The earlier dinosaurs of the Triassic are often overshadowed by their larger and more glamorous decedents. Though less flashy than later genera these were important animals in their time that paved the way and gave rise to the later dinosaurs we all know and love. That is why when a genus of dinosaur from the Triassic pops up, collectors should take notice. Even the well known Coelophysis has yet to be reproduced in a serious way by prominent toy lines which I find shameful. This review concerns Bullyland’s representation of the late Triassic theropod Liliensternus. A 17’ long, 300 lb animal that was not too dissimilar to Coelophysis and Dilophosaurus. Strangely this obscure genus has actually been produced by CollectA as well so big fans of Liliensternus have a couple choices to choose from if they wish.
Bullyland is an interesting company. From Germany, they for a very long time also made their products in Germany, only recently has Bullyland outsourced to China to make their figures. To the best of my knowledge they were the only major dinosaur toy company that manufactured these models outside of China so it is sad to see them jump on the China bandwagon. Bullyland often reproduces (or at least did) obscure animals from the Triassic and other periods that often get neglected. For this reason alone their line is very collectable. Where Bullyland often falls short is the level of quality in their works. While often accurate they can on occasion be poorly sculpted, sloppily painted and lacking in detail. They don’t hold up well to the likes of Papo or Carnegie. Still, their obscure models have a lot of charm and character and that is as true for their Liliensternus as much as it is for any other.
Measuring 10” long the Bullyland Liliensternus is a 1:20 scale model of the actual animal. It stands horizontally on two legs supported by a rocky base under each foot. The pose itself is very dynamic with the creature appearing as though it were stalking or skulking through some underbrush, perhaps hunting the contemporary Plateosaurus. The colors are an interesting and pleasing choice as well. Grey dorsally the underside has a pinkish skin-like tone. Three red spots along the neck give way to yellow spots down the rest of the body, tail and legs. The fenestra and eye sockets are also red. In some spots the paint application is a bit sloppy, notably on the teeth. In some places they didn’t bother to paint it at all like on the teeth inside the mouth and the underside of the finger claws. The texture of the model is a bit lacking with no discernable scales aside from some on the feet and head. The rest of the body is covered in wrinkles. Curiously there is a line of feathers along the back. At a time when many companies still don’t add features to their dromaeosaurs (I’m looking at you Safari) it is interesting to see a Triassic theropod with them, even if it is only a scant covering.
In terms of accuracy the model succeeds well, at least to my untrained eye. The animal has a very gracile look to it. The proportions all seem correct from the four fingered hands down to the very long tail, all features of the actual Liliensternus. The model does suffer from pronated hands, a common mistake on theropods but that is the only obvious mistake I see. The tail is also fairly wavy but I have no knowledge on how stiff the tail of this theropod actually was and won’t bother getting that nit picky because it still looks nice. Many depictions of Liliensternus show it with a crest on the head similar to that of Dilophosaurus. While it may have had this feature there is no fossil evidence to support it so Bullyland’s choice to omit this detail does not represent any failure on their part.
The only real criticisms I have regarding this model is the overall lack of smaller details already mentioned. That Bullyland tends to make their models out of a very soft and bendable material making paint rub-off a problem and on occasion, stability too. Despite having a base under each foot my particular model stands with one foot almost completely off the ground. Aside from that though, this is a mostly accurate and certainly charming addition of an obscure theropod to any collection. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on mine which took me quite awhile, like so many of Bullyland’s other models this one can be difficult to locate.