Triceratops (Invicta)

Ah, the Invicta dinosaurs – every one a retro-tastic delight, and every one now sadly out of production (and replaced at the Natural History Museum (London) by a piece of Toyway tat not worthy of the museum’s seal of approval…BAH). Triceratops here is one of the earlier figures in the line, and it shows – which is not to say that it isn’t a delightful figure, like the majority of Invictasaurs.

First manufactured in 1975, this figure predictably portrays a very reptilian, sluggish-looking animal. Much like the mounted cast in the Natural History Museum itself, it seems almost as if the sculptor has contrived to make the short tail of Triceratops reach the ground in order to be dragging – as if the animal’s obeying instructions from mid-20th century palaeontologists. Its perma-grumpy face would certainly suggest that it isn’t too happy about the situation. In addition it has a highly suspect (ie. historic) posture and the head appears to be a little undersized. The underside of the creature reads “TRICERATOPS, length about 5m” – rather on the small side for a Triceratops. 1:45 scale is about right for an animal of this length, but for an adult Triceratops this is, at 14cm long, more like 1:60.

Still, it’s very easy to be critical from the viewpoint of, er, the future. In spite of its flaws from a modern perspective (and even an historical one, given the scale), this figure is a delight. Given its year of manufacture the amount of detail lavished upon this toy is astonishing.  The head is very finely detailed, with nostrils, ears, and eyes with eyelids and tiny pupils. In fact, it puts many modern dinosaur toys to shame (please disregard the scuffing on my example). Elsewhere, the body is covered with pebbly scales that give way to almost crocodilian armour on the animal’s back – recent finds hint that this may not be all that speculative. It marks this Triceratops out from its generic, rhinoceros-skinned peers.

I’m aware that the majority of readers of this blog will probably be avid Invicta dinosaur hunters already (and some of you have complete sets – you swines), but if you’re not then this figure is a perfect example of why you, the discerning dinosaur toy collector, should be. In their time these were unsurpassed, and even now they remain quite beautiful, even if only as museum pieces. Their statuesque nature makes them bad as toys, but great for collectors, and this Triceratops is among the finest in the collection.

As far as acquiring one goes, I’m quite sure you already know what I’m going to say – it’s off to eBay! They aren’t too rare (Triceratops is a popular genus after all), and sometimes you can pick them up in bulk lots. Sadly, the days when you could get them in museum gift shops are long gone. It’s well worth keeping a beady eye out for.

P.S. This ‘Triceratops special’ is pure coincidence, but I quite like how it turned out! 😉

6 Responses to Triceratops (Invicta)

  1. Is the frill actually fused to the back? I know there was a weird theory at the time the figure was produced, which proposed ceratopsian’s frills attached to the back muscles…

    The figure could be made thinking on this… or not… But it’s interesting since it’s from that date, and no other trike figure seems to present this

  2. I reckon the lacking of the famous cheekbone on the head is worth mentioning. Instead, the sculptor seemed to put a sort of “bony” protuberance, maybe just an ovoid osteoderm? Quite a strange detail, in times where the triceratops skull was quite well known already.

    That strange “ovoid” decoration was invented way way back to 1901 by the man Charles Knight himself. Watch it:

    Meanwhile that croc back was absence on Knight’s little horned lizard, but quite common in the trike made by his unnoficial son, Zdeneck Burian, which on the other hand had the cheekbone.

    So I reckon you can say Invicta’s triceratops is the son of both Knight and Burian.
    I know what you are thinking. But no. I’m not at all trying to suggest these two good men had any kind of romantic affair. I was being methaphorical. You know what that means, do you, punks?

  3. They sold the Invicta dinosaurs until a few years ago in the museum of natural history in Stuttgart (Germany) – I was quite glad to see that because I still like them better than many “modern” figures with comic-ish proportions. It’s great how “adult” Invicta’s models look, and, of course, there’s a huge load of nostalgia 🙂

  4. Pingback: The Dinosaur Toy Blog » Blog Archive » Tyrannosaurus (Invicta)

  5. Marc (Horridus)

    A great model indeed! To all the people who keep rating it down…I know where you live. 😉

  6. A great model that deserves a review. Long overdue…1975 man! I used to envy all the kids who had one. Plus I grew up in Leicester the home of Invicta so I have a special connection to them.

Leave a comment