Thursday, 11 June 2015

28mm Prehistoric Fauna: the Herbivores

Introduction

A long time ago (in 2012, no less), I showed some of my collection of 28mm Prehistoric animals: the Megafauna.  Not all mammals from prehistory are so big, though!  I also have a reasonable collection of smaller creatures that I'd like to record and publish.  Since there are really too many of them for a single article, I thought that I'd start with the subgroup of herbivores.  Even though these would have been numerous in real life, I find than I don't have many such models, so this might be quite a short post.

As with the Megafauna article, I've included a figure of a 28mm Neanderthal hunter, for scale purposes.  Note however that most of these creatures were removed a very long way in time and space from such a hunter.  They'd only meet in some strange, Hollywood-inspired Lost World setting for a game - and who would ever have the imagination to do that?!  Something like this, perhaps?

Diprotodon

Diprotodon is (roughly speaking) a giant wombat.  They were the largest marsupial ever to have lived.  Diprotodons lived in Australia and died out maybe 46,000 years ago.  I suppose that contact with very early humans was just about possible, though I'm not an anthropologist and don't know this with any certainty.

Actually, this model must be either a female or an immature youngster.  The fully-grown male would have been 3m (9.8 ft) long and have weighed 2.7 tons.

The model is (I think) from Mega Miniatures.  Although it was sold as a 25/28mm model, I can't help wondering if the sculptor intended it to match 15mm figures instead.

Chalicotherium

Chalicotheres are very strange-looking animals.  They were widespread across Europe, Asia and Africa for many millions of years.  Sadly for our Neanderthal hunter, Chalicotheres seem to have died out about 3.6 million years ago; that's long before any humans were around!

Once again, this is a Mega Miniatures model and (like the Diprotodon) it's about half the size that it should be!  A fully-grown Chalicothere stood around 2.5m (8 ft) tall at the shoulders, whereas this creature is no higher than the man.

Doedicurus

Doedicurus is one of the best-known Glyptodonts; it ranged across the Americas (North and South) and finally became extinct about 11,000 years ago.  This puts it very definitely in the period for early humans, though it wouldn't have met our Neanderthal (he's a European, after all).

Guess what?  This is from Mega Miniatures and it's a lot smaller than it should be for a 28mm model!  An adult Doedicurus could reach about 4m (12 ft) in length, so once again this figure would make more sense with 15mm humans.

Miohippus

Horses have been growing bigger for many millions of years, from the very small ancestors such as Eohippus (60cm / 2 ft long) to our current animals.  The prehistoric species differed mainly from modern horses in being smaller and in having separate toes rather than fused hooves (but who's going to notice that or care in such a small model).  However, the basic form of the animal remained similar, whatever the size of the species. 
This being so, I decided to create my Miohippus herd by using models that were designed for 15mm.  Rather than using 15mm horse figures, I chose to use donkeys - though zebras or wild asses would probably have a more accurate body shape.  Still, these are good enough for me, especially when painted with a spotted coat.  I think the models came fro Lancashire Games, but I could be mistaken about that.

Miohippus lived in North America and died out about 25 million years ago, so once again our hunter is completely anachronistic!

Dodo

Now here's a real oddity!  Dodos were flightless birds that lived on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean until they encountered modern European sailors; they were last seen in 1662 (the dodos, that is - not the Dutch and Portuguese sailors).  Once again, our poor hunter wouldn't have encountered dodos, if only because they existed in such an isolated location.

Unlike the earlier models in this article, these figures are too large.  A dodo should be about 1m (3.3 ft) tall, whereas these birds are much bigger than that.  The sculpts also have a rather strange body shape and are missing the very distinctive upright plume of tail feathers.  Still, I don't know of any other dodo models in this scale, so I'm quite happy to have a small flock!

These dodos are from Black Cat Bases, home of some of the most intriguing and bizarre miniatures on the internet!

Conclusion

If you exclude dinosaurs, there aren't many models of the smaller (i.e. less than a mammoth or wooly rhinoceros) prehistoric herbivores in any scale, though most of those which do exist are scaled for 28mm figures.

Here are some herbivores that I don't have (yet!) and which I believe to be still available:
  • Steve Barber Models make an alternate Diprotodon and the unusual Macrauchenia
  • Eureka Miniatures make a herd of Aurochs.
As ever, the best source of information on this subject is Steve Pugh's Very True Things site, which is an absolutely invaluable resource!

18 comments:

  1. Great selection of minis C6, and some nice reviews on her they compare in scale to their 'real-life' counterparts. I especially like the dodos :-)

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    1. Thanks, Blax. I am a bit disappointed at the considerable variation in scale of these models, though I suppose that a casual observer wouldn't be familiar with such animals and wouldn't notice.

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  2. A very interesting and informative post. You have a nice collection of minis there, Hugh.

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    1. Thanks, Bryan. It's not a very large collection of herbivores; I've got a lot more carnivores than this!

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  3. It makes me want to watch "walking with beasts" again! I do have a use for creatures such as this and do intend to get some in the future. (No not just yet).

    Terrific stuff just what I wanted to see on this dull overcast June morning.

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    1. "Walking with Beasts" is great inspiration for the rise of the mammals, isn't it :-) ?

      What do you mean, "dull overcast morning"? It's been the hottest, sunniest day of the year :-) !

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  4. What cool menagerie! Love the wee horses!

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    1. It took me a couple of years to realise that I could use 15mm mules as 28mm prehistoric horses! Seems obvious with hindsight, mind :-) .

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  5. Making want to go all prehistoric. Funnily enough, just about to start some Dodos myself, having got the dame Black Cat Bases ones as you I recently added a few more from Freebooter, much better in terms of scale.

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    1. Well, the dodos probably aren't "prehistoric" in the same sense, but they do fit the bill of exotic and unusual (and extinct). Thanks, Michael!

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  6. These are awesome dude! Lovely job on them all.

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    1. Thanks, Simon. Glad you like them!

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  7. Great stuff C6. All looking rather tasty. Nice paint too.

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    1. Hmm, I wonder how big a steak you'd get from a Chalicothere? Or wasn't that what you meant :-) ?

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  8. Great pictures which beg so many additional questions.
    How fast do they run? what do they taste like?

    The Tiny horses take me back to a junior school project when I learned of herds of proto-horses about the size of a medium dog.
    I wondered whether we could find a lost population and if they'd make god pets (Rather like the current mini-pig craze).

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    1. Er, if you google for "miniature horses" then you might be surprised :-) . They *are* available as pets (though even the smallest of modern horses are a bit bigger than a typical family dog).

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