It was some time back in 1995-96 when I first heard of Carcharodontosaurus. Although it had been known to science since 1931, it wasn’t until 1995 when an expedition led by Paul Sereno unearthed additional cranial material for the theropod that Carcharodontosaurus had its moment in the lime light. The media proclaimed it as being “bigger than T. rex”, a headline that always has and will grab the attention of the masses. I was eleven at the time, a couple years had passed since “Jurassic Park” and I was a permanent dino-geek at this point. The story had it all; a dinosaur bigger than Tyrannosaurus found in an expedition to far flung Africa. What part of that wouldn’t sound cool to an eleven year old boy? Hell, it’s still cool. Field paleontologists have it made. So this particular theropod has a special place in my heart and finally after all these years a respectable toy of this beast has been produced. I’m talking about this year’s addition to the CollectA line, the 2014 Deluxe Carcharodontosaurus.
CollectA as we’re all aware has steadily been improving over the years with regards to toy dinosaurs but they still frequently disappoint. Last years Mapusaurus and “T. rex with prey” still causes us to wake up at night in a cold sweat. So when prototype photos were released last year of their upcoming Carcharodontosaurus, many of us were hesitant to get too excited, despite it looking like a fabulous model. Now with the model in hand I can confidently tell you all that those early production photos did not lie, this model is exactly what they advertised and it’s a beautiful thing.
Measuring just over 12” in length this model is comparable in size to Papo’s recent Tyrannosaurus and is in the 1:40 scale range. Striding forward in a fully bipedal pose with mouth agape CollectA seems to have succeeded where many other companies continue to fail, in recreating a theropod that can stand on its own two feet. Normal size feet at that, not the large feet that Safari has recently adopted. In order for the model to stand upright though some adjustments had to be made, most notably in the hips. This dinosaur has a lot of junk in the trunk. Whatever works I say, I still prefer it over the Carnegie tripods.
Proportionally the model appears accurate, wide hips aside. There is little to complain about in this department. The hands properly face inwards but if there is a nit to pick it is that the thumb claw could stand to be a bit larger. The attention to detail is fantastic here, as is the paint application. The head is covered in tiny bumps and ridges that make this look like a truly gnarly carnivore. Each tooth is individually sculpted and painted with very little paint run-off. A pink tongue and palate are sculpted within the mouth. The tiny eyes are painted black but have a life-like shine to them.
Running down the back and along the tail is a row of scutes, two other rows start at the head and end at the hips. The throat is complete with a fleshy dewlap and the rest of the body is wrinkled and muscled where appropriate. Scales are sculpted all over the body, some of them quite large. With the model at this scale the individual scales are definitely too large, this is something CollectA has done in the past. Not really a complaint from me though, the model has a very crocodilian feel to it and the row of scales on the underside of the tail are a nice touch.
The body is brown overall with a white underbelly. Black markings are painted along the body, legs and down the length of the tail. The head has the war paint application that CollectA has recently been favoring but it is not overdone here. A white stripe divides a black snout and jaw while a bit of blue is painted under the eye and between the ears. Toe nails and claws are painted black and like I said earlier, there is virtually no bleeding of the paint in this model.
This may very well be the best theropod to date from CollectA, especially with the let downs we got from them last year. They really seem to be striving for excellence with their dinosaur line. Although I do own other CollectA models this is the first “must have” for me, I’m not usually one to buy a model hot off the press. With only one other (and far inferior) Carcharodontosaurus model having been mass produced this is a welcoming addition to any theropod collection. It’s accurate and detailed, fully bipedal and in the 1:40 scale range…what more could you want?
Available on Amazon.com here.