Siamotyrannus (Kaiyodo Dinotales Series 1)


Obscure dinosaur species only known from fragmentary remains are generally not made into toy form, but there are exceptions to every rule. Today we will look at Kaiyodo’s representation of Siamotyrannus isanensis, a poorly-known theropod from early Cretaceous Thailand.

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Not much can be said as to the accuracy of this figure.  Siamotyrannus is only known from pelvic bones and a few tail vertebrae, so its anatomy is not well-understood. Even its classification is uncertain – once thought to be a tyrannosauroid, a 2012 analysis classified it as a metriacanthasaurid. This figure seems to have been sculpted with the former classification in mind given the short two-fingered arms. This decision is understandable given that it was released in the early 2000s, before this genus’ placement in Metriacanthasauridae. Regardless of its classification, the figure depicts a generic large theropod quite nicely, with a well-muscled body and a detailed head. This is a well-fed animal – no shrink-wrapped theropods to be found here.

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The figure is very dynamically posed – with its jaws open and legs mid-stride, one can easily imagine this Siamotyrannus chasing after a hapless prey animal or rushing to fight a territorial challenger. The high-quality details make this figure even more life-like. Our theropod’s eyes are focused forward at its target, and all its teeth are bared in an intimidating snarl. All this detail is even more impressive when considering the small size of the figure (3.5″/9 cm).

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Adding to the life-like quality of this figure is the vibrant paint job. Though the color scheme features bright oranges and yellows, it does not appear garish at all. Part of this is thanks to the high quality control of Dinotales figures, which all feature precisely executed paint jobs. However, the figure does borrow its coloration from an extent animal – the Chinese crocodile lizard (Shinisaurus crocidulurus).

Image from Wikimedia

There are two other relatively common paint variations of this figure that also borrow from extant animal color schemes – a black and yellow version colored like the gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) and a blue version reminiscent of the eastern collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris). However, the orange variant seems to be the most commonly available out of the three. There is also an extremely rare fourth brown variant that does not seem to be based on an extant animal (readers, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong).

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With its active pose and realistic detailing and color scheme, this small figure makes a great addition to any collection. Unfortunately acquiring it is easier said than done, as this figure was a special release outside of the normal Dinotales Series 1 set and is rarely offered. It is occasionally available on eBay or other auction sites, but usually for exorbitant prices (upwards of $50). Your best bet is to browse through various Dinotales or Kaiyodo figure lots and hope this figure is included in one of them. However you manage to acquire it, this little Siamotyrannus is certainly worth the effort.

Tyrannosaurus Collection (Kaiyodo Capsule Q Museum)


A few years back the Japanese manufacturer of kits and figurines known as Kaiyodo announced the release of their “Capsule Q Museum” series. The various collections that have been released cover everything from anime characters, animals, food and, thankfully, dinosaurs. This was great news because with the discontinuation of their Dinotales line we were all sorely missing the exquisitely made and highly accurate little dinosaurs and prehistoric animals necessary to own for any collector of prehistoric toys, kits and figurines. The first series released was the Tyrannosaurus Collection back in early 2013. The collection consists of 6 figurines; Tyrannosaurus, a feathered Tyrannosaurus, a Tyrannosaurus skull and skeleton, and the recently described feathered Yutyrannus. A special color variation of the feathered Tyrannosaurus is also available but seems to be sold separately from the rest of the set. Each figure comes with a small human for scale. In the case of the T. rex skeleton there is a human skeleton to compliment it and a human skull to go along with the T. rex skull.

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If you’re familiar with Kaiyodo you’ll know that these models are very small but don’t assume that because they’re small that these models are inferior to larger models. These are inch for inch some of the most highly detailed and accurate figures that money can buy. These new Capsule Q models even outdo the Dinotales which is really saying something. Anyone in this hobby knows that the Japanese operate on an entirely different level when it comes to the production of dinosaur toys. They’re consistently the most accurate, well detailed and beautiful models available. As one of our forum members pointed out, it really says something when Japan can produce models sold alongside candy and attached to soda caps that outshine “museum quality” models in places like the UK and United States. If someone came to me asking for the most accurate and highest quality Tyrannosaurus money could buy, I would suggest the ones in this Kaiyodo series. But enough of all that lets review these things! As you can imagine though, the reviews will be pretty positive.

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So to start with, let’s take a look at the more traditional non-feathered rex. Honestly this one is probably my favorite of all the figures but not due to an aversion for feathered tyrannosaurs. Mostly it is due to the posture, color and patterns. This rex stands perched upon a couple rocks with one foot stepping up on a larger rock. The figure is a mixture of various browns and covered with black speckles which give it a mottled appearance. It’s a believable combination of colors and patterns that are interesting to look at without being too toy-like or garish. Anatomically the figure is sound. Kaiyodo models are actually kind of hard to review; there isn’t anything usually worth complaining about. I suppose the base of the tail could be thicker but that is really a minor complaint, hardly worth mentioning.

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The feathered rex is no less impressive in it’s sculpting but some of the paint choices and application I’m not so fond of. Striding forward on a flat base the figure is decked out in black plumage with a red crest of feathers on the head and red streaks down the back and tail along with some white streaks. Blue streaks are painted near the ears. Where the feathers end at the knees they’re painted brown, there is some brown on the lower jaw as well and yellow streaks along the sides. Those comments I made about the garish, toy-like paint job absent from the last figure do apply here. It looks like a child marked it up with some crayons. Luckily there is an alternative paint job for this otherwise stellar figure. It has a mostly brown color with several dark splotches and streaks and white edging in various places. It’s very reminiscent of various modern game birds. Unfortunately, I don’t own this particular variation.

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Before we move on to the bony parts of the collection lets take a look at the Yutyrannus; everyone’s favorite recently discovered theropod. Another beautiful model here, standing in a static pose with mouth agape. The figure is covered in frosty blue and white plumage with black streaks over the white portions and white streaks over the blue. A yellow ridge runs along the snout. It’s a beautiful piece, the colors reminiscent of cold climate animals around today. To date only one other Yutyrannus has been produced but this one is by far the better of the two.

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Finally, we have the skull and skeleton of our dear Tyrannosaurus. Back in 2010 our own Marc Vincent reviewed the Kaiyodo Dinotales Series 1 Tyrannosaurus skeleton with high praise. Forget about that thing, though impressive in its own right it is in this new T. rex skeleton that Kaiyodo has really shown their growth and commitment to quality. Bone for bone it appears to be an exact copy of a Tyrannosaurus skeleton…only tiny, like 2.3” tiny. It’s dynamically posed with one foot raised high off the ground as if lunging after some unseen prey. It’s actually the most interestingly posed figure of the bunch. The skull is equally impressive and jointed too so it can open and close. Truly these are like little museum pieces you can fit in a capsule. I’m no paleontologist but to my untrained eye these appear flawless. And as if that was not enough, they actually produce a human skull to sit alongside the rex skull!

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Looking at these beautiful little figures one might lament them not being larger but while larger models like these would certainly be a wonderful thing it is the small size of Kaiyodo models that give them their charm and makes them so amazing to behold. If you haven’t given Kaiyodo a try for whatever reason I highly suggest you do and hope I’ve convinced you. You can start with this Tyrannosaurus series but there are literally hundreds of obscure and well known prehistoric animals to choose from, most for reasonable prices. If you’re interested in this particular collection eBay is a good place to start. Beware of high prices though, with a little hunting you can find the entire set for a reasonable price. If you’re comfortable with Japanese auction sites you can find them even cheaper still. However you get them, you won’t regret adding these gems to your collection. A Triceratops series has also been released for the Capsule Q Museum as well as a marine reptile series just this year. I promise that if I get around to reviewing them I’ll try not to swoon over them too much but honestly, how can I help it? What are Kaiyodo reviews if not simply singing their praise?

Available on Ebay.com here

Giganotosaurus (Carnage Collection by ReSaurus)


The late 1990s saw the release of a particularly unique line of figures known as the Carnage Collection by ReSaurus. Eight (that I’m aware of) boldly patterned and articulated dinosaur models were produced before the line ended. The models seem very much aimed at kids, all representing flamboyant and mostly carnivorous dinosaurs. Oh, except for Protoceratops, they made one of those too for some reason, maybe to compliment their Velociraptor. Anyway, none are terribly accurate but they’re all fun looking and interesting models. Only one other figure from the line has been reviewed here, the Styracosaurus. Now that I’ve run out of new Battat models to review I’ll tackle the only model from this line I currently own, the Giganotosaurus.

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If you’re looking for an accurate model you’ll have to look elsewhere. Though not terrible and probably better than it ought to be, this model does have a couple issues. Most obvious would be the pronated hands but the entire head of the creature is a bit off. Far from the long shallow skull that we’re used to on Giganotosaurus this one has a shorter boxier head. It reminds me a lot of the skull illustrated in James H. Madsen’s 1976 monograph on Allosaurus. You know the one, it’s a classic. In fact, I’ll admit that is a feature that drew me to this particular model. It gives the model a nostalgic quality. Aside from those flaws, there really is not much to complain about, not bad for an action figure from the 1990s!

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The details are particularly good here; lots of wrinkles, bumps and appropriate musculature adorn the body. Some of the skeletal elements are visible through the skin; ribs and the scapula in particular. The head in particular is detailed with bumps, hornlets and bulges. It’s almost overkill as the combination of details on the head almost makes it look like a piece of burnt meat. It’s a bit shrink wrapped too which is a little off putting, all the fenestra are visible. While the color choices may not have been the best, the paint application is pretty good with little bleeding of the paint. The model is mostly a strange combination of purples along the back that runs down the sides in a series of stripes overlapping a green body. The head is black with a green lower jaw. The feet, hands and tip of the tail are black as well. All the teeth are individually sculpted and painted. A series of black spots can be seen on the neck. The tongue and pallet are pink and the claws and teeth are crisp white. The eyes are a bit unnerving and have an undead look to them; they’re pink with white pupils, probably meant to look more menacing than undead. The model itself is a hard plastic while the tail is a softer rubbery material. Unfortunately it seems the paint chips easily away from the rubber portion, especially where it meets the rest of the body. Care should be taken when acquiring this model if you desire this toy in mint condition.

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At 14” the model is a hefty one which puts it almost in the 1:40 scale range but that was no doubt unintentional as all the figures in this line are about the same size. There are several points of articulation here; the upper legs, knees, ankles, arms and jaw can all be moved and posed as desired. The joints in the knees and ankles mean this biped has a very difficult time standing. Though the model comes with a base and support rod it is hard to make it stand right and impossible to do so without some kind of support. The base itself is pretty cool though; a theropod track covered in dirt, rocks and bone with a name plate on the front.

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If you’re into action figures, retro dinosaurs or novelty type figures this would be a model worth seeking out. It’s large, detailed, well made and just fun to have around. That said, it’s a bit inaccurate, has difficulty standing and the paint chips off pretty easy. All of the Carnage dinosaurs are now out of production so you’ll have to do some dino-hunting on eBay for this guy.