The many-horned Styracosaurus is one of those dinosaurs you’ll see produced by just about every toy company. In terms of ceratopsian popularity it only plays second fiddle to Triceratops, although Pachyrhinosaurus may have pushed it down a peg. And there are a lot of good Styracosaurus to choose from Battat, Papo, Carnegie, Wild Safari, Favorite etc. Of course CollectA has a Styracosaurus too, released back in their early years when their models were leaving a lot to be desired. The Styracosaurus however stands out, a ray of light in CollectA’s darker days.
Measuring 4” long and about 2.5” tall this is a small model but what it lacks in size it makes up for in so much more. For starters, this is easily one of the most dynamic ceratopsian models you’ll find. The model is standing with three limbs planted on the ground, bracing itself, with its head reared up and mouth wide open, letting out a deafening primordial bellow. The right hind leg is stretched out to the side, holding the animal steady while it lifts its right forelimb in the air. What is this Styracosaurus doing? That’s entirely up to you, and as such it lends itself well to play and dioramas. In my imagination this is a solitary bull in the heat of the breeding season. He’s old and cantankerous, quick to anger. He looks to me like he’s ready to charge another bull, perhaps age is not on his side but he certainly has some experience. Or, maybe he was peacefully grazing and startled by a predator? He’s backed against a cliff with nowhere to go but forward. His horns aren’t usually used for defense, but today is not his usual day.
Unfortunately this awesome posture does not belong to CollectA. It was conceived ten years earlier by artist Joe Tucciarone and represents yet another example of paleo-plagiarism.
The detail work matches the animated posture well. Every muscle looks tense and ready. Folds of skin are sculpted along the sides where the torso is pinched in by the animal’s stance. The connective tissue between the right hind limb and the body is stretched to its maximum. The body is covered in pebbly scales with some larger osteoderms protruding from the skin.
The model is painted a chocolate brown color and aside from red on the osteoderms this model is devoid of color. Even the inside of the mouth is brown. Although brown seems like a boring color choice in this age of Technicolor dinosaurs, I quite like it on this piece. It especially contrasts well with the creamy white horns that are brown at the base but transition well towards the tips. It’s a simple palate but it works and it’s well applied too, with little runoff or bleeding although some of the paint on the horns is thickly applied. Overall this Styracosaurus reminds me a lot of the old stop motion dinosaur movies I grew up with. Not just the color, but the pose as well. In fact, it especially reminds me of the wonderful 1984 stop motion short film “Prehistoric Beast” by Phil Tippitt where a “Monoclonius” does battle with a Tyrannosaurus. Sans the horns on the frill of course this model looks a lot like that Monoclonius.
The only glaring anatomical issue I see is with the feet. The forelimbs are completely wrong, nothing more than generic elephantine digits and do nothing to show us the truly odd hand anatomy of actual ceratopsians. At least the hind feet have the correct number of four toes. The manus has four digits where it should have five. Two of the digits should be reduced and without nails and of course the hands are facing the wrong way too. Oh well. This is a model from a different time, 1997 to be exact, because it shares the same anatomical flaws with Joe Tucciarone’s Styracosaurus.
Despite the concept not being their own this is still a well-executed model of Styracosaurus in a pose you don’t normally see. If you can get past the color palette and anatomical issues this is a model worth finding shelf space for. The CollectA Styracosaurus is still available wherever CollectA models are sold and should run you less than $10 USD.