Review and photographs by Rajvinder “IrritatorRaji” Phull, edited by Suspsy
Like diamonds to a woman, Papo is a dinosaur lover’s best friend. While they tend to fall short in terms of scientific accuracy, their models are renowned for being packed to the brim with detail. Their offerings are pleasing to look at, even if it’s a slightly less enjoyable viewing experience for a trained eye. However, for 2017, Papo have brought out the big guns, with this Acrocanthosaurus arguably taking centre stage. Measuring at 28 cm (11 inches) long and 15cm (5.9 inches) tall at the tip of the tail, it’s a decently sized model. Just how good is this figure though? Well, let’s take a closer look.
The pose is an interesting one, but certainly not unique, with Battat’s Acrocanthosaurus and Safari Ltd’s original Carcharodontosaurus having used this stance before. While it’s not the dreaded tripod stance, the animal does not stand on its own two feet. Instead, it rests on the middle claw on its right arm. That being said, Papo has certainly made this pose their own. Through use of beautifully sculpted muscles, the figure gives off the illusion of a heavy animal shifting all its weight onto its left leg. While I feel this figure may have had a lot of potential being sculpted in a horizontal position, similar to Papo’s new Ceratosaurus, the impact of this forward-lunging pose can’t be denied. What makes this pose better for me is the ambiguity of the animal’s emotion; it doesn’t appear to be inherently passive or aggressive. Simply altering the position of the articulated jaw can turn this cautiously curious reptile into a predator striking at its prey.
In typical Papo fashion, the detail is superb. The face is adorned in small, individually sculpted scales. The teeth are also individually sculpted and are not uniform. The tongue and inner mouth are also worthy of merit, not only being well sculpted, but being wonderfully painted too. The lower jaw and neck showcase those signature Papo spines. The skin of the Acrocanthosaurus is sculpted beautifully, stretching to expose muscle and bone and bunching into highly detailed folds. The hands, which are not pronated, and feet are coated in broad, bold scales, giving them a very bird-like appearance. The hands are missing the enlarged claws that allosaurs are known to have, but given that I myself nearly forgot to talk about it, I can’t really blame Papo, especially since it’s not an obvious or iconic feature. The model is also very sturdy, and I mean very sturdy. On a flat surface, it’s nearly impossible to knock this figure over unless you were trying to, so you can trust that it will not accidentally fall off your shelf to its doom.
The paint job is another plus to this figure. Gray, orange, dark blue, white, gold and purple create this dinosaur’s skin. A very strange choice of colours, in my opinion, but definitely worth that gamble. The dark blue sail and thin purple line help to bring out the bright orange streak going along the body. White osteoderms also contour the animal’s neck, shoulders, back, and tail. The face and neck are also dotted with gold. Its small eyes, which feature yellow scleras with red irises and black pupils, are lined with a thin black that makes them pop. It’s also worth noting that this figure isn’t overly shiny, having a nice matte finish instead.
That’s all that’s great about this model, but does it have any flaws? While it does have some, they’re quite small, and if you’re not looking for them you may never notice them. First of all, while my Acrocanthosaurus was unaffected, I’ve seen other ones where the paint on the gums spills onto the lips. The spines that line the animal’s sail were also worn and unpainted on a few of them for my model. The tail also curves at the end, it looks nice but may not have been possible in reality given the stiff tail that we generally accept. I also have an issue with the pink paint on the cheeks, and that’s that it ends so abruptly, it looks like a mistake. It was probably intentional, but I feel it could have been blended with the grey skin better. There are also two large ‘canines’ in the lower jaw that tower above the other teeth. I don’t recall these canines being present in current findings or restorations of Acrocanthosaurus, but maybe I’m just out of touch. The temporal fenestre are also difficult to see. This figure also shares a flaw that was present in Papo’s Baryonyx. Namely, the head and neck are covered in small, bumpy, sculpted scales, but the body is covered in smoother wrinkles. It’s not a massive problem by any means, but the difference between the details in the head and the body are clear to see.
So, what’s my verdict? This is a fine model, a real beauty that any dinosaur lover should consider adding to their collection. While it does have its flaws, none of them should deter anyone who’s thinking of picking this figure up. And that’s it for my first review, thank you for reading!