Triceratops (Nanoblock)

“Greetings, fellow dinosaur lovers! I, Dr. Bella Bricking, am back with another Nanoblock review! And where would I be without my trusty and beloved Beth Buildit?”

“I shudder to think, Doc. What’s on the table today?”

“Today, Beth, we shall be reviewing the Triceratops. Let us tear open the packaging and begin!”

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“You know, Doc, this would probably go a lot faster if you helped out instead of just staring through your giant magnifying glass.”

“I’m examining the fine craftsmanship of the blocks and the clever design of the model, Beth. And I wouldn’t dream of impeding on your building skills!”

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“Fine, Doc, but you’re building the next one. Anyhow, here’s the completed Triceratops. It measures all of 12 cm long and is grassy green with a dull yellow underbelly, translucent yellow eyes, a brown beak, and white horns and hooves. Simple, but spiffy!”

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“Agreed, Beth. The Triceratops is built in a simple walking stance with its right side limbs stepping forward. The relatively short brow horns allow one to envision this as T. prorsus as opposed to the more popular T. horridus. The head and body are cleverly designed, especially the frill. The feet all have only three toes, but that can be forgiven.”

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“And don’t forget that the head is on a ball joint and the tail can also be turned to either side, Doc. Sure, it’s not a vast range of movement, but it does give this guy a good bit of character.”

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“It certainly does, Beth. Overall, I’d say the Triceratops is a unique, challenging, and interesting building set for young and older dinosaur lovers. Just remember to handle it carefully! Ciao for now!”

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“See you next time, folks. And don’t forget, Doc, it’ll be your turn to do the building!”

Anchitherium (Bullyland)

Review and photographs by Indohyus, edited by Suspsy

Horses have played a great roll in the history of mankind since the end of the ice ages. One of the last few large mammals alive from that time, they are found all across the world in various forms. It is unsurprising then that there has been interest in the evolution of horses, with a few being immortalized in plastic. Today’s example is Anchitherium by Bullyland. Hailing from the early Miocene of Eurasia and North America, it is a side branch in horse evolution, not related to modern horse species. Seems an odd choice for a figure, rather than one of its earlier members in my opinion, but that aside, let’s take a closer look.

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At 3.9” from snout to tail and 2.4” from hoof to ear, it’s a small figure, but fitting for an animal only around 1 m tall, and fits in well with most prehistoric lines. The pose is fairly dynamic, striding forward, possibly to eat leaves or preparing to run from a predator, the choice is that of the owner. The colouring is a chestnut brown with a darker mane and tail and beige stripes on the legs. The overall pattern seems reminiscent of the African wild ass, but in a darker colour, looking quite natural overall. Oh, and this model is male. VERY male!

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There isn’t a great variety of fossil evidence for Anchitherium, mostly limbs and teeth, so it seems the modellers based the figure on modern horses, thus accuracy seems to be close to a living animal. As for accuracy to the fossils, it is also pretty close. The head is accurate and the vestigial digits are present on each hoof. They maybe a little smaller than they should, but the size does generally work, if a little easy to over look.

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This figure may be an odd choice to pick out of the lineage of horse evolution, but it really is a little gem. Once again, Bullyland creates a beautiful prehistoric mammal figure, well worth hunting for. There are a few of these on eBay, but being a retired figure it is hard to find and expensive when you do (though not quite as bad as Megaloceros).

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Overall, it is a worthwhile grab if you can get it. You certainly won’t regret picking it up for a child or for a collection.

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Compsognathus (Jurassic Hunters by Geoworld)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

Over the years, many different dinosaurs have been made into toys and models by different companies, but it’s only recently that a creature that’s appeared in the media multiple times is finally getting the attention it deserves.Compsognathus has had a bit of resurgence on the dino toy market, with Schleich releasing two as a part of a playset and Rebor doing what they do best by pandering to those who love the scaly little whippersnappers that took down a little girl in the Lost World: Jurassic Park. Prior to this, the only serious Compsognathus toy that I could think of is this one by Geoworld (which just so happens to be the subject of today’s review).

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Compsognathus comes from a family of dinosaurs–coelurosauria–in which enough fossils have been found to conclude that it and its relatives were feathered to some degree (and there’s even one species that gave us enough clues to pinpoint the color of the feathers that covered it.) Unfortunately, no specimens of Compsognathus have been discovered as of yet with a hint of a feathery covering. This is enough to make some lay people think that it must not have had feathers and was therefore scaly, like the ones in the second and third JP films. It’s this kind of mentality that some companies love to pander to, and I’m sorry to say that Geoworld is one of them, despite their insistence on claiming that their products are museum quality.

The Geoworld Compsognathus would be a great little figure were it not for one thing. It was released in 2013 when remains of its feathery cousins had been known for quite a while. Looking over my Geoworld collection, it seems the company only puts feathers on the dinosaurs that are known to have had feathers from their fossils (phylogenetic bracketing be damned) and leaving those that don’t have feathers on their fossils completely naked and scaly. The only exceptions to this theory would be the Albertosaurus, which I think might be a fluke.

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Anyways, the Geoworld figure is scaly, but it at least look like the real creature to a lesser extent. The proportions seem to be almost correct (the tail should be longer) and the skull is faithful to the real creature. If there’s one thing (other than the lack of feathers) that could make this figure exceptional, then it would be the hands. As it stands, they are inaccurate due to the lack of a third claw. If one more digit was added to each of the hands, then this would be a good 1980s’ representation of the species. The colours on this model are not too bad either. The base color is yellow while the back is orange and a black line runs the length of the flanks and wraps around the tail. The feet are dirty and the claws are black.

Overall, this is one of Geoworld’s more decent efforts. It could be a lot worse, but it can also be better at the same time. All in all, it’s just a flawed replication of Compsognathus, but is perhaps the most accurate model you can buy as of this writing.

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