Review and photographs by joossa, edited by Plesiosauria.
Ceratosaurus dentisulcatus, or “Savage”, is the fourth 1/35 scale theropod model produced by Rebor, following after their Utahraptor or “Wind Hunter”. The animal represented by this model is the larger of the named and described Ceratosaurus species and is a welcomed addition to the Rebor line mostly due to the lack of other highly detailed Ceratosaurus models available. Rebor has built an interesting reputation and name for itself in its short history, with its ability to produce highly detailed and quality models and bases. Rebor came onto the scene announcing its Yutyrannus “Y-Rex” model in August 2014 and since then, has garnered the attention of many different types of hobbyist, figure collectors, and dinosaur enthusiasts. With this attention and their interesting PR approach used to promote their products, many discussions have arisen and have gotten people talking about topics such as scientific accuracy in models, the difference between toys, figures, and models, and what ‘museum quality’ means. With this in mind, it is safe to say that Rebor’s reputation is proportionately large compared to the company’s age and it is not without controversy. This C. dentisulcatus model contributes to that reputation in more than one way.
This model, as with the other Rebor theropod models, is packaged in a box with foam padding and is accompanied by a brief information card about the animal and a polystone base for the model. The base for this model is very appealing as it contains a mixture of elements and detail that make it unique. The base’s composition includes moss, mud, rocks, water, fallen logs, and a tree stump. The level of detail used for each element of the base is exquisite, making them all look very realistic and cohesive, allowing for a fantastic depiction of what C. dentisulcatus‘s habitat likely looked like: a swampy, wetland scene. The highlight of this base is probably the clear resin that is used to give the effect of water in the form of a running stream or large puddle. Rocks and even some of the fallen log can be seen through the resin further enhancing the water effect. Lastly, there are realistic sections of mud on the base, each with indentations shaped like the model’s footprints. These are supposed to house the model’s feet, giving it a place to stand in the base. The are no peg holes or any other setting functions for the model aside from the mud indentations. Looking beyond the base’s relationship to the model, the base can also be used to host other dinosaur models rather easily and effectively. It is rather versatile and gives one creative wiggle room to use his or her own touch to display other figures and models on this base as desired.
The model of the C. dentisulcatus itself is breathtaking, with a level of detail and a paint application that is just outstanding. The head sculpt of the model is certainly characteristic of what one immediately thinks of when Ceratosaurus is brought to mind. Interestingly enough, the C. dentisulcatus was never confirmed to have the trademark nose horn as there is no fossil evidence to confirm its presence. The presence of the horn on this species is theorized, especially when comparing C. dentisulcatus to its close kin. Nevertheless, the presence of the nose horn along with the smaller horns above the eyes on this model make the head on this guy look uniquely menacing. The rest of the head’s features including the eyes, nostrils, ears, teeth, and even the inside of the mouth are sculpted and painted beautifully. The lower jaw is supposed to be articulated à la Papo theropod style, but it seems to be a little too rigid and does not like to stay fully open. Some wear may loosen it up a bit and make it easier to open and keep open.
The rest of the body and limbs of the model scream accuracy, detail, beauty, and cohesion. The color scheme used for the model is intricate and realistic. It certainly gives off the impression that this animal used lots of camouflage to its advantage in its hunting efforts. And the coloration with the striping pattern is somewhat reflective of the typical army green camo patterns, but in this model, it works beautifully. Speaking of camouflage, the model also contains a rather prominent set of osteoderms from the top of the neck, down along the spine, and to the tip of its tail. These thick scales are overlapping and have an appearance similar to that of an alligator or crocodile’s back, tough and armored. In the prototype photos of the model, the color of these osteoderms stood out a little bit more, especially the contrast coloration of the outer part of the individual scales, which lead to a somewhat common consensus at the time that they looked like disc-shape tree fungi. Even though it was more of an exaggerated feature on the prototype photos, it still spoke to the animal’s camouflage features, especially considering it lived in wetland areas. After the model was released, it seems that this feature was not as exaggerated as depicted in the prototype photos. The osteoderms down its back work extremely well and are not too exaggerated and not too dull.
The rest of the model is covered with different types of scales, thicker ones on the feet, rounder scales on the underside, and smaller ones on its sides and upper legs, which are interestingly littered here and there with thicker, more irregular scales. These thicker scales are especially present on the upper legs around the knees and on the shoulders giving the impression that their main purpose was to provide defense. The forelimbs are not pronated, but may be a bit too long. The legs are muscular and powerful-looking with the color of the feet claws matching the claw color on the forelimbs. The lengthy tail is slightly curved in two locations and corresponds well with the animal’s mid-stride stance. This truly looks like a replication of the living, breathing animal stalking its prey in the swamps of Jurassic North America.
The biggest problem with the model are its legs; not necessarily how they are modeled, but with a warping issue that occurred due to how the models were packed after production and before shipping out. After being released, many recipients of the product started reporting that the model could not stand on a flat surface off the base and could either not stand at all on the base or had difficulty standing and balancing on the base, the feet not lining up with the mud indentations. It is clear, after inspecting the legs of the model, that they are warped in such a way where they are angled toward each other ventrally. This warping is significant, resulting in most, if not all models not being able to stand off the base at all and most having issues fitting into the mud indentations on the base or balancing on the base somehow. Rebor admitted that the cause of this was their method of packing the model. They pack the model and base in a box using spongy material meant to buffer and protect them from collisions during shipping. Unfortunately, the use of this material seems to have provided enough pressure on the legs to leave them warped in the way described above.
Recipients of the model have reported attempting to use several methods of fixing or working around this problem. Some have resorted to gluing or cementing the model on the base permanently. Rebor suggested using the hot water/hair drier for plastic modification method and stated that “by using this trick the standing problem of Ceratosaurus can be fixed in 30 seconds.” However, that has been far from the truth. This method seems to only temporarily fix the leg issue. After some hours or days, depending on ambient conditions and how the method was carried out, the legs of the model revert back to their warped state preventing the model from standing again. The author of this review has attempted the “30 second fix” and a more intensive and longer heat/freeze treatment, each of which resulted in the model reverting back to having warped legs and not being able to stand. Most, including the author, have simply settled for leaving the model on the base, even if it is awkwardly positioned with a leg walking on the water’s surface or toes hovering in the air due to the warped legs.
As stated above, this model has contributed to Rebor’s reputation in more than one way. It is a bitter sweet situation. On one hand, this model and its base are of amazing quality and like no other Ceratosaurus that has been released before. On the other, it is tragic that this beautiful piece is a victim of its only real flaw, which is something that could have been prevented so easily with something like a plastic tray to hold the legs in place during shipping, as Papo and the Safari Ltd/Carnegie Collection implement on their theropod models. The quality of this model is really something to behold and if one is a dinosaur fanatic, he or she may be left breathless when they first see it in person. That aside, the standing issue is so disappointing and a big let down and it speaks to Rebor’s infancy. Rebor revealed their first model less than a year ago and has only produced four 1/35 scale models. Their Utahraptor “Wind Hunter” has also suffered similarly with its “leaning issue”.
Rebor admit that they are still learning about all the elements that go into a successful production. There is no doubt that this company is producing pieces that are on par with or better than Papo pieces, albeit at higher prices, but still not as pricey as a sideshow piece or a high quality resin kit. It is understandable if a fraction of a production line of models contain a defect, but “museum quality” productions should not have elementary issues appear in entire production lines. This company has loads of potential and surely, things for them will improve as time goes on, which will result in happier consumers and collectors… but this is contingent on them putting in a little more care into their products. It seems like the Acrocanthosaurus is the next model in their 1/35 scale line-up and from the black and white image released, it already looks very promising and will surely instigate much more excitement and discussion of an array of topics. Just, Rebor… stick something between its legs for heaven’s sake.
Available from Ebay.com here.