Confuciusornis is a prehistoric bird from the early Cretaceous of China, named after the famous philosopher. This small toy by PNSO is one of a handful of examples of this species committed to plastic, and the first Confuciusornis model reviewed on the Dinosaur Toy Blog. This one also goes by the nickname of ‘Yoyo’ and is one of the “Little” figures in the PNSO’s Age of the Dinosaurs series. PNSO they have completely done it justice.
The main reason I wanted to review this particular figure is because of my involvement in an exciting Dinosaurs of China exhibition coming to Nottingham, UK, in summer 2017. This world exclusive one-time-only exhibition will explore the relationship between dinosaurs and birds, and includes real fossils of feathered dinosaurs and prehistoric birds from China – including a Confuciusornis. So, as the curator of the exhibition, I feel a certain connection to this species! If you want to see a real fossil of this species, plus 24 other dinosaurs including mounted skeletons of the mighty Gigantoraptor and Mamenchisaurus, then make sure to drop by Wollaton Hall this summer. See the teaser trailer, and tickets are for sale on the website: http://www.dinosaursofchina.co.uk. The PNSO are also connected to this Dinosaurs of China exhibition because they have provided all of the stunning artwork for the exhibition graphics. Anyway, that’s enough exhibition plugging, back to the model!
The sculpt is accomplished and finely detailed, as are all of the PNSO’s models. The anatomy is remarkably accurate, even the articulation of the wrists and the relationship between the wing feathers and the fingers, a point that trips up uninitiated palaeoartists. The long, hooked claws on the fingers are very clear, and the animal is in a flying pose. This pose encourages me to fool around and make it swoop: there is lots of playability in a pose like this. It has a punk-like hairdo and a puffed out chest so PNSO haven’t scrimped on the plumage.
Confuciusornis is remarkable because it is known from many specimens that reveal sexual dimorphism. That is, the males are different from the females. The paired strap-like tail feathers in Yoyo indicate that he is a male. For anyone into diorama building, a simple surgery would make him female.
The tail feathers are slightly warped so their tips overlap. They can be adjusted, as I have done for the photos, but their positions quickly revert. A treatment with hot water or a hair dryer might fix this permanently.
The paint work on this tiny figure is expertly applied and quite brilliant – adventurous but still believable. The wing feathers have natural-looking earthy tones in bands, which contrast sharply with the jet-black paired tail feathers. These strap-like feathers terminate with bright blue eye-spots. My only quibble would be that the eyes (the ones in its head!) are white without pupils, which make it feel a bit lifeless. Black eyes would seem more appropriate.
This is a lovely tiny figure that I highly recommend on all fronts. This brings us lastly onto the topic of how to get our hands on these products. I know that the PNSO are still going through a change of personnel and there seem to be no signs yet of their toys returning to Amazon. These miniature figures also seem to be absent from the PNSO’s most recent catalogue, but one can only speculate as to why. I think it is just a matter of remaining patient while PNSO find their feet.
Thanks to the PNSO for the review sample.