Photos by Jeremy, Review by Dan of Dan’s Dinosaurs
One of my favorite things about my job is that it affords me a unique opportunity to interact with paleontologists and paleoartists from around the world. During a brief chat with the esteemed artist Tony McVey, he casually mentioned that he was working on a Spinosaurus for Sideshow’s Dinosauria line. Naturally, I was thrilled by this news, if somewhat tortured by the fact that Tony had asked me to keep it to myself. Following the official unveiling by Sideshow and a quick mention in Prehistoric Times magazine, everyone got their first look at Tony McVey’s coveted Spinosaurus maquette.
Collectors familiar with the Michael Trcic desktop models manufactured by Favorite Co. of Japan will notice something immediately about the Sideshow Spinosaurus – it bears a similar dark green and red color scheme. The base color of the statue is a dark green, while the sail and flanks are highlighted with a lighter green. Most of the red is confined to the uppermost lining of the sail. Some may complain about the lack of vibrancy, but this can easily be rationalized by mentioning the female gender of the animal.
As the story goes, this massive Spinosaurus is doing what spinosaurids probably did best – fishing. She catches a tasty morsel, only to lose it, thanks to the intrusion of a younger Spinosaurus, whom she scares away from the embankment. This tale is nicely woven into the statue’s base. The sandy surface is littered with crushed ferns and ginko – Tony notes that he spent several days working on the flora – and one stem is actually split from being recently stomped by our queen fisher. I particularly like these elements, as they create a more natural scene, rather than treating the base as a mere stage for a starring critter to stand upon. There are trackways from at least two other theropods, both of which are quite small compared to the adult Spinosaurus, a subtle reference to her massive girth and dominant position within the ecosystem.
Ironically, the popular Spinosaurus is not one of the most well-described spinosaurids, so much of her anatomy requires reference to similar species such as Suchomimus and Baryonyx. The enlarged foreclaws are quite noticeable, certainly deserving of the comparison to “meat hooks” for snaring huge fish. The snout and distinctive premaxilla appear to be correctly formed, and there is a single short crest over the eyes. The artists have once again demonstrated an exemplary comprehension of the subject matter. This is easily the most accurate representation of the species since the Carnegie Spinosaurus of 2009.
One of the interesting embellishments can be spotted in the row of spikes lining the neck. This “hoary” look seems favorable in many spinosaurid reconstructions, though they’re not nearly as pervasive as the prickly renditions seen in Todd Marshall’s artwork. I would not discount the possibility that they inspired the artists, at least. Her snout also bears a series of ancient scars, an inevitability for any creature that spends its life grappling with fish the size of motorcycles. She is captured in mid-stride, lunging with the simple-mindedness that so often pervades the sport of competitive fishing.
Measuring an astonishing 32 inches in length, this Spinosaurus is certainly an eye grabber, even within a collection containing several other Dinosauria statues. It will continue to hold the title of “Longest Dinosauria Statue” until 2011, when Sideshow releases the even larger Apatosaurus maquette. Until that time, feel free to display her alongside your grizzled Tyrannosaurus maquette, as they are roughly in scale with one another – and we won’t scold you for secretly recreating some silly movie scene.