The Dinosaur Toy Blog is more active than it has ever been. This year, to date, we’re averaging a review every day – January 2016 was our most prolific month ever with 30 reviews in as many days. For this I can take no credit but must instead extend my sincerest gratitude to the many blog authors and guest reviewers who have kept the blog full of life, as events in my own life (work and more work) make it increasingly difficult to find the time to contribute reviews myself. In particular, I offer special thanks to Suspsy. Since joining the dinotoyblog team early in 2015, Suspsy had gone into overdrive, publishing dozens of his own reviews, and even stepping up to offer his services as guest review editor.
Despite all this activity, there’s thankfully still no shortage of figures to review! In fact, there are still entire companies and lines that have, as yet, never been covered. This review (my first in a while) will rectify one such omission – the breathtaking Paleozoo line. So, let’s get back to the job at hand- reviewing prehistoric animal models!
The Australian-based Paleozoo line focusses on critters from before the age of the dinosaurs. In general, Palaeozoic creatures receive far less attention from the big toy companies than do their more famous Mesozoic competitors. This has left a vacant niche for some enthusiastic newcomer to step into…introducing, Paleozoo. There are currently ten Palaeozoic species available in the Paleozoo line, and apparently more to come. I’ll be reviewing a few of them over the coming months, but we have to start somewhere, so let’s kick off with their Bothriolepis. Coincidentally, the Kaiyodo Bothriolepis was reviewed earlier this month, so you can check out that review for a little more background on this weird armoured Devonian fish.
Paleozoo is using cutting edge technology to bring its designs from concept to finished pieces. They are modelled digitally and 3D-printed in sections, in colour, before being assembled by hand. The model arrives fully constructed and well-packed in a customised box, along with a glossy information card. The 3D print is of the highest possible quality. If you look very closely you can see some fine artefacts of the printing process (parallel lines), but these are not noticeable from even a small distance. One of the benefits of 3D printing – there are no seams. The material is robust but the sculpt is delicate and not suitable for a playing with as toy. The Bothriolepis is hollow, with a circular opening on its underside, big enough for a human thumb (see picture), so the figure is very light.
At 16cm long, the Paleozoo Bothriolepis dwarfs its Kaiyodo counterpart, and stands out on the shelf. Thoroughly researched, this figure is completely accurate, and the Paleozoo line is rightly marketed as museum quality. The term ‘museum quality’ has led to some interesting discussions on the Dinosaur Toy Forum, since anyone can make the claim, with or without official approval of a museum, and many companies do. However, as a curator myself, I have my own perspective on what does and doesn’t make the grade. Paleozoo most certainly does. In all honesty, this figure as as good as it gets. I’d be doing the model a disservice if I didn’t rant and rave about just how good it is. I’d proudly display in the museum and plan to do just that – we happen to have some rather nice Bothriolepis specimens in our collection at the Nottingham Natural History Museum, Wollaton Hall. What better way to interpret the fossils than with a life-like Paleozoo model?
The model is gloriously textured, with rugose bumps on the armour plates, and smooth shimmering black eyes. The speckled colouration is beautifully natural and actually incorporated in the 3D printing process (it isn’t painted separately later). Although the Paleozoo models come in a standard size and pose, the flexible nature of the production process provides potential for customisation. For example, the models can potentially be printed in different scales or poses – you can enquire about customisation.
All that is left to mention is that the figure is *extremely* well priced. The Bothriolepis model is listed at $52 Australian dollars. That’s just $32 USD or £26 GPB. Wow. If you collect Paleozoic creatures, even if you don’t, this is a figure I whole-heartedly recommend. So, it’s a big thumb up from me (see picture again). For more information about Paleozoo visit their website at http://paleozoo.com.au. To order visit their online store: http://paleozoo.com.au/shop.php.
I’ll have more to say about Paleozoo in the future.
Thanks to Bruce Currie, sculptor and founder of Paleozoo, for providing me with this figure to review.