Confuciusornis (Age of the Dinosaurs by PNSO)

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.

Confuciusornis PNSO

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: 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!

Confuciusornis PNSO

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.

Confuciusornis PNSO

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.

Confuciusornis PNSO

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.

7 Responses to Confuciusornis (Age of the Dinosaurs by PNSO)

  1. It’s a nice little figure and definitely a decent “first attempt at this species (a whole lot better than some early Archaeopteryx toys). But as far as accuracy goes I don’t think I could call it “remarkable” based on these photos. The wings are all wrong. Yes, they got the bare minimum correct (feathers on the right fingers, wrists bending the right way, as you say), but beyond that, most details are wrong. The primaries are too short, it lacks a propatagium, and a postpatagium. The humerus position is likely wrong and they compensated for it by incorrectly adding well-developed tertial remiges to fill the gap between the secondaries and the body. The finger anatomy is way too primitive: the second and third digits should be bound together in a postpatagium as in Eoconfuciusornis and Anchiornis, and even in Confuciusornis itself it is well known that the bases of the metacarpals on digits 2 and 3 are fused and so can’t diverge from each other like that. Digit 3 is far too short, it should be nearly the same length as 2, which is also too short compared to 1. The beak looks too small and narrow, and there’s no evidence for a crest in this species (there may be one in the related Changchengornis, but we have so many specimens of Confuciusornis, if it had a crest we’d certainly have noticed by now).

    Still, its the only Confuciusornis available as far as I know, so I’ll try to buy this thing as soon as it pops back up on Amazon… I just hope Safari or somebody eventually does a version that actually looks like a confuciusornithid. 🙁

  2. Probably my favorite small model of a bird-like dinosaur.

  3. It’s a great little figure. I accidently bought two of them, never unpackaged the second if anyone wants to contact me about purchasing same.

    • I bought a member of the forum if I am not mistaken three figures of prehistoric PNSO animals including the dinosaurus archaeopteryx, kosmoceratops and kentrosaurus and I can say that I am very happy with their figures are very detailed and very practical for space purposes. I recognize that it is a wise move on the part of almost all the companies of dinosaurs of collection and dinosaurus of toy to make figures of all the sizes. That’s where to choose.

      Anyway that figure on both Amazon and Ebay are very expensive. As it is said “more expensive collar than dog” sincerely it is preferable to buy the PNSO, Favorite or Kaiyodo figures to a reliable supplier and there are many in the internet market, it is just an opinion.

  4. Misaki-tan stargatedalek

    You forgot the alula (the relative preserved in amber has one), but aside from that a very nice little piece.

  5. What a little beauty!

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