Shunosaurus Lii is a sauropod that lived during the middle Jurassic in what would now be present day China. It has some strange features for a sauropod, such as a relatively short neck, and a tail that has a club at the end. It shared an environment with longer necked sauropods and low browsing stegosaur. With its shorter neck maybe it browsed the middle area of vegetation such as smaller conifers, bushes, shrubs, and cycads. Its tail was probably useful at keeping predators such as Gasosaurus away.
CollectA has made a wide assortment of interesting, rare, and amazing animals in their prehistoric flora and fauna line over the years. Some of their prehistoric figures have been great, while others woefully go down as some of the worst looking prehistoric toys that have been made in the last 25 years. Safari released their first version of Shunosaurus in 2016 and it looks quite different in shape and style when you compare it to the older 2007 Shunosaurus by Procon/CollectA.
The 2007 Shunosaurus has arguably been called the worst figure that Procon/CollectA has ever made. This ugly duckling has received much criticism over the years and has been kicked off many people’s shelves. Not just because it has some imperfections, but because it is considered ugly. While some people may feel that this is mean or demeaning towards this poor innocent toy, for collectors, lets be honest, you want something nice to look at. Of course, despite its looks, there might be something to like about with this toy. Outside of the average collector, what about younger children or educators, could this figure actually be a beautiful swan in disguise ?
About the toy: The toy is 2.5 in(6cm) high at the head and 3.3 in(8cm) at the tip of the tail. It is 6.5 in (16cm) long from the head to the bend in the tail. The head itself is wedge shaped and has large eyes. In my opinion, it is not an accurate representation of a Shunosaurus head. Most of the skulls that have been found were compressed and dis-articulated. This has led to some different interpretations of the shape of the skull. The sculpt has the broad, short and deep skull, instead of the more common interpretation which is more narrow and pointed. You add the strange skull shape to the slit pupil on the eye, and the overall look becomes a mutated snake head, or a monster alien.
The rest of the proportions on the figure look ok. The neck is short and has a slight bend. The back is in the shape of a rounded hill and slopes till it reaches the tail. The tail then raises up menacingly, with the tail bent and ready to swat something. The awkward bend in its tail makes it look more like a scorpion. The front legs are shorter than the back legs. The right front leg is bent and the left leg is straight while the back legs are staggered. The front feet have five toes and the first toe has a bigger claw than the rest.
The texture on the body is basically made up of varying sizes of rounded pebbly skin. There is no muscle tone or skin folds that shows up in the sculpt. If you found the texture of the sculpt is boring, then you are in for a real treat with the paint job. The base paint color is tan overlaid in a slightly darker tan/brown color. Wow, that’s an exciting color combination. I guess you could call it a natural looking paint job. At the end of the tail is the small rounded osteoderms that are painted in white blobs. The toe claws are grey and the eyes are orange.
In terms of play-ability, the toy works just fine for kids. With no sharp edges, and with a tail that looks like it is ready to hit things, kids will find a use for this toy during their playtime adventures. The paint job will hold up to a rough style play and is easy to touch up if it wears. Even though it will be used by younger kids, it is not the first toy that they grab for. It might be used as a baby to a bigger sauropod, or it might be chased by a bigger carnivore, the point is, that it will most likely be played with in a supportive role.
Overall Appraisal: I tend to be a very optimistic person who tries to find the positives in everything. In this case though, there is no hope that this ugly duckling will actually be a swan. It is not as ugly as the Schleich Ceratosaurus, but it is a rather unattractive fellow. With its alien-snake like head and scorpion poised tail, it looks more like a movie monster than a actual depiction of a real dinosaur. In fact, if you think of it as a movie monster it suddenly becomes a little bit more charming. I guess you just need to use some imagination, which is why it is a playable choice for younger kids. For that reason, some people may find that the figure might be worth it. Due to its looks and lack of scientific accuracy many people will and should pass on this figure. It also should not be used in a education setting as there are better options.