Torvosaurus (Deluxe Prehistoric Collection by CollectA)

While Allosaurus has been a long time favorite among Jurassic theropods there has been a growing fan base for the large megalosaurid genus, Torvosaurus. The genus has now become popular enough that whenever wish list discussions about what toy makers should release next come up it’s always mentioned. This has been steadily occurring for several years now and as the years passed collectors kept wondering when they were going to get their Torvosaurus. Well the wishes have finally been granted and finally Torvosaurus has made its dinosaur toy debut, thanks to CollectA and their deluxe range of prehistoric animals.

collecta torvosaurus

This genus has a lot to offer. Two species are known to science thus far; T. gurneyi from Portugal and T. tanneri from the United States. This is a genus that lived alongside many popular Jurassic dinosaurs including Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, and Stegosaurus. It was also among the largest theropods of the period (and the largest known from Europe) reaching an estimated length of 33’. With a large and distinctive skull, short but powerfully clawed forelimbs, and a long sinuous body it’s somewhat perplexing why the genus is not more popular.

collecta torvosaurus

The CollectA deluxe model is in the 1:40 scale and measures about 9” in length and stands 4.5” at its tallest point. Unlike many previous theropod releases in the deluxe line this one comes with a base. This means that unlike the Acrocanthosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus this model is not plagued with wide hips, oddly shaped feet, and other anatomical adjustments used to make it balance properly. The use of a base also means the model won’t be tipping over. The model also has a hinged jaw which seems to be the rule now with the deluxe line.  Although this is a fun feature the seams on this particular model are very obvious and one of my only real complaints about the model in general.

collecta torvosaurus

The model is dynamically posed, striding forward and looking to the left with the long supple tail curving to the right. The base it’s on is a sandy brown color with the tracks of another, quadrupedal dinosaur sculpted on it. The model accurately depicts the lengthy, low, lithe body of this theropod. The legs are well muscled and bird-like, the arms are robust, and the hands are neutral facing with three digits each, the thumb claw being accurately larger than the rest. The tag this model comes with says that this Torvosaurus is specifically T. gurneyi, the European species. The skull is appropriately long, low, and narrow.

collecta torvosaurus

The model is sculpted with a row of iguana-like spines running down the back, being tallest at the base of the tail. Pebbly scales adorn the olive green skin. The green skin fades out to a pale green on the underside.  Brown stripes and splotches run down the length of the body. On the skull the fenestra are highlighted with red coloration. In all honesty I find this color scheme underwhelming. It isn’t bad for a theropod that probably stalked wetlands and forests but green is a classically overused color on dinosaur toys. The base color doesn’t bother me as much as the random brown splotches. Last year’s Acrocanthosaurus was painted in various shades of green but it was done in a unique and realistic way, this model appears more toy-like overall.

collecta torvosaurus

Torvosaurus continues to grow in popularity and for those of us that appreciate this interesting dinosaur it’s nice to finally have a model of it to display on our shelves. Although obvious seams and the unconvincing paint job betray that this is indeed a toy it is still detailed enough, and accurate enough, to be worth seeking out. The CollectA deluxe Torvosaurus is new for 2016 and should be easy enough to find wherever CollectA models are sold.

collecta torvosaurus

Andrewsarchus (CollectA)

Andrewsarchus mongoliensis could be thought of as the mammalian equivalent of Spinosaurus in that it was a gigantic carnivore known only from scant remains. Namely, a single skull discovered in Mongolia by the legendary Roy Chapman Andrews in 1923. Once thought to have been a mesonychid, Andrewsarchus has since been determined to be an artiodactyl, and thus related to entelodonts, hippos, and whales.

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The 2016 CollectA Andrewsarchus is a massive monster measuring 20 cm long from nose to tail tip and standing nearly 9 cm tall at the shoulder. Most of its fur is coloured a combination of light and medium brown with pale fur on the underbelly, black for the hooves, eyes, and nose, pink for the mouth, bone white teeth, and dark brown stripes and spots. A slightly reddish brown is used for the long muzzle and the short mane running from the top of the head to just past the shoulders.

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The Andrewsarchus is in a walking stance with its right paw forward and its great head turned to the left. The ears are perked and the mouth is wide open in an angry bark or snarl or roar or whatever sound it made in real life. Perhaps this individual has cornered some potential prey. Or maybe it is defending its meal against another Andrewsarchus, an equally dramatic scenario.

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The sculpting on this toy is really fantastic. The fur has a fine, shaggy feel to it. The muscles in the neck and the limbs are well-defined and powerful. And the huge, sharp teeth and the angry expression make it clear that this is not an animal to be trifled with. It’s one of the most realistic-looking prehistoric mammals CollectA has done to date. Oh, and it’s clearly yet another male.

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But how accurate is this toy? Well, given that only the skull of Andrewsarchus is currently known, it’s impossible to say. The head itself is definitely correct, with a long muzzle and huge teeth. The body, held high off the ground on long limbs, looks more like that of an entelodont than a mesonychid. The feet have blunt hooves instead of claws. And the long tail looks good, but it could just as easily have been a mere stump on the real deal. And as an artiodactyl, Andrewsarchus may well have had a much thinner coat of hair, like on a warthog. We simply don’t know. But in the absence of further fossil evidence, this is a very reasonable rendition. Incidentally, while Andrewsarchus has often been described as the biggest carnivorous land mammal of all time, Arctotherium augustidens, a gargantuan short-faced bear from South America, was probably even bigger and more powerful. Man, it sure would be great if CollectA made a toy of that monster! *hint*

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Beginning in 2012 with the award-winning Megacerops, CollectA’s prehistoric mammals have been nothing short of spectacular and the Andrewsarchus continues that proud trend. Beautifully sculpted, dynamic, and very, very scary, it’s definitely a must-have in my opinion.

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Triceratops 1996(Wild Safari by, Safari Ltd.)

Triceratops Wild Safari 1

When it comes to iconic dinosaurs, even after the rise of Velociraptor and Spinosaurus from Jurassic Park fame, Triceratops is placed towards the top of the list along with Tyrannosaurus Rex and Stegosaurus.  In fact, if I did a Greek Pantheon of Dinosaurs and replaced the top twelve Greek gods with Dinosaurs , Triceratops would get a top spot.  The question would be who’s place would it take?  Obviously in Zeus place would be T-Rex.  Some might think that due to its three horns its equivalent would be Poseidon due to the trident, but I think not.  I would replace Hera with Triceratops.   First, Triceratops was a grazer and one of  Hera’s symbols  was a cow, I think that’s close enough too be match.  Also, since T-Rex and Triceratops lived along side each other, they were married (Zeus and Hera were married) in the never ending dance between life and death, so I think the Triceratops is a good fit.

Of course your not here to read my nonsensical meanderings about Triceratops popularity, or its place in the cosmos, but to know a little bit more on the early Wild Safari Triceratops toy.  This toy was made during the early days of the Wild Safari line which was meant as a cheaper alternative to the Carnegie line and more kid friendly.  They had bright colors with soft, yet fun expressions.

Triceratops Wild Safari 9

About the Toy:  Its length is six and one eight inches (15.56 cm) from the tip of the horn to the tip of the tail.  It is two and seven eight inches (7.3 cm) high at the frill.  Adorning its head are the features that you would expect.  Two brow horns and a nose horn and short frill.   Even with a short frill, the skull and ornamentation of Triceratops was among the largest in land animals, making up approx one-third of the entire length of the dinosaur’s body.    On this toy, the frill looks less rounded than it should and not quite as broad.  The horns are wide at the base and are medium in length.  It can be considered an acceptable length though I would favor longer brow horns.

Back when it roamed the world, its beak-like mouth was best suited for grasping and plucking rather than biting shrubs and vegetation.  Unfortunately, the beak on this model is very small, it should have been bigger.  Inside the mouth the tongue is absent.   The cheeks are missing as well.

Triceratops Wild Safari 2

 

Triceratops had strong limbs to move and support its massive body. The forelimbs, which were shorter than the rear ones, supported the body weight on three fingers; the rear limbs carried its bulk on four fingers.  On this toy there are five toes on front and four on the back.  The front legs are supporting the weight directly underneath the body and the front feet on this model have the feet facing forward.  Many scientific theories explain that ceratopsians carried their front feet with their palms facing each other, while the legs and elbow joints were only slightly sprawled.

Triceratops Wild Safari 4

Wild Safari Triceratops 1996 and 2008 versions

The pose is active.  Its head is up and looking to its left while the right legs are spread.  With its front right foot reaching forward and the back right foot almost into the air. It looks to be making a turn, maybe circling a rival, courting a mate, or about to face off against a threat.   The mouth is open and the tail is bent slightly to its right.  The detail on this toy is not as good as version 1 or 2 of the Carnegie’s, and falls well short of its Wild Safari replacement. The model does have sufficient bulk along with loose skin and slight muscle bulges.  The texture of the body is basically loose rippled skin with some circular bumps.  The head has some scales on the frill and along the entire spine are some small vertical lines.

Triceratops Wild Safari 8

The color on this toy is bright and colorful.  The base color is grey which covers the flanks, legs, and belly of the animal.  The horns are a grey and charcoal mix.  Inside the mouth is pink.  The eyes are expressive, colored black with a white outline.  Along the spine is a blue and light green mix.  The rest of the frill is mostly blue with some light green and the head is mostly light green with some grey.  The round bumps on its frill are charcoal and down the middle they form a christian cross pattern with three additional bumps on its left and two on the right. The rounded bumps are charcoal along the flanks all the way to the tail.  The toes are painted in charcoal as well.

Safari also made a baby Triceratops that has the same blue, green, and grey color combo as the adult.  There is also a brown version of this toy and its baby that in my opinion doesn’t look as good as the blue version.

Triceratops Wild Safari 12

Play ability:  Younger kids find it an enjoyable toy to play with.  The colors are bright enough to get attention and with the head up, it looks ready to do battle or munch on plants.  The tail, horns, and jaws are bendy enough to move with your fingers but retain their shape.  Even though the horns are a little sharp, due to it being bendy, there is no danger.  It is easy to use, and its tough enough to handle rough play.  Safe for the sandbox and the living room floor.

Triceratops Wild Safari 3

Overall:  All in all, this figure is outdated, but cute.  It doesn’t stack up to the newer Triceratops toys in details or accuracy. Of course it was designed to be a cheaper toy for kids, and it that capacity it does quite well.   It also has a very cute and expressive eyes which gives it some personality, and personality goes along way.  This model has been retired for a long time but it is easy to find if you want one.  It is a flawed, colorful, and cute toy, that is good for kids.  As for collectors, it depends on your cup of tea if you like a little cuteness or not.