Review and photos by Tallin, edited by Plesiosauria.
As one of the strangest looking dinosaurs discovered it is unsurprising that Therizinosaurus and its kin have been represented in toy form by most of the major companies, sometimes more than once or in different scales. CollectA and Safari Ltd have several examples of this strange therapod family in their ranges, and we have thus come to expect a similar shape for members of the therizinosaur clade: a pot-belly, small head and stumpy legs (reflecting fossil evidence from a variety of finds over the years). It seems evident that Schleich has decided to break with this design as seen in their 2014 Therizinosaurus.
The ‘scythe lizard’ was first known from its huge 3 foot claws, discovered in 1954. At this point it was thought to belong to a turtle family, and the claws made up the body of vast flippers or were used to harvest seaweed. Thanks to several other discoveries, it became evident that this bizarre animal was actually a type of theropod, and still more recent evidence points to therizinosaurs being herbivorous. The hypothesis is that the massive 10m animal used it’s enormous claws to pull down branches, much like a ground sloth.
Now to Schleich’s representation of this unique dinosaur. It seems clear to me that they are going for the monstrous approach with this design. Evidence points to therizinosaur heads being very small compared to their body, as well as being narrow and filled with small teeth. The head on this beastie is much bigger than it should be in proportion to its body, with big teeth and ending with a strange little curved beak. It is true that no skull is known for Therizinosaurus in particular, but the head given to this creature is unlike any skulls related to the dinosaur. It also features one of the meanest gazes of any model I own, with bright green eyes surrounded by black. The neck is suitable long, but curved over 90 degrees quite sharply at the top, of which I am unsure of the plausibility.
The hands sport the famously wicked claws that signify this dinosaur, though they look like they could do a great deal of damage to more than just a branch! The model is also not as pot-bellied as most reconstructions show, and I would say that the legs are perhaps slightly too long and large in proportion to the rest of the body. The feet should feature four weight-bearing toes rather than three as shown, and in the case of this model they are rather too large and splayed. I can see this has been done for stability reasons like with many of Schleich’s theropods, though this seems unnecessary given that the model can rest on its tail (though it can also be free standing over the edge of a desk/shelf).
Accuracies aside, there are, however, many things I do like about this model and I think it has a wonderful character and personality, if a little villainous. I see it as a fictitious beastie rather than a specific dinosaur, and when viewed this way becomes rather charming, with the high level of detail in the head and articulated jaw and arms. It has a huge amount of wrinkly detail around the belly and legs, and you can also see a fine texture of feathery down running down the back, with larger feathers running down the sides of the suitably short tail. It is also an exceedingly brightly coloured model, with a rich orange/red back and a hyacinth blue underside separated by a line of black, with a few black spotted markings here and there. I can see a child loving this dinosaur and it taking up the role of super-villain in many a scenario. The posable arms with those huge claws are great for play, as is the jaw, and at 20cm tall it certainly isn’t a small fiddly model. It is roughly 1:35 scale. The material has a slightly rubbery feel and the paint seems fairly tough.
I think that Schleich have produced a marvellous action monster figure here, with lots of character and playability. To say that this is an accurate representation of a therizinosaur is somewhat questionable, but there is little doubt that this model is a lot of fun.
Available from Amazon.com here.