For many collectors, young and old, part of the appeal of dinosaur figures – perhaps even their primary appeal – is that they help render long-lost worlds as exciting and vibrant as the one around us today. They bring to life creatures known only from rocks in a vivid, three dimensional, colourful and exciting way. Albeit in miniature, of course. As such, the best dinosaur figures are those that capture the viewer’s imagination and convince us that we are looking at a living, breathing beast. (In minature.)
This would be one of those exceptional cases, then.
For a long time derided as the makers of cheapo, deformed rubbish, Collecta have fought back with a vengeance in the last couple of years, responding to critcism by actually acting on it (other companies, take note). And now they’ve released a corpse. Fortunately, it’s a bloody good one. ‘Bloody’ is the right word, too – they haven’t skimped on the gory details in bringing Triceratops back to decomposing non-life. Most obviously, there’s that gaping hole in its flank, but there are also flesh wounds on the neck and tail and slash marks on the leg, with copious amounts of painted-on blood. Particularly grim is the hole torn in the face to reveal the teeth, although the little tongue sticking out makes me laugh. How horrible.
Think me demented as you might (and probably already do), but I can’t stress enough how delighted I was when this figure arrived and I first inspected it. It’s just superb. For one thing, it’s actually a very good model of Triceratops, with the right number of fingers and toes (and even claws) and a head that’s the right shape (rather than having an overly-round frill). There are even speculative small quills over the hips, wilting downwards accordingly. It might not be completely perfect, but it’s better than the vast majority of figures of this genus in the ‘plastic toy’ price range.
What’s more, the paintwork is excellent. I praised the colour scheme of their Torosaurus last year for being bold and inventive, and Collecta have opted for something similar here (make of that what you will with regards to the whole ‘Toroceratops’ thing). It’s always heartening when companies make use of ceratopsians’ frills for a bold visual display, rather than having them painted the same boring greens, browns or greys as the rest of the figure. It’s very neatly painted, too, with no signs of sloppiness and good blending of the colours.
The best thing about this figure, however, is that it (perhaps ironically) livens up any display of toy dinosaurs. Stick a Tyrannosaurus figure next to it and you have an instant diorama – and as you can see, it’s very hard to resist photographing it with a T. rex in shot (the Wild Safari makes for a good match scale-wise). Much as a wide-ranging collection can be interesting to look at on its own, interaction between animals makes it just that bit better. Collecta are to be applauded for an unusual figure choice, and I hope it goes down well!
One last thing – it’s actually stamped ‘Dead Triceratops‘, and I would have referred to it that way were it not for the need to index the reviews…