Another day, another toy Triceratops. This one’s from Araki’s new range of ‘Soft Models’ for Favorite (which may or may not constitute the second series), and is surely one of the best of the bunch, although there’s no escaping the fact that, like the others, it’d be vastly improved by a better paint job. I’m feelin’ blue, baby.
Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with colouring a dinosaur blue, of course – it’s just that here, a rather paint-box-bright blue is nearly all you get (save a greyish underside and a little detailing). As Collecta and Carnegie have shown, an otherwise quite unremarkable ceratopsian sculpt can be greatly improved by an imaginative paint job. With a sculpt as good as this one, a slightly less monotonous paint job could have helped it really shine.
And make no mistake – this is a very good sculpt, better than most in the toy bracket, in fact. The proportions are spot on, from the giant head to the rather stumpy tail. As far as soft tissues go, this is an appropriately beefy beast, with massive thighs and chunky, weight-bearing, slightly bowed forelimbs. It could perhaps have used a little extra depth in the torso region; although the creature is clearly pushing itself up on its forelimbs, the chest and belly are nevertheless quite shallow when compared with other restorations. Of course, Araki always sculpts his dinosaurs skinny.
Regardless of how his dinosaurs sometimes stray into the David Bowie end of the robustness scale, you’ve got to love Araki’s attention to detail. The head on this toy is simply wonderful. Although Triceratops had a honkin’ great cavity for its nose, this is one of the few toys to give the animal great big rounded nostrils, which are a nice touch in themselves. It doesn’t stop there, though – the ears are accounted for (and in the right place for a change!), the eyes are pleasingly small-‘n’-beady (and I love the colour scheme, even if the paint app’s a bit sloppy), and there are even tiny teeth sculpted out of sight in the mouth. Elsewhere, care has been taken to get the feet and, oh yes, the hands looking and facing the right way. No elephantine paws here.
Overall, it’s really very nice -a well-researched but still characterful figure, and probably one of the best of the new Araki Favorite range (he seems to have a knack for ceratopsians). If only it weren’t so bloody blue, this might well have been the best toy Triceratops out there. As it is, I still highly recommend it, and if anyone would like to repaint one for me, you’re more than welcome…