Review and photographs by Dennis AKA Lanthanotus
When I first discovered the Dinosaur Toy Blog, I began with browsing the several dinosaur toy producing companies listed. The Kaiyodo site woke my interest, mainly because of the intriguing color schemes and accuracy of their models. I’ve never heard of the producer before, but when searching the forum I eventually found that they had made a plentiful array of prehistoric models (not to mention the Capsule Q and others).
My special interest got caught by the Plateosaurus, one of the relatively few dinosaurs known from Germany and a rarely sculpted one as well–particularly if you want a model that actually looks like a Plateosaurus rather than a generic Whatsoeversaurus. My decision for this purchase was also related to the fact that I couldn’t make out production seams in the pictures I’d seen of the model. Those seams, or perhaps it is better to say joints, as the models come in parts that have to be put together manually, can sometimes be quite obvious (Apatosaurus, for example). After a fair bit of search on ebay I located a seller in Hong Kong and deceided to risk the 18 dollars to check out these kinda unique Kaiyodo models. Few weeks later (while we resided on dinosaur-free Iceland) a small envelope arrived in our mail box.
So what’s to say about the model? According to clawmarktoys.com, the Kaiyodo Plateosaurus was originally only sold in Japan as a promotional item, attached to a bottle of CC Lemon Drink. I cannot say what the original packaging looked like as I received the figure in a plain plastic bag (and I also got no information on the taste and sucess of CC Lemon and its prehistorical promotion, sorry). There are two color versions of the Plateosaurus, the other being obviously inspired by the belli-phased Varanus varius.
The Plateosaurus stands 7 cm tall and measures around 10.5 cm along the spine. It’s made from vinyl and cannot withstand rough play. The five parts of the body body fit together very well. While the joints of the hind legs are concealed in folds of skin, the ones on the forelimbs blend into the “camouflage” pattern. As a result, the joints vanish from sight almost perfectly. The color scheme looks very natural with an olive base color that is lighter on the throat, belly and underside of tail and inside of the limbs. A hue of orange can be spotted on the dark striped belly and the head appears in a sandy yellow with orange eyes with black pupils. Finally, a yellowish ridge runs along the dinosaur’s spine from the neck to the tip of tail. What fascinates me is that if you closely inspect the paint job, the model seems to have been assembled for painting and disassembled after–quite a tricky endeavour when one takes in account how well and firm the limbs attach to the model.
The details on this small figure are astonishing. The skin appears leathery and saggy and even shows the flank fold which can also be seen on modern monitor lizards (if they are not overfed). Strong muscles shine through the skin, even the tiniest finger is sculpted individually and the mouth is lined by scaly “lips” which you can only really spot with a magnifying glass.
When it comes to accuracy, there’s very little to bemoan. The model resembles the latest scientific finds that Plateosaurus was bipedal and could not really use its forelimbs in quadrupedal walk. Accordingly, the forelimbs are sculpted as hands rather than feet. The palms face each other, the thumbs show off big claws, the second and third fingers are strong and long, and the fourth and fifth ones are short and weak. The feet show four toes, which is not really correct, but I suppose not including the outermost and very tiny fifth toe can be excused on such a small figure. The model is standing on all four toes on each foot, which is debatable. While the inner toe was comparatively long, it likely could not touch the ground on its whole length as shown. But this is nitpicking for such a scale. As well, the pelvis sticks out very prominently, the mouth shows no cheeks (which are not verified but likely), and the ridge is doubtful (but possible).
My verdict? Taking in account the scale of this model, I rate it 10/10. For me, its pose, detail, colour and pattern is just eye candy and it’s currently my most treasured model. If you want one of these rarely seen Triassic dinosaurs for your collection, you’d need to invest $14 to $18 and find it on ebay or clawmarktoys.com