Ampelosaurus (CollectA)

Among prehistoric collectible enthusiasts, the company currently known as CollectA has a considerable reputation to cope with. Their figures, although competitively priced, have ranged anywhere from decent to embarrassing over the past few years. Fortunately, their lineup for 2011 kicks off with a batch of fresh faces that have clearly been more carefully constructed than their predecessors. So far, my personal favorite would be the Ampelosaurus.

The Ampelosaurus was an armored titanosaur discovered in France. The armor is certainly a big attraction for artists, who must arrange the many osteoderms along the creature’s body in a way that would seem appropriate for predatory defense; after all, it was a somewhat modest size for a sauropod. CollectA’s reconstruction definitely pops within a crowd, bearing an excellent textural buffet of spines, scutes, and pebbly skin.

The photos above highlight some of the figure’s strengths in coloration and texture, respectively – capturing both in a single photo is difficult without the aid of professional lighting. The artistically impressed collector will also be treated to a myriad of hues on display here. A charcoal underside flows into pale blue, with light spots on the flanks and a pinkish flush on the head. Unfortunately, it may be a bit much to give CollectA full credit for this design.

Original artwork above compared with stock photo, below

A lazy search for “Ampelosaurus” on Wikipedia reveals the artwork shown above, which was almost certainly the basis for the design of the figure. In defense of the figure however, I will say that it looks fantastic – perhaps even better than the artwork – and somewhat differentiates itself with a raised foreleg and neck craning to the left. Perhaps more importantly, the original artist appears to have released their work as public domain, and this is far from the worst case of manufacturers nabbing original paleoart without permission. In any case, the interesting pose really helps seal the deal for this figure. The gentle, almost coy quality recalls the simple charm of Safari’s five star Nigersaurus. Accuracy enthusiasts should be relatively placated by CollectA’s increasing dedication to authenticity, as well. Just look at those feet, complete with bizarre footprint outlines.

As CollectA continues to raise the bar, the pressure will no doubt be raised for competing manufacturers to work even harder. Such competition can yield great fruit for collectors, and this Ampelosaurus is surely one such treat.

9 Responses to Ampelosaurus (CollectA)

  1. Nico (Occitan34)

    To Seijun,

    Currently, only a posterior part of the skull and a lower jaw (a dentary) have been described.

    A nearly complete disarticulated skull is known but not yet described. The head of Ampelosaurus is rather similar to the head of Rapetosaurus (but of course with some differences) from Madagascar rather than the shape of the head of the illustration from wikipedia.

    And contrary to what is shown in older reconstructions, the upper and lower jaws of Ampelosaurus aren’t quadrangular.

    Greetings from France !

  2. This is a fantastic blog, it’s brilliant for children as well. I’ll be showing my nephew this website and asking him to point out which dinosaurs he likes best (then I’ll buy them for his birthday). Awesome! keep it up.

  3. How much is known about the skull of this species?

  4. Fantastic, a must buy…

  5. it really is quite nice, still, im not buying any of the new collectas until the australovenator is released

  6. I was thinking of giving the last photo a caption like “This photo is for Marc’s eyes only, so stop staring, you weirdos” but I think it goes without saying.

  7. Parece que la marca Collecta va mejorando poco a poco,y,afortunadamente está ya muy lejos de sus primeras creaciones que eran de calidad muy baja.Todavía les queda mucho camino por recorrer para acercarse a Safari,pero parece que van por buen camino.Sí,resulta asombroso el parecido de la ilustración con el modelo de plástico,está claro que lo han tomado como modelo.

  8. Marc (Horridus)

    Regarding the feet: too many claws, mate. Too many claws. (But hey, they’ve picked up on the horsehoe-shaped hands at last! Hurrah!)

  9. Estoy de acuerdo con Dan las reconstrucciones de Collecta se están convirtiendo en figuras competitivas, pero si quieren competir con las marcas de Safari y Papo, tendrán que esmerarse un poco más.

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