Paralititan (CollectA Deluxe)


100_1339

During the Cretaceous, Paralititan and its kin were some of the biggest creatures to ever exist on the planet. Paralititan stromeri or tidal giant lived 95 million years ago in an intertidal mangrove biome.  The mangroves were along the southern shore of the Tethy’s sea, which is now modern Egypt.  Its size certainly fires up the imagination and curiosity.  At an estimated 65-85 feet (26 meters) long, the right humerus is 5.5ft. (1.69m) in length, Paralititan certainly lives up to the title of titan.  The Titanosaurs taxon is a waste basket of fossil material and in most cases, there is not a lot of fossil material to know what they looked like in their complete form.

100_1335

The 2009 CollectA Deluxe version of this amazing animal is smaller than you would expect.  At 9.5 inches (24.1cm) long and 4.5 inches (11.4cm) tall, as a deluxe model it fails to dwarf the other sauropods in CollectA’s standard range.   On the website CollectA has it at 1:60 scale.  Even though the head of Paraltitan is not known, sauropod skulls tend to be small compared to the rest of their body, and I find it interesting just how big the head is on this figure.  That is one big noggin for its neck to hold up.  Since there is no known skull material for this animal, we can leave the skull shape to the imagination.  Even if you try and compare the few known Titanosaur skull material, there is too much variation in skull morphology to really know.

100_1328

Moving onward, the mouth is closed, but if you look really, really close you can actually see some unpainted teeth in the front of its mouth.  The neck is rather robust and certainly a lot thicker than CollectA’s standing diplodocus.  The head and neck is listing lazily towards its left side with osteoderms covering the top half, and continuing all the way to the tail, upper part of the legs and the flanks.  The legs and hips are in a wide gauge stance, and it is walking with the left leg forward.  The tail is shorter than the rest of the body and bends sharply half way down.  After the bend the tail goes up and to the right side of its body.  The feet have five toes on the front and five on the back feet.

Texturally it is rather smooth, with some skin folds on the upper and lower neck.  On the tail, flanks, and legs there are some faint skin fold lines.  The legs also show some muscle bulges.  The figure has a base color of dull green.  Along the neck and front there are medium brown spots, with dark brown along the legs and tails.  The osteoderms are a grey blue, which is also dry brushed along the flanks, legs, and tail.  The eyes are red with a black vertical slit pupil.  The toes are also painted in a strange green.

100_1313

This is a toy that can be played with and is actually very robust.  The colors are dull, but not bad, which means it will not stand out in a crowd.  Due to its smaller stature, it might seem to diminish the playability of this toy, but in actuality, most kids have no problem with it.  In fact, its height is a very convenient for many predator toys.  The tail is flexible and the edges are rounded, so no safety concerns there.  I would rate this as an average playable toy.

100_1310

Overall appraisal:  This is definitely from CollectA earlier and darker days.  My first look at this toy was in a picture. I thought it didn’t look very appealing, but it is a Deluxe, so it should at least be big.  Sometimes first impressions are wrong, but not in this case.  It is a rather unattractive fellow that is small in size, and stature.  It has a strange expression on its face with a big head.  The scale is not very compatible with most other toys, and just doesn’t fit the deluxe identity.  Many collectors will probably not want to have this fellow displayed on their shelf or desk, or in a place of prominence among a herd of sauropods.

Of course there are some good things about this figure.  Just because it is flawed, that doesn’t mean that it can’t find a place in the toy box, as it is a very robust toy.  Despite not having bright or flashy colors, kids will still use it, mainly as lunch for plastic and rubber predators.  Another good thing, as far as I know, it is the only Paralititan toy that is out there.  I am sure in time that will change in time, but as of 2015, this is it.  That means it could highlight an African dinosaur or lost dinosaurs of Egypt diorama.

If you are interested in acquiring one, you can start your search for the 2009 Paralititan Deluxe here: Amazon, Ebay

Pliosaurus (CollectA)


Propelled by her four massive flippers, the leviathan explodes from the depths like a nightmare come to life. As she homes in on her target, her two-metre long head splits apart to reveal enormous pointed teeth. With decisive force, her jaws slam shut on . . . nothing. Her intended prey, an ichthyosaur, sensed the danger and bolted in the nick of time. The hunt has failed and the leviathan must start all over.

image

Millions of years before the evolution of mosasaurs, pliosaurs occupied the top of the oceanic food chain. And just as Mosasaurus was the mightiest mosasaur, the most powerful pliosaur was Pliosaurus itself. CollectA’s version of the “more lizard” measures a whopping 30 cm long, has a flipperspan of 16 cm, and weighs about one pound. This is a BIG toy. Rightly so, given that it is based on Pliosaurus kevani, an enormous species represented by a nearly complete, two-metre long skull currently on display at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester, UK.

image

The Pliosaurus is olive green in colour with a white underbelly, faint dark stripes, solid black eyes, dozens of pearly white teeth, and a pink mouth interior. It is sculpted in a turning pose with its mouth open, ready to clamp shut on anything it can catch.

image

Like most models of prehistoric sea monsters, the Pliosaurus’ hide is mostly smooth, but it does have quite a few wrinkles on its head as well as on its muscular neck and flippers. The interior of the mouth is finely sculpted with multiple ridges and a big, long tongue. The teeth are also well-defined, although…

image

…accuracy-wise, there are a few subtle errors about this leviathan. The premaxilla(front of the upper jaw) is somewhat bulbous and downturned like a crocodile’s and the mandible is a little too straight. The teeth look formidable, but some of them could afford to be larger. The raised ridges around the eyes are unsupported by any underlying osteology. And finally, if we assume that the depression behind the eye is supposed to be an ear, it is in the wrong position. And if it’s simply meant to be the outline of a muscle, it’s too small. None of these are major enough to ruin the figure in my opinion though.

image

The Pliosaurus’ great size and strength hasn’t prevented it from being assailed by parasites. Lampreys, to be precise. Three of the nasty little brown bloodsuckers, two on the back and one on the underside. Fear not though, they’re too small to cause any serious harm to such a huge animal. Indeed, they may simply be hitching a ride. Lamprey fossils date all the way back to the Devonian, so it’s quite possible that they latched on to pliosaurs back in the Jurassic. This is a clever, realistic touch on the part of CollectA.

image

With its massive size, fearsome appearance, and fine attention to detail, the CollectA Pliosaurus promises to be one of the best prehistoric toys of 2015, even if it does have its share of inaccuracies. It’s definitely one of my favourites now.

Special thanks to paleontologist Adam “Plesiosauria” S. Smith for his expertise on pliosaur anatomy.

Pteranodon (Playmobil)


From his perch atop the tree, a Pteranodon sights a fish swimming in a pond. Quickly he spreads his wings, swoops down, and snatches it in his bill!

image

It’s virtually unthinkable for a dinosaur toyline not to have at least one pterosaur and Playmobil has gone with that most familiar of flyers, Pteranodon. This one measures 12 cm long and has a wingspan of 24 cm. Its body is light grey with a bright orange head, blue eyes, and blue wings.

image

Aside from the short and rounded bill (clearly a safety precaution), this is a reasonably accurate representation of a Pteranodon. The mouth can open and grip items and the neck and hind limbs are articulated. As well, the hands and the feet can grip Playmobil accessories or a perch. The wings are made of soft plastic, further ensuring that the toy is safe for young ones

image

The Pteranodon’s companions/prey items are an orange snake, identical in sculpt to the one that comes with the T. rex and Velociraptors, and a silver fish. Just the thing to satisfy a hungry pterosaur.

image

The playset consists of a small deciduous tree atop a mound of green. The tree has three large, leafy branches and a couple of short branches that act as perches. Due to its wingspan, however, the Pteranodon can only be mounted on the uppermost perch. The leafy branches each have two tiny posts for attaching blossoms, insects, or small bird figures. There’s also a patch of tall grass near the foot of the tree for the snake to hide in.

image

While not as impressive as the larger sets, the Playmobil Pteranodon should prove enjoyable for fans of all ages.

image