Schleich have attracted a lot of derision for their often diabolical theropods (knuckle-dragging Spinosaurus, anyone?), but – for whatever reason – tend to fare somewhat better when it comes to herbivorous dinosaurs. This brachiosaur sculpt dates from 2007 and really isn’t too bad at all. If nothing else, it’s certainly an impressively hefty hunk of plastic.
This is, of course, another model of Giraffatitan brancai, which is something that I would never consider tediously explaining in a review. Nope, not me. Never. In terms of proportions it is, by and large, easily as respectable as the majority of Giraffatitan figures out there; granted, the head is a little large and certain details of the anatomy such as the feet are incorrect (most obviously the forefeet) but there is nothing glaringly, horribly wrong about this figure. Good start. It is a little on the chunky side, granted, which adds to its rather retro air.
The head may be a little misshapen – that muzzle should definitely be shorter, and the nostrils are placed in a rather old-fashioned position directly over the bony nasal openings – but one can’t fault the attention to detail and careful paintwork here. While it’s not unusual for sauropod figures to have closed mouths, the protruding teeth are more out of the ordinary – it seems to be the norm for sauropod toys to have ‘lips’ (probably ‘cos it’s easier to pull off). The jury’s still out on which restoration is more likely for certain species. However, the combination of the teeth and a darkened, depressed area around the eye (probably intended to correspond with the orbit) give this brachiosaur an unusually menacing air, in contrast with the typical ‘smiley dope’ look that such figures seem to often have. It’s quite fitting, really, as an adult Giraffatitan – around 25 metres long and weighing in excess of 20 tonnes – would not be an animal to mess with.
Aesthetically, what’s most pleasing about this figure when compared with some others (the old Carnegie, for example) is the crispness of the details, none of which is lost under the paint. There is a convincing indication of muscle mass, particularly at the base of the neck, while details such as skin creases and folds help give the model a suitably organic look. If there is one criticism to be made here, it’s that some of the detailing is a little strange-looking. For example, it would’ve looked much better with far finer scalation – the huge scales on the flanks of the creature look a bit odd, like it has a football for a belly. The paintjob is a little uninspired – brown and more brown – but at least still looks naturalistic enough, with a subtle, pleasing blending of shades. One could also criticise the pose for being a little static, but perhaps ‘statuesque’ is a better word. There’s a very good impression made of a huge, heavy, powerful creature.
Of course, this is helped in no small part by the model’s sheer size. At about 31cm tall it towers imposingly over other 1:40 scale figures, and this is definitely part of its appeal. Unfortunately, it’s being retired this year and receiving a somewhat smaller replacement. Grab one while you still can – although a little expensive it’s very common (duh – it’s Schleich), a worthy addition to anyone’s brachiosaur lineup, and one of the best of what is all too often a bad lot in the Replica-Saurus series.
Available from Amazon here.