known animal replicas, was consulted too. I asked him if he knew of a Thylacine replica:

“No, it’s shocking, but I’m not aware of any good replica Thylacines either. I was so bothered by this I once wrote to Britains Ltd and asked if they could make one, sending them instructions and everything. The person I corresponded with said in a letter that he recognised the need for new models and would indeed have one made. Alas, I don’t think it happened.”

I even wrote an animal replica company in Australia, and they said that while they “don’t currently have a Thylacine replica, it is under consideration for 2009.”

Always tomorrow. I emailed them back and encouraged them to go forward with their plans, as they would fill a void.

Finally, two people replied almost at the same time, and told me about an expensive resin model that does exist.

Michael Lemos, who designed and is selling the Maine Mutant tee-shirt as a full benefit for the International Cryptozoology Museum, wrote:

“Here’s an excellent model maker (Mike Evans who started Lunar Models years back) for all things prehistoric, here, and a link to a Thylacine which I believe is a resin cast and not a bad price.”

The image of the model shows a rather good replica, that is for sure.

thylacine3

The other person who told me of this resin model is the accomplished cryptid model maker himself, Jeff Johnson. “About the thylacine, it is rarely touched as a toy/model subject to be sure. Why I can’t say. The best one around is the one sold by Alchemy Works. It is resin plastic (sculpted by Sean Cooper) and has to be painted. Here is the one I painted, I hope you like it.”

Of course, I like it. Johnson’s painted models he creates and paints are dynamic and remarkable. Seeing the paint job he did makes it a work of art. He sent along some photos of it for me:

jeff's1

jeff's3

jeff's2

Of course, the $58 plus shipping was one thing, but the painting was the other. While it is obvious some people are born to be great resin model painters, I have to say that while I can write a storm up about Thylacine cryptid sightings, I couldn’t paint my way out of a paper bag. So, if I got this model, after I stumbled through assembling it, the poor thing would sit on a shelf unpainted.

That’s why I look for the inexpensive Asian painted replicas first.

Then Eureka, the kind for which I was actually looking, an already painted replica, was found.

Paul Cropper, coauthor of The Yowie: In Search of Australia’s Bigfoot, discovered them, actually: “Tasmanian tourist shops have heaps of them – sample attached. Made in China so no company. They are quite good.”

They are quite decent looking, as seen here on Paul’s desk. Of course, it takes a flight over to Tasmania to pick one up, and that’s not something someone does from Australia like you are going to the corner market. But, at least, we know where some are to be had.

thylacine4

Cropper’s Thylacine replicas, via China, are to be found on Tasmania.

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About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


11 Responses to “In Search of Thylacine Replicas”

  1. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Loren – I am in discussion with manufacturers as we speak. Perhaps your readership can give me an indication of the liklihood they would purchase them to help me assess the financial feasibility of the project?

    Chris.

  2. drjon responds:

    There were two Tigers — a Riversleigh Thylacine and a Tasmanian Thylacine — as well as Thylacine skull released in the Cadbury Yowie (basically, an Australian Kinder Surprise) “Lost Kingdom” range of prehistoric Australian animals. Googling “Cadbury Yowie” should help.

  3. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Those two are listed on this page which also mentions a limited edition powerful Thylacine.

    Unfortunately, no photos there – but you can see other items in the series. Somehow I don’t think these will have been truly lifelike.

    Chris.

  4. Sordes responds:

    I wanted to sculpt a Thylacine since a long time, as well as many other animals on my “to-do”-list. Perhaps I will find the time to sculpt it and make casts of it in the next weeks, but I can say nothing for sure.

  5. YarriWarrior responds:

    Hey Sordes!!! How’s it going buddy? Thanks Loren, for the kind words about my work painting the Alchemy thylacine. I have the feeling things are going to change in the future, and thylacine replicas will be at hand for the masses. As they should be! Jeff

  6. MattBille responds:

    Loren,

    Thanks for all the homework. I’ll be picking up one of the low-cost ones for certain.

    As I’ve mentioned before, the other omission that really surprises me is the giant short-faced bear. You can find high-quality plastic models of the larger living species and the cave bear, but Arctodus is overlooked despite its being a quite spectacular animal.

  7. funky pixie responds:

    The Thylacine is truly a beautiful animal.

    The pewter model is amazingly detailed for one so tiny.

  8. drjon responds:

    @youcantryreachingme — as it says on the page you reference, the “powerful thylacine” is actually a thylacine skull. There’s a picture on their website on this page.

  9. thylo responds:

    this made me go dig up my replica thylacine hoping to find some useful info on it.

    it is about 2 inches long from nose to tail, in the same basic pose as the mounted ones pictured above, its mouth not quite as agape.

    unfortunately it just says the words “thylacine” and “china” on its belly. :(

    it was a gift to me from a friend, as he knew i am a thylacine fan. he told me at the time he had picked up at the souvenir shop in the Pacific Science Centre in Vancouver, BC (i may have the name wrong, but it’s the unmistakable geodesic dome).
    on my next trip there, i made a point of going to the PSS and checking the gift shop… to no avail. i had high hopes i may stumble upon replica pleistocene megafauna or even other recently extinct creatures, or better still, a larger thylacine replica.

  10. Ned kelly responds:

    Not A replica exactly but I have 2 beautiful lacquered Brass or Bronze solid casts of a pair of Thylacines. One is a solid belt buckle oval shaped and a smaller version is for key ring. They are made in Tasmania by Master Cast. I got them from either the salamanca market or leather shop in collins st??!! They have an engraving on the rear re: the Thylacine. They look great and are very practical.

  11. thyla responds:

    Skullsunlimited.com and search for tasmanian tiger specifically. Museum quality replica skull.



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