The wait is finally over folks, and the triumphant return of Battat is underway. Late last summer we were both shocked and thrilled to learn that Battat was back with a new series of dinosaur figures sculpted by Dan LoRusso for the Terra line, exclusive to Target stores in the United States. But the excitement didn’t end there; we also learned that the original Battat models so long coveted by dinosaur collectors everywhere were being re-released with shiny new paint schemes. Well now they’re here, or at least some of them are. Collectors across the country have been waiting with anticipation for these models to show up in their local Target stores and as each week passes, more and more of them are being found. Folks, the only news more exciting than this would be if the actual non-avian dinosaurs themselves came back from extinction!
Among the first of these re-releases was the formally very rare and often expensive Acrocanthosaurus. Now although this model has technically been reviewed already the long span of time between this and the original release, the new paint scheme and its introduction under the Terra banner among other things make this model (and all the re-releases) worth revisiting. Tomhet reviewed the original Acro during the blog’s infancy back in 2007. Even back then, 8 years ago, the original was a hard to find model. Just checking eBay today I see that there is an original going for $130 U.S. dollars. Unless you’re a completest though, I think it’s worth just going to Target and getting this gem for $9.99. We no longer have to break bank in order to access some of the best dinosaur toys ever produced and it feels great.
According to Tomhet’s review the Battat Acrocanthosaurus was originally released in 1996. With almost 20 years between releases, how does this new one compare and hold up? The most obvious difference between the two will be the paint scheme. This new model is mostly green, much like the original, but the overall patterning is much more appealing in my opinion. The belly is mint green in color with small blotches overlapping the dark green body color along the sides, face, neck and turning into rings along the tail. Although I’m normally put off by green dinosaurs this one is unique enough to grab my attention and I find the addition of the mint green tone, as terrible as it sounds, refreshing! Inside the mouth the odd purple color has been replaced by a more natural looking pink and the red eyes have been replaced by yellow. Overall the patterns and color choice are very pleasing and most importantly, cleanly applied. While many Battat models (new and old) seem to suffer from thick and sloppy paint application that is not the case here. There is only one distinct spot on my model where the paint application suffers and it’s on the lower jaw, honestly it’s barely noticeable.
The changes in color and pattern are only the most obvious difference. There are more subtle changes as well. Many of the original Battat theropods are notorious for their inability to stand for very long on their own. Despite this flaw it appears that Battat has not taken any significant steps to improve the stability of their models. The material used in this Acro is quite pliable and as one forum member appropriately put it, like the consistency of chewed gum. As a result, this model cannot stand on two legs. In fact, it appears as though Battat has slightly altered the model by bending the ankles so that it would lean on its right forearm. The original was intended to stand on its feet only but often failed to do so. While some may lament that this model must rest on its hand it still offers a level of security for a very front heavy model that probably couldn’t have stood on its two feet anyway, even with a stiffer material. Although it can be tipped back on its tail this position makes the model look more awkward and less stable too. Another issue worth mentioning is that on my model at least there is some extra plastic along the seams on the inside of some of the toes. This is hardly an issue though and those skilled with an X-Acto Knife could easily fix it.
Like all the Battat Terra models this one comes in its own box and it happens to be anchored down with twist ties on both feet and the right hand. It is worth noting that although the packaging claims this model is part of the “Dan LoRusso Collection” this model was actually sculpted by Gregory Wenzel. It is Dan LoRusso though who is overseeing these re-painted releases.
The attention to detail is top notch, nothing from the original sculpt has been lost. The head in particular is a work of art. Each tooth is individually sculpted and cleanly painted. The openings for the ears and nose are there. Tiny scales are sculpted around the eye sockets, the ridges above the eyes are painted with their own shade of dark green and there is a small line of osteoderms running up the snout. Keen observers will notice that on the underside of the model the raised text that formally read “Boston Museum of Science” has been blurred out. The company name, genus and species and “made in China” are still there. And for those concerned about accuracy it truly is amazing how well these Battat models stand up, they were truly ahead of their time and the Acrocanthosaurus is no exception. The only obvious inaccuracy is that it’s leaning on a semi-pronated hand. Not bad for a model from 1996! This ol’ dog still puts much younger models to shame!
It truly is an honor to be able to not only own this beautiful sculpt, but to have an opportunity to review it as well. Although the tripod pose can be lamented you’ll be hard pressed to find a better model in this price range. The Battat Acrocanthosaurus is a stellar figure that every collector should add to their collection. Personally, I’m still a bit in shock that I was able to walk into a department store and buy this guy for what is honestly a ridiculously cheap price. Unfortunately the good fortune now presented to American collectors is of little solace to those outside of the United States as these models are still exclusive to Target stores. That said, they’re still worth seeking out either through online sellers, eBay here, or American members of the Dinosaur Toy Forum. Let’s show our support for the return of Battat, hopefully they’ll be releasing their models both new and old for years to come!