Every prehistoric animal toy line has to have a Dimetrodon, so here’s Papo’s – their second new figure in 2013, following the successful Carnotaurus. Dimetrodon, a scaly beast with a vicious set of fangs, would seem to play perfectly to Papo’s strengths and, indeed, this might be one of their best figures so far.
In the past, Papo have scarcely ever been faulted for their production values, which have remained consistently excellent. Rather, they’ve been criticised for haphazard anatomical accuracy and/or lazily leaning on creature designs used in certain 20-year-old movies. Since the appearance of Dimetrodon in art has hardly changed in over 50 years, the animal would seem to be a good bet for avoiding such issues. Happily, Papo have lived up to this promise and produced a figure that, while not completely perfect, certainly shows a great deal of attention to anatomical detail, certainly beyond what one would expect for a non-museum figure.
The overall proportions of Dimetrodon differ depending on which species you’re talking about, and of course it’s not mentioned which particular species the Papo is based on, if any. However, it’s very well proportioned for a “Dimetrodon sp.”, with a lovely long tail, rather squat limbs and a heavy-looking maw mounted up front (not to mention the characteristic sail). It could probably do with an extra toe on each hind foot, but there aren’t too many other glaring faults here.
Certain aspects of the head, especially the tip of the lower jaw, may have been exaggerated a little bit – it seems rather too chunky. This is a nitpick, though, as overall the noggin is excellent – tall but not especially wide, with the eyes located high up and far back, and the signature notch in the upper jaw made very obvious. The jaw is articulated, too, which allows for a variety of poses. While having it hang wide open gives our Permian beauty queen the radiant smile she surely deserves, I nevertheless prefer it closed – mostly because the rather odd tongue resembles a partially-swallowed slab of meat, or possibly a slice of pie.
Of course, what Papo are really known for is the astonishing lifelike quality they bring to what are, ostensibly, relatively cheap children’s toys. The Dimetrodon surpasses even their usual very high standard in this regard, boasting a gorgeous, naturalistic stripy brown colour scheme on the body, complemented by an occasionally haphazardly painted, but nevertheless striking grid pattern on the sail. The texturing is, as always, exemplary – the figure is covered in lizardlike scales that gleam realistically, with broader scales on the belly. Overall, this just might be the most beautiful Dimetrodon toy yet produced.
Now, I’ll readily admit that I’m no expert on Permian synapsids. Well, I’m no expert on dinosaurs either, but I have enough of a geeky fascination with them to get by when writing a toy review. Therefore, there might be some awful anatomical fault (besides the missing toes) with this figure that I’ve overlooked. Still, I certainly can vouch for this figure being well sculpted, painted and, well, looking very cool indeed. Very highly recommended.
Available from Amazon.com here.