To help set the mood, lets take a moment and imagine ourselves walking among the fern covered floodplains in the late Jurassic. A muddy stream meanders and snakes across the landscape. There are green spreading fronds of tree ferns, along with cycads and gingkoes. There are numerous tall conifers. Out in the fields and along the stream banks you can hear hoots, honks and sounds of the many animals living in the area. While standing in the shadows of the Pterosaurs flying overhead, you look over the floodplain and over by a small copse of conifers you see a rare animal. At 40-50 feet high (12-16 meters) it dominates the landscape. It is pulling the branches on the conifers and striping them of their needles. With its towering long neck along with its long forelegs and sloping back, forcing you to look high into the air to see its head. The animal is truly majestic. It is the magnificent Brachiosaurus.
Before anyone rips out some hair from their head and scream out, “That toy is not a Brachiosaurus its Giraffatitan brancai!” Let me say, I know. When Schleich made the Replica-Saurus line, it was done in close cooperation with the Natural History Museum of the Humboldt-University Berlin. Until recently the Brachiosaurid that is mounted at the NHM of Humboldt-University Berlin was known as Brachiosaurus, and it was obviously the inspiration for this toy. In 2009 paleontologist Michael Taylor determined that Gregory Paul was correct and that B. brancai should belong to its own genus, reclassifying it as Giraffatitan brancai. Back in the 90’s when the toy was made it was still considered a Brachiosaurus, so you really can’t fault Schleich.
With all that out of the way lets take a closer look at this 1993 Brachiosaurus behemoth from Schleich.
About the toy: Due to being made in the 90’s it is proud and standing tall in a classic periscope style pose. At 34 cm high (13 in) this is a tall toy. It is one of the tallest brachiosaurid toys out there. It is only 1 cm shorter than the huge Carnegie version and is taller than its Schleich counterparts. Its Replica-Saurus replacement was only 31 cm tall and the WHO and COE versions are much, much shorter.
If you are familiar with some of the ugly heads that Schleich has put on some of their models in the past, Examples: (Carnotaurus or Baryonyx,) you know what you are in for and will not be surprised when you take a closer look. Ugh, what were they thinking. The skull is poorly done, the circle eyes, and the nostrils are placed in the classic sauropod snorkel position on the large bump in front of its eyes. In reality the nostrils were forward on their snout. Another example of shrink wrap anatomy. I don’t know what you think but with that toothy frown, this girl looks unhappy.
As for the rest of the body it is a rather plain pose. Just standing there like it is holding still for a portrait or on display at a museum. The legs are rather straight and thin. The body is big, but I would still say that this figure looks underfed. The skin texture looks like dried mud all cracked and disjointed. There are some skin folds along the body that look nice. The feet are incorrect but typical of the toys made at that time. The tail is small and rather thin. The colors are simple. Brown, with some dark brown shading. Its nails on the feet are grey. The eyes are a dull orange and the teeth are white.
Overall: I recently did a dinosaur talk at school with kids that are 4-5 years old. I brought around twenty dinosaur toys with me for the discussion. I let the kids hold onto and look at each toy as I talked about the animal. I brought models of T-Rex, Carnotaurus , Apatosaurus, and Triceratops among others. The toy that the kids liked the best was this Brachiosaurus. Why? Well both my kids like to play with this toy so I asked them why they like this toy. There answer was simple. The size. I must agree with them. This figure inspires awe despite the inaccuracies, ugly face, and bland colors. It towers over most other figures and can dominate the display shelf.
On the positive side, as a collector I appreciate that “in the U.S.A at least” it is a harder figure to find. Makes it stand out from the regular figures. It is a big figure which I think really makes sauropods look better. On the negative side its pose is outdated, there are many inaccuracies, and the colors are bland. If you like it, this toy does pop up on e-bay from time to time.