Review by Cordylus, photos and figure captions by Plesiosauria
This is truely a marine reptile lover’s dream come true. For years, Nothosaurus, Metriorhynchus, Basilosaurus and the like were all hard to find and expensive (if there were any to even be found) – until now.
Last september the dinosaur collecting community was stunned by the toys safari ltd was going to release the next year; now, most safari dinosaurs so far this year have been released. One of the ones that most everybody has been looking forward to is the new Prehistoric Sea Life Toob, which offers ten prehistoric marine critters: Elasmosaurus, Liopleurodon, Nothosaurus, Henodus, Ichthyosaurus, Metriorhynchus, Dolichorhynchops, Basilosaurus, Tylosaurus, and a Frilled Shark (Chlamydoselachus).
The plesiosaurians in this toob are very nicely done. The Elasmosaurus is what you’d expect; smooth skin, a straight neck, and a relatively correctly shaped head and correctly placed & posed fins.
The Liopleurodon could have had a black and white color scheme to match the adult (actually, I would have preferred the larger version have the color scheme of this one) and it has odd wrinkles between the fins on either side of the body, similar to the procon version and some carnegie dinosaurs. Most anatomical aspects of this figure are correct. The Dolichorhynchops, is the highlight of the three; its inspiration from the IMAX “Sea Monsters” film is obvious (if it only had those white spots behind the eyes it would really be a dead ringer for the sea monsters one). Overall a very pleasing group!
Now onto the more “lizard shaped” animals in the toob ( Tylosaurus, Metriorhynchus and Nothosaurus). The Metriorhynchus is very nicely done and it has the coloration of some crocodiles today (it was an odd strictly marine crocodile!), and it is probably the most fierce looking out of all the marine crocodile toys released so far. The Tylosaurus has some great skin and head details, but the fins really are too large and I think that kind of detracts from it. I’m almost tempted to paint black stripes on it so it will look like its Carnegie Collection counterpart!
Now, onto the real gem of the group (and perhaps the entire toob!), the small and beautiful Nothosaurus. The skin detail on this one is insane, as is the paint work! They even gave it individually sculpted teeth! I really love the webbed hands too; those are all features that make this little toy very much like the real thing.
Now to the oddballs that I really couldn’t group anywhere else – Ichthyosaurus, Henodus, Basilosaurus and Chalmydoselachus (also known as a frilled shark to all you who couldn’t figure that one out!). The Ichthyosaurus is nice, but it’s very laterally compressed and I can’t say I’m too impressed with it, although I like the green color. It’s probably the weakest of all of the toob critters (it really isn’t bad, though).
The little Basilosaurus is a thing of beauty! It looks a lot like one of Todd Marshall’s paintings. It isn’t highly detailed; I would have preferred more things on its skin like barnacles etc. like extant whales have today.
The Henodus looks very well done, and because of the paint application, it appears to be made out of a resin of higher quality than it really is. The detail on his one is very good. The Frilled Shark has some extinct relatives that are very similar to it, so it’s not entirely surprising that they put one in this toob. They got the gill count correct (twelve gills in total) and it looks like they tried to make the teeth the right shape too (frilled sharks have very oddly shaped teeth that are very sharp). They managed to really make this one look snake-like like the real one is, and they made it a pale pink like most specimens humans have encountered have.
Overall, this is a fantastically done toob of prehistoric animals, and I couldn’t recommend more. There’s something for everyone in here – plesiosaur collectors, crocodile collectors, whale collectors, shark collectors – will all have a gem to find in this ~$10 toob (that’s only a buck a piece!). No longer do dinosaur toy collectors have to spend loads of money on hard to find Nothosaurs, Basilosaurs and the like – this really is a dream come true.
Available on eBay here