Ah, Dinotales. You either love them, or you’re wrong. Although tiny, their finely-sculpted, pointy and brittle nature ensures that they are inherently unsuitable for use as toys; it also means that they combine the two desirable traits of being attractive and compact (particularly handy for the more fanatical collector who’s running out of space). This one, although labelled “Brachiosaurus“, actually more closely resembles the African brachiosaur Giraffatitan brancai, as is the case with so. Many. Figures. Most of which, in fairness, predate the animal’s reclassification – as everyone’s bored of hearing by now, it used to be regarded as a Brachiosaurus species, and as it was more ‘complete’ it became the typical representation of Brachiosaurus in palaeoart and pop culture.
What makes me so sure it’s Giraffatitan? Well, I did deliberate over it for a while, I must admit. However, the anatomical proportions appear to be wrong for Brachiosaurus altithorax – the torso and tail aren’t proportionately long enough (although the latter is quite long, admittedly) and the animal is overall too gracile (compare this figure with the B. altithorax skeletal in Mike Taylor’s 2009 paper). Granted, the head doesn’t quite match Giraffatitan, but I’ll put that down to the difficulty of sculpting and mass-producing a figure at this tiny scale. And it really is tiny – at about 12cm long and 6.5cm tall, it is dwarfed by the majority of sauropod figures. That doesn’t stop it being a beaut, though.
‘Elegant’ is perhaps the best word to describe this figure. Like so many Dinotales figures, the slavish attention to detail and adherence to anatomical accuracy is simply wonderful. It’s not completely perfect (I’ll get to that in a minute), but there is so much that’s done correctly here that so many others have got wrong – especially (oh yes) the hands and feet. Even though they are miniscule, the best attempt has been made to make each hand a ‘collonade’ of digits with only one claw, while the crispness of the detailing – skin folds, musculature and all that – is incredible. I’m also a huge fan of the intricate colour scheme. On the one hand, you might think that this sort of colour scheme is unlikely for such a big, herbivorous animal. On the other hand, it has been argued that camouflage might have been a bit pointless for an animal bigger than a house. Whatever the case, it’s far superior to the usual boring greys, greens and sludgy browns.
If there’s one problem I have with this figure, it’s that it might be a little bit too skinny and gracile, especially when it comes to the neck. Owing to the figure’s small size, it’s not as much of a problem as it is for eg. the Favorite “Brachiosaurus“, but it is still a little irksome – depending on your opinion, of course. I’ll admit to having been convinced by Matt Wedel that brachiosaur necks probably shouldn’t be ‘caved in’ like this (especially as he produced a chucklesome image – “feed me pls”), mainly because he’s a bona fide Sauropod Expert. The fact that these indentations are there at all on such a tiny figure is remarkable, mind you, which does make one feel like a bit of a grumpy, pedantic git (who, me?) for wishing they weren’t, but there ya go. The neck could probably do with being a bit deeper down near the shoulders, too, to allow for all the tendons and muscles.
This is all relatively minor nitpickery, though, especially on a figure of such a small size. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this figure to anyone; it’s a better-than-most sculpt with a very attractive paint job (as with pretty much all the Dinotales models, there are alternative colour schemes out there, but I think this is my favourite). It’s also very cheap, especially if you live in the Far East. Now, go and nab it on eBay!