Irritator (CollectA)

Nope, that’s not a spelling error or practical joke. There really is a dinosaur named “Irritator”. The Irritator was named as such because, as it passed through the unscrupulous hands of commercial fossil markets, many modifications were made to the original fossil in order to make it appear more desirable. Separating the real from the fake was a real pain in the ass for the paleontologists who finally got hold of it, so they named it “Irritator”. A cursory glance makes this theropod’s relationship to spinosaurids such as Baryonyx and Suchomimus quite clear. With such a distinguishing name, it’s actually rather puzzling that no company has attempted to mass-produce this creature before.

Still, if any company was to make a figure of an obscure species, CollectA would be a likely candidate. A small fistful of dollars gets you this six inch long figure in any decent shop carrying the 2011 lineup. Typically manufacturers struggle with the ever-popular theropods, relying on either oversized feet or a droopy tail in order to keep the figure standing on its own. Irritator does a fine job of it however, with perfectly flattened feet (still digitigrade, of course) and a plump midsection that keeps his weight nicely centered. Not some gaunt skin-and-bones reconstruction, this hefty little guy appears to enjoy a lavish sushi diet.

Like many dinosaurs once depicted as “sail-backed”, this modern reconstruction keeps the trunk of the body rounded; only the segmented dorsal ridges hint at the high neural spines below. A predictable but pleasantly crocodilian assortment of textures and colors adorn the body, with plate-like polygons and rows of osteoderms along the flanks. A pale dry-brushing makes these textures pop nicely. The cranial crest and maxilla are highlighted in yellow, while the eye is lined in pink.

One of the advantages of smaller figures is that they manage to avoid the heartache often associated with individually sculpted teeth. In mass produced figures, these are often too fragile, too blunt, misshapen, or otherwise unsatisfactory. Here they are crisply defined, to a pretty surprising degree for a CollectA figure.

The subnarial gap is easy to spot, strengthening the resemblance to its taller-spined kin. Given the cartoonish toy spinosaurids CollectA released over the past two years, it is nice to see a serious effort like this.

The most obvious flaw to paleo-enthusiasts will be spotted rather quickly in the arms. These hands should not be pronated; that is to say, the palms should be inward, not in a “bunny” position. Even so, most casual collectors will not spot this issue, and even fewer will care. It’s too rare that we see such a great reconstruction, and its friendly price and size have made it one of the most difficult new releases of 2011 to resist.



11 Responses to Irritator (CollectA)

  1. The arms are a shame, but this is a lovely (and really small) Irritator figure. I got this figure a while back, and my only major complaint is its balancing, it falls over really easily. Like, REALLY easily.

  2. Andrew the Andrewsarchus

    I have to say that this Irritator is quite a charming, if rather portly, little dinosaur. The only accuracy issue other than the pronated forelimbs is the size of the scales on the body- they are much too large for a figure that is only 6 inches long. Still, I might just get this model.

  3. Lo he comprado y puedo asegurar que es más pequeño de lo que yo esperaba. En ese aspecto me ha decepcionado. Sin embargo puedo asegurar que ha mejorado mucho. El problema que tiene es el tamaño, como repito.

  4. Actually I fixed the hands on mine using a simple hairdryer. Once they were soft, I twisted them into the correct pose, then held them while running them under cold water. They ‘held’ their new position, and now the figure is darn near perfect!

  5. Yeah, the hands and feet really make it look silly, but the rest is really quite nice.

  6. Marc (Horridus)

    It’s really unfortunate about the arms, as being in said anatomically impossible position really detracts from what is otherwise a pretty good figure.

  7. wow, this guy looks amazing, im defenitely adding it to my purchase list for this year

  8. Es muy loable el esfuerzo de esta marca por sacar al mercado dinosaurios poco conocidos por el público en general,y es evidente que van mejorando poco a poco la calidad de sus productos, sin embargo no me gusta nada la textura de la piel: le da aspecto de roca granítica en vez de dinosaurio,y el color del reborde ocular me parece bastante desafortunado.

  9. Turned into a great teaching tool for my class (since only the skull has been discovered, it works well for illustrating how scientists can use facts for extrapolation, and the predictive power of evolution theory). The name is a nice bonus.

  10. El color de la piel del Irritator Challegeri lo veo demasiado tétrico y el color del ojo que rodeo de dicho espécimen es demasiado desagradable, a pesar de todo esto tiene como ya se ha comentado cosas agradables y espero comprármelo. En España llega a las tiendas en dos semanas, después de las fiestas, estoy contando los días.

  11. Blade-of-the-Moon

    Great review Dan ! I’m sure no has attempted this fellow before as you said it’s a hard species to nail’s a challenge which is also part of it’s name..( I. challengeri );) More companies should take it as such and at least try to do more of these obscure Dinosaurs in the future. Spinosaurus too often anymore gets all the attention..but there are other similar species deserving of attention. A Suchomimus by ANY company would be welcome..note I’m not counting the travesty that was the Wild Safari Sucho.. ;D

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