Psittacosaurus, the “parrot lizard” is a very early member of the broad dinosaur group Marginocephothelia which includes the horned dinosaurs such as Triceratops and also the distantly related dome-headed dinosaurs such as Pachycephalosaurus. It lived in Asia during the early Cretacious about 130 million years ago and was relatively small for a dinosaur, only about 6 feet in length. It’s also one of the best known dinosaur species due to the sheer number of fossils that have been discovered throughout Asia. Amongst these fossils, there is a very wide range of ages of the individuals, including tiny hatchlings all the way up to full grown adult specimens, a number of which are full skeletons. Some more recently discovered skeletons of this dinosaur also possess a mass of quill structures along the tail that may have given the animal a slight mammalian appearance in life.
The model itself happens to be one of my favorites by Carnegie. It’s beautifully sculpted and the paint detail is superb. Sometimes Carnegie tends to be sloppy with their paint jobs especially around the eyes and mouth area but not with this guy. Every line is perfectly placed right down to the dark rings around the eyes and the pink tongue inside the mouth. The color of the paint itself is also very nice. Not too flashy but not super boring either. Its base color is a pale straw color that darkens to a chocolate brown along the spine. It also has tiger stripes going down the back, each one consisting of darker brown bordered by a brighter yellow color. The parrot beak itself is dark brown and matches the narrow rings around the eyes.
The pose itself is okay. Its standing on its back limbs which is fine. Unlike its later ceratopsian cousins who were stuck on all fours because of their heavy skulls, Psittacosaurus was fully capable of walking on its hind legs if it needed to. The only problem is the fact that the tip of its tail is awkwardly touching the ground like so many of Carnegie’s other bipedal models. Its front legs seem to be flailing out in front of it as if to say “stop!” This look is supported even more by the worried look it seems to have in its eyes. I kind of would have preferred a different pose.
As far as accuracy is concerned, this model is almost perfect. The head is the right shape and size. I love how you can see the beginnings of what will later evolve into the impressive frills of the larger Ceratopsians sprouting out of the back of its skull. All four limbs are also perfectly in proportion with each other, and the rest of the body. The most impressive cater to detail I think, however, is the fact that Carnegie even made a point to make the individual fingers the right lengths with proportion to each other on the hands. The only thing it’s missing is the quills on the tail. This is not Carnegie’s fault, however, since the model was made before that particular fossil was discovered. In addition to this, not all specific species of Psittacosaurs (yes there were different species) show signs of having these quills. So all things said this model can be considered totally accurate for the time being.
Unlike a lot of Carnegie’s dinosaurs, the Psittacosaurus is not in 1:40 scale. The model itself is much larger than that. Personally, I wish Carnegie came out with a second tinier model of this species but to some people this does not matter at all. All in all, I think this is a nice piece. The ceratopsians are my personal favorite kind of dinosaur so this guy is a valuable member of my modest collection, even if he is too big when standing next to the others. Unfortunately this model is on the older side so getting your hands on it may be difficult.
This figure is now out of production.