Today, we will take a look at the most controversial figure in all of the Battat line: the Stegosaurus. One of the things that the Battat line is renowned for is its great accuracy, but the makers of this Stegosaurus seem to have thrown caution to the wind. Before we get started, I must make it clear that the “sandy” look and weird color spots are not part of the actual figure itself. Instead, they are the battle-scars of an individual figure that probably had to put up with some kid roughly playing with it in a sand box, and then promptly going to town with a crayon.
The overall sculpt is great in most aspects. Scales detail the skin, with the occasional larger scale. The plates have realistic wrinkles on them. Wrinkles and musculature on this figure are very well done, giving it an extra lifelike look. As for accuracy, most departments are pretty good. Anatomical proportions are correct, and there are seventeen plates. However, like all the other Battat figures, the Stegosaurus is down to the species level. In this case, the figure is a Stegosaurus armatus, but the 17 plates are attributed to S. stenops. The plates themselves are okay, but are too thin and on the small side. There is one more inaccuracy of this figure, which makes this Stegosaurus quite controversial.
If you are reading this review, I assume you are able to count. But to help out the numerologically impaired, this Stegosaurus has 8 spikes. Eight. You are not hallucinating. How could the Battat line, one of the most accurate dinosaur lines ever despite being almost two decades old, commit this absurd travesty? There is a somewhat plausible explanation. When Othniel C. Marsh reconstructed Stegosaurus ungulatus (which is now considered to be the same thing as S. armatus) in 1879, he drew four pairs of spikes on the tail. This remained common in Stegosaurus reconstructions for the next few decades. The first time a Stegosaurus was shown with two pairs of spikes was in 1903, when Charles R. Knight sculpted a Stegosaurus model that isn’t too far off from what we know of the dinosaur today. After that, the idea of two pairs stuck, engrained in the public mind and popular culture, until Battat decided to shrug that notion off. Many have withheld from getting this figure for the number of spikes alone, and it remains quite controversial among the dinosaur collector community.
Rants about overabundant thagomizers aside, let’s go on to the paint job. It’s simple yet natural, with the top of the body a dark sepia brown, which blends into earth yellow for the lower part of the body. Red flashes from the plates, supporting the popular idea that they were used for display. The eyes are yellow, but don’t have much life in them and seem to be staring out into space. The claws are individually painted, which is a nice touch that even some figures today don’t have. Being made in the 90’s, the paint application isn’t exactly the most precise, and this is especially evident with the head. The insides of the mouth are painted a soft pink, but some of it shows up on areas of the head where it shouldn’t be. Also, my figure has a random spot of red on the head. This was not done by a roughhousing child. Like all Battat figures, the paint on the Stegosaurus is prone to smudging, so treat this figure carefully. The paint wear on my figure was most likely caused by a roughhousing child.
Perhaps having something to do with the unique decision the sculptors of this Stegosaurus made about the figure’s tail, the Battat Stegosaurus is the most common of the Battat dinosaurs. It’s sometimes available on eBay for around $15, which is only a bit more than the retail price it had back in the 90’s. In addition, Dan Lorusso’s site says that the Stegosaurus is still available, but it would probably be best to email him about it first. Lorusso was one of the paleoartists who helped sculpt the Battat figures, and the Stegosaurus is the last Battat that the site has. If you do go hunting for this figure on eBay, make sure to look closely at the pictures. The plastic the plates are made of is rather flexible; so many used figures will have bent plates. This is a nice Stegosaurus figure, despite the whole spike fiasco. If you don’t like the extra spikes, you can just chop them off with a knife and paint the holes, but some consider acts of customization sacrilegious if performed on a Battat. All in all, it’s a great figure for dinosaur lovers, especially Stegosaurus fans, but isn’t the best the Battat line has to offer.