In my previous review of Papo’s Parasaurolophus, I pointed out that not all Papo’s pre-Allosaurus dinosaur figures were necessarily Jurassic Park copies – but this Triceratops definitely is. It will therefore be more appealing to JP fans than anyone else, but like all Papo figures it’s quite a nice piece in its own right. If we excuse the colour scheme.
The biggest Jurassic Park-giveaway are the horns, which, just as in the movies, are bizarrely covered with spidery cracks to the point where they resemble fossils. The beak has also been rendered this way, and all in a rather unpleasant grey. In life the horns would have had a much smoother appearance, more like the horns on animals alive today and in, well, pretty much every other restoration of Triceratops.
Other than this odd little nod to JP, there’s nothing very wrong with the head, which is of course where the eye is drawn to on a beast like this. The structure of the skull is visible under the skin, there are skin folds around the edge of the beak, and its cheeks look quite hollow, which corresponds well with recent research. The skin darkens to black around the eyes, which are white with brown irises, giving them a peculiarly human appearance.
One thing I’ve always liked about Papo’s dinosaurs (along with Kinto Favorite) is that they’re covered in scales, with no wrinkly or cross-hatching cop-out, so the details hold up on close inspection. This Triceratops is no exception, with scales of varying sizes all over the body, including rows of larger oval scales that stand out over the back and flanks – another feature probably inspired by JP.
Although retaining a characteristically stocky, herbivorous appearance, it’s not all podgy and shapeless by any means – the muscles controlling the powerful forelimbs in particular are very obvious. Another plus is that the feet are not elephantine or like those of sauropods. Ceratopsians did have clearly differentiated digits (by modern accounts) and these are made very obvious on this toy. (I can’t remember if the Jurassic Park version did or not – answers on a postcard! Or in the comment box.)
Of course it’s not completely accurate, but it’s another very good effort for a toy line that, as I’ve said before, purports to do nothing more than appeal to Jurassic Park-loving kids and sell by the truckload, and does not have the endorsement of a museum. However, this toy has one serious letdown – the aforementioned colour scheme, which is pretty nasty for a Papo dino. The entire creature is an almost uniform brown that one might charitably describe as, er, ‘chocolate’. There’s also a little grey on its underside, which clashes rather with details on the head. The overall effect is to make the figure very unattractive to look at, which is a real shame given the care and attention that obviously went into the sculpt, and the fact that Triceratops is a favourite dinosaur among many people, as well as being a dinosaur toy staple. I would urge Papo to consider this figure for a repainted re-release as they have done with their Velociraptor, as it’s crying out for a paintjob that isn’t so plain and ugly. Something more like their stock photo would be grand.
In all, a fine JP-inspired figure let down by an atrocious colour scheme that makes it look far too much like a giant, um, mound of…mud. Here’s hoping the pachyrhinosaur being released later this year sees Papo giving ceratopsians a little more painterly love.
(One final thing: apparently this toy has been painted differently in different countries. I bought mine from a UK stockist operating online; apparently in Spain they have been seen coloured green. Let me know if you have seen it looking more attractive than here!)
Available from Amazon.com (here)