Review by Dan, Photos by Jeremy
After a slight delay, Sideshow has finally released their first Dinosauria statue of 2011. They have elected to market the statue under the name “Tupuxuara – Pterodactyl,” likely to foster recognition among mainstream demographics. Fortunately, the Tupuxuara is indeed a pterodactyloid, a term that would furrow fewer brows than a separate suborder such as “rhamphorhynchoidea.” Tupuxuara is also considered a member of the popular Tapejarid family, strongly associated with elaborate cranial crests. It earns its name from Brazilian lore, the country of its original discovery. The X is silent, so it sounds more like “Tupu-Wuara” (See Sideshow’s preview video).
While the Dinosauria line has thus far been conservative in selecting species for mass production, this certainly represents the most exotic animal the line has yet seen. There are several unique aspects of the statue. Although only the second statue to bear a vertical construction, it is just eight inches high. This small size results in a considerable drop in price. Sideshow has regarded the Tupuxuara as a “lure” for collectors, drawing in people who would not normally care to spend so much on a prehistoric collectible. For a piece that ships fully painted, unlike a resin kit, it remains a solid value.
The character has a fleshy base color, dappled with the signature Sideshow spotting along the posterior end. The real visual flair comes from the male’s sporty headgear, where the reddish flush meet a brilliant electric blue on the crest. It’s a striking contrast of hues, one that puts older washed-out colorations to shame. He’s just lost his mate to a hungry shark, but it’s unlikely this pretty boy will remain a bachelor for long.
Among mass-produced pterosaur figures, the outstretched flying pose is a mainstay, presumably due to the manufacturer’s goal of playability. This, however, is not a child’s toy. In fact, the inherent weight and fragility of polystone might make a perched posture all the more appealing, as fully extended wings might be more prone to snap during transit. Besides, flying pterosaur models typically require some point of attachment or stand, and these may detract from the immersion of watching a pterosaur in its natural habitat. The open beak bears an uplifted tongue, glistening slightly, but not moist to the point of obscenity as I might have preferred. The eyes appear especially lifelike.
The sculpture offers nice detail as expected, from the folding wing membranes to the fuzzy filaments along the body. The softening of these details isn’t too noticeable on a piece this size, which is good news, as detail loss is the typical casualty of factory production. The dark, rocky cliff base is also a nice contrast to the pterosaur’s pale body. The rocks appear to be caked in the runny droppings of pterosaurs, hinting at the desirability of this male’s perch, and implying a competitive social lifestyle for the species. These sort of touches provide greater interest to the scene, and demonstrate considerable dedication to the product.
If you’ve been waiting to dip your toes into the Dinosauria line, the Tupuxuara offers a great introduction to the uninitiated. It’s the smallest and most affordable statue in the line – unless you count the “Brachiosaurus Hatchling” Holiday Ornament – and it’s a spectacular look at a rarely seen species.