2016 is drawing to a close so that means I’m preparing for my annual “best of” list. It’s my favourite post to write each year. Thus far I’ve narrowed it down to 31 action figures but I still need to whittle it down to my top 16 of 2016 by year’s end. I had planned to write full reviews of every figure on my list so that I’d be able to link to a detailed analysis of each one but regrettably there are many toys on my prospective list that I haven’t gotten around to yet. So, after my month long blog hiatus, you’d think I’d be in a mad rush this week to get those top contenders reviewed but instead I’ve chosen to write about this little plastic rhinoceros, which I assure you will not be on my year-end list.
The reason I’ve selected this Rhinoceros calf to review today is less about sharing my thoughts on the actual toy but rather the vacation on which I acquired it. Last week I went to Chicago to visit my little brother, Brian. Last time I mentioned him I may have said he was living in NYC but he moves around a lot and he now resides in Chicago. It was Brian and his twin sister Katie’s birthday last week so he flew her down there so they could celebrate together. I tagged along because I wanted to see Jerry Seinfeld perform at the theatre down the street from Brian’s apartment (and to spend quality time with my siblings of course).
I live in Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada and this was my first trip to the United States. It’s okay if you don’t know where Nova Scotia is; nobody in Chicago did either. Chi-town was a much bigger city than I’m used to but I navigated my way around all right. At times my brother was working and my sister was preoccupied with department stores and boutiques so I was forced to venture off alone to find the things I was after. Flying solo I saw Seinfeld which was amazing, I went to the Double Door nightclub to see local punk band the Lawrence Arms, I found an indie record store, and I found a comic shop. Graham Crackers Comics was a decent shop but it didn’t really have anything that I couldn’t buy back home. I picked up a Captain Britain Marvel Legend and some Funko POPS to be supportive. With my siblings I took a bus tour of the city, saw the bean, ate at a bunch of restarants and visited the world’s largest indoor aquarium. On Sunday we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo which is open year round and it’s free. We had a great time there and it proved to be the trip highlight for all of us. There were hardly any people there, a light snow was falling, and the animals were all very active. We saw Lions, Tigers, Gorillas, Giraffes, Crocodiles, Polar Bears, etc. The last pavilion we visited was the one I was most excited about because it had the Rhinos.
As a child I always named Rhinos as my favourite animal and I’m still fascinated by them today. Unfortunately, I learned that the rhinos are the only animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo that don’t go outside in the winter and cannot be viewed from indoors. Apparently the zoo houses three rhinos but they are not for public viewing in the winter. Huge bummer.
As a pitiful consolation prize I bought myself this rhinoceros figure at the gift shop on the way out. It’s made by the fine folks at Papo who always do a stellar job on their animal figurines. This rhino calf a single hunk of plastic so there’s no articulation but the sculpt is nice, the multi-coloured paint job is subtle and believable, and he’s frig’n adorable. This toy is to scale with 3 3/4″ action figures so perhaps I’ll display him with my G.I. Joes. He could be the adopted pet of the team’s jungle trooper, Recondo. It would’ve been nice if he was to scale with the adult Rhino toy I purchased on a trip to the Metro Toronto Zoo 30 years ago but what can ya do?