The last several years have laid witness to the discovery of an ever more bizarre catalog of those charismatic and intriguing dinosaurs known as the ceratopsians. With outlandish head gear and eccentric names like Diabloceratops, Mojoceratops, Kosmoceratops and Medusaceratops it’s no wonder this group of dinosaurs is among the most popular. In response to these new discoveries and their popularity, toy companies like Safari and CollectA have been quick to cash in, and it’s no surprise that the Japanese company Kaiyodo would jump in on the ceratopsian bandwagon. Kaiyodo has been, after all, the premiere manufacturer of the most obscure and bizarre extinct animals. For their ceratopsian set they gave us three figurines; Kosmoceratops, Diabloceratops and naturally, Triceratops. The set also included a Triceratops skull and skeleton. It seems that no matter how many new and bizarre dinosaurs are discovered the timeless favorites will always take priority. We’ll be reviewing them all here today which should make for quite a lengthy review so grab a drink and get comfortable.
All of the ceratopsians in the set reflect the latest scientific theories and ideas. That should come as no surprise where Kaiyodo is concerned as they’re typically on the up-and-up when it comes to these matters. I do have to take a couple artistic decisions to task here however. First and most importantly; quills. Ever since it was discovered that Psittacosaurus had quills arranged down it’s lower back and tail, artists and toy companies have depicted ceratopsians similarly, no matter how distant or derived they are from Psittacosaurus. Personally I have never found the notion that they had them very likely. That’s not to say they didn’t have quills (or whatever you want to call them) but to assume they were arranged in the same manner as that single specimen of Psittacosaurus seems like a stretch.
My other issue with this set is the lack of cheeks on the figurines. Now look, I know cheeks are just as speculative as quills but the presence of cheeks on dinosaurs seems far more likely than not. Also, dinosaurs without cheeks just look aesthetically less appealing. But aside from the addition of quills and the lack of cheeks there is nothing I can really say negatively about these models. Anatomically they all stand up quite well. Where many companies often make tails too long, the tails are appropriately short. Where elephantine forelimbs are typically sculpted, we have proper ceratopsian limb anatomy. The fourth and fifth digits on the hands are sculpted with nails which should not be present but aside from that the fingers are properly sculpted and oriented outwards as they should be. These details are important because all too often companies fail to do their homework and just tack on generic dinosaur tails and elephant feet and in doing so ignore these pieces of anatomy that only help to convey how strange looking these animals really were.
With all of that out of the way we’ll get on to reviewing each model individually, starting off with ol’ three-horned face. This is a dynamic and modern looking Triceratops. While the rest of the figures in this set are fairly static looking this Triceratops is depicted as an active animal, galloping forward with two limbs in the air and the other two propelling it forward. The body is gray with red quills and red streaking down the frill. There is a green color variation of this model with yellow bands on the quills, a brown frill and a yellow belly. Small raised osteoderms are sculpted along the body reflecting what we know Triceratops looked like from preserved skin impressions.
Next up we have one of the more fantastical ceratopsians to be recently described; Kosmoceratops. The Kaiyodo model does the genus justice with its bizarre frill arrangement and horns. The right forelimb is lifted up as if the animal is slowly ambling forward with the tail swaying towards the left and mouth open. The open mouth really shows off just how odd ceratopsians look without cheeks. The body is gray and the quills yellow. The patterns and colors on the frill are well executed with the frill painted yellow with black spotting and brown horns. Once again we see small raised osteoderms sculpted along the body, much like the Triceratops. There are only two Kosmoceratops on the market that I’m aware of, the other sculpted by CollectA. In my opinion this is far and away the superior model.
My personal favorite in the set would have to be the Diabloceratops and the genus has proven quite popular with toy companies; both Safari and CollectA have reconstructions of this animal. It’s easy to see why it’s become so popular with its ridiculously tall “devil horns” extending off of the frill. The Kaiyodo figurine is posed with all four feet planted on the ground but the head held high and alert, it looks like a formidable animal you wouldn’t want to tussle with. The color choices and patterning here is my favorite in the set with an orange body and green quills. The head is brown with yellow patterning and those signature brow horns are orange at the base, fading to yellow at the tips. The Diabloceratops doesn’t have the same raised bumps as the other two but does have some osteoderms along the spine, sides of the tail and on the elbows and shoulders. Small black osteoderms are sculpted along the flanks, sunken into the skin.
Being a Capsule Q set we’re also treated to some bony bits. In this case we get a Triceratops skull and skeleton. Something different would have been nice, just imagine a little Kosmoceratops skull and Diabloceratops skeleton! Oh well, it’s hard to complain about what we’re given here because both the skull and skeleton are spot on reconstructions. We’re all constantly amazed by the detail work Kayiodo puts into all of its miniatures but nothing conveys that quite like their skulls and skeletons. The mouth on the skull is articulated and opens and closes, even tiny teeth are sculpted in there! The skeleton is perfectly sculpted despite being only 3” in length.
Overall this is the kind of quality set you would expect from Kaiyodo. There are a few questionable artistic choices and the set is a little Triceratops heavy but those are only minor complaints. You’ll be hard pressed to find too many superior depictions of these animals; even the Triceratops despite a market over saturated with the genus. This is a must have set for any Kaiyodo collector, ceratopsian buff or anyone with an appreciation for detail, accuracy and fine craftsmanship. You can find the set on eBay but beware of inflated prices and exercise some patience.