“PaleoSculpture” by Michael Eischen

I first got into collecting more “serious” dinosaur models (that is to say, figures that ostensibly prioritized scientific accuracy, as opposed to say, dollar store dinosaur bundles) when I discovered the vaunted Carnegie Collection in my local toy store as a child. For most of its history, the Carnegie Collection produced most of its figures in a relatively consistent 1:40 scale, which made for a handy reference to show the size differences between the different animals relative to each other. Not every company followed this pattern, and the Carnegie Collection itself eventually began playing fast and loose with it as well, but I was forever spoiled. To this day, I always prioritize figures that are roughly to scale with the rest of the figures in my personal collection, though this has the unfortunate (or fortunate, according to my wife!) effect of limiting my options for new additions.

I say mammals are hard to find, but really any medium-bodied creature is hard to find in this size range, including Permian-Triassic synapsids like this Kannemeyeria.

Mammals, whether prehistoric or modern, are particularly hard to find in this size range. As the real animals tend to be much smaller than most popular dinosaurs, mammal figures are more typically produced in 1:30-1:20 size ranges. Safari Ltd., the parent company of the now-extinct Carnegie Collection, did produce a short-lived range of Cenozoic mammals that mostly fit into my size range, and their Toobs are a good source of smaller species as well (see my review of the Prehistoric Sharks Toob for an example), but medium-sized hoofed animals have otherwise proven almost impossible to find.

My youngest son really wanted to help me, so while I worked on Kannemeyeria, I let him put the base coat on the Arsinotherium, which I gave the most basic pattern to.

Luckily for me, while randomly browsing eBay one day, I discovered a whole collection of 3D printed animals, most of them Cenozoic mammals. Of the ones I was looking at, I found that they were all produced by a seller named Michael Eischen, whose eBay screen name is tams7prairie, and by looking at his offerings, I found a whole range of creatures to fill the species gaps in my collection! I think I had discovered it by specifically looking for bison, as that had felt like the biggest blind spot in my collection of Pleistocene (or Ice Age) animals.

Half the models are finished here, along with a bonus mini sabertooth cat I’d picked up somewhere for free. I just wanted to show off the detail on the Pyrotherium‘s mouth & trunk, which isn’t visible from pretty much any other position.

I managed to find not one, but two species of bison: the modern Plains Bison, and the Pleistocene Long-Horned Bison, Bison latifrons. (The B. latifrons is actually one the small side, being 1:48 scale as opposed to the 1:35 of the rest of the models I bought, but at least it doesn’t look too out of place.) In addition, I got myself a Giant Moa (Dinornis robustus), the large dicynodont Kannemeyeria (related to THE BIG DIE‘s Lystrosaurus), the sabertoothed rhino-like Uintatherium, another multi-horned, rhino-like creature called Arsinotherium (which might actually be closer related to elephants), Pyrotherium (one of the bizarre animals that evolved in the isolation of South America), and Moropus, a giant-sloth-like relative of horses.

Here’s a few of my favorite final products. The Moa like appropriately regal next to its smaller, surviving relative, the Kiwi, which is sold as a Safari Ltd. Good Luck Mini. I think I managed to match the look of the Collecta Uintatherium pretty well, so this mini version gets to represent the calf of its larger counterpart.

As these are all produced by a single individual, Michael Eischen ships these models unpainted in order to keep costs down. I was a little intimidated at the idea of doing the painting myself, and they sat unpainted on my shelf for the better part of a year. Finally, I started off on Kannemeyeria, since I figured this more primitive animal had greater possibilities for colors without looking obviously weird. As I grew more confident, I progressed to the more modern & familiar-looking animals that I felt pickier about, and I think they all turned out pretty well in the end!

I should note that some of the prints are of higher quality than the others. Michael makes these with two different printers & plastics, and the type that uses plastic of both a lighter color and a lighter weight has more noticeable print lines, which are still somewhat noticeable even after painting. I suppose I could have sanded them, but I was worried about making it worse with scratch marks. If the print quality is important to you, stick to the darker looking models, as those are produced with the higher quality printer & material.

I couldn’t resist the visual pun of painting a calico chalicothere! This is the same Moropus model seen from either side, showing of the asymmetrical pattern I gave it.

I’m very happy with how the whole bunch turned out, and I’m now thinking of going back to buy a few more species that I skipped the first time around! If I’ve piqued your interest in Michael Eischen’s work as well, I definitely encourage you to check them out. When I emailed him about my previous purchases, he mentioned he was considering moving to Etsy in the future, under the more searchable name PaleoSculpture. However, this storefront remains under-utilized, and he seems to still primarily restock his tams7prairie account on Ebay.

The finished products! From left to right, Arsinotherium, the Giant Moa, Kannemeyeria, Uintatherium, Pyrotherium, Bison latifrons & B. bison, and Moropus.

I hope to see more sculpts from Michael in the future, but the ones he has available at the moment have done wonders to round out my collection all on their own. PaleoSculpture has more than earned both my heartfelt thanks, and the Dino Dad Stomp of Approval!

For more toys & models, check out my reviews of the CollectA Megalodon, Safari Ltd. Prehistoric Sharks Toob, CollectA Struthiomimus, and Wild Past Protoceratops with Nest.

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