Last year’s Papo releases were rather mixed in terms of quality – while they all displayed the usual high production standards, only the Pachyrhinosaurus was truly great, the Oviraptor emerging as a scaly basketball player and the Plesiosaurus as a Nessie aberration. (I await your angry comments.) Unfortunately, this year’s Styracosaurus must surely be added to that list of failures.
Of course I’m joking. LOOK AT IT.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a stunning piece of work, and all the more so because Papo have abandoned their long-standing tradition of dull, murky paint schemes. Without looking unnatural, this Styracosaurus is gorgeously decked out in vibrant red and yellow hues, while the ‘eyespots’ on the frill are a great touch (and immaculately painted, naturally). It’s definitely worth contrasting this figure with their Triceratops, which I criticised for having a horrible, sludgy colour scheme. Just as you think they couldn’t up their game when it came to production values, they pull it off – and with real style.
To say that the sculpting is ‘lavish’ for a relatively cheap plastic toy would be underselling it somewhat. Naturally the main point of focus on such a strikingly horned beast is the head, and here the details reach such a minute level that one is almost tempted to crack out a magnifying glass and see what one’s missing with the naked eye. The horns and beak look utterly convincing, and the mouth comes complete with a perfectly detailed tongue. Most importantly of all, the pose is a highly dynamic and active one. Yes, some parts are recycled from the Pachyrhinosaurus, but who cares? This is a figure that demands attention.
Anatomically, yes, there are flaws, as is usual for Papo. However, when compared with some of the other figures from the range (like the aforementioned Oviraptor and Plesiosaurus) they are quite minor. Most obviously the neck is too long and the tail too short (compared with chasmosaurines like Triceratops, centrosaurine ceratopsians had proportionately longer tails). Other than that there isn’t an awful lot to complain about, and there are actually several points worthy of praise, especially the ‘hands’ which correctly show not only strongly separated digits, but also two correctly reduced digits, even if they shouldn’t really have claws/nails – although to be honest they’re so tiny one can argue as to whether or not they’re really present. Most of all, the head is near-flawless, and muscles are superbly sculpted, giving the animal a highly lifelike appearance.
This model is a reminder as to why Papo have so many fans. It might not be absolutely anatomically accurate (although it’s still a very decent attempt and the head is wonderful), but in terms of sculpting, painting and character it’s peerless in its price bracket – only vastly more expensive resin pieces could really be regarded as superior in terms of overall quality. If you’re thinking about purchasing this Styracosaurus then hesitate no more – you won’t regret it!