Review and photographs by Rajvinder “IrritatorRaji” Phull, edited by Plesiosauria
With the roaring success of Papo’s adult Spinosaurus figure it was only a matter of time before we got a tiny counterpart. Especially seeing how Papo have released younger versions of their Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Pachycephalosaurus, Mammoth and Apatosaurus models, it felt right to see Papo’s take on a young ‘Spine Lizard’.
For better or for worse, you can’t buy this figure on its own. It’s part of a special edition gift box that also comes with Papo’s Ceratosaurus (which is available separately). As someone who didn’t own the Ceratosaurus prior to purchasing the box, I was pretty happy with what I was getting. However, for someone who already owns / doesn’t want the Ceratosaurus I can imagine this would be annoying. Take this information with a pinch of salt, but I was told that Papo was going to release this figure on its own next year. The person who told me this didn’t provide a source, so I’d say to expect this figure to be exclusive to this gift box until Papo themselves say otherwise.
Measuring in at approximately 18 cm (7 inches) long and 8 cm (3.1 inches) tall it’s a decent size for a young predator and about half the size of the adult Spinosaurus figure. The pose on this guy is interesting, lunged forward with the head slightly tilted. I imagine Papo were going for a playful and inquisitive look, though I personally detect a sense of caution and uncertainty resonating from this juvenile. Regardless of whether they were going for excited or cautious, both emotions would suit a young Spinosaurus growing up in a world where anything bigger than you sees you as a snack.
It’s very nice to see another young Spinosaurus figure on the market. The only other young Spinosaurus I know of is PNSO’s baby Spinosaurus, which I personally think looks more like a mini cartoon Spinosaurus, especially when you consider the size of the sail.
This figure can stand on its own two feet but it doesn’t do so with ease. Despite Papo’s efforts to avoid balancing issues, evident by the enlarged feet, this toy does tend to tip to the right and fall over easily. I wouldn’t advise having this figure near shelf edges or on surfaces that are commonly nudged or disturbed (e.g. desks), especially since when it falls over it falls hard and far, likely knocking over anything it’s positioned next to. That being said, if you’ve got it standing upright on a level, undisturbed surface, it should stand well and secure.
And, as always for Papo theropods, the figure has an articulated jaw. The jaw doesn’t open very far though, what you see in the pictures is as far as the jaw can open.
The detail on the sculpt is good but doesn’t even begin to compare to Papo’s recent figures. The entire body is covered in small scales which don’t really tend to vary. The scales on the face, neck, body, sail, underbelly and tail are all pretty much the same size. The figure features armour-like plating on the top of the neck, moving down we see a rather simply textured body with the odd bumpy scale which all give way to a flailing crocodilian tail. The interior of the mouth is sculpted as are all of the minuscule teeth. Something really odd about the sculpt is that the detail isn’t really carried onto the face. The face feels much smoother and looks a lot shinier than the rest of the body, almost like a different type of plastic was used.
In all, it’s not really something to marvel at and there’s not much to discuss either. The detail is more on par with Papo’s baby Tyrannosaurus which I believe came out around 5 years ago. It’s especially disappointing when you look at the highly detailed, and more modern, Ceratosaurus this figure came with. The skin doesn’t stretch and bunch like the skin on Papo’s recent models. It’s certainly very odd that Papo would release this 2012-quality figure alongside their very impressive 2017 line.
There’s not much to discuss about the figure’s paintjob either. Although, a lack of bright colours and diverse markings are to be expected considering it’s based on their simply painted adult Spinosaurus. The body is a dull greenish-grey with some black scales running along the back. The end of the snout is yellow and the lower jaw is brown. The underbelly is a dull beige, the eyes are green with a black pupil and the sail is a darker grey with a very faint red stripe running through the middle.
In regards to scientific accuracy, I feel a lot of what needs to be said just goes without saying anyway. But this is a review, so I’m going to say it. Being based on the Spinosaurus from Jurassic Park 3, this figure boasts a handful of inaccuracies.
The very first one that caught my eye was the tail. While I don’t usually care much for figures that have overly wavy tails, the juvenile Spinosaurus takes it a little too far. I feel a real Spinosaurus tail wouldn’t be anywhere near as flexible as needed to pull off the tight bends this tail features. As mentioned before, the feet look a bit too large though this is likely for stability. Speaking off legs, I feel this might just be me but they’re a little too long as well. It reminds me somewhat of the long and lanky legs of newborn horses. The figure also lacks Spinosaurus‘ signature enlarged hand claw, though this may be due to the fact that the figure represents a young spinosaur. Just like the JP3 Spinosaurus, this figure has two crests on both sides of its head as opposed to just one in the middle. The shrink wrapping isn’t too bad, at least it isn’t on the face. The body looks a bit skinny but I would again argue that it’s due to the age of the dinosaur, not being old enough to have built up a good amount of bulk and muscle. The head itself does lack that distinctive spinosaur shape, not being very narrow and lacking the tooth ridge, looking more akin to a crocodile. One positive I can state about scientific accuracy is that the nostrils are actually not on the end of the snout, they’re located further up, just under the crests.
When it comes to flaws with the figure itself, the only major one I have is that the jaw on mine is incredibly loose. It maintains whatever position it is placed in, but it wobbles from side to side a lot. My juvenile Spinosaurus‘ jaw used to shut all the way, but while fiddling with the jaw I was greeted with an audible snap sound and now the jaw refuses to shut all the way, hanging at about half-way open. If myself opening the jaw to look deeper inside the mouth broke it, I can’t imagine how long it would last in the hands of a child. There were also a couple of paint flaws. The claws on the feet were unpainted or partly painted and there was a couple splodges of black paint on the end of the tail. Also, the eye wasn’t completely painted, leaving a border of unpainted plastic around the eye.
So, to conclude, this figure is okay. It’s not great but it’s not downright terrible. It’s certainly a let down when you consider all the other beautiful figures that Papo released this year, and it baffles me why they’d release this figure in a pack with one of those aforementioned beautiful figures. The Ceratosaurus is definitely an odd choice to pair this little guy with, I personally think it’d make more sense to sell it in a pack with an adult Spinosaurus (that way, if anyone already owns one Spinosaurus and buys this pack they’ve got parents and a child, it’s not scientifically accurate but it makes a little more sense).
If anyone’s interested in buying it I wouldn’t suggest otherwise, it’s a very interesting interpretation of a juvenile Spinosaurus and it doesn’t look too bad next to its fully grown counterpart. I can only really recommend purchasing it if you’re actually genuinely interested in it or you’re a dedicated collector. Otherwise, you’re not missing out on much if you decide to pass on this figure.