Guest review by Niroot Puttapipat (Himmapaan)
Diplodocids are largely represented in figure form by the ubiquitous Apatosaurus (or ‘generic-o-pod’, as a certain friend and esteemed colleague has it), with Diplodocus itself being relatively few in number. I greeted the news of the CollectA model with mixed feelings; glad that there is another to add to the list, but afraid, quite prejudicially, that it might disappoint. Preview pictures did suggest an overall promising model, however, and so it proved.
The figure looks especially handsome in profile, its rearing posture lending it a graceful dynamism and, from my own purely personal aesthetic perspective, the most elegant set of shallow curves within an overall bow shape (I’m an illustrator, I can’t help seeing these things). Whether the larger sauropods were capable of rearing on their hind legs or not is still a matter for debate, but the posture actually looks convincing and not uncomfortable in this figure. Perhaps CollectA intended this as a nod (or a challenge?) towards that most beloved of Diplodocus figures, the Battat? Certainly the comparison is unavoidable.
The overall proportions, to a non-expert like me, look almost perfect. The head is suitably small when it is often made too large in sauropod figures. The tail is thick at the base and tapers away beautifully towards the tip, producing as it does that characteristic whiplash curve; again, in a much more convincing way than the ribbon-like waves throughout the tail’s entire length one often sees.
Elephant feet in sauropods are perhaps equal to pronated hands in theropods: vexing, thoroughly wrong, and yet continually repeated by artists. Happily, this figure boasts correctly shaped hands with only the first claw on each, and three claws on the feet. I especially admire the way the latter are even turned slightly outwards to the side rather than pointing directly to the front.
The gradated greens and brown stripes may not present the most novel of paint schemes, but they do strike a pleasant balance between the subdued and the vibrant in their subtly variegated application, with the red throat adding a good complementary hotspot.
But what of its negatives? Well, those laudable feet suddenly display a curious feature once you look beneath them and observe those sunken ‘pads’.
The appropriately tiny head still features what I can only describe as a goofy expression, and I’m not talking about its teeth; an aspect which I find especially prevalent in CollectA sauropods.
Another similarly common trait is that of the far too large scales. I’ve described them as being too ’tile-like’ hitherto, and it is true that ColectA have improved in this regard in their recent offerings, but I can’t quite warm to the kind of scales in areas such as the flanks. Still, they are preferable to elephantine skin at least, I suppose.
The most egregious flaw in this model must be the neck. It looks, as I said before, highly respectable in profile, but as to its width…
It is, alas, as thin as threadpaper. Having got over the feet hurdles (mostly), it seems the neck still leaves much to be desired (figuratively and literally), not in this figure alone but in some of the prevailing artwork. Sauropods have far thicker necks than the skeletons might suggest, ladies and gentlemen.
Overall, however, it is a very commendable figure, and one which I find myself growing fonder of. It’s certainly indicative of CollectA’s finer recent output, and that itself is very comforting indeed.