Review and pictures by ChemaV, edited by Plesiosauria
This Brontosaurus figure was made in Japan and belongs to the “SF movie selection” collection, which consists of little models based on the 1933 “King Kong” movie. It is produced by the company Konami and is licensed by RKO Pictures Inc. The figure comes in a box covered in Japanese text and pictures of the figure, and also some images of the other (excellent) models available in the collection.
Also some assembling instructions come inside the box, but the work to be done is absolutely simple and doesn’t even need glue.
And yes, you are reading right: NOT Apatosaurus, BUT Brontosaurus. This is the impossible, never existed, chimeric creature, the Brontosaurus of popular culture, that we all learned to love, and still love even though we know it isn’t correct. However, it’s not the hybrid (body of apatosaurus and head of camarasaurus) that was proposed on the beginning of the 20th century (around 1920s), this version is even older than that and has its roots at the end of the 19th century.
Even though the “King Kong” movie was released in 1933, Willis O’Brian (the great creator and animator of movie monsters) had already made an almost identical animated maquette for “The Lost World” in 1925. He spent considerable time studying Charles R. Knight’s palaeoart art at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. There, he saw this painting, one of the earliest reconstructions of a sauropod, made in 1898:
The painter Charles R. Knight produced this piece under the direction of the professor of paleontology, Henry F. Osborn. At the time, only remains of the body of the Apatosaurus had been found. The head was therefore a total guess. And Osborn speculated that the creature had a rectangular head with the nostrils at the end of a straight snout. A few decades later Osborn decided to change this head for that of a Camarasaurus, with the nostrils in the forehead beside the eyes. But the old 19th century rectangular version of the head continued to remain famous and was also depicted well into the 1980s.
The Brontosaurus that O’Brian created for the movie “The Lost World” was later reused in “King Kong” (though slightly modified to make it more expressive in the animation). As you can see by comparison with the 19th century painting of Knight, it is fairly accurate for its day, and looks close to the animal painted on land eating grass).
The Konami Brontosaurus figure measures about 5.5’ long and is extremely well detailed, with the same attention to detail seen in many Japanese miniature figures. Comparing it with the model from the movie, you can see the same wrinkled skin texture and even the big fat veins!
The sculpt is positioned in an active running pose like the one in the movie. It also drags its tail on the floor and has its mouth opened, bearing his plant-eater teeth. In the movie, the Bronto was taking a nap in the waters of his swamp, when suddenly disturbed by some humans, he comes out of the water and pursues a poor sailor who climbs a tree and is chewed to death by the monster. (what!? fool! That animal is WAY higher than a tree, didn’t you realize?). The Konami sculptors added a very cool expression to the monster giving him true personality. The animal has very angry eyes, expressive as one could wish, and looks like he’s in a really bad mood! Excellent work there! The beast has the impression of strong muscles under a very fatty skin, and looks extremely heavy!
A base and some swamp plants are also associated with the Bronto creating a sort of sweet little diorama. The whole set is painted in grey tones only, being totally faithful to the visuals in the movie. Still, there’s a huge variation here, as the body of the bronto itself has darker patches. The head is the best part of the paintjob, the eyes even have little painted pupils.
This would make an excellent addition to anyones collection, whether you are a dinosaur, movie or general arts aficionado. Also, it’s very cheap, you can sometimes find it for no more than 4 or 5 bucks on ebay! So… why not get one!?
Sometimes available on Ebay here