I’ve been able to tear myself away from our sparkly new Dinosaur Toy Forum (please do register if you aren’t already a member) to dedicate a little time to our old friend The Dinosaur Toy Blog.
It isn’t easy to find a respectable range of dinosaur toys in brick and mortar establishments these days. Even museum shops can disappoint with a pitiful, and often rather embarrassing selection of figures – museum quality replicas indeed. Incidentally, I believe museums have a duty to provide accurate representations in their shops, just as they have a duty to provide accurate representations in their galleries, although I understand why this may not always be the case. Quality aside, given the overwhelming general paucity of dinosaur figures in brick and mortar stores, the vast majority of us turn to the internet to do our monthly (weekly? I hope not daily!) dino-shopping. And so it was with much surprise that I came across a healthy selection of CollectA dinosaurs in my local Sainsbury’s supermarket the other week! A healthy selection of some of the more unhealthy-looking early releases that is. So after a brief period of excitement I decided to pass. But one figure stood out against the rest of the rabble and I resolved to return the following day to re-inspect it. And yes, I bought it. And yes, I’m now going to review it. A second sculpt of Brachiosaurus for their standard-sized line.
There are three(?) other Brachiosaurus in the CollectA range. I think this is the second standard-sized sculpt of this genus (Happy Horridus? Or do I also need to include a short aside on Giraffatitan too? ;)) but CollectA have produced so many figures in such a short period of time it is difficult to keep tabs on them all. There are actually enough similarities to regard this figure as a resculpt (rather than a new sculpt). It’s worth noting here that a third CollectA Brachiosaurus was produced for the Deluxe line, but it is a dreadful abomination (reviewed previously by Dan here). The first standard-sized Brachiosaurus hasn’t been reviewed here yet, but it doesn’t seem much better than the Deluxe horror (check out the photos on this external link for a comparison: http://dosfosseisaoplastico.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/brachiosaurus-procon-collecta.html). The one I’m reviewing here today is leagues apart from its two ugly sisters.
A quick note on the packaging. The toy was attached to a cardboard base replete with fiddly plastic bits and twiddly wires that hold it in place. There is also a backing card with some graphics. Every box had identical graphics with two rotten stock photos of old CollectA toys on the front, and a dashing snap of Anthony Beeson on the back, alongside some info on Tyrannosaurus (again, on every box). As the figures were held in place, it wasn’t possible to read the names stamped on their tummies, so the uninitiated would not necessarily know what dinosaur they were looking at.
After a brief struggle to release the figure from its restraints, I also discovered a small leaflet housed in the backing card that lists other CollectA products. Most dinosaur toys tend to be sold loose but there are several exceptions. The Toyway NHM London line have an almost identical packing strategy to the one employed here by CollectA. The bubble-packed Favorite models also come to mind. Oh, and Jurassic Park figures came in boxes didn’t they. And then there are the Safari Ltd tubes. Actually, I take it back, maybe most dinosaur toys aren’t sold loose after all! Anyway, for CollectA this is presumably a marketing strategy. The fact that they have found their way into a major chain of supermarkets in the UK is testament that the strategy seems to be working.
Now on to the toy itself. As I’ve waffled on I won’t go into copious details, but this is a very respectable sculpt of a Brachiosaurus. The feet are rather well done and correct the anatomical mistakes present in its predecessor sculpt. The overall pose is simple but striking and realistic, it somehow imparts a sense of mass. The surface detail is very fine and the paintwork isn’t too bad.
The head suffers from a mildly cartoon-like appearance, but overall, I highly recommend this figure. There are plenty of comparisons to draw between this figure and the similarly sized Favorite Brachiosaurus. And the CollectA beast would lose out in a head to head battle with the Wild Safari Brachiosaurus, which is another obvious figure to compare it with. But I like it. I like it a lot. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have bought it for myself!