Over two decades after paleontologist John Ostrom described Deinonychus and subsequently launched the “Dinosaur Renaissance” yet a new genus would be found that would change the public perception of dinosaurs and finally bring forth the last piece of evidence needed to connect dinosaurs to birds. Sinosauropteryx prima was the first non-avian dinosaur to be found with a covering of feathers on its body. That was in 1996 and since then numerous other feathered dinosaurs have come from the Yixian Formation of China. Though described over a decade ago this small species of Compsognathid is rarely produced in toy form. Actually, I’m only aware of this one by Kaiyodo. Leave it to Kaiyodo of course to be the ones to produce this genus, they often tackle obscure animals and with the utmost in quality too. This Sinosauropteryx is no different and if we’re to only be blessed with one reproduction of this pivotal discovery it might as well be this detailed little guy from Japan.
Kaiyodo is without equal when it comes to these miniature dinosaurs. I was personally hesitant to invest money in something so small but since buying my first I’ve become hooked. This small theropod was my latest acquisition and I am simply stunned by the level of detail and accuracy. This is a dynamic and elegant little model that does a great job showing just how bird-like some of the dinosaurs were. The figure stands on a small black base with its left foot lifted up off the ground, looking surprisingly like one of the fossils discovered of Sinosauropteryx. The feet themselves are orange and again I must state, very bird-like. The long thin tail is held high with a small fan of feathers at the tip. I don’t think such a fan has been discovered on this species but it is a beautiful addition regardless. No detail has gone amiss and I can think of no glaring inaccuracy that could turn one away from this gracile little beauty.
There is, however, one inaccuracy worth mentioning and this may be the first review to do this…the color. Not only was Sinosauropteryx the first feathered dinosaur described but it was also the first dinosaur for which we know what color it was. By looking at preserved melanosomes paleontologists were able to determine this animal was a rusty red in color with light bands around the tail. The Kaiyodo figure gets the banding right but not much else. It is white in color with pink bands around the tail and flecks along the side, the bottom of the model is also pink. There is also a blue crest on the head in addition to the blue tail fan. Like other Kaiyodo figures there is another version of this animal with a different color. The other model is brown much like the real animal was but lacks the bands around the tail. In addition, it has a black patch of feathers on the back with a white border and white underside. The crest on its head is black as is the tail fan with blue flecks on it. Color aside my only real complaint would have to be the spots where the limbs connect to the body. All the Dinotales figures require assembly but the spots that snap together on this one are glaringly obvious as you can see in the pictures. Perhaps white was not the best color choice, something darker could have better concealed these spots.
It is amazing that we can call out inaccurate colors on any dinosaur figure but I’m certain when Kaiyodo made the thing they had no idea we would eventually know this little dinosaurs true colors. Hopefully someday a company will produce a fully accurate version of the creature where even the colors are correct. Until then the Kaiyodo model is a beautiful little figure that stands out in any collection. It can be found on eBay on occasion for less than ten U.S. dollars. The white version seems to be less rare than the brown.