Before we get on with the review I need to give a special shout out to my fellow reviewer Laticauda for generously tracking down and donating this model for me. This Stegosaurus comes to me courtesy of his generosity and I extend my thanks to him, I owe you one Laticauda!
Among the Battat line the Stegosaurus ungulatus has always been somewhat of a black sheep. While the line in general is often given high praise for its level of accuracy despite its age the Stegosaurus has long been considered a throwback of sorts. This is principally because of its eight tail spikes, a feature that harkens back to the days of O. C. Marsh, the “Bone Wars,” and the golden age of dinosaur discovery in North America.
This perplexing inaccuracy is not due to ignorance of the species, however, but instead reflects the paleontological happenings of the time when it was originally released. Rather than explain it myself however I’ll let the late, great Dan LoRusso explain as he did in the comments section of Dinolord’s original review of the sculpt.
“When the original sculpt was done in 1993, I was using pics I had taken at the Yale Museum of their Stego mount which at the time it had 8 spikes. I was also in correspondence with Ken Carpenter and the Dinosaur National Monument about a newly discovered Stegosaurus (which also appeared to have 8 spikes) as well as The Origin and Evolution of the Stegosaurs 1993 paper by George Olshevsky. This is what I based my smaller plates on as well. I agree the plates are too thin for a toy. Lesson learned. I didn’t want to sculpt the stenops like every other toy company had out at the time. I hope this answers some of the questions about my version of this particular species of Stegosaurus.”
It’s also nice to see him address the plates which are another feature of this model that has put off a lot of collectors. And indeed, in this model the thin plates are also prone to warping. That said, I personally find this explanation satisfactory. In fact, it honestly makes me appreciate the model that much more. It represents one man’s vision drawn from his scientific research at a time when the appearance of this animal was called into question. It makes the model feel that much more real knowing this kind of backstory. I think too often we forget that real people with real talent are the ones who bring these models to life, and not necessarily a committee and an assembly line.
With that out of the way I can now heap praise on this model which I truly think deserves it. Prior to owning it I was underwhelmed by the model. But pictures on the web don’t do it justice. These things are meant to be experienced in three dimensions. Aside from Dan’s justifiable artistic choices the rest of the model stands up remarkably well scientifically. The hands are correctly positioned, oriented slightly inwards with the correct number of digits. The beefier hind limbs possess three toes on each limb. The head is small and complete with cheeks and throat armor along the lower jaw and neck. The posture is decadently modern overall with the animal holding its tail high off the ground.
The sculpting details are fantastic on this Stegosaurus. It’s well-muscled, making the animal look strong and healthy. Folds and creases of skin are present where the limbs meet the body and along the torso. I really appreciate the larger osteoderms sculpted all over the body, texturally this is a fun model to hold and move around the hands.
Where the model does start to fall apart however is with the sloppy paint application, which sadly obscures some of the finer details. It’s particularly bad on the plates where the plate and body colors bleed into each other. It is fairly clean looking elsewhere but has that glossy finish that makes a lot of these models look that much less realistic. Under the Terra line this Stegosaurus also sports a new paint scheme. The plates are brick red, the body green, and the underside yellow. It’s a pretty standard color palette for Stegosaurus reconstructions. I think I prefer the paint choices on the original honestly.
The Battat Stegosaurus is a model that perplexes and puts off a lot of collectors. Hopefully Dan LoRusso’s adequate explanation will ease some of the criticisms on an otherwise fantastic model. If anything these inaccuracies only add character and make this mass produced toy feel that much more human. The Battat Terra Stegosaurus is available exclusively at Target stores in the United States but recently some European companies have started offering them as well, including Everything Dinosaur.