Perhaps the most highly anticipated (especially by me) Collecta release of 2012 is finally here, and it doesn’t disappoint. Highly speculative as it is, this might just be Collecta’s best dinosaur model to date.
It’s big, too – bigger than you might expect, at almost 30cm (1ft) long and 11cm tall at the hips. Collecta claim a 1:40 scale, but it’s somewhat too large for that. I’m not complaining, but some ‘scale purists’ may wish to take note. Of course, much about this reconstruction is informed speculation anyway, with Deinocheirus mirificus famously being known mostly from a pair of ridiculously huge arms and only rather fragmentary parts of the rest of the skeleton. That said, enough has been recovered to ascertain that the animal was most likely an ornithomimosaur, albeit an absurdly gigantic one (rivalling the biggest predatory theropods in size).
This is exactly how Collecta have restored it, and it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into the sculpt. Although clearly an ornithomimosaur – with its long legs, arms (duh) and neck – the creature as restored here shows adaptations to accommodate for its large size, including much shorter feet and shins than would be expected for a ‘regular-sized’ ornithomimosaur. Some of the bones that are known from Deinocheirus point to it being an unusually ‘primitive’ (or more correctly, basal) ornithomimosaur for its time, and this is reflected here in the feet possessing four, rather than only three, toes. The head sports a crest clearly inspired by the much earlier ornithomimosaur Pelicanimimus, although unlike Pelicanimimus (and more in keeping with the other ornithomimosaurs of the Late Cretaceous) the mouth is a completely toothless beak.
Sculptural detail is impressive. The body is covered in a thin layer of hair-like feathers, entirely plausible for a theropod of this lineage and (yes) size. The head sports finely sculpted and immaculately painted eyes, ears (which should probably be a bit lower down) and nostrils; in terms of other orificies, yes, there’s actually a cloaca down there. The paint job on the head in particular is stunning, with wonderful, vibrant red and blue hues and bold white stripes. The animal is posed mid-stride with its tail most definitely aloft, and balances surprisingly well given that its feet are actually in proportion.
Of course, it’s not perfect; there are anatomical flaws, but they tend to be the same ones that plague the vast majority of dinosaur toys. For example, and as dino-rump obsessive Heinrich Mallison would point out to you, the tail is conspicuously thin at its base and lacking the required muscle mass. However, this is still a really very lovely figure, and one that’s available at a very reasonable price. Collecta are progressing in leaps and bounds by listening to their critics – it’s hard to believe that the same company made some of their earlier monstrosities – and it’s very heartening to see. If there’s anyone out there still not taking them seriously, now’s the time to start.