Sideshow’s rendition of the mighty Stegosaurus was released in summer of 2012. At 16″ high and 26″ long, the term “mighty” becomes quite appropriate. While previous models like the Apatosaurus may have been technically greater in length, there is a great visual difference between an animal with a long, slender tail, and one that is bolstered by huge plates along the entire body.
Cast in heavy polystone with a relatively lightweight base, this is certainly one of the better pieces seen in Sideshow’s Dinosauria line. Sideshow categorizes this as a “diorama” rather than a single-character “maquette” because of the juvenile that ambles alongside its mother. The paint scheme is simplistic and does not overpower the stunning artistry of Jorge Blanco. Collectors familiar with the “dark dots” on Dinosauria models will notice them here in the diamond formations along the flanks, which essentially reflect the shape of the plates. The base is perhaps the simplest yet seen in the series, with only a few green ferns scattered on the ground to tempt the juvenile.
As usual, the characters have pegs on their feet which allow them to be sturdily attached to the base. This offers us a rare glimpse at a Stegosaurus that stands perfectly on its hind legs, a trick that has only been seen in one other place that I can recall. The base contains trackways that help guide the feet into position, and if you don’t mind using them as only vacant footprints, you can display the adult without the baby.
From a logistics standpoint, Stegosaurus is perhaps one of the most difficult dinosaurs to manufacture. While vinyl toys might be pliable, resin or polystone models are hard and more prone to breakage. Sideshow has cleverly worked around this issue by packing the four largest plates separately. They are easily dropped into place via peg insertion, and since gravity alone keeps them in place, you don’t want to go jostling the statue without removing them first. Each one is numbered and fits into uniquely shaped slots, so there’s little chance of putting them in the wrong place. Once installed, they look exactly as you might expect. Giant blades of bone and keratin erupting from the skin, impressive to gaze upon if not to regulate the animal’s temperature.
The high level of detail in a Sideshow model can be particularly nice for Stegosaurus, with its throat armored in fine ossicles. This feature stands out very nicely, and it is surprising how many manufacturers seem to miss this aspect. The artist has also taken the liberty of providing our roofed reptile with further protection on the forelegs, which bear a smattering of scutes. This is a speculative feature, but it makes for a more interesting restoration.
The backstory suggests that this mother is rearing in response to an impending attack from a carnivore, though the violence appears not to have fully erupted, or surely the juvenile would not be scarfing down food. The rearing posture of the Stegosaurus does provide her an alert quality. This would be more of a showy gesture, one that is appropriate for an extravagant-looking animal. The twisting of the tail and turning of the head are excellent for aesthetic purposes, but also suggest the adult has some awareness of the danger and wishes to protect her offspring.
The famous thagomizer is looking nice and sharp here, as well. The spikes appear to have fractured, splintered, and regrown in certain areas, suggesting this girl has seen her fair share of battle. It is said that Stegosaurus was well-equipped to pivot on its legs and make maximum use of its armed tail, and those legs have been given a great treatment here. In addition to the sheer mass of its body, the limbs have a great thickness and musculature that reinforces the power of this creature, perhaps even more so than any other Dinosauria statue. Theropods might hog a lot of attention, but even large theropods look relatively dainty in their bird-like limbs. This is an animal clearly built to crush its foes.
The Dinosauria line did contain a ferocious Protoceratops at one point, but even an animal as stereotypically parental as Protoceratops did not receive any juveniles for the restoration. It is interesting that Stegosaurus was selected as the first subject to care for its young, when so many other species seem to be chosen for parental scenes. It’s possible this pairing is a subtle nod to The Lost World, without the restrictions of working under a massive franchise.
Like several previous pieces, the prototype shown in Sideshow’s stock photo is warm and golden in hue, while the final product is decidedly less so. The statue turns out to be more grey and green, which is not altogether bad, and in fact mimics the classic colors more commonly seen in Stegosaurus reconstructions (assuming you aren’t sick of them by now). At least the plates are not bright traffic-cone orange.
For those curious, the baby alone is approximately the size of the popular Papo Stegosaurus adult. It is approximately 1:15 scale, and since the Dinosauria line does not conform to a consistent scale ratio, scale-minded collectors might find it fits better among their Shane Foulkes models, or the larger CollectA pieces. It demands considerable space, so plan your display accordingly.
For all the love we lavish upon Stegosaurus, it rarely gets the treatment it deserves from the manufacturers. If you can afford this, the most expensive Dinosauria model so far, you’ll get fancy throat ossicles, all seventeen plates, and an outstanding sculptural quality. It’s truly a work of art, one that Mr. Blanco should be congratulated for.
“I was working on Brazil when I was commissioned to sculpt the Stegosaurus for the Dinosauria line. I prepared some sketches based on my favorites versions of this peculiar dinosaur. Again, the principal idea was to represent a full grown specimen, plenty of strenghth, but this time he or she would be accompanied by a little one. My initial idea was they were part of a big herd. After a rain season, the little child comes out the forest and the vigilant mom rises on his hind limbs, maybe because she heard some suspicious sounds among the foliage.”
“To represent my version of Stegosaurus stenops, I reviewed some articles by Tracy Ford (Thanks again, Tracy) in which he explained some theories about the way Stego moves, and the skeletal reconstruction of Gregory Paul. I paid special attention to the spikes and the scutes. I wanted to represent a magestic animal, worthy of respect for any hungry theropod. The Sideshow team was very generous to give me all the necessary support, and Steve Riojas did a wonderful job with the painting. I thinking in of mom, who said she saw the dinosaurs through my eyes when I was a child, so I dedicated personally this sculpture to her memory.”
– Jorge Blanco