Given the preponderance of bald dromaeosaurs that still stink up dinosaur toy stores, it was nice to see Bullyland step in two years ago with a Luis Rey-inspired feathered version of that perennial favourite, Velociraptor. Unfortunately the results are a little mixed – a figure with great potential let down in a few key areas.
Generally speaking, this is a pretty decent figure, particularly anatomically where some dromaeosaur figures fall down. Various body parts are approximately in proportion and it has a nice, long tail that helps it stand, Safari-style. The plumage is very well done – Bullyland haven’t skimped on giving the animal an all-over covering, and it’s a little scruffy looking which suits a flightless hunter. They probably should’ve had the arm feathers attach to the second figure on each hand, but far more troubling is the fact that the relative lengths of the fingers are different on each hand…asymmetrical hands being a bit of a weird blunder to make.
The posture of this figure is a little strange. One arm is launching forwards while the other one is being lifted upwards so that the palm of the hand faces down. Maybe it’s meant to look like it’s striking out at its prey, but it does also rather resemble (as one forum member pointed out) a guy striking a pose on a surfboard. Which is unfortunate. Once you’ve imagined this guy screaming “SURF’S UP DUUDES!” it’s impossible to look at him the same way again. Try it out (try shouting out yourself if need be. Don’t worry, you’re quite alone. Probably).
That’s not to mention the worst aspect of this figure, which is, of course, its head. By God it’s ugly. All the more regrettable is the fact that it’s really only ruined by those giant comedy teeth, which stick straight down out of the jaw like those on the weird hollow ‘Chinasaurs’ of yesteryear. The sculptor did a fine job on the rest of the body, slight digit misjudgements excepted, but it appears that when it came to the teeth they went home and let the work experience guy do it. The paint job could have done with a little more attention, too. I don’t mind the red eyes, although those combined with the enormo-teeth did make me think ‘Demented Demon Velociraptor From Hell’ when I pulled this figure from the jiffy-bag.
In conclusion, if any figure needed a new head sculpt, this is it. The current one just doesn’t do the rest of the figure justice, as it’s a perfectly good and quite sizeable dromaeosaur sculpt. (Bullyland claim it to be 1:20 scale, which it most certainly is not, as that results in a creature getting on for 5m in length. It’s more like 1:10 or even larger scale.) It’s still a charming figure to be sure – I love the lean body, long tail and well-rendered plumage – but a little difficult to recommend in its current state, to collectors at least. Hopefully Bullyland will take a look at the recent CollectA release and re-release this guy with an improved head – then it’d be a hit.