Saichania (World of History by Schleich)


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On a cold and cloudy day I was doing some work at home when there was a sudden thump next to me. I looked over; my daughter was looking up at me with her Schleich Saichania in her hand. She placed the Saichania next to me and told me to play. I stopped what I was doing and took some time off to play dinosaurs with my kids for awhile. As we played, I realized that there has not been a review for this dinosaur yet, and decided to sit down and write one up.

History: The “Beautiful” ankylosaurid (Saichania means beautiful in Mongolian) was moderately sized compared to its relatives. It was around six meters long (twenty feet) and covered in spiky armor, including its legs. Its underside had some bony plating as well. Due to it living in an arid environment it had complex airways and unusually hard gums to deal with the tough plants that it browsed on.

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About the toy: The Schleich Saichania does not appear to be a new sculpt, it looks to be a repaint and size change from the Replica-Saurus line. The overall shape (If you are looking at the toy head on) its head turns ever so slightly to the right, and the tail curves to the right as well. On its head the nostrils are large with a pre-dentary beak. Above the eyes is a prominent brow ridge. The Jugal and postorbital horns are big and sweep backward like the wings on a jet. On the head between the eyes are toughen scales. It has a short neck and the back curves up, reaches its highest point just before the hips and then it slopes gently all the way to the tip of the tail. The entire back is covered in long spikes the go all the way from the neck to the tail. Each row of spikes is segmented with a grid pattern. The texture between the spikes is small pebbly bumps.

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The front legs are semi sprawling with the left foot slightly forward. The legs have many skin folds that end abruptly once it meets the body. There are five toes on the front feet, five toes on the rear right foot and six on the left. The textures on the flanks and underneath are irregular square scales with some loose skin under the neck.

Its colorization is a combo of dark blue, some sort of yellowish brown, and the spikes are cream colored. The dark blue covers the entire top and ends midway down the flanks. The underside and legs are the yellowish-brown color. The eyes are glossy black.

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Scientific accuracy: I am not impressed. Maybe I am too picky but its head should be wider than it is long, and on this model, the head is long and not very wide. The head should be like a bull dog, with a squashed face with big nostrils. It isn’t bad but not quite squashed enough. The jaw, skull, just isn’t right. I know people love high spikes, but honestly, they were not that high. Saichania was armored all over its body, but, in this case its legs and underside are just fleshy. I give them a pass on the extra toe on the back left foot as there are quirks in nature, I’ll just pretend it was born with an extra toe.

Playability: Once again remember that this is a toy. As a toy, kids love it, mainly due to all the spikes that are on it. The clubbed tail is raised high enough to be used while playing, and even though the pose is not very dynamic, it still works just fine for play. The paint job is very robust and it takes some aggressive play for it to start wearing. A note of caution: the toy has some good weight, and the spikes are hard, it would hurt if it is swung and hits somebody.

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Overall appraisal: I personally do not like it very much. The head bothers me as it is not accurate enough, the paint job is sloppy around the spikes, and the whole thing looks like a cross between Anguirus (from Godzilla), a turtle, and an ankylosaurid. There is no weight in its mid section, it appears to be trying to fit its body into a upper shell, plus the pose is not exciting. I can see how some people would like it being so spiky, especially kids, but it just doesn’t look accurate to me. I would recommend this toy to kids, since it is robust, and it is all spiky, which kids love. For educational use, or for a collector, I would not recommend it, but as usual, to each his/her own.

Schleich Saichania is a common toy and you can find it here: Amazon

Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, mini figures (Vivid Toy Group Ltd)


Review and photos by Stargatedalek (unless otherwise stated). Edited by Plesiosauria.

First off I’d like to start off my first review with a brief apology. I promised this review months ago, but between initial delays and my repeatedly putting it off [plus some tardiness on our part too – Ed] I’m only just now getting around to it.

I like to review figures from three perspectives; scientific accuracy, playability, and my own personal opinion. These figures, however, will also be graded on a fourth additional category as well; film accuracy. The Walking With Dinosaurs The Movie 3D mini figures by Vivid Toy Group (VTG) Ltd were sold in a number of packaging variations, most notably as ‘blind bags’ but also in boxed sets and tubes comparable to those by Safari Ltd. I have the two toob sets, meaning that I’m sadly missing the pterosaur (Quetzalcoatlus northropi), which (unfortunately for me) was left out in favour of adding a “Pachy” figure in both tubes. [For the sake of completion, I’ve added my own short overview of the pterosaur at the end of this review – Ed]. There are 12 figures in the complete set, as follows:

Alphadon marshi
Alphadon wwd3d mini
Alphadon wwd3d mini

Scientific Accuracy; 10/10

Little is actually known about Alphadon, after all the only fossils known are of its teeth. It was a marsupial estimated at around 30cm in length, and it was most likely very similar to its closest relative the modern day opossum. The teeth show it was probably an omnivore, feeding on fruits, insects, and small vertebrates. The figure represents our knowledge of Alphadon very well, similar to an opossum but more robust.

Playability; 10/10
At 8cm in length the figure is in 1/3.75 scale. The pose is not entirely neutral but still relatively so, with its back arched, front left paw raised, and its head looking to the right, but the pose is not so extreme as to affect playability.

Film Accuracy; 7/10
see: http://i.imgur.com/oYj2OwZ.png
The mold is very similar to the Alphadon as it appears in the film, but the paint app is not so much. The film version is predominantly brown in colour, has a white face with a light brown mask near its eyes, has visible fangs, and has light pink feet, nose, and tail. The figures paint app however is predominantly grey; it also lacks the mask, and the pink on its feet and tail.

Impression; 7/10
I’m rather fond of this little guy, and I’m not someone who regularly collects prehistoric mammals. The pose is interesting and I don’t feel it “locks” the figure in a single position as some poses do. The fur along the back is matted and long, whereas along the underside it’s shorter and matted. The fur fades away on the face, paws, and tale, as opposed to ending abruptly. Perhaps due to its simpler paint app it isn’t as plagued by the glaring paint app errors as many of the others in this set sadly are.

Alexornis antecedens
Alexornis wwd3d mini
Alexornis wwd3d mini
Alexornis wwd3d mini

Scientific Accuracy; 9/10
I didn’t deduct points for its very inclusion being highly speculative (the only known fossil of Alexornis is from Mexico, so why it’s in Alaska I don’t quite gather), but I still thought it was worth a mention. Alexornis remains are rather fragmentary, it’s known from a partial skeleton including the leg, shoulder, and part of the wing. As such its appearance is largely based on related species. For some reason information on size estimates for Alexornis is hard to find, the best I got was “sparrow sized”, which would place Alexornis at about 11cm (head to base of tail) length. Judging from close relatives the conservative assumption would seem to be to give Alexornis visible fingers, but the toy has them concealed inside the wings.

Playability; 9/10
The figure’s 4cm (head to base of tail) length places it in 1/2.75 scale. Alexornis is in a very neutral pose, wings spread, tail dropping straight down, and feet evenly placed apart. The dropping tail can cause issues with playability, it means that the figure can’t be balanced on a flat surface, but on the flip side it means that Alexornis can balance itself on the backs of large herbivorous dinosaur figures (e.g. Jurassic Park Pachyrhinosaurus pictured), a very unusual and redeeming feature.

Film Accuracy; 5/10
See http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20131014172055/walkingwith/images/2/25/Birdasaur.png
The film version of Alexornis is largely black in coloration, with white highlights on the wings, and stripes on the tail plumes and base of the tail. Red feathers highlight the edges of the wings, a crest adorns Alexornis head, and the two elongated tail plumes, the skin(/scales?) on the face are also red. The feet, bill, hands, and eyes are yellow. In contrast the toy is predominantly navy blue as opposed to black, the patterns of white and red on the wings, plumes, and base of the tail are different (albeit still present), the eye is black, and the hands are missing entirely.

Impression; 8/10
I think it looks pretty nice overall. Unfortunately I notice mine suffers from a lot of issues with messy paint app.

Edmontosaurus regalis
Edmontosaurus wwd3d mini
Edmontosaurus wwd3d mini

Scientific Accuracy; 9/10
Edmontosaurus regalis is very well known so I’m not surprised that this figure has done a great job with its reconstruction. The number of digits is correct, three on each hind limb, and four on each forelimb. The proportions are nice, and it has the “spines” along its back. I did remove a point for accuracy since it lacks the crest seen on some specimens, and since the forelimbs feel very shrink-wrapped compared to the rest of the animal. Edmontosaurus is 12 metres in length.

Playability; 10/10
At 9cm long the figure is in 1/133.3 scale. This pose is pretty much as neutral as they come. The right forelimb is raised lightly and the tail curls slightly to the left.

Film Accuracy; 7/10
See: http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140121050857/walkingwithdinos/images/thumb/1/1e/Edmontosaururs.png/500px-Edmontosaururs.png
The film version of Edmontosaurus is grey overall, with a fading brown colouration on its back, and a red, almost pink, colouration on top of its head and neck. The markings are dark brown and splatter in semi-random patterns across the animal. The spines are light in colour. The figure is predominantly grey, but it lacks the fading brown colouration, the head is a darker tone of red, and the spines are the same grey colour as the main body. The patterns are similar, but they differ distinctively from the film.

Impression; 8/10
I’m not a huge fan of the rather shrink-wrapped forelimbs, but overall I think the mold is nicely sculpted. The patterns appear to be random but without a second figure I can’t say.

Gorgosaurus libratus
Gorgosaurus wwd3d mini
Gorgosaurus wwd3d mini

Scientific Accuracy; 9/10
Gorgosaurus was about as 8-9 metres long, and while smaller than relatives such as Tarbosaurus or Tyrannosaurus, it was closer in size to Daspletosaurus or Albertosaurus. At first glance the proportions of this figure seem rather off, but after measuring out the legs to be sure it seems to be a bias caused by the crouching posture. I took off a point for lack of feathers, which I feel is a relatively speculative approach to not include (I explicitly noted this since some would disagree on this point).

Playability; 10/10
This Gorgosaurus figure is in 1/66.6 scale. It’s aligned nearly in a straight line, with the head and tail tilted ever so barely to the left. The arms are tucked neatly out of the way and the jaws are held open widely.

Film Accuracy; 8/10
See: http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20131012085443/walkingwith/images/d/d6/GorgosaurusPromo.png

The film Gorgosaurus is predominantly grey in colour, with a beige underside and highlights ranging from white to iridescent blue. Small spines adorn its back. The figure is also predominantly grey in colour with iridescent blue and white patterns, and with small spines along its back, but it lacks the beige underside.

Impression; 7/10
While I personally disagree with the design choices, I can’t deny that I think this figure looks amazing. The crouching posture and tripod stance (it can lean either on its tail or lower jaw) could be a turn off for some, but I don’t mind it. There is no painted on detail for the teeth or nails.

Parksosaurus warreni
parksosaurus wwd3d mini
parksosaurus wwd3d mini

Scientific Accuracy; 10/10
Parksosaurus was a small (2.5metres in length) ornithopod. It’s known for its unusually robust shoulder girdle and thinner more lithe thighs compared to its relative Thescelosaurus. Its exact placement amongst early ornithopods is somewhat of a mystery. Parksosaurus had a relatively long neck, robust body, and long tail, and this figure shows these traits off nicely.

Playability; 4/10
The figure is in 1/22.7 scale. The pose, while very elegant, definitely takes away from the figures play factor. The neck being bent backwards over the shoulder so sharply, combined with the figures tendency to topple over makes it best suited for a diorama scenario.

Film Accuracy; 7/10
See: http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20131014172747/walkingwith/images/f/fa/Large-ornitopod.png
The film Parksosaurus is overall lime green (almost iridescent), with a white underside and spines, and dark green patterns criss-crossing its back and limbs. The figure is dark green in colouration with a white underside, and black stripes along its back and limbs. The figure also has a white pattern that seems to have a dry brush effect.

Impression; 5/10
It’s not my favorite from the bunch that’s for sure, but it’s lovely in its own way. I think the colour scheme is very nice with great potential; unfortunately the paint app has done a pretty botched job of it, presumably due to the rather extreme pose.

Hesperonychus elizabethae
hesperonychus wwd3d mini
hesperonychus wwd3d mini

Scientific Accuracy; 6/10
I’d like to start off by saying the film rendition would have gotten a 10/10, just to be clear. We don’t really have a lot of material for Hesperonychus, but as a member of dromaeosuridae there are some things we can know for sure. This (in my opinion) means that any inaccuracies that do show up are all the more pertinent, because they had such creative liberty in many other regards. Namely I’m going to single out its hands, the left hand is misshapen beyond recognition, and (as I’ve done with what seems to be a sickle claw on each toe) I was prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt, the right hand however, clearly displays three separate fingers. Hesperonychus “wings” should connect to the middle finger, obscuring most of the outer finger in the process, but on the figure the wing ends just above the wrist. The right foot is also posed in such a way as to appear broken. The estimated length of Hesperonychus is less than 1 metre.

Playability; 10/10
The Hesperonychus figure is in 1/12.5 scale. As I’m sure you’ve all picked up I consider a neutral pose a key part of playability, and this figure demonstrates that perfectly. The tail is tilted upwards and slightly to the left, with the upper back pointing downwards and levelling out through the neck. I’ve already mentioned the right leg and its strange position, while unrealistic; this pose doesn’t impede the play factor and helps the figure to balance.

Film Accuracy; 6/10
See: http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130913004036/trilogy-of-life/images/9/9c/Hesperonychus.png
The films versions is overall yellow in colour with orange and black patterns along the back, white, black and orange striped patterns on its wings and tail, and grey scales on its fingers, feet, and snout. The overall look resembles a gamebird. The figure is primarily yellow in colour, but the orange pattern is only located over the shoulders instead of the entire back, and lacks the back patterns. The eyes are smaller and the snout covers less of the face, the feathers on the tail and the scales on its feet and snout are purple. The “wings” end abruptly at the wrist rather than the middle finger as they do on the films version, and the hands are orange rather than grey.

Impression; 6/10
As with most of the set its paint app is a bit of a mess, and its inaccuracies are frankly mind boggling, but I still have a fondness for it. The neutral pose combined with being a rather underrepresented species make its flaws well worth putting up with.

Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum (“Pachy”, “Juniper”, “Scowler”, and “Dad”)
pachy wwd3d mini
juniper wwd3d mini
scowler wwd3d mini
dad wwd3d mini

Scientific Accuracy; ?/10 (for the juveniles) and 10/10 (for the adult)
Juvenile Pachyrhinosaurus are unknown so I can’t accurately grade them. The adult, however, seems rather spot-on. Pachyrhinosaurus was estimated 8 metres in length for the largest specimens. The headgear of Pachyrhinosaurus seems to vary by individual (please don’t quote me on this, my research was minimal).

Playability; 10/10
Even if they are in two separate scales (1/88.8 for the adult, whereas the juvenile are unknown) it’s a very neat feature to have an entire family unit.

Film Accuracy; 8/10
All of the colour schemes and models match the film counterparts very well, but there are some details on the heads that don’t match up. It’s worth noting that the feet of the figures appear to be more accurate than those of their movie counterparts.

Impression; 7/10
It’s neat to be able to have a cohesive group of hatchlings like this. As someone who tends to focus her collection towards coelurosaurs and pterosaurs I don’t have a great deal of ceratopsians figures, but I can see that these would make great companions to a similarly scaled adult, the Battat Terra 2014 and Jurassic Park 2013 models come to mind.

Troodon inequalis
troodon wwd3d mini

Scientific Accuracy; 5/10
I’d like to start off by saying the film rendition would have gotten a 9/10. Like the Hesperonychus it suffers from a case of dropping feathers from its wings. Unlike Hesperonychus, however, we do have some relatively complete remains to judge Troodon on, and the overall proportions hold up rather well. It also loses a point for lacking any facial disc, which the ear placement of Troodon shows it likely had.

Playability; 6/10
The Troodon figure is in 1/26.6 scale. The pose is extravagant, leaning forward onto its wing feathers with the left foot raised as if mid stride and the tail arches highly over its back. Unfortunately this makes it very prone to toppling over.

Film Accuracy; 7/10
See: http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/walkingwithdinos/images/f/f4/Dfhj.png/revision/latest?cb=20140121050735
The film Troodon is overall deep brown in colour, with a lighter hazel brown for the head and throat. The legs are the same hazel brown while the underside is yellow/beige, the face, fingers, feet, and tail plumes are grey. The crest on its head is bright yellow and the eyes have a blue ring around them. The figure is primarily deep brown in colour, with a line of orange separating the brown from the beige underside; this orange is also present on the wings and throat. The wings are feathered incorrectly, and the legs lack the longer feathers shown in the films version. The feet are beige and the fingers are deep brown.

Impression; 7/10
Inaccuracies and playability issues aside I absolutely love this piece. The pose makes for great displaying/dioramas. Mine has (as expected) some paint app issues, but overall I think the colour scheme is sound.

[So, this is the part where the editor jumps in to say a few words about the pterosaur in this series.]

Quetzalcoatlus northropi
quetzalcoatlus wwd3d mini
quetzalcoatlus wwd3d mini

Scientific Accuracy; 8/10
The figure is in a neutral flying pose with wings outstretched. The mouth is agape and contains a nice pink tongue, but the lower jaw is distorted and curves upward and to the left in my figure. This deformity is the result of being packed in a blind bag for months on end. Proportionally the head is too small, and the decision to reduce the size of the head (in the movie version and therefore also the figure) was apparently intentional (or at least in spite of scientific advise). An anatomically accurate version would simply look too weird (I’m paraphrasing Mark Witton here, he who advised on the appearance of the Quetzalcoatlus in the film, who said words to that effect on Facebook). There are lots of anatomical details for such a tiny figure. From a distance the pterosaur seems to be blind, but upon closer inspection tiny eyes are visible, highlighted in green. There are three individually sculpted tiny fingers in addition to the large wing supporting digit. However, the feet are so small they are just little nubbins of plastic.

Playability; 10/10
The neutral pose provides lots of scope for playability with this figure. Who wouldn’t want to rush around swooping this little flying reptile in every direction? I’ll admit, I’ve done so, and I’m 34 years old.

Film Accuracy; 10/10
Looks good to me, no glaring errors. The squared off shape of the crest is identical.

Impression; 9/10
The sandy coloration is pleasing to my eye but the bent lower jaw spoils the aesthetic a little. However, that can be fixed with a little patience. Overall this is a lovely little figure, well worth acquiring, especially if you’re a pterosaur enthusiast.

[I now hand the reins back over to Stargatedalek – Ed]

In hindsight, I hope my review didn’t come across as being too nitpicky and harsh; I’m very pleased to have each and every one of these little beauties. Despite the occasional inaccuracy and the overall unfortunate paint apps, they are all must haves. I can hardly recommend them enough.

Available from Amazon.com here.

Therizinosaurus (Deluxe version by CollectA)


Review and photos by suspsy

Although only scant remains of Therizinosaurus have been uncovered, careful study of its more complete relatives Alxasaurus, Nothronychus, and Falcarius have given us a reasonable idea of how it looked and lived. We also know for a fact that it possessed the largest claws of any dinosaur.

Therizinosaurus CollectA Deluxe

At around 21 cm tall, this 1:40 scale model towers most of the other dinosaurs in my collection. It has all the weird and wonderful features of the therizinosaur family: a small head on a long neck, powerful arms ending in massive curved claws, a sizeable pot belly, wide hips, stout legs, and a stumpy tail. My girlfriend, who is not a dinosaur nut like me, thinks this figure is absolutely creepy and horrifying. No amount of reassurance that it was a peaceful plant eater that only used its great claws for feeding and the occasional defence will change her mind.

Therizinosaurus CollectA Deluxe

The colours and detail on this Therizinosaurus are striking. The hands, underbelly, shins, and feet are dull beige with scales, but the rest of the animal is decked out in shaggy khaki and dark green feathers. Blue accents are used for its handsome mohawk and the small tuft on top of its shoulders. Even more striking are the small wings on its forearms, which are blue with white stripes. The tiny eyes are yellow, the inside of the mouth is pink, and the small hind claws are white. Oh, there’s airbrushed brown around its cloaca. Eww.

Therizinosaurus CollectA Deluxe

The Therizinosaurus is sculpted in a erect pose with its mouth wide open and its arms raised. Is it defending itself against a hungry tyrannosaur? Is it trying to intimidate a rival or impress a potential mate? Or is it simply slicing through its meal of leaves and branches? The choice is yours. The figure stands well on its own, although a small nudge is enough to knock it back on its tail.

Therizinosaurus CollectA Deluxe

Like other Deluxe CollectA dinosaurs, this one comes with a small beige human figure for scale. This one is decked out like a field researcher complete with sun hat, binoculars, backpack, and pickaxe. If we assume that the human is meant to be six feet tall, this would make the Therizinosaurus around 30 feet tall, which is far greater than any size estimates I’ve seen. Still, given how few actual bones of this dinosaur have been found, who is to say for certain how big it could grow?

Therizinosaurus CollectA Deluxe

Therizinosaurus has long been one of my favourite dinosaurs and this model doesn’t disappoint. With excellent sculpting, attractive colours, solid play value, and arguably the most bizarre proportions of any dinosaur, it’s guaranteed to shine on your shelf.

Therizinosaurus CollectA Deluxe

Special thanks to FaunaFigures.com for this and many other great dinosaur toys!

Also available from Amazon.com here.