Pachycephalosaurus (Bullyland)

During this festive frenzy of reviews of late, lets take a small time warp back in time and bring forth a toy that has been left behind by the relentless march of time. In 2009, Bullyland,  the purveyor of  goofy eyed yet expressive figures, released a interesting looking Pachycephalosaurus. It wasn’t a perfect figure in the time it was made, but looking back it was a whole different world of dinosaur sculpts for collectors.  Carnegie was still around, CollectA was still figuring itself out, and the dreaded tripod stance was popular.  Its amazing how far toy companies have come since 2009.  What passes as an average  figure now would have been a good to great figures just seven years ago.

On top of that, Pachycephalosaurus is a strange animal in dinosaur collecting.  I would doubt it would make many top ten popular dinosaur lists, but at the same time it is easily recognizable to most adults and kids.  Due to that domed skull,  kids like to play with it as if it was Ram Man, head butting through obstacles and viscous predators.   In JP the Lost World there is a popular scene showing it ramming one of the Jeeps, reinforcing the popular belief that these animals just head butted their way through life.  In reality like many of the strange features we find on dinosaurs, like a Triceratops‘ frill, or Parasaurolophus’ crest, the domed skull was probably used as a display structures, sexual dimorphism perhaps, or other uses that we haven’t even come up with yet.

Size comparison: Carnegie Pachycephalosaurus on the left, Bullyland on right.

About the toy:  According to the print on the bottom of the figure it is 1:30 scale.  It is 4 in (10.16 cm) high and 9 in (22.86 cm) long.  The pose is active with the head down and eyes looking forward.  Pachycephalosaurus had a narrow face with a small muzzle which ended in a pointed beak. I think the head on this figure is too wide and big.  The dome-shaped head is present and looks quite thick.  All the way around from the snout to the back of the head it is covered by bumps and wart-like knobs with a fringe of dull spikes. There is a bunch of small white teeth in the upper maxilla.  In actuality the teeth should be less numerous and should look different by the  beak.

The arms are short but beefy and spread out with the hands pronated.  On each hand are five fingered which is accurate.  The legs are big and beefy and the figure stands on oversized feet, in which all four toes touch the ground.  That’s right, instead of standing on a three toed foot, they made the forth one long enough to help with its balance.

Accuracy wise this figure ends up being so-so.  As it is thought that Pachycephalosaurus would have been similar to other ornithopods, this figure does have some of the features you would expect.  It does have forelimbs with five-fingered hands, a long, heavy, fairly rigid tail, and a neck that is short yet thick.  Its belly also appears to be enlarged and looks well fed.

This figure is painted as if it lived in an arid landscape with tan and black colors.  A yellow color is dry brushed over the main colors.  There is a little bit or orange mixed in the bumps around its head and on the under side of the tail and belly.  The teeth and eyes are white while the inside of the mouth is black.  Around the eyes it is very black almost like eye liner.  All the claws are grey.

Overall:  Bullyland figures tend to take a little getting used to.  It is true that many of their figures are not one hundred percent accurate, but they do tend to have more of an persona and charm.  It could be the goofy eyes, I am not sure, but they do tend to be expressive.

With that big head, beefy arms, thick tail, and those meaty thighs, it is quite a stout figure.  I think a T-Rex would have loved to have this girl for dinner.  This thick skulled Pachycephalosaurus toy does have some inaccuracies as I mentioned earlier.  When making a decision on this toy you cannot discount that fact. Despite that fact it also has some charm along with a active pose.  I rate it as an average figure but one that I really like so maybe I’m a little biased.    If you like how this figure looks than in my opinion, it is worth it.  This figure is not for everyone and if you want accuracy you could check out the CollectA Pachycephalosaurus ,which is rather small, or the old Battat one if you are lucky enough to find it.

 

 

 

 

 

Triceratops (2018)(Wild Safari by Safari Ltd)

Review and photos by Faelrin, edited by Suspsy

Last year, Safari Ltd unveiled and released a Feathered Tyrannosaurus rex that was widely praised for keeping up with the most recent findings. While Safari already has a Triceratops figure that was released back in 2007, it was starting to show its age, what with many of the recent findings. It was therefore a nice surprise to see the famous three-horned face getting an updated model for 2018. Besides, you can’t have a T. rex without a Triceratops. In fact both were contemporaries from the Hell Creek formation, over 66 million years ago, living alongside dinosaurs such as Ankylosaurus and Anzu (both have also received new figures for Safari’s 2018 lineup).

On to the figure itself. One of the most interesting qualities are the scales sculpted on most of its body. These are actually based upon the large skin impressions that were preserved alongside the mostly complete Triceratops specimen called Lane. While they have not been formally published yet, the images in the previous link show the impressions to have large polygonal scales, some with nipple-shaped structures. The belly scales sculpted on the model are also true to fossil evidence as well.

Unlike the previous Safari Triceratops, this new one has the proper proportions, and also corrects the front digits, with the fourth and fifth ones being reduced and clawless. The horns and beak have a smooth texture to them, possibly reflecting that they may have been covered in keratin in life, just like certain horned animals today. Most of the figure is a dark grey colour, with a beige belly and cream for the horns and beak. The frill features vibrant yellow patches, which demonstrate how such colouring was probably used for display purposes. The head also has some pink along the edges of the horns and frill. The eyes are gold with black pupils. This Triceratops also has a cloaca sculpted on its underside.

This figure is about 1/35 scale, which is in the same scale as the Feathered T. rex. It most likely represents Triceratops horridus, the earlier of the two species, the other being T. prorsus. The figure is over 20 cm long (over 8 inches) and about 10 cm tall (4 inches) including the horns.

If you are a fan of Triceratops, or ceratopsians, or Hell Creek animals in general, I can only recommend this figure very strongly. It’s up to date, it’s big, and it’s beautiful.

Uintatherium (CollectA)

Review and photos by Bokisaurus, edited by Plesiosauria

The Eocene had some really strange looking animal. The Eocene Epoch was the time when many of the famous large mammals started to diversify. A lot of the hoofed animals we are familiar with today first appeared around this time. One of the strangest of these new groups of large mammals were the Dinocerata (‘terrible horned’). This group of large plant-eating animals had a body plan very much like rhinos. As a group, they are famous for their paired horns and saber-like canine teeth. Yes, very odd indeed. Imagine combining a rhino with a giraffe, then add in a dash of saber-tooth cat – you get one truly bizarre looking beast.

The most famous of the group is Uintatherium ( “Beast of the Uinta Mountains”), the subject of our review today. CollectA finally released their take on this unique animal this year. Although there are some figures of this species represented in the toy world, this is the first time that we get a large, beautifully sculpted figure.

Uintatherium is a large animal, estimated at being 13 feet long and around 5.6 feet high with a weight of around 2 tons. Looking at it, one could easily assume that it is related to rhinos due to their similarity in body shape ( at least as commonly depicted in popular art). But the two are not related. In fact, how and where exactly the group Dinocerata relates to other mammals is still up for debate, although the most commonly accepted relationship is that they belong to the ungulate group. So, let’s take a look at this new figure from CollectA by first looking at the head, and it’s most unusual and unique features. The most intriguing and unusual feature of Unintatherium is its paired horns and dagger-like canines. The three pairs of horns all projects upwards with the first pair situated on the tip of the snout, the second pair just before the eyes, and the final and largest pair situated on the back of the skull just above the ears.

The figure faithfully recreates these paired horns and they are beautifully sculpted. The large, saber-like upper canine is also beautifully sculpted as well. This feature is believed to be larger in males than in females (sexually dimorphic). The other teeth are small and individually sculpted. I am impressed by how crisp these teeth are considering how small they are, they are very well defined and you can feel the individual teeth. The mouth is slightly open, so you can interpret it either as an aggressive display or simply just browsing. The eyes are small and sit high up on the head. The eyes are painted black, but the shiny gloss makes it look real and alive. The cheekbone is prominent, as well as the two protrusions just below the chin/lower jaw.

Despite its fearsome appearance, Uintatherium was not very smart. In fact, the shape of its skull is concave in shape; that is the skull dipped inwards instead of outwards (more typical of other animal skulls). This odd skull feature, combined with thick walls of the skull left little room for brains. So yeah, this animal is not a candidate for a spelling bee. This unique nice skull feature is faithfully recreated in this model. It is believed that Uintatherium exhibited sexual dimorphism. In males, the horns and the canines are larger and more prominent than seen in females. The exact purpose of these enlarged canines is not fully known, but some believe they are used for feeding in addition to display. There were not many predators large enough to take on a fully grown Uintatherium. Looking at the model’s head, there is no doubt that it is a male, and one quick look at its private parts will confirm it!

Moving on to the body, the neck is short and muscular in this figure. When one pictures what Uintatherium may have looked like, the image of an animal that looks like a hippo or rhino comes to mind. This is what we typically see in many artworks.

CollectA’s interpretation gives it a slightly different look than what we have come to expect. In this model, the animal still has the basic rhino/hippo built, but it has a short mane running down the back of the neck. This is a feature not commonly seen or associated with Uintatherium. The short mane is colored black. From the mane, dark stripes radiate downwards towards the shoulders. There is also a dark stripe that runs from the neck, down the spine, and all the way to the base of the tail.

The overall color of this figure is light brown, with the belly and inner thigh being lighter shade, almost tan in color. In addition to the mane, the body of the figure also show hairs. In fact, this interpretation of Uintatherium is unique in that it is one hairy beast! There are hairs all over the body, and towards the belly, tufts of curly hair can be seen adoring the sides as well as the back legs. The hair is well done, and not extreme that the animal looks like a wholly rhino. I personally like this look, it’s a very different and refreshing look than what we have come to expect. The additions of hair/fur, as well as the pose, give this figure a somewhat equine feel to it.

The pose is active. Both front and back legs are robust and equipped with claws. The front legs are splayed out, as if the animal is about to charge a rival or an enemy. The back legs are firmly planted on the ground and is straining as if the animal is pushing itself forward. The well sculpted muscles add to the tension. The tail is up in the air, you can almost picture it swishing back and forth. Last, but definitely not the least, if there is any doubt as to what sex this figure is, look no further than the private parts and you will see the “big” confirmation that it is without a doubt a male in his prime!

Uintatherium was one of the first megafauna mammals that was discovered in the early days. This bizarre creature also has the distinction of being involved in one of the most famous bone wars between Edward Cope, O.C. Marsh, and Joseph Leidy, as they tried to out-compete each other to name extinct animals fossils that they found. In the end, Leidy would eventually win and coined the name Uintatherium (after the Uinta Mountains) first. The first fossils were discovered at Fort Bridge in Wyoming. Fossils were also found in Utah near the Uinta Mountains. With both Cope and Marsh rushing to name new species, multiple names were given to the same animal. Today, there are two recognized species of Uintatherium. The American one, U. anceps (type) of the early to middle Eocene and the Asian one, U. insperatus of the middle to late Eocene that was found in China.

As a group, Uintatherium had a surprisingly long reign despite not being the smartest creature in the land. How the group survived for so long no one really knows. Perhaps their large size was enough to make them the unchallenged dominant herbivore during the early Eocene, with very little competition. But like all the other megafauna before and after them, the Uintatherium would one day go extinct. As the Eocene progressed, new cast of characters started to emerge. Soon, other large herbivores such as the bronthotheres and early rhinos started to diversify and dominate the landscape. Perhaps these newcomers started to outcompete the Uintatheriums, pushing them closer and closer to extinction. Climate change may also be a big factor in the extinctions of the Uintatherium. Maybe with the new and rapidly changing environment they simply could not adapt quickly enough despite being around for so long. No one really knows for sure what drove this magnificent beast to extinction. In the end, the curtain of extinction would fall, and the once mighty herds of Uintatherium vanished from the landscape leaving no descendants. Their disappearance would open the door for the brontotheres and rhinos to flourish and dominate the newly vacated landscapes.

The CollectA Uintatherium alongside the Megaceraops and Arsinoitherium that would one day replace it (both figures by CollectA).

In closing, I really like this model. I was very excited when I heard that CollectA was releasing a figure of it as part of their new 2017 lineup. I was not disappointed when I finally got the figure. It is very well sculpted and researched. The slightly more hairy look is a nice welcome. The figure’s active pose is flexible enough to be interpreted in many ways. The color choice is not for everyone, but for me personally, I like it. It’s a nice break from the normal gray that one see in art. The color also goes well with the more hairy look of the figure. If you are a fan of prehistoric mammals, this is one figure that you should definitely add to your menagerie.

Bonus comparison of the different Uintatheriums in my collection, including the brand new 2018 figure by Safari Ltd. From left to right: CollectA, Large Playvision, Geoworld, 2018 Safari Ltd figure

Hope you all enjoyed this review of one of the most fascinating and unique prehistoric mammal. Until the next review, Cheers!