Pliosaurus (Palaeoplushies)


We tend not to review soft toys here on the Dinosaur Toy Blog and for no good reason. Given this long-standing omission it’s about time we head into new territory and cast an eye over our first plush toy to ever feature on the blog – a Palaeoplushie. This new line of plush toys is currently designed and hand made by Rebecca Groom and depicts, according to the tagline, a variety of “extinct vertebrates in a more cuddly form”. How can we resist!?

Pliosurus Palaeoplushies

Palaeoplushies are no ordinary plush toys. They are anatomically accurate – essentially as accurate as you can get for a soft toy, I should think. The line contains marine reptiles, pterosaurs, and dinosaurs, some more obscure than others. Such is the quality and attention to detail that you’d be hard-pushed, at first glance or from a distance, to tell this is a plush figure and not a plastic model.

Pliosurus Palaeoplushies

This Palaeoplushies Pliosaurus is the newest addition to my collection of prehistoric marine reptiles and at 43 cm (17 inches) long it is a sizeable model. For a soft toy the attention to detail is impressive and there are no major anatomical errors to speak of. The exact proportions of Pliosaurus are unknown so speculation here is warranted. If I had to pick on some part of the anatomy to be tweaked then I’d suggest beefing up the limbs where they join the body, so as to accommodate powerful swimming muscles.

Pliosurus Palaeoplushies

The broad undulating countershaded pattern of pale and dark blues is somewhat reminiscent of Killer Whales and certain species of dolphins and porpoises. It is adventurous but pleasingly natural-looking  and adds considerably to the realism of the figure. The three-dimensional shape of the model is quite simple but the coloured fabric (smooth, not fluffy) gives the illusion of three-dimensional detail, and other details such as eyes, nostrils, jawline, and teeth. A particularly nice touch on the Pliosaurus figure is an asymmetrical distribution of scratches that seem befitting for an aged pliosaur that must have seen plenty of battle-action over many decades spent in the rough district of a Jurassic ocean.

Pliosurus Palaeoplushies

It is early days for Palaeoplushies and so they are currently being hand made individually. For this reason it is important to note that they are not currently certified by CE regulations and therefore cannot be sold for use by children under the age of 14. Given the quality of this Pliosaurus model I should think it is only a matter of time before this is resolved – this is as good as any commercially produced toy I’ve seen and looks perfectly safe to me. Hopefully, as the line grows in popularity and once these legal boxes are ticked, Palaeoplushies will become more widely distributed.

Pliosurus Palaeoplushies

Indeed, Palaeoplushies are currently seeking donors as part of a Kickstarter campaign to bring a mass-produced version of one figure (Velociraptor) to the market: I’m glad to see the campaign has already exceeded its target with several days remaining, so there’s still time to pledge some monies and get your hands on some of the incentives (including pins, shirts, and plush figures).

In conclusion, Palaeoplushies is an exiting newcomer to the dinosaur toy scene, they are offering something different to all of the other companies, and we will be following their progress with great interest.

Palaeoplushies are available via Etsy (This Pliosaurus cost £15). You can find out more about Palaeoplushies at their Facebook page, and also join in the discussion in the Palaeoplushies thread at the Dinosaur Toy Forum.

Pentaceratops (World of History by Schleich)


Review and photos by Raptoress. Figure available from Amazon.com here.

Pentaceratops, an obscure species of ceratopsian dinosaur. It’s a species that’s not often reproduced in toy form, but it has been done a few times before. For Schleich, it’s a first ever, and whilst Schleich is infamous for their often horrible lack of scientific accuracy, I consider this Pentaceratops a glimmer of hope. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely one of their better figures. This figure is one of the new Schleich ‘World of History’ line models for 2014 which I received as a present for my 18th birthday, and I personally love it.

Pentaceratops Schleich

Before we start, let me give a small description of Pentaceratops. Pentaceratops sternbergii was first discovered in 1921 and named in 1923 when its type species was described. It lived during the Cretaceous Period in both New Mexico and North America and was a herbivore. It weighed approximately 5 tons and was about 10 feet tall to the top of its very large frill. Its skull was the largest of any land animal that ever lived. It had three ‘true’ horns and two ‘false’ horns. The false horns were on the side of its face to anchor its jaw muscles.

Pentaceratops Schleich

Let’s start off with the skull. From what I’ve researched it appears to be very accurate. The head is very well sculpted with the frill being shaped just right. Nice and squarish looking and very large, as it should be. There are three ‘true’ horns and two ‘false’ horns, which is correct, hence the name ‘Pentaceratops’. The detail on the head is excellent, with beautiful scales of all sizes covering the whole head all the way up to the frill. The eyes are tiny with small wrinkles surrounding it.

The overall body shape seems correct to me, too. The shoulders have a slight hump that goes downwards to the stumpy looking tail, which is just the right length. A lot of people seem to think that ceratopsian tails were long like other dinosaurs, when in reality they were actually quite short and stumpy, just like on this model.

Pentaceratops Schleich

Now onto the inaccuracies, which are minor but still noticeable if you’re really into dinosaurs. The front feet have five digits and the back feet has four digits, which is correct. However, all the digits have claws, which is incorrect. The first 3 toes on the front feet were clawed and touched the ground, while the other two were vestigial, did not have any claws and did not touch the ground. The back feet had three clawed toes whilst the last toe was again vestigial, clawless and did not touch the ground. To nitpick, I think the front legs are a bit too long in comparison to the back legs. The back legs should be longer than the front. Also like the Schleich Tyrannosaurus Rex re-sculpt that I previously reviewed, there is no cloacal opening. The last thing I think is inaccurate is the curl in the tail, which would not have occurred with such a stiff tail of a ceratopsian. Other than that, I can’t really see anything else inaccurate with this figure. The tail might be very slightly too skinny, but I could be wrong.

Pentaceratops Schleich

The paint scheme is quite different. I’ve not seen one like this before, and I rather like it. It’s red with black, stripy markings, and on the underside it’s a pale salmony sort of colour. I feel the patterns should be a bit more elaborate on the frill, as it is now believed that the frill was mainly used as a display towards mates or foes. But I suppose it could always be a female Pentaceratops, in which case it would probably be less elaborate anyway. There is no sloppiness of paint on my model, and I will take a guess that it’s the same for all the Pentaceratops models. It’s all just really well detailed and generally well made.

The textures are really nice and well detailed, too. This model has a very solid plasticy feel to it and has no waxiness or rubberiness like the new Tyrannosaurus rex re-sculpt or Velociraptor re-sculpt. And I love it. I love all my models to have this heavy, solid plastic feel to them. As well as the lovely, mixed size scales on the skull, it also runs down to the body which turns into different, larger scales and there’s also lots of nice little wrinkles and skin folds. The underside is even more detailed with a slight neck wattle and loads of wrinkles and skin folds. I can see that the sculptor has spent a lot of time and effort into making sure this model has perfect textural details. The underside of the feet also has detail that makes them look slightly fleshy and wrinkly. The mouth is open as if roaring, and you can see a tiny tongue with nice looking texture as well as on the roof of the beak.

Pentaceratops Schleich

The pose is quite interesting. It looks alert with one leg raised in the air, and nostrils flaring. It looks like it’s getting ready to charge or fight with either a predator or a fellow Pentaceratops. Again I like this a lot. It’s all very unique to me and will give me a lot of photographic opportunities for my model dinosaur photography.

Overall, I love this figure, especially being the ceratopsian fanatic that I am. It’s dynamic, well detailed and different. A real step up from the other not-so-accurate models that Schleich has produced of recent. Apart from some minor flaws, I think this model is well worth picking up and will make a nice addition to your collection.

Available from Amazon.com here.

Oviraptor on Nest (Dino Discoveries by Safari Ltd)


Safari Ltd. recently announced their retirements for this upcoming year. On the list was the 2007 “Oviraptor on Nest” figure, part of their “Dino Discoveries” line. While discussing it on the forum I realized this spectacular little diorama has not been reviewed yet so here I am, reviewing it. The “Dino Discoveries” line consists of a series of fossil replicas as well as models depicting notable fossil finds, in this case the preserved fossils of Citipati brooding their nests. Though I say it is a spectacular model, it is far from flawless but it has a lot of unique features that make up for its short comings. Indeed, it may very well be the model that “sparked” this dinosaur collecting hobby for me.

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Sculpted in 1:10 scale this Oviraptor is in actuality the much more well known Citipati from Mongolia. It is usually Citipati that is depicted in the media as Oviraptor, the actual Oviraptor is only known from scant material. The model is heavily influenced by paleoartist Luis Rey and his depiction of brooding Citapati. The figure shows an adult Citipati looking down over its nest of eggs, all in various stages of hatching. I assume the adult is a male due to the bold coloration on the face but the chicks have the same coloration, maybe I’m just looking too much into it. Regardless of sex the parent looks to be a proud one and maybe a little bit surprised, looking down at its young with wings outstretched around them. The emerged chick looks ready for its first meal, fresh out of the egg.

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The accuracy is hit and miss with this one. Certainly of note are the feathers, sculpted at a time when feathers were rare on model dinosaurs. The feathers are scant though, only present on the arms and running down the back. The arm feathers should extend down the middle finger but as is so often the case with these models they stop at the wrist. The rest of the body is naked, literally. The only scales are on the hands and feet, the rest is just naked skin like on an ostrich leg. The upper thigh does have some raised bumps that almost make it look like a plucked chicken. Personally I like this alternative over having the animal half scaly. It shows that this animal probably descended from a fully feathered ancestor. Still, a full body covering would have been preferable. One has to wonder how it incubated its eggs against its fleshy body instead of a nice warm downy covering but all well, it is still far more realistic than the brooding Maiasaura put out by Carnegie back in their early years.

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Perhaps the most glaring problem with the model is the tail. It is certainly the biggest issue I have with it. The tail is wrapped around the nest, no doubt to save space but while the body is flesh colored the tail is a much darker shade of brown and it starts very near the attachment point for the tail which makes it look like it was literally tacked on there. The tail also has a bizarre series of rings going all the way down the length. This in conjunction with the dark brown make it look much more like a rat tail or even an earth worm than the tail of a bird-like theropod dinosaur. To the models credit the rest of the anatomy looks pretty spot on, in particular the head which is very nicely sculpted and detailed right down to the bizarre tooth-like projections on the roof of the mouth. Oh yeah, the hands are not pronated. It’s almost an obligation to state whether or not they are in these reviews.

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Aesthetically you’ll either love or hate this model, much like Luis Rey’s paleoart. As is the norm for him this model is presented in a very wide array of psychedelic colors that most paleoartists wouldn’t dare paint their dinosaurs in. The body is a fleshy skin color (except for the rat tail) while the feathers are various shades of pink and purple. White gives way to light pink towards the base of the feathers which give way to full on purple near the tips, this applies to the feathers running down the back as well. Overall not a bad look but once again it is the head that really stands apart on this model. Meticulously painted, the head is purple and blue with a red beak. The crest is red as well but with a very sharp looking black and white design painted on it. The eyes are green with a black pupil, the hands and claws are painted black. As said before, the hatching chicks are painted similarly to the adult, though they lack the crest. The nest is your standard grassy sort of nest and sitting on a brown base. The paint application is very clean overall.

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This bold, interesting and detailed model is an instant eye-catcher in any collection and although it suffers from its share of problems you’ll be hard pressed to find mass produced mini-dioramas of this caliber for the price range. It really is a well crafted piece of art and I truly wish Safari would produce more models like it. It not only represents one of the most exciting discoveries of its day but also the work of a highly acclaimed paleoartist. You can’t help but hold your gaze on it, it’s so animated and alive and beautiful to look at. The fact that it will be retired soon means you should probably get it while you can but I’m sure it should remain easy to find for some years to come.

Available from Amazon.com here.