Argentinosaurus (Geoworld)

Review and photographs by Indohyus, edited by Suspsy

Well, we’ve had the good, the bad, and now it’s time for the . . . okay. Once more I delve into Geoworld’s collection of dinos to see if we get a gem or a dud. This time, from the second expedition, we have Argentinosaurus. With very few figures having been made of this species, I was curious to see another take on it by a different company. Will this inspire other companies to do the same? Well, let’s see . . .

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First, as always, let’s start with the source of irritation to most true paleontologists: the fact card. This does come with some good facts and figures for Argentinosaurus, with cards in multiple languages. The picture (and the figure, as they are very similar) doesn’t seem to be taken from any single paleoartist, but does seem to resemble Luis V. Rey’s drawing and, to an extent, the popular children’s TV show Dinosaur Train.

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On to the figure! It measures 9.0” long and 3.9” high, making it a mid-sized figure at the odd scale of 1:130. Being one of the largest land animals ever, it seems odd for it to be on the smaller size. The pose is decent, perhaps eating from a tree with its tail languidly swishing behind. Most the body is covered in blue with patchy purple spots and beige underneath. It has an odd pink splodge on the bottom jaw, looking like it has failed to put its lipstick on right. At least it did its nails right (matching black, very nice!)

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Accuracy for Argentinosaurus is difficult to gauge. The fossil evidence is fairly limited, consisting of vertebrae, ribs, and a few incomplete leg bones, so often other titanosaurs are used as blue prints to flesh out the final animal. From what is known, the figure isn’t bad (considering it’s Geoworld), with long, columnar legs, a long neck, and a fairly wide body. But the legs, belly, and neck feel a little too thin for such a big dinosaur. The bumps on its back are very much artistic licence, as no skin or osteoderms have been found for Argentinosaurus. It feels like it is based off Saltasaurus, a fellow titanosaur and another used as a template for a complete Argentinosaurus. It’s a bit odd, but some may like that.

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While this is certainly better than the first expedition figure I brought, it still feels a bit generic by most sauropod standards. Without looking at the underbelly or seeing it out of packaging, you might easily mistake it for an Apatosaurus. It is one of the few Argentinosaurus figures on the market, so if you want a bit of variety, I do recommend it, at least until another company makes a model of it.

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Well, those are the reviews for my first three Geoworld figures. Overall, I would say that this is a line that, while feeling very Chinasaur in certain areas, does have a few gems in the group, especially in the later lines. It is certainly a mixed bag, leaning towards the worst most of the time, especially compared to other companies. The plagiarism is also completely shameful and far too prevalent. They seem to have better models when they make fewer per line, as the first two produced 36 each, then 18 on the third, which shows in the poor quality of the early figures. Hopefully future lines of Geoworld will produce fewer figures at better quality, with less plagiarism, but who knows? Only time will tell.

Deinosuchus (Recur)

Deinosuchus was a giant alligatoroid (which is NOT the same as an alligator!) that inhabited the coasts of North America around 80 to 73 million years ago. Along with Purussaurus from South America and Sarcosuchus from Africa, it’s a contender for the title of Biggest Crocodyliforme Ever.

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The 2015 Recur Deinosuchus is quite a large beast at 27 cm long, and it would be even longer if the head and tail were straightened. Its active and aggressive pose suggests that this individual is engaged in combat with a rival over food, territory, or mating rights. The colours and markings are typical and appropriate for a crocodyliforme: dark and olive green with dark grey claws, mustard yellow eyes, a dull pink mouth, and ivory teeth.

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The Deinosuchus‘ hide is also typical, with heavy scales protecting the underbelly and limbs and a network of plate-like osteoderms covering the back. Osteoderms, it should be noted, are not simply for protection. They also serve as a kind of load-bearing chassis, reinforcing the animal’s body and enabling it to walk on land. The teeth lining the huge mouth are thick and conical, ready to seize and crush an unfortunate victim. Deinosuchus is frequently depicted in paleoart dragging hadrosaurs and even the likes of Albertosaurus to their watery doom, but fossil evidence seems to suggest that its main diet consisted of crispy, crunchy sea turtles.

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And this is where the anatomical inaccuracies arise. First off, the snout is all wrong. Recur clearly based it on this famous restoration, which is the one most of us grew up seeing in our dinosaur books. Problem is, that restoration is from 1954 and has been dismissed as inaccurate. As an alligatoroid, Deinosuchus possessed a very broad snout that would have allowed for a super powerful bite. Mind, I don’t fault Recur too much for this oversight, as Deinosuchus sadly doesn’t receive nearly as much media attention as dinosaurs or even Sarcosuchus. Other such products reviewed here on the blog suffer from the exact same problem.

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The other glaring flaw is the very generic armour on the back. Many people assume that crocodyliformes share(d) more or less the same network and shape of osteoderms, but that’s not the case. Compare a modern gharial, a saltwater crocodile, and a common caiman and you’ll see what I mean. In the case of Deinosuchus, we know that the osteoderms were very thick and chunky, and became more rounded than keeled as they aged. In the words of paleontologist Mark Witton, “the dorsum of a big Deinosuchus would have looked more like a gnarly Dalek chassis than the back of any modern crocodilian.” Again, I’m not going to fault Recur too much for this, because it’s not exactly well-known information. Nevertheless, this Deinosuchus toy comes off looking more like a big old modern crocodile than the Cretaceous alligatoroid it’s meant to portray. And to top it off, mine has a belly that’s so bloated, the feet can’t touch the ground! This is probably because the Deinosuchus was immersed in water at one point during an informal and fun test session I conducted with the Recur toys in a kindergarten classroom. Guess the cotton inside the toy got all wadded up. Oh well.

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I really hope that some company produces a more accurate Deinosuchus figure someday. In the mean time, I think you can safely give one a pass unless you happen to be a big fan of crocodyliformes. Or if you’re looking for a nice, durable, scary-looking croc toy for your kid to play around with in the sandbox.

Ceratosaurus (original version)(Wild Safari by, Safari Ltd.)

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With a long wiggly tail, nasal horn, preorbital horns, bony scutes along the back, and large blade like teeth, Ceratosaurus was a spectacular animal.  This medieval dragon was not the biggest predator during the late Jurassic epoch, but with jaws designed for slicing, it was an active predator that struck fear into the Jurassic herbivores.

Despite its unique look with its impressive head gear,  Ceratosaurus is still overshadowed by its Jurassic contemporaries.  With popular animals such as Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, and Brachiosaurus, it easy to see why it gets lost in the shuffle. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t seen any love, as it has graced many film’s since the silent era. Though I am not a fan of the film, Ceratosaurus taking on Triceratops in 1 Million Years BC, is quite fun to watch. In toy form, it has been made by most of the major companies to varying degrees of accuracy and appeal.  The Schleich Ceratosaurus is particularly bad. Interestingly, Safari Ltd. never released a Ceratosaurus for their Carnegie line. The first one made by Safari was done for their Wild Safari line and is now retired and replaced.  Its this original toy that we will be looking at today.

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About the toy:  The figure is sculpted in a rather relaxed walking pose.  This happy go lucky figure appears to be looking for somebody  to play with, or heading to the local watering hole for a quick dip.  It certainly doesn’t look very menacing.  Depending on the figure, it may be able to stand on two legs, or it will literally fall back into the “classic” tripod.  At 6 in (15.24 cm) long and and a little over 3 in (7.80 cm) high, it is smaller than its 2012 replacement.

On the head, the nasal horn is barley bigger than the preorbital horns but they are in the right location.  The skull is the right shape and their is no shrink wrapping.  The teeth unfortunately are very small and uniform. Inside the mouth is a barely sculpted tongue.  The arms are on the short side and the hands are sculpted with the primitive four digits, with the forth finger reduced which would be accurate.  Along the spine is a very small ridge of bumps, I am not sure if it is the row of bony scutes that should be running along its back.  The feet are small and proportion to the body, but the legs are soft and bendy, so warping can happen.

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When looking at the head you will notice that there are some very faint circular scales that have been sculpted onto it.  The rest of the body doesn’t have any bumps or scales on it.  Instead there are etched lines of skin throughout the body and there not bad, as they look rather natural. The muscles on the legs don’t stand out too much but they are present.

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The paint job is base green with a deep red across the back and neck.  Along the side of the neck, flanks, and the side of the tail, the red is in irregular splotches.  The horns, teeth and claws are all white, and inside the mouth is salmon.  The eyes have a little flourish to them.  The eye itself is black with a white highlight underneath it along with a white reflection dot on the eye.  The ear is a black dot.  The overall paint application is ok, but the teeth are a uniform blob of white.

Play ability:  As a toy it is ok.  It is a predator and has horns which are things kids like.  Due to the heavy paint and the softer plastic on the legs hands and tail, it can take a pounding during playtime.  Even though the mouth is open, its really is not wide enough for a kid to place much inside.

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Overall:  When you compare it to its 2012 replacement, I would agree that this older figure is inferior.  The pose, color, and texture of the newer Safari model are very nice.  That doesn’t mean that this is a bad figure.  Sure, its not as fierce looking, but the eyes are expressive, and it has a personality. In my opinion,  a little character can be a be a good thing.  It is also a rather accurate toy.  The paint job on the other hand, some people will like it, others, not so much.   This is one of the best of the original Wild Safari toys.  Even though their are better Ceratosaurus toys out there, I would still recommend this figure to collectors, educators, and even for kids for the playtime adventures.