Some dinosaurs have undergone quite radical image changes over the years – sauropods moved out of their swamps and got into shape and theropods went from blundering tail draggers to sleek, deadly (and quite horizontal) predators – some of then even gained feathers. It might be tempting to presume, however, that Stegosaurus has remained much the same – slow, stupid and stacked with plates like a big reptilian dishwasher. On legs. However, the Invicta Stegosaurus demonstrates perfectly just how much our image of even this dinosaur has shifted.
The sculpt is pure Othniel Marsh via Charles R Knight. In fact, Knight himself sculpted a Stegosaurus that looked very much like this one. Both are clearly influenced by Marsh’s reconstruction of Stegosaurus‘ skeleton – the humped back, the extremely low head, the drooped tail. Today of course the tail is always held aloft, while the front of the animal (most notably the neck) is raised upwards more. Check out the comparison with more recent Stegosaurus toys below (left to right: Invicta, Wild Safari, Favorite).
Getting back to the model at hand – well, firstly it’s small, not any more than 13cm in length and 6.5cm to the top of the tallest plate. The animal’s length given on the underside of the figure is “about 5m” – a little small for Stegosaurus but it means that, based on this figure’s measurements, it fits the 1:45 scale of the line. However since Stegosaurus did get a bit bigger than that it’s more like 1:50 scale or even smaller.
Having been a bit critical of the Invicta Tyrannosaurus in my last review, it might surprise you to learn that I love this little fella (unless, y’know, you’ve read any of my other Invicta reviews in which I heap praise upon the line for being ahead of its time etc., in which case thank you very much, and cash donations are welcome). The main reason I’m such a fan is the posture and look of the toy – it’s very, very retro, a three-dimensional depiction of classic paleoart, highly reminiscent of the magnificent work of Charles R Knight and a great demonstration of how far we’ve come. That, and it boasts the usual Invicta level of detail. Look closely and you’ll see that it’s completely covered in scales – more than a lot of modern dinosaur toys can manage – and the plates have highly complex grooves. The tiny, tiny head (and rightly so) is astonishingly well done given its miniature size. Most Stegosaurus toy heads are inflated to make detailing easier, and to prevent breakage, but not here. Even the number of plates is almost exactly right.
In short, it’s another Invicta classic, and I’m sure it wiped the floor with the competition back in 1975, 12 years before I EVEN EXISTED. It makes the perfect companion to more modern stegosaur toys, demonstrating how popular depictions of dinosaurs have moved on. Of course you’re going to have to try your luck on eBay and in second-hand stores to get hold of one these days but it’s worth it, even if the standard weird peachy-pink colour is pretty horrendous. It’s not too rare either. A retro treat!
(Addendum: I know my Invicta Tyrannosaurus review doesn’t make a lot of sense in light of this one, but I never did like that thing much and I’m not sure why. Maybe I’m just a spoiled child of the ’90s.)