When I saw the Takara Tomy Tyrannosaurus on eBay, I was intrigued – had someone finally made a plastic T. rex that sported ‘protofeathers’? Naturally, I snapped one up and, of course, I received this Triceratops instead. Never mind…it’s still worthy of examination.
Tomy (as the company is known in the West) have produced a series of small figures, approximately Dinotales size, that (like Dinotales) require a little self-assembly, although unlike Dinotales the figures slot into ‘museum plinths’ for display. Unusually – for every dinosaur except T. rex, anyway – the animals’ specific as well as generic names are given. So, for once, we can be certain the animal modelled here is supposed to be Triceratops horridus rather than T. prorsus, and judge its merits as such. Hurrah.
For some reason, even the real cheap-arse end of the Japanese dinosaur toy market manages to produce figures that are remarkably anatomically correct. This Triceratops isn’t perfect, but the sculptor hasn’t made many of the most common mistakes that afflict models of this genus – for example, it correctly sports two reduced, clawless digits on each hand, a short tail, and a squarish, chasmosaurine frill. The head may be a little too large relative to the body, the chest area doesn’t appear to be deep enough and the feet are inaccurate, but overall it’s not bad.
More up for contention is the way the animal’s mouth has been restored – with lizardy ‘lips’ rather than the cheek tissue we are used to seeing. Really, it’s a matter of opinion as to which option is the more likely. I’ve always found Triceratops much more attractive with gorgeous, fulsome…cheeks, but even if you share my slightly worrying viewpoint the ‘lippy look’ detracts little from the sculpt. It does also mean that, upon close inspection, you can see miniscule teeth inside the mouth (which I must say I was pleasantly surprised about).
If anything does detract from the sculpt, then it’s probably the paintwork. The painting of some small details is a little bit fudged, and there are errant splashes of paint here and there. More importantly, though, the colour scheme is just plain boring – the figure is a pretty much uniform elephantine grey colour. While I’m not suggesting that such a huge animal should be decked out for a carnival, a few extra shades on the flanks or coloured patterns on the frill wouldn’t have gone amiss.
All in all this is a figure I’ve warmed to since it turned up by mistake; the relative crudity of the paintwork (at least, when compared with the insanely immaculate and tiny detailing on the Dinotales models) can mask what is otherwise a quite well-executed sculpt. And it’s very cheap to boot. Worth a shot.