Now here’s a figure that’s had a beating with the ugly stick. The Pteranodon was one of 17 models in the original Carnegie collection lineup, way back in 1989. It was retired in 1995 but reissued the following year and is still produced today. It’s one of the smaller toys in the line with a wingspan of 11cm (about 4 inches)
I think the Carnegie Pteranodon is supposed to be in a flying pose, either that or sprawled out on its tummy in the most ungainly manner. I was a little surprised to find that anatomically, it is basically correct, if crudely rendered and maybe out of proportion. The outline of the body is poorly defined but there appear to be the right number of joints in the limbs, three digits in the hand (in addition to the elongate wing finger) and four well-defined digits in the foot.
What about the outline of the wing membranes, or so called patagia? Well, the main wing membrane (or tenopatagium) joins at the knee and there’s a clear membrane (the propatagium) in front of each arm (no sign of a pteroid bone though, which supported the propatagium in life). There is also a clear membrane (the uropatagium) in the hind limb, spanning from the heel to the tiny tail. This configuration more or less matches recent pterosaur wing models, although I understand there’s still some disagreement among pterosaur workers on the exact configuration and extent of the membranes.
The wings are slightly folded and curved backwards so the tips extend behind the feet. Some slight folds radiate backwards from the area of the hand towards the rear margin of the wing so that it appears quite slack. The head is all wrinkled and shriveled for some reason and the crest is somewhat downturned, I’m not sure whether these details are by accident or design. The brown-beige colour scheme is unremarkable, save a distinct blob of cream on the flappy throat, and details in the mouth and eyes.
So, while at first glance this isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing toy, the anatomy isn’t actually all that bad (pending comments from pterosaur specialists!) and my review is far more positive that I at first anticipated. Perhaps the moulds have suffered with time and we should be be a little forgiving. In any case, it is interesting to compare the Carnegie old with the Carnegie new – this toy shows how far Carnegie have come in the last 20 years.