Review and photographs by Dilopho, edited by Suspsy
AAA is a company that had prominence when many of us were young, way back before we cared about detail or company or accuracy. Instead, just cared about actually having a dinosaur figure. And surprisingly, Styracosaurus was not a dinosaur often made into a figure back then–Monoclonius was a winner among the horned dinosaurs. Hah, and now it’s the reverse, with Monoclonius disappearing and Styracosaurus rising to second place behind Triceratops. The figure we will be looking at today is the version by AAA, and as we will see, it’s a darn good one!
Now, two things may strike you by looking at this picture. One, this figure is really good-looking! And two, those horns look blunt. And there is a reason for that: they are not normally blunt! If you can find this figure in good condition, it should have long, curving horns on the frill, and the nose horn should be nice and sharp. But alas, I let my nephew borrow this figure, and his mother decided to safety proof it by cutting the ends of the horns off! Evil! But yes, cruelty to dinosaurs aside, this figure does look really good. Considering this figure is from the age of tail-dragging theropods and menacing pterosaurs that carry off prey with their feet, this figure has some nice accuracy going for it! It is well-proportioned, pretty sleek-looking, and not a snarling monster. In fact, it has some pretty nice realism too–the gentle eyes work wonders here.
The pose is as if the dinosaur is on the alert, having stopped mid-stride to check the surroundings. The flared nostrils indicate that it has smelled something . . . but is it food or a predator? Truly, only the AAA sculptors can tell. The colour scheme is a base coat of pale yellow with a soothing purple laid over top of it. The strange, diamond-like shapes on the side, yellow with reddish outlines, add a hint of colour to the dinosaur. It makes the figure look active and helps to “thin it out,” making it look less chubby. As you can see, the paint can be rubbed off with play, but thanks to the yellow base coat, kids hardly notice it. But collectors will. Then again, there’s almost no way you’ll find a pristine AAA figure due to their age, so if you want one, you shouldn’t care about paint scuffs or you might be very frustrated!
The face of this Styracosaurus is . . . extremely funny to me! It looks like a grumpy old turtle in my mind, but they have done a really nice job with the beak and mouth. They went through the trouble to even add a black wash on only the mouth in order to make it stand out more. What great amounts of detail! However, many dinosaur collectors nowadays think that the mouth would not stretch back that far without any cheeks.
The head from a normal view, however, looks great. The wrinkles and scales work nicely, but there are still some flaws. The pupils on the eyes pop out in a bulge, so it’s very hard to avoid paint wear if you keep it in a box. The spikes on the frill may also be problematic, as some of them seem too short, and the main two are very thick, as thick as the nasal horn. Also, the notch at the top of the frill looks strange. Finally, the small spikes on the cheek area seem too small.
I have found that this AAA Styracosaurus seems more at home with the Carnegie Triceratops than his AAA brethren. And both of them certainly seem at home both in a sandbox or on a shelf. This dinosaur, while lacking some accuracy, is still leagues ahead some of his friends and it shows the progressive nature of dinosaur reconstructions in a really nice way. I would totally recommend this figure if you can get behind the minor issues with paint and accuracy.