Albertosaurus (Jurassic Hunters by Geoworld)


Review and photos by Takama, edited by Plesiosauria.

Here’s another Geoworld figure up for review. Albertosaurus is a tyrannosaurid found in Alberta, Canada, which has been the subject of many toys over the past ten years. In 2013, Geoworld released their own version of Albertosaurus as part of the Jurassic Hunters line of collectible dinosaur figurines. While it is true that the figure is very cartoony, I tend to think that the critics are being a little harsh on this line as a whole. For me, Geoworld figures are good in their own way, even if the models are not necessarily scientifically accurate. This figure, in particular, does something that some other companies are afraid to do. Look closely and you’ll see that Geoworld put feathers on their Albertosaurus!

Albertosaurus Geoworld

For this reason I think that Geoworld are really trying to make good models by applying some research to them, and they are attempting to keep up with the changing times (the feathers on this model could be the result of the discovery of Yutyrannus the year before this figure was released). Sadly, even though this model has feathers, it is still plagued with anatomical issues, the most glaring of which is the head. The skull of the figure is too short and boxy and does not match the fossil evidence for Albertosaurus. It is a generic theropod head. The arms are also too big and ‘noodle like’ – if they were held straight out they would likely be too long and slender. The whole figure has a cartoony appearance.

Albertosaurus Geoworld

The body is also posed in a hilarious fashion and gives the impression of a ‘chicken dance’. It would be funny if the Jurassic Hunters line was some half-hearted series produced to make people laugh, but Geoworld claims that these models are authentic scientific replicas. I’m contradicting myself a bit when I state they are trying to make good models and then follow up with these anatomical issues, but I see this model as goof in their collection. That said, having owned a lot of Geoworld figures I think this is not their worst to date!

Albertosaurus Geoworld

The color scheme for this figure is not too original. The bottom half of the figure is lighter green and the top half is a darker green. The eyes are crudely painted yellow which makes them look silly, and the mouth is pink, while the teeth are white. It’s all rather intense!

Albertosaurus Geoworld

Overall, this is a generally poorly done figure, but I find it intriguing enough to like it for what it is. The feathery texture is what drew me to this figure to begin with, and the silly pose puts a smile on my face. It may not be loved by others, but to me, this is one of Geoworld’s most ambitious figures to date, simply because they put feathers on what is basically a Tyrannosaurus rex-like animal.

Available on Amazon.com here.

Upcoming releases from Schleich (New for 2015)


It seems that all of the Schleich releases planned for next year are known and the line up for 2015 is now looking quite extensive. On their Facebook page Schleich are still officially trying to tease us about what they have in store, so most of this information comes from unofficial leaks, I guess. Nevertheless, lists and pictures have been posted on various forums and blogs, so the information is out there. I’ll recap how things stand here, but I’ll edit this post if anything changes.

There will apparently be four new ‘large’ models added to the ‘World of History’ line, two of them species brand new to the set:

Anhanguera. Colourful if a little cartoony. Has an articulated jaw for playability.
Anhanguera Schleich 2015

Kentrosaurus. This figure is receiving the most critical acclaim and was one of the first Schleich 2015 figures to become known. In conjunction with the Anhanguera it gave collectors high hopes that Schleich was heading in a new direction in terms of anatomical accuracy, attention to detail, and finesse of sculpture.
Kentrosaurus Schleich 2015

This hope was misplaced and short-lived, for the two other figures in this line provided something of a swift slap in the face to those daring enough to entrust Schleich with producing museum-quality dinosaurs in the future. These two other ‘new’ figures demonstrate that Schleich hasn’t really changed at all.

Spinosaurus. Has an articulated jaw for playability.
Spinosaurus Schleich 2015

Giganotosaurus. Also has an articulated jaw for playability.
Giganotosaurus Schleich 2015

Both typical Schleich affairs – colourful but lacking in realism.

There are plenty of other figures set for release in 2015 too. A series of ‘small’ figures including six species already produced by Schleich in other lines. Some of these look better than others:

Carnotaurus
Carnotaurus Schleich 2015

Giganotosaurus
giganotosaurus Schleich 2015

Therizinosaurus
Therizinosaurus Schleich 2015

Triceratops
Triceratops Schleich 2015

Tyrannosaurus
tyrannosaurus Schleich 2015

Velociraptor
Velociraptor Schleich 2015

Much ado has been made of the apparently armless Carnotaurus in this set, and in response Schleich has assured us all (via Everything Dinosaur) that arms are present in this model (even if they are not visible in the photographs) – time will tell.

Another new set of even smaller dinosaurs is also in the pipeline for next year. This ‘mini-dino’ set contains eight familiar species, as follows:

Pentaceratops
Pentaceratops Schleich 2015

Quetalcoatlus
Quetzalcoatlus Schleich 2015

Triceratops
Triceratops Schleich 2015

Stegosaurus
Stegosaurus Schleich 2015

Spinosaurus
Spinosaurus Schleich 2015

Saichania
Saichania Schleich 2015

Velociraptor
velociraptor Schleich 2015

Tyrannosaurus
tyrannosaurus Schleich 2015

So, that’s at least 18 new dinosaur figures, in all sorts of sizes, from Schleich in 2015! One might think they are trying to tie in with some global dinosaur pop-cultural phenomenon scheduled for next year (cough – Jurassic World – cough).

But wait, there’s more! Schleich are also releasing some play sets/accessories in 2015. A cave, some plants, some raptor babies, and so on. I’ll post photos of these too when they become available.

Schleich dinosaur toys are available from Amazon.com here.

Megalosaurus (Natural History Museum by Toyway)


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History:  166 million years ago during the middle Jurassic a predator named Megalosaurus prowled England.  In 1824 it became the first non-avian dinosaur to have a validly named genus.  From there its popularity grew and became a widely known dinosaur celebrity.  It received top billing at Crystal Palace Park where it was one of the three mascot dinosaurs.  Megalosaurus looked to become one of the foremost faces of the prehistoric age, even being mentioned in a Charles Dickins novel.  Then, as with many celebrities, it slowly all fell apart.

Even though an entire family, the Megalosauridae was established in the mid 1800’s, (we have to remember that at the time dinosaurs were not well known), so many dinosaurs were just thrown into the family.  There is no holotype fossil evidence just the lectotype, a piece of a right lower jaw (Dentary) with a single erupted tooth, and the syntypes fossils that are associated with it that may, or may not be part of Megalosaurus.  Including the possible Megalosaurus tracks found in 1997.  At least until a more complete skeleton arrives to use as a comparison.

Then you had the almost complete skeletons of now popular dinosaurs being found during the bone wars in North America and in 1905 the rise of T-Rex.  By that time, the Crystal Palace Dinosaus was basically forgotten; no new fossils of Megalosaurus had arrived.  So as the 20th century got under way, it slowly faded from popular imagination and became an afterthought.

So how does this quick history lesson apply to the 2006 Toyway (Natural History Museum) Megalosaurus, let’s take a look!

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About the toy:  Its size is 17cm long and 9.5cm high and the scale is 1:40.  The posture is very basic with the head (if you are looking at it from the front) slightly turned to the right with its mouth open.  The body has a slight curve, leading all the way to the tail were it curves slightly to the left.  The right foot is forward, with the left foot slightly behind the hip.  The head is thin and rather small, with many very small teeth that go far back into the mouth just underneath the eye.  The snout is thin and rather flat, with two brow ridges above the eyes.  It has a common theropod s-curve with an average length neck.  The arms are short and pronated with bunny hands with three digits ending in small claws.  The mid torso has a narrow ribcage, wider hips, and the legs are thin below the knee.  The tail is thin and is as long as the rest of the toy.

The body is covered in small round irregular scales that cover the head, mid and upper torso, arms, and legs.  There are some loose skin and folds along the neck, torso, shoulders, and hips.  There are some muscle bulges and a hint of a rib cage.  The base color is a light orange, with grey tiger striping coming down from the spine along with smaller darker orange striping over the grey.  The belly and neck are a light creamy orange.  The eye is glossy black, the inside of the mouth and the tongue is pink, and the small teeth are white.

Also: the legs can warp over time on this toy, which can make it difficult to stay upright over time.

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Scientific accuracy: I almost give this toy a pass in this area; there just isn’t the fossil evidence to really compare it too.   The toy is generic theropod toy.  It is bipedal with a horizontal tail.  Its arms are pronated which we all know is wrong, while ending in three digits which could be right.  I also think the head looks like it was just stuck onto the neck.

Playability:  It is your basic predatory dinosaur.  Kids will enjoy playing with it, and the colorization is striking enough for them to enjoy.  It is also a rather tough toy, as the paint holds up very well.  The edges are not sharp, so it is safe for kids of all ages to use.

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Overall Appraisal:  In many ways, this is a forgettable toy.  The posing and anatomy is generic, and it has some scientific flaws.  This is forgivable due to the lack of fossil evidence.  In the toy world, the Natural History Museum Megalosaurus doesn’t have much in the way of competition.  The only other toys that I have seen are from CollectA, Sega, Starlux, and Invicta.  I wouldn’t say those were very good, though the Invicta toy is very strange and cool in its retro styling.  In fact, that is the good thing about this toy.   If you follow the history of our understanding of dinosaurs and compare it to Megalosaurs, even starting at Crystal Palace, the toys for it reflect the current thinking of the time of what dinosaurs looked like.  You could do a really cool diorama with Megalosaurus from that perspective.  I also like the color and the striping pattern on it, it is both pleasing, and stands out in a crowd.

The Natural History Museum Megalosaurus is an average toy at best. Since the Megalosaurus is a rare dinosaur to find in toy form, it can find a place in some people’s collections.  It also works well with many different types of dioramas and for kids play-time adventures.

Usually available from Ebay.com here.