Cheap and cheerful. I think these two word pretty much sum up the dinosaur figures produced by Chap Mei. They are quite unusual, like a cross between Hasbro Jurassic Park toys and, umm, I’m not sure – something else. Barney the Dinosaur?
Chap Mei dinosaurs come in plenty of different packages – this Suchomimus came in ‘Dinosaur Safari’ packaging, as parts of a play set, as far as I am aware unique to the Early Learning Centre. The set includes a cameraman. The dinosaurs also come in different versions, for example, in addition to the blue figure featured here (Dinosaur Safari, Dinovalley 2), there is also a red version (DinoValley).
The figure itself has plenty of details, and although the long snout and pronounced spines on the back clearly identify this figure as a spinosaurid, there a many general problems. One problem is the lack of shape to the body, look at the figure from above and you will notice that the left and right sides of the body run almost parallel from the neck to the tail. There is no expansion of the body around the gut region, or narrowing of the neck. I think this goes to show that the sculptors base their models on images and photographs taken from the side, but lack information on the other aspects of the animals. I think this also explains why many Spinosaurus reconstructions have two ridges on the skull, instead of the single ridge on the middle, as is also the case with the Chap Mei Suchomimus (see detail of head below). The tail is ridiculously short and this is pronounced even more by a coil at the tip of the tail, nevertheless, the figure still manages to stand unsupported on two feet even though it looks completely off balance.
There is an inbuilt mechanism so that the jaws open and shut when the arms are moved. The left arm rotates in one direction and the right arm in the other. It’s cheaply done and rattles in mine, but it works fine. The spectacular colours are interesting and make a nice change from dull grays and greens seen in older models. I suppose these figures are intended to appear a bit cartoony, and they are intended for play rather than display, so overall, we can’t complain too much…
Available as part of a large DinoValley 2 playset here $