Wuerhosaurus (Age of the Dinosaurs by PNSO)

A wide variety of stegosaurs once inhabited North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, but Wuerhosaurus is the only one currently known to have survived all the way into the Early Cretaceous period. Unfortunately, few fossils of this intriguing Chinese animal have been uncovered to date.

Xana the Wuerhosaurus measures just over 8 cm long. Like many of her fellow PNSO miniatures, she is sculpted in a relaxed walking pose, her head turned to the left and her tail held high and swinging to the right. Looks like she’s just out taking a peaceful morning stroll. Her main colour is mustard yellow with a faded underbelly, dark red spots, dark brown on her plates and spikes, and black and white eyes. Not as vibrant as the Kentrosaurus or the Tuojiangosaurus, but decent enough.

Xana’s skin has a wrinkly texture all over. Most of the wrinkles are small, but there are thicker ones lining her belly and the underside of her tail. The muscles in her neck, limbs, and tail are visible beneath the skin and her plates and spikes are covered in fine grooves. There certainly can be no question that these PNSO figures are among the best sculpted miniature dinosaurs.

The plates on Xana’s back are short and rectangular, which is unlike all other known stegosaurs. Her thagomizer is comprised of four stout spikes. Her head and neck look to be of reasonable proportion, and her feet have the correct number of toes for a stegosaur. All this is in keeping with most artistic depictions of Wuerhosaurus, as any Google image search will promptly demonstrate. However, the truth is that we really don’t have a good idea of what this animal looked like. Even the shape of the plates is in question, as it has been demonstrated that what was thought to be a rectangular plate was actually a broken one.

Until more fossils are found (and that could well be never), we can say that Xana is a fine rendition of what we think Wuerhosaurus might have looked like. I’m really enjoying this line so far. Keep up the good work, PNSO!

Allosaurus (Conquering the Earth by Schleich)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

Back when I reviewed the 2015 Schleich Spinosaurus, I openly stated how annoyed I was over the fact that the company keeps repeating the same species instead of releasing brand new ones. But when the 2017 models came along, I was sort of relieved, as the models had something about them that suggested that the line was starting over, making any future repeat releases from years prior to 2016 warranted. What made me change my stance was the fact that Schleich now gives each of the new models a display tag providing info about the animal. This is why I bought the Brachiosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Allosaurus when I already had the previous versions from 2012 in my possession. It’s these display tags that remind me of the old Replicasaurus models that I never had a chance to collect, and I think it’s the perfect reason to release repeats of species previously released from 2012 to 2015. So with that out of the way, it’s time to move on to my review of this new Allosaurus.

When this model was first revealed, people were quick to judge it based the stock photo, which showed it at a bad angle. Now that the final product is in my hands, I can say that their pessimism was warranted. It repeats the same mistakes that Schleich still refuses to correct on their theropods to this day. These mistakes should be obvious to veteran readers of the DTB, but for those of you who are new to the community, these mistakes are as follows. First, the feet are oversized and the arms are pronated, making the hands look like slappers instead of clappers. The reason this is wrong is because the anatomy of a theropod’s wrists prevent them from being twisted in this fashion without breaking the poor animal’s bones. Another issue I can see with this model is one that is pretty common among Allosaurus toys and models alike: the lack of a large claw on each hand. Now I will admit, when I reviewed Allosaurus toys in the past, I tended to forget about this important feature. This is because when I think of enlarged foreclaws on theropods, I think of spinosaurs and megaraptorids. But Allosaurus is known to have possessed large killings claw as well, and this model lacks them entirely. Perhaps this feature is often omitted for safety reasons, but with the claws being blunted on this figure, I don’t see that as a viable excuse. Other issues with this figure include the fact that the torso is too short, which situates the arms a lot closer to the legs then they should be. Also, the body needs more muscle, as do the legs. The legs are just too skinny and almost poorly sculpted as well. By contrast, the previous version had some beefy legs that look like they had muscle to them.

In terms of detail, the Allosaurus is covered in scales that actually look like scales as opposed to the multi-shaped scales on the World of History version. Each scale is individually sculpted on this new one, and the only parts that don’t have them are the neck and the bottom half of the figure. In those areas, there are just wrinkles. However, the wrinkles on the old version look a lot more realistic and were more apparent, which made it look more like a living, breathing animal as opposed to just a lump of plastic made in the vague shape of a dinosaur. The head on this new Allosaurus shows a lot more improvement over the head sculpted on the World Of History version, but they still managed to get things wrong. When the mouth is opened, the jaw still looks unnatural, although it’s nowhere near as bad as the previous version. The skull looks like an Allosaurus more than the previous version, but it’s too wide when viewed from the front, and is too short when viewed from the side. When the jaw is opened, you can see that Schleich once again gave the figure a tongue that takes up the entirety of the lower jaw. At least this time the tongue looks a lot more natural than the old version’s, and the teeth look a lot more realistic.

Colour-wise, this figure is not as drab as the original Replicasaurus model, but it is still another brown figure in their lineup. This time, the back of the toy is adorned with red lines that subtly fit in with the brown. It also has a dark tan tint to it, which further accents the colour scheme. The claws are a light black, and the teeth are white.

If you plan on buying this figure, one thing that I must point out is that the paint quality is pure garbage, because it rubs off very easily. The tip of the tail was completely rubbed off when I first received it, which exposed the white plastic that the toy is made out of. On top of that, you can’t open the mouth without rubbing even more paint off. And so my Allosaurus now has a white goatee thanks to the poor quality of the paint Schleich decided to use. I think the main problem with this model is the fact that is made out of a waxy material, which does not allow paint to adhere too very well to it.

In case anyone is wondering, the toy is 10 inches long, so it’s somewhere in the 1:30 scale range. All I know is that it’s certainly too big to be in 1:40 Scale, and the proportions don’t make it a very realistic replica of a theropod. It certainly does not feel alive like many of Papo’s models, and I feel there’s a certain artificial touch to the sculpt that diminishes its realism greatly. In my honest opinion, the World of History version was a lot more believable as a real animal than this one, which means I cannot recommend this new one to anyone who is not a diehard Schleich collector.

Kronosaurus (Deluxe by CollectA)

Slowly, steadily, silently, Keelhaul approaches his target, an elasmosaur too occupied in turn with stalking a school of fish to notice him. A sudden push of his flippers, a snap of his mighty jaws, a moment’s frantic struggle, and the elasmosaur is dead, its long neck nearly severed. Wasting no time, Keelhaul sinks his teeth into his victim’s abdomen and begins tearing apart the flesh . . .

Named after the cruel king of the Greek titans who swallowed his own children whole, Kronosaurus queenlandicus was truly a terror of the deep. Measuring over ten metres in length, propelled by powerful flippers, and equipped with a two-metre long head and a mouth filled with enormous conical teeth, this frightful pliosaur was probably capable of killing anything it encountered in the Early Cretaceous seas. Little wonder then that CollectA selected it as one of their Deluxe figures for 2017. And with a length of 31 cm and a flipperspan of 18.5 cm, this briny brute topples the Pliosaurus for the title of their biggest sea monster to date. It is sculpted in a swimming pose with its huge head turned to the left and its short tail swaying to the right. Unlike so many other plesiosaur toys that rest on their bellies, this giant is supported by its mighty flippers.

The main colours on the Kronosaurus are rust on top and beige underneath. Dark brown patches and tiny spots adorn the upper half of the body. The eyes are glossy black, the teeth are cream, and the inside of the mouth is pink. Given that most sea monster figures are painted in varying shades of blue or grey or green, I find this colour scheme to be quite distinctive and refreshing, yet still grounded in realism. The dark upper half and light underbelly would effectively camouflage the predator from above and below. And the large, inky black eyes give it a dark, sinister vibe similar to that possessed by a great white shark. The Schleich Kronosaurus has a very similar colour scheme, but it isn’t executed as well as this.

The Kronosaurus‘ mouth features a ribbed palate, a huge tongue, and, of course, lots and lots of conical teeth, sharp enough to be pleasing, yet not enough to present a potential hazard. Most of the wrinkles carved into the body are sparse and subtle, but the ones on its neck and at its shoulders and hips are much more pronounced. There are also a few small, wart-like bumps scattered across the skin. The flippers are long, thick, and muscular, perfect for propelling the animal rapidly through the depths. Similarly, the stocky neck would enable ol’ Keelhaul here to shake a victim to death, then tear the corpse apart piece by piece.

On that note, let’s talk about this toy’s action feature. The Kronosaurus‘ lower jaw is hinged, allowing the mouth to clamp shut, open wide, or chomp down on other toys as shown below. Needless to say, this is quite a fun feature, one that will appeal to many adult collectors and certainly any child. I know my eight year old self would been head over heels with this toy. It would have been devouring other aquatic beasts or G.I. Joes all day long. The only down side is that there’s a very visible seam along the jawline, especially when the mouth is closed.

And we mustn’t forget to discuss scientific accuracy. This Kronosaurus does have a small error in that there ought to be a diastema (gap in the tooth row) between the last pair of premaxillary teeth and the first pair of maxillary teeth. I’m not going to fault CollectA too much for this, as it’s relatively difficult to find good, up-to-date reference material for Kronosaurus. Indeed, the only mounted specimen, located at Harvard University, has been dubbed “Plasterosaurus” for the amount of fake bones it contains. Aside from the teeth, however, this toy measures up very well. The head is appropriately massive and well-fleshed out. The flippers are correctly proportioned with the rear pair being larger. And the chunky tail features a small fluke. There’s no direct evidence for such a feature on Kronosaurus as of this writing, but given that some of its relatives such as Rhomaleosaurus possessed them, the possibility exists.

Overall, this is a highly impressive and fun figure, one that will surely terrorize the other denizens of the deep in your collection. Would also be great to play with the bathtub or the swimming pool! Kronosaurus was my favourite prehistoric sea monster as a kid and Keelhaul here has captured its mighty essence wonderfully.

Thanks go out to CollectA for this review sample!