Trust Kaiyodo to turn such a monstrously huge dinosaur into a miniature masterpiece of a figure. It might have had nothing on the largest sauropods, but this animal was named Shantungosaurus giganteus for a reason (it is the biggest non-sauropod dinosaur yet known). For Kaiyodo, emphasising the animal’s sheer size was not an option, so they simply concentrated on making it beautiful instead.
It’s easy to forget just how small the Dinotales figures are when viewing close-up shots, so let me spell it out for you – at just over 10.5cm long and 4cm tall at the hips (not including the base), it’s something like 1:140 scale. The head is approximately 1.5cm long. Given its tiny size, the amount of detail on this figure is incredible, especially given that it is ostensibly a cheapo snap-together collectible. The intricate details extend from a carefully modeled skull to skin creases, muscles and tendons moving beneath the skin and a ‘crest’ along the animal’s back, which has been modeled on related hadrosaurs. There are even pupils painted inside the eyes, which themselves are no more than 1mm across.
From an anatomical standpoint this is as good as it gets. Virtually every aspect of this model is in perfect proportion. Perhaps the tail could have been a little longer, but that is the nittiest of picks – other than that, there really is nothing to find fault with, and an awful lot to praise. Notable points of comparison with the real dinosaur include the rather deep lower jaw and tall vertebrae over the hips. Not a lot more I can add here – the sculptor really did their research for this sculpt, and it shows.
In terms of aesthetics, the mere fact that this is a faithful restoration of the animal concerned makes it immediately appealing, but to compound this the figure has also been given a very attractive paint scheme. It’s not going to appeal to everyone – some might view it as a little unlikely, or overly bright – but the dazzling, almost tribal patterns are certainly a scene-stealer, and there are a number of excellent small touches (check out the red and white stripes running down from the head). The energetic pose is also wonderful, and really makes this sculpt come alive. For once, this is a hadrosaur figure that celebrates hadrosaurs as more than just terrified tyrannosaur-fodder; fitting, ‘cos Shantungosaurus would be the one hadrosaur you really wouldn’t want to cross.
This is one of the few figures I can recommend without any reservation. There’s no compromise on scientific accuracy, detail, or paintwork, and if the small size bothers you then, well, you’re Just Wrong. You’ll probably have to go looking on eBay and on the sites of specialist retailers, but this eminently affordable figure is definitely worth your while!