Review and photographs by Tallin, edited by Plesiosauria.
One of the last and most massive of the sauropods, Alamosaurus sanjuanensis, was a colossal titanosaur from the Late Cretaceous Period. Its reign lasted right up until the K-T extinction and it lived in the same environments as Tyrannosaurus rex – it has been found all over North America. It has been speculated from isolated fossil specimens that Alamosaurus could have grown as large as the massive Argentinosaurus and Puertasaurus, which would make it one of the largest animals ever to walk the Earth. CollectA now has quite a few models of titanosaurs and their Alamosaurus came out at the same time as their particularly favourable Ampelosaurus. This company has made its name representing less well-known species, and since titanosaurs seem to be a little overlooked in the toy dinosaur world, it is nice to see this formidable sauropod finally make a debut.
CollectA’s Alamosaurus is a rather small model (at least when considering its enormous size in life) at about 21cm long and 17cm tall. When considering its stretched out length this makes it approximately 1:80 scale. The dinosaur is posed in mid-stride, head held high and possibly issuing a call to its fellows, warning of predators, trying to impress a potential mate, or simply discussing the weather. It has a relaxed but pleasingly dynamic pose with lots of diorama possibilities. The body is completely covered in scales (or round wrinkles?) of various sizes, with the smallest being at the top of the head and neck and the largest over its ribs and flank. A line of spines of different sizes runs from the head to the tip of the tail and there are numerous skin folds present. The model is mostly coloured a rich rust-red, a colour not often seen in sauropods models, which grades into a sandy hue at the belly. In a particularly nice area of detail, the teeth are delicately painted cream and there is even a little pink tongue sculpted in the open mouth. The eyes are little black pin-pricks and a subtle sand-brown has been dry-brushed over the scaly sides.
It is clear to me that CollectA have tried very hard on the accuracy front, even if they haven’t quite succeeded. There are no skulls attributed to this genus yet, so the generic but lovingly detailed head can’t be scrutinised for inaccuracy, other than perhaps that the nostrils are half-way down the skull and the head itself may be too large. The neck is rather too skinny when compared with modern reconstructions, and is held up nearly vertically. If the texture present is meant to purely represent scales, they are too large. At this small size, the individual scales would be virtually invisible. Then again, it has recently been found that Alamosaurus may have sported body armour in the form of osteoderms like its earlier cousin Saltasaurus. In this case, the large round structures could be intended to represent this armour, athough even if it were, it would be incorrectly arranged. Larger osteoderms were usually surrounded by smaller scales, and in this model where the scales are larger, they are of a constant size. On the other hand, on a small model like this it seems rather nit-picky. Advanced titanosaurs also had vastly reduced digits on their feet. This model features the distinctive thumb claw on the front feet, which is now thought to have been lost in some titanosaurs, though this is not a certainty. It is possible also that the front legs should be a little longer in comparison with the back legs, as many reconstructions show more of a straight slope from the back to the neck. So, although the accuracy is a bit hit and miss, the toy feels weighty and of good quality and as if genuine thought has gone into it.
As for its playability, I think this model would be enjoyed by most children – its warm and reasonably bright colours are attractive and the open mouth allows it to chomp down on any unfortunate house plants it may meet. Other than the rather blunt back spines this toy has no sharp edges and the plastic is fairly flexible so there shouldn’t be any neck or tail snapping disasters. The active pose and head give it plenty of possibilities for dioramas too.
All in all, this is one of my favourite members of my model sauropod herd. It may not be particularly unique or unusual, but it has plenty of charm and a nice paint job as well as that endearing expression. If you love sauropods but don’t have much shelf space (like me) CollectA’s later sauropods like this one are ideal. If you are picky when it comes to anatomy, you may not find this model is your cup of tea – but I can forgive the anatomical bloopers here mostly because it’s a small toy and CollectA have made up for it in character and quality sculpting, particularly when considering some of their early monstrosities. This model, released in 2011, was definitely a step in the right direction.
Available from Amazon.com here.