Original photos by Jeremy Killian
At a whopping 26 inches long, Sideshow’s latest Dinosauria diorama is their largest piece yet (though it will be unseated from this position when their Spinosaurus arrives in winter). Tom Gilliland collaborated with a large team of artists, including such greats as Steve Riojas, David Krentz, and Jorge Blanco, on what he considers to be his favorite piece in the line. This scene depicts a veritable “death race,” capturing that split second before at least one animal passes into another plane of existence.
The model’s backstory explains that a desperate pack of Allosaurs have successfully ambushed a juvenile Camarasaurus, cutting him off from the herd and throwing everything they’ve got at him. Snapping and clawing viciously at their prey, the massive macronarian is ultimately subdued when one of the females springs upon him, sinking her jaws into his neck. In a classic twist of irony, the sauropod’s collapse not only ends his own life, but the life of the female as well. The surviving carnivores are now blessed with two carcasses to gorge themselves on. The scene is like something from a Delgado novel.
In one of the most famous sets of fossilized dinosaur tracks ever discovered, there is exciting evidence of an Acrocanthosaurus actually leaping and briefly clinging onto a sauropod. With this in mind, it seems reasonable that the relatively agile Allosaurus could be capable of such a feat. This makes for a thrilling finish to the fight, with every animal in motion, muscles straining, jaws gaping, in that typical over-the-top fashion that Sideshow Dinosauria statues are known for. Packs of Allosaurs would probably rely on exhausting a sauropod from blood loss in order to take it down, much like the famous scene in the BBC’s Ballad of Big Al, or the irksome Jurassic Fight Club. This traditional “hit and run” attack method is evident in the gushing wounds on the herbivore’s flank, as well as the fresh blood lining the jaws and claws of the running hunter.
The Camarasaurus is colored conservatively in earthen tones – the backstory makes special mention of “faded colors”, which the Allos would seek out to indicate a sick prey item – and this fits the popular notion that large animals would not bear intricate display patterns. The Allosaurs themselves bear more the hue of rotten flesh, decked out in putrid pinks and grisly grays, even crimson eyes to amplify their devilishly dirty nature. For further “doom and gloom” atmosphere, the base imitates a muddy landscape, a bleak stage subject to heavy rainfall. There is also glistening mud on the legs of the Camarasaurus, a simple touch that I particularly like, because it reinforces the idea of an animal existing as part of its environment.
Despite the precarious pose of each character in the scene, the statues are extremely stable once attached via peg-and-hole method into the base. Glisten though it may, this is not one of the more impressive bases Sideshow had implemented for a Dinosauria statue. Rather than tapering or leveling off like previous bases, this one simply terminates abruptly into blackness. Some have found this inconsistency a bit distracting, and as anyone who’s seen Martin Garret’s kit buildups can tell you, a good base can really extend the credibility of the diorama. Fortunately, future statues appear to be following the normal trend, making this base something of an anomaly.
Among hardcore Dinosauria collectors, it is common practice to compare models to the original prototype sculptures shown in the product stock photos, which are often superior in terms of sculptural detail and paint application. This practice invariably leads to some disappointment, so this author recommends doing so only at your own risk. However, there is something to be said for the Allosaurus vs. Camarasaurus diorama, which appears to bear the closest resemblance to the original model out of any Dinosauria product so far. One noticeable difference is the lacerated maxilla of the running Allo, which is freshly bloodied in the final product, but appears to have been an ancient scar in the original (There is some variation between individual pieces, since they are painted by hand). While I would have personally preferred that it remain a scar, I can understand the decision to heighten the goriness of the scene. Such enhancement is often a major selling point for carnage fanatics, and prominently distinguishes Sideshow’s product from a typical dinosaur “toy” – as if the price of the statue didn’t already make that distinction clear.
Of course, if you need further incentive to indulge the guilty pleasure that is a Sideshow statue, it might be worth mentioning that a comparable resin kit could easily cost more money – and that’s before painting and assembly. With this statue, you get several characters interacting in one dynamic scene, and total assembly shouldn’t take you more than five minutes, providing you have experience fitting pegs into holes. In short, this is easily one of the best Dinosauria statues to be released. It has all the show-stopping artistry, scale, and detail a dinosaur fan could want.
Available on eBay here.