Although good Velociraptor toys are hard to come by, it’s easier to get hold of a half-decent Styracosaurus – meaning that Favorite (and Araki) had to try a little harder to impress with their Soft Model resculpt of the famous ceratopsian. Does their punk-rock centrosaur deliver? Well, you’ll have to read the rest of the review to find out. I’m cruel like that.
First impressions count for a lot – especially when enthusiasts are going dino-hunting, casting their eyes over all and sundry scale model specimens – and in this case, they are very good. As is worth repeating, you can’t fault Araki for not paying attention when it comes to animals’ anatomy. This is an excellently proportioned sculpt, save perhaps for the neck being a little long. Comparisons with skeletals by the likes of Scott Hartman and Greg Paul are highly favourable, and there is an admirable attention to detail.
This particularly applies to the animal’s head, with its much-loved array of fearsome frill spines and huge, jutting nose horn (as opposed to forehead horn). A fine eye is evident in such details as the knobbly bits over the eyes, the occasionally missed overhanging spikes at the top of the frill, and the proportionately tiny eyes. The beak and horns also have a pleasingly realistic texture to them, and the paint application is very good for a mass-produced figure. The closed mouth is also pleasing. This is no hollering rage-beastie, but an altogether more dignified creature, albeit one that still exudes a certain menace (how can it not with that skull?).
Of course, it’s also worth paying attention to the body driving the tyrannosaur-jabbing cranium forward, and fortunately Araki doesn’t let us down here either. Like all of his dinosaurs, it’s rather on the skinny side, if not as much as the X-Plus model; there is a distinctive ridge formed by the vertebrae down the back, and the belly is not as deep as it is in many restorations. Nevertheless, the overall impression is of a powerfully-built, stocky (if slightly hungry) creature, with appropriately massive hind limb musculature. The forelimbs are uncommonly up-to-date for ceratopsian toys, slightly bowed and with the hands turned a little outward, while also showing the correct compliment of five distinct digits (including two reduced ones). There may be too many claws, but that’s a nitpick – at least the dreaded elephant/rhino feet have been avoided here.
On top of all this anatomical rigour, this toy has some of the best aesthetic detailing – not to mention one of the best paint jobs – of the new Favorite line. There’s plenty of sagging and folding scaly skin on show (something of an Araki trademark) along with well-realised musculature, and the stripy colour scheme is striking without being overly garish (an accusation that could be levelled at the outrageously blue Triceratops from the same line). In short: if you’re after Styracosaurus Done Right, Araki’s latest is definitely worth a look.