The large Late Triassic dinosaur Plateosaurus was a member of the prosauropods, a group of dinosaurs that would give rise to the giants of the Late Jurassic, like Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus, 50 million years later. Plateosaurus averaged around 25 feet in length. The name means “broad lizard”, and Plateosaurus was one of the earliest dinosaurs to be discovered. Since its initial discovery in 1834 near Nuremberg, Germany over 100 reasonably complete specimens of Plateosaurus have been obtained, most notably from Trossignen, Germany and from the Frick brick quarry in Switzerland. As such, Plateosaurus is remarkably well known in terms of its paleobiology.
It’s only fitting that Schleich, being a German company, would release the famous German dinosaur Plateosaurus. This figure was released in 2000 and had a very short production run which only lasted until 2002, which is a shame because it is definitely one of the best dinosaur models Schleich has ever made in my opinion. The figure is about 7 inches long and 3.25 inches tall, and is scaled at 1:40. The skin texture is rough and wrinkly and has that distinctive Schleich look to it.
I think the color is pretty cool. The figure was molded in burnt orange-colored plastic which serves as the base coloration. Along the spine and legs are subtle traces of dark tan which blend nicely into the orange. The claws are lightly touched up with dark brown. The eyes are small and black and the closed mouth is detailed in red. I think it looks like it’s smiling, but it isn’t too goofy, thankfully. The pose is quadrupedal, and I’ll talk more about that in a second, but I like it with the one “paw” raised in the air.
In terms of accuracy to the fossil material, Schleich did as good a job as they possibly could have at the time this was released. What I mean by that is, a study in 2007 determined that Plateosaurus could not pronate its hands and that its center of mass was over the hips, meaning that the animal was an obligatory biped which likely didn’t travel on all fours at all. While Schleich can’t be faulted for the pose of this figure because that info wasn’t available yet, they get a point for not actually pronating the hands. As you can see its palms are actually facing each other. The rest of the sculpt is very well done. Everything is proportioned correctly, the skull looks very nice, and each limb has the correct number of digits, including the reduced ones. The “thumbs” are shown as being free for grasping as in some fossil reconstructions and there is nice muscle detail in the tail. The only real problem with this figure is the now incorrect posture, but that’s a slight knock in my opinion. This is a beautiful replica that pictures don’t do justice to.
Schleich really put a lot of effort into the sculpt of their Plateosaurus, and I applaud them. It might have been because this is a German dinosaur. If they put as much effort into accurate sculpts for all the Replica-Saurus series, we would have had some real beauties on our hands. It’s a shame that all the best Schleich sculpts were so quickly retired. If you see this for sale, I HIGHLY recommend it, especially since it was in production for such a short time. This is absolutely my favorite Plateosaurus figure.