When it comes to dinosaur figures, many collectors favor pieces that possess either high levels of scientific accuracy, or eye-catching aesthetic embellishments. The dinosaurs produced by CollectA (formerly Procon, and Epixx in Europe) are generally lacking in these crucial traits. Their emphasis on obscure species has granted them some distinction in recent years, but their toys still have a long way to go before competing with the highly-detailed Papo figures and the incredibly accurate Safari figures. In 2010, sixteen new figures joined the CollectA prehistoric lineup. In addition, the Spinosaurus from their jumbo “Deluxe” line was given a new paint job.
But just how “new” is this paint job? Collectors will instantly recognize the mottled grey and green coloring from Papo’s famous rendition of the sail-backed carnivore. However, without any moving parts or richly detailed skin textures, this figure looks like a joke when standing beside its French counterpart. The snout is too broad, the wrists are pronated, the sickle-claw is far more pronounced than in any spinosaurid yet discovered, and the eyes bulge not just outward, but actually over the orbits in a cartoonish fashion. All he really needs is a hippo to dance with, and he’s ready to jump back into Disney’s Fantasia. If accuracy is clearly not a concern of the designer, shouldn’t they at least make something that looks pretty? The odd pinkish streaks on the sail are too faint to add significant punch to the piece.
The attempted dry brushing effect does help to enhance some of the skin textures, even if they’re not nearly as impressive as you-know-who’s. Similarly, the feet are oversized to help the figure stand without any tail support. It is so sturdy when standing, in fact, it becomes quite clear that this figure was intended for child’s play. Assuming the child is young enough, they might not notice the difference between this Spinosaurus and the Papo version. The question is, would parents and adults know the difference? It seems painfully clear when they are placed side by side, and since both figures sell in the same price range, it is hard to imagine someone insisting upon the CollectA version. It is widely known that companies will “borrow” designs from one another, but rarely is the deed done in such a flagrant manner as this.
At 32 centimeters long, there is one other possibility – diorama enthusiasts may wish to use this as a companion piece for their Papo Spino. Placed far enough in the background, the lack of detail might not be so noticeable in a thoughtfully composed photograph. For the rest of us, the latest version of CollectA’s Spinosaurus will probably be an easy pass.
Available on eBay here.