Review and photos by Lanthanotus, edited by Suspsy
Just recently, the Chinese company PNSO stirred the DinoToyBlog community with the release of their first dinosaur (and some not so “dinosaur”) figures, especially because they became available via Amazon, thereby lowering the costs and challenges of overseas deals by a good share. So I dared to throw in a few coins to obtain two of their small figures to check on their quality.
All the small prehistoric figures are released under the “PNSO Age of the Dinosaurs” label and every single figure got a personal name. The individual species introduced here is dubbed “Zomba the little Himalayasaurus“. Unlike the very first PNSO figures reviewed here on the blog, which boast obvious juvenile traits (“Kindchenschema”), the other small figures show adult proportions, so “little” may in fact refer to the size of the figure, rather than the maturity of the animal it depicts. After all, the figure measure only a tiny 9.8 cm in total length, bringing it on par with Kaiyodo Dinotales figures. Unlike those, PNSO’s figures are made from hard, but flexible plastic and can withstand some rough play.
Each of the small figures comes individually packed in a plastic clamshell with an accompanying mini-poster and information sheet. Unfortunately, it’s written completely in Chinese, so most of the contents will be inaccessible to many western customers, though it seems to provide some information about Himalayasaurus(of course) as well as the leading heads of the Peking Natural Science-Art Organisation.
Himalayasaurus is an interesting choice for a figure especially as it’s regarded by some to be a nomen dubium, a genus that lacks reasonable differences to set it apart from other species. However, some experts including Dong Zhiming, who discovered the fossil in 1972, defended the species’ status and listed its unique features, such as cutting edges on the teeth’s crown. Valid or not, the fossil shows a strong relationship to the Triassic Shastasauridae, a family that includes the more popular Shonisaurus, a large species that does not fit into the widely distributed ichtyosaur rendition as dolphin-like reptiles. And so does Zomba, the Himalayasaurus. Its rotund, thick-bellied body is steered by long, narrow pectoral fins. It lacks a dorsal fin completly and the upper fluke on the tail is greatly reduced. This rendition makes it unique as a toy ichthyosaur, I think. The rotund body is debatable and the lack of a dorsal fin may look weird, but is in accordance to current scientific view. However, there’s a somewhat unsettling inaccuracy: the fins. Ichthyosaur fins are well known from fossil remains, as they contain a helluva lot of bones underlaying the whole surface of each fin, way more than in other vertebrates. This is because ichthyosaurs developed hyperphalangy to strengthen their fins, with some species having digits made of twenty phalanges and more. And to go even further, other species developed hyperdactyly as well, so they had even more fingers than a common vertebrate has. While according to the skeletal reconstruction on the information sheet, Himalayasaurus did not develop hyperdactyly, it is a nice example for hyperphalangy, however Zomba’s fins look like the fins of ray fish, showing structures of underlaying spines or rays. Due to the small size of the figure and the paint applied on the fins, this feature is not as obvious.
This figure is a really nice, well proportioned and detailed rendition of a unique Triassic animal. The paint job is very attractive and accurate with a high-contrast countershading. The back of the figure is based in a dark greyish blue, the sides are light blue, and the underside is tan. Except for the head and the underside, the whole body is decorated with blotchy, dark blue stripes. The sculpt boasts great detailing and texture for a figure that size. All in all I regard the somewhat high price of the figure (6 to 7 €) fully justified. Greatly recommended as a collector’s item and as a toy.