This has been a good year for fans of the early Cretaceous allosauroid, Acrocanthosaurus. Battat re-released their classic model, Rebor is getting in on the action with their own representation and CollectA has come out with their deluxe version of the theropod. Critics of the CollectA model point out that it looks awfully similar to last year’s Carcharadontosaurus. I suppose that may be true, but being as closely related as the two genera are I can’t criticize the similarity too much. Since I was the one to review the Carcharadontosaurus last year I suppose that should make reviewing this model that much easier right?
Well yes, as it turns out the Deluxe Acrocanthosaurus is remarkably similar to her bigger brother. The proportions and posture are nearly identical. For anyone who hated the Carcharodontosaurus for its wide hips, shrink wrapped skull or large toe nails you can probably stop reading this right now. But personally, I’m a big fan of that Carcharodontosaurus. And I know I’m not alone, it placed #1 in the “Best New Dinosaurs of 2014” poll on the Dinosaur Toy Forum. Rest assured that although the Acrocanthosaurus carries many of the same flaws, it also has many of the same positive attributes that we loved about last year’s model.
The head sculpt is particularly noteworthy with the characteristically narrow, shallow and elongated skull of Acrocanthosaurus. Although some will bemoan the obvious antorbital fenestra, it is in keeping with the large fenestra that Acrocanthosaurus actually had. That said; all the skull openings are quite obvious. The tall neural spines start off as a hump on the neck and gives way to a thin sail down the back with each individual spine emphasized. The portion of the sail directly above the hips is the exception here, like Acrocanthosaurus itself the spines in this area were narrowly spaced apart and the sculpture shows it. Personally, I would have preferred the sail be more hump-like but that’s just my preference. The arms appear small yet robust but the hands really are spindly little things and lack the large claw on the innermost digit. The legs are muscular and bird-like and the tail appears appropriately lengthy and beefy where it meets those enormous hips. It’s been said that CollectA widens the hips to help the stability of their models. This might be true but due to a softer material used in this sculpt the legs seem to have some warping issues. Mine is not very stable and easily falls over. The material used is soft and more like something Bullyland or Schleich would use.
Aesthetically this is a very organic looking, finely detailed model. Once again we draw attention to the magnificent head where tiny scales are sculpted around the fenestrae, each tooth is individually sculpted and painted at various sizes and small hornlets are present above the eyes. The mouth is also articulated on this model, among the first CollectA models to have this feature. Although it does not shut completely or function as well as those on Papo models it is nice to have the option for a closed mouth on a theropod. Inside the mouth is a pink tongue lifting up off the jaw in a very reptilian fashion.
The overall model is dynamic in sculpt, the animal striding forward with her head lifted up as if bellowing to an intruder, mate or perhaps nestlings. The tiny black eyes tucked into the skull and under the ridged eyebrows give her an aged, intelligent, almost peaceful appearance. The neck is muscular and strong with fleshy folds along the underside. The rest of the sculpt is highly detailed with osteoderms along the flanks, small scutes along the spine, bird-like scales along the toes and crocodilian-like belly scales. The only off putting detail that bears mentioning is the obvious attachment point where the head meets the model. Aside from that, this is an imposing and life-like piece.
The body is painted in various shades of brown with a creamy colored tail and underside. The sail is green with orange scutes along the top, down the tail and towards the snout. The green sail gives way to green bars along the sides and down the tail. Overall this is a very pleasing color scheme and pattern. It is natural looking, both soft and eye catching. The paint application is mostly clean but the orange scutes along the back bleed onto the sail in quite a few places.
If you didn’t like last year’s Charcharadontosaurus then you probably should skip on this model as well. If like me you’re a fan of that model you should find a lot of love here too. In fact, the two pair quite well together! Among the Acro models in this price range it is certainly the most life-like and detailed. This model is just now hitting the shelves so you should have no issue finding it either out in the wild or through your favorite online vendor.