Now here’s a company whose products have yet to experience the nerdy scrutiny of the Dinosaur Toy Blog. COG Ltd, manufacturers of educational toys, produce a line of dinosaur-themed gubbins named ‘Dino Horizons‘ (beware: site contains horribly inaccurate life restorations and the phrase “T-Rex”. And loads of Flash). For whatever reason the company produces very few flesh-on figures among its plethora of unlikely prehistory-themed products, but does churn out an awful lot of skeletal models – which brings us to this snap-together Parasaurolophus.
First impressions are good, especially as this is an inexpensive item. I obtained mine in the Natural History Museum, London, for £6 (just under 10 USD), and the museum is hardly the cheapest place to buy, well, anything (£2.50 bottle of sparkling orange drink, anyone?). The skeleton is sold in a plastic ‘test tube’ and fits together easily, with the limbs able to rotate and the head on a ball-and-socket joint, which allows for a small variety of poses. The jaw is also articulated. The quadrupedal pose, with the tail kept straight and elevated behind the animal, is pleasingly modern and indicates that the sculptor did some research, which can only be considered a Good Thing given the educational remit of the toys.
Unfortunately, while everything is basically in proportion, the skeleton overall better resembles a hadrosaurine – like Edmontosaurus – than the real Parasaurolophus walkeri, which had notably taller neural spines and a shorter tail than portrayed here. The leg bones could also do with being somewhat more robust, and the scapulae are positioned too low (there’s also a load of bones missing around there, but we’ll excuse that on the basis that museum mounts are often incomplete too).
Still, all these complaints seem a little unreasonable when one considers the cheap ‘n’ cheerful nature of the product. While somewhat flawed, it makes for a decent enough model to display alongside similarly-sized Parasaurolophus figures – the Schleich and Battat, if you are lucky enough to own one (SWINE!), would make good partners. This is also by far the best of an otherwise rather bad lot of skeletons in the range, which also includes a giant-armed Tyrannosaurus, a giant-headed Stegosaurus and a Veloci-wrong-o-raptor. A rose among the rather slapdash thorns, if you will.
Overall, I often run out of things to say about skeletons really quite like it, mostly because it’s quite rare to come across decent-ish dino skeleton models at a price within reach for the common borderline alcoholic humanities student. And as an ignorant humanities student, I am quite happy to put up with its flaws. Bravo, COG – a model that makes the Toyway-stuffed nightmare that is the Natural History Museum’s dinosaur gift shop worth a visit.