On a cold and cloudy day I was doing some work at home when there was a sudden thump next to me. I looked over; my daughter was looking up at me with her Schleich Saichania in her hand. She placed the Saichania next to me and told me to play. I stopped what I was doing and took some time off to play dinosaurs with my kids for awhile. As we played, I realized that there has not been a review for this dinosaur yet, and decided to sit down and write one up.
History: The “Beautiful” ankylosaurid (Saichania means beautiful in Mongolian) was moderately sized compared to its relatives. It was around six meters long (twenty feet) and covered in spiky armor, including its legs. Its underside had some bony plating as well. Due to it living in an arid environment it had complex airways and unusually hard gums to deal with the tough plants that it browsed on.
About the toy: The Schleich Saichania does not appear to be a new sculpt, it looks to be a repaint and size change from the Replica-Saurus line. The overall shape (If you are looking at the toy head on) its head turns ever so slightly to the right, and the tail curves to the right as well. On its head the nostrils are large with a pre-dentary beak. Above the eyes is a prominent brow ridge. The Jugal and postorbital horns are big and sweep backward like the wings on a jet. On the head between the eyes are toughen scales. It has a short neck and the back curves up, reaches its highest point just before the hips and then it slopes gently all the way to the tip of the tail. The entire back is covered in long spikes the go all the way from the neck to the tail. Each row of spikes is segmented with a grid pattern. The texture between the spikes is small pebbly bumps.
The front legs are semi sprawling with the left foot slightly forward. The legs have many skin folds that end abruptly once it meets the body. There are five toes on the front feet, five toes on the rear right foot and six on the left. The textures on the flanks and underneath are irregular square scales with some loose skin under the neck.
Its colorization is a combo of dark blue, some sort of yellowish brown, and the spikes are cream colored. The dark blue covers the entire top and ends midway down the flanks. The underside and legs are the yellowish-brown color. The eyes are glossy black.
Scientific accuracy: I am not impressed. Maybe I am too picky but its head should be wider than it is long, and on this model, the head is long and not very wide. The head should be like a bull dog, with a squashed face with big nostrils. It isn’t bad but not quite squashed enough. The jaw, skull, just isn’t right. I know people love high spikes, but honestly, they were not that high. Saichania was armored all over its body, but, in this case its legs and underside are just fleshy. I give them a pass on the extra toe on the back left foot as there are quirks in nature, I’ll just pretend it was born with an extra toe.
Playability: Once again remember that this is a toy. As a toy, kids love it, mainly due to all the spikes that are on it. The clubbed tail is raised high enough to be used while playing, and even though the pose is not very dynamic, it still works just fine for play. The paint job is very robust and it takes some aggressive play for it to start wearing. A note of caution: the toy has some good weight, and the spikes are hard, it would hurt if it is swung and hits somebody.
Overall appraisal: I personally do not like it very much. The head bothers me as it is not accurate enough, the paint job is sloppy around the spikes, and the whole thing looks like a cross between Anguirus (from Godzilla), a turtle, and an ankylosaurid. There is no weight in its mid section, it appears to be trying to fit its body into a upper shell, plus the pose is not exciting. I can see how some people would like it being so spiky, especially kids, but it just doesn’t look accurate to me. I would recommend this toy to kids, since it is robust, and it is all spiky, which kids love. For educational use, or for a collector, I would not recommend it, but as usual, to each his/her own.
Schleich Saichania is a common toy and you can find it here: Amazon