Dimetrodon (Invicta)

Ah, Dimetrodon – where would any dinosaur toy line be without this oddly anachronistic sail-backed pelycosaur? And where would I be if I didn’t drop names that I semi-understand? In similar places, one would imagine. Almost every dino toy company has churned one out, from Carnegie (ugly) to Bullyland to UKRD to Carnegie (better) to Inpro. Although you probably don’t care about the last one, as apparently none of you are willing to show vintage Inpro toys any love. FOR SHAME. Anyway, this is the Invicta version, and as expected it’s bloody brilliant.

Dating from the early 1990s (possibly 1993 although the text is very difficult to read), this is one of the last Invicta figures produced and can also be among the hardest to find, sometimes fetching silly money on eBay for what is such a tiny figure. Whereas a lot of toy lines scale up Dimetrodon relative to their figures of larger animals (as Carnegie wisely opted to do the second time around), Invicta decided to keep it roughly in scale with the rest of the line, resulting in a figure truly dwarfed by some of its dinosaur stablemates. The level of detail at such a small scale is very impressive for a mass-produced figure.

The animal is frozen in motion, and as such we see skin folding and creasing and muscles bulging as it strides forward. The head is perfectly shaped, with eyes, ears, nostrils and the characteristic notch in the tooth row all present. The digits on the feet are a little indistinct, but you can hardly blame the sculptor. This tiny figure demonstrates perfectly the organic look that Invicta figures possessed decades ago and other toy companies are only just now getting the hang of.

"This penny is MINE!"

Anatomically it’s generally pretty accurate, although one minor discrepancy in particular lets it down. The head, although extremely well sculpted, seems to be a little too small relative to the body, and the neck subsequently too long. The posture is very unusual for a Dimetrodon figure, or indeed a Dimetrodon restoration in general – the animal is usually depicted as being sprawling and lizard-like with a dragging tail, but here the legs are more upright and the tail is fully elevated. It reminds me of a crocodile’s ‘high walk’. Whether or not Dimetrodon was capable of this for any amount of time, maybe while chasing prey, is something I don’t feel qualified to comment on (a bit rich I know). I like to imagine it could, but it would have been less risky for Invicta to choose a more sprawled posture, and certainly to have the tail dragging at least at the tip. Still, one could argue that the unconventional posture makes this figure stand out from the Dimetrodon crowd.

Ultimately there are few finer figures of this Permian synapsid, especially when it comes to small superficial details, and I absolutely recommend getting hold of it, especially if you’re a fan of ‘pre-dinosaurs’ (am thinking of one forum member in particular here!). If you’re lucky you may be able to find it lurking around in museum gift shops, but if not there’s always eBay (sometimes available on eBay here) . Good luck!

5 Responses to Dimetrodon (Invicta)

  1. Man, that’s a very nice dimetrodon. Far superior to the ones I had in my old sets. I am 51 and remember my plastic dinosaurs well. Like a fool, I let them go for a song about 20 years ago. Still wish I had them. Thanks for the great photo.

  2. Para el momento en que se hizo (que ésto si no lo sabía) y aunque la precariedad del material plástico no pintado, demuestra la exactitud con que se hizo este animal. No me parece tan malo, aunque sea muy pequeño. Este animal tiene su mérito.

  3. Zach – I didn’t say that I thought the gait was too sprawling – in fact I pretty much said what you did! Having looked into it a little it would appear that most species of Dimetrodon had a larger skull than this, if not all of them.

  4. This is actually an amazingly good sculpt for such a small, early toy. I will say that not all species of Dimetrodon have the same proportions, so it could be based on a smaller-skulled specis (pelycosaur taxonomy is not my strong suite, though). I think the gait isn’t sprawling ENOUGH, though. At most, Dimetrodon could get into a varanid posture.

  5. Great shots, Marc! I just had to check it with a magnifying glass and I can confirm it’s 1993 on the belly.

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