Schleich is a company that many of us love to hate. Although all Schleich models are of pretty high quality, especially in the detail work, they’re usually too garish and inaccurate for most of our tastes. This makes Schleich a frustrating company to get behind because with a bit more attention to anatomical accuracy they could be a stellar company. That said, the last couple years Schleich has managed to give us a few surprises, models that are not only detailed but at least pay enough attention to accuracy to make them collectible. Among those releases this year is the Schleich mini-Carnotaurus. This is the 3rd Carnotaurus by Schleich and also the smallest; it’s also leagues ahead of the other two.
Now before we all get too excited let me just point out that this model is far from perfect. Although the head is appropriately blunt and bull-dogish it is far too wide when viewed head on. Carnotaurus had a blunt skull that was actually rather compressed. Still, it’s about on par with the skull on the Papo model which makes it considerably better than last year’s monstrosity by Schleich. The arms while short and stubby with four fingered hands are still not as short and stubby as they should be but again, about on par with the Papo model. Aside from those two issues there is not much else worth complaining about. Some may dislike the tail being used as a support prop but while I do acknowledge that it seems an unlikely stance it really only serves to improve the somewhat sinister and reptilian personality of this model.
That sinister reptilian personality comes in part from the attention to detail given to this model. Don’t be fooled by this model’s designation as a “mini”. It measures 5.5” long and stands 2” tall and is just as detailed as its larger counterpart. Carnotaurus was no doubt a gnarly looking animal and this model properly conveys that. The scaly head is complimented by a closed mouth grin full of individually sculpted and painted, dagger-like teeth and yellow eyes with slit pupils. Aside from the dragging tail the body is bent over in a convincing and dynamic posture, veering towards the right with one leg poised far forward and obscuring the right arm which is sculpted directly onto the chest.
This model is interesting to look at from every angle. Scales and raised scutes adorn every hard to reach spot on its body. On the head a larger series of scales comes down from the brow horns between the eye and antorbital fenestra and back up and around the back of the skull. From the neck covered in wrinkles and folds down the body and tail run several rows of osteoderms. Smaller scales are sculpted on the rest of the body with bird-like scales sculpted on the toes. The paint application is equally meticulous; no obvious paint runs here, even on those tiny teeth, nails and eyes. The color choice while not particularly realistic is pleasing to look at. The body is blue with a green underside, the larger scutes and scales tipped in a shade of lighter blue that give the model a frosted appearance.
While 90% of the time I would lambaste any new release from Schleich there is little negative to say about their latest take on Carnotaurus. An acceptable level of accuracy matched with Schleich’s high level of detail and interesting paint choices make this an eye catching model. The few inaccuracies it has still serve to provide this model with a level of personality that makes it stand out on the shelf. It’s a well-crafted model and a step in the right direction for Schleich. Hopefully we can see more models like this from them in the future. If you’re a fan of Carnotaurus, this is a must have model and with a price ranging between $5-10 it’s quite affordable too. This is a newly released model and can easily be found online or hopefully wherever Schleich models are sold.