In 2013, Sideshow Collectibles released an extremely limited edition model featuring a baby Euoplocephalus. Of course, every Sideshow Dinosauria model is produced in limited quantities, and once they are sold out, they often fetch high prices at auction sites. So why all the fuss over this sweet little dinosaur?
Well, the Euoplocephalus hatchling was intended as a sort of lightning-sale. Vigilant Sideshow followers noticed the preorder announcement – which appeared without any warning, mind you – through Sideshow’s official website (exclusively, not available through any retailer) in October of 2012. Within minutes, they were completely sold out, with many clever customers purchasing multiple models with the intent to resell the rare piece at a later date. And boy, did they ever. The so-called “flippers” managed to take a model that was a paltry $40 at retail, and sell them on eBay for $300 each. This does provide at least some opportunity for hardcore Dinosauria collectors to get their hands on the hatchling, but Sideshow’s limited offering of the model left more than a few collectors quite understandably peeved.
No doubt the rarity of this piece is responsible for drawing many readers to this review. If you have come to this page with the hope of finding one for sale, or finding flaws in the model that will make you feel better about missing out, I’m afraid I cannot help you. This may not be the first hatchling dinosaur that Sideshow has offered, but it does represent some of their finest work.
The packing material is not unlike most other Sideshow Dinosauria models, consisting of fitted styrofoam and a thinly wrapped padding to reduce the risk of paint rubs during transit. Given the stout build of the model, this seems safe enough. No assembly is required whatsoever, and the model itself is centered on a round black base. One standout worth noting to collectors is the box. Most Dinosauria models have a dark color theme on their outer display boxes, but this little guy sports a cheerier, brighter case. I suspect it’s intended to mimic the look of an egg shell, and I’m betting this will probably not be seen on packaging for future models.
Although only a baby, this model very visible in a display, measuring eight inches high. I am pleased to say that the prototype stock image is well represented in the final model. The details are not heavily softened, and perhaps most noticeable is the paint. The blend of fiery yellow, orange, and red is reminiscent of the Tyrannosaurus maquette. This has been very nicely implemented to bring out the liveliness of the sculpt. I expect a newborn dinosaur would be more inclined to have a subtle, camouflaged appearance, but there’s no question of the vibrant beauty it provides. A layer of sheen allows it to glisten realistically, so this 1:1 scale model is likely the closest we’ll get to watching a baby dinosaur hatch from an egg. Unlike the Brachiosaurus baby, which appeared barely conscious with its eyes only slightly opened, this little guy is definitely wide awake and wriggling free, unquestionably ready to take on the world.
Another nice thing about the polystone medium used for this collectible is that it allows you to do things that would be unsafe for a mass-market toy. While the dinosaur itself is fairly rounded – and would likely still be even if the clubbed tail was revealed – there is quite a lot of eggshell in the scene. The shell shards are visible on the body and base, and are a bit sharp just as one would expect, so please take care when showing this piece to young children. Chances are, you wouldn’t want them handling a piece like this anyway.
It’s hard to say why this particular species was selected instead of the more prototypical Ankylosaurus, but it may have something to do with the baby ankylosaur fossil find, which has been specifically attributed to Euoplocephalus. There is also a fair chance that Sideshow will introduce a fully-fledged maquette or diorama later on, featuring the more popular species. Given their choice to make this a highly exclusive model, they probably could have gotten away with any obscure species. What’s more, few people would have noticed if they had skimped on the quality, but this does not appear to be the case at all. For those who missed out on this piece, it may be painful to learn this, but I must say this is one model that definitely delivered on the promise of the stock photo. It’s hard enough to find examples of baby ankylosaurs, and I cannot think of any that deliver so well on the concept.
Additional notes from Jorge Blanco will be added shortly.