Author Archives: plesiosauria

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: 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!

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.

Tyrannosaurus rex (Tyrannosaurus ‘Wilson’ statue by PNSO)

The PNSO produce everything from tiny miniature toys to giant life-sized museum sculptures, but this review is something in between – a sizeable 1:35 scale statue of Tyrannosaurus rex, dubbed ‘Wilson’. We previously unboxed him on our Youtube channel, now it’s time to take a closer look.

PNSO Tyrannosaurus rex Wilson

With his menacing gait and devilish red eyes, Wilson has a lot of character. The dappled colour and detailed texture of his skin are both convincingly natural and, as far as accuracy goes, Wilson is basically faultless. The base is also excellent, adding to the realism of the scene. To be honest, the pictures will speak for themselves – this is an awesome model. The lower jaw articulates, so you can choose whether you prefer a roaring maw, or a slightly less dramatic pose. The articulation is completely invisible.

PNSO Tyrannosaurus rex Wilson

The PNSO’s decision to omit plumage was intentional and is outlined in the accompanying book “The Making of Tyrannosaurus Wilson”. Not many (if any?) dinosaur models come with a book, let alone a glossy 75 page volume, lavishly illustrated – a collectors’ item itself. The book outlines the entire creative design process for Wilson, which was undertaken in consultation with palaeontologist Mark Norell.

A painting of Wilson in the book portrays him with feathers on his neck and tail, and another shows a juvenile with much more fuzz. However, after considering all the evidence, the PNSO summarise: “For our reconstruction of Wilson, we did not cover the body with a complete covering of feathers. Rather, Wilson’s entire body is covered with scales”. The book also indicates that Wilson is based on a specific skeleton of T. rex called ‘Stan’, and provides justifications for other design considerations, such as refraining from sculpting fleshy lips, and the amount of hornage (yes, I’ve invented a word) above the eyes. In addition to the book, the high quality box also contains an envelope of postcards featuring photographs and artwork of Wilson.

PNSO Tyrannosaurus rex Wilson

The statue is composed of solid PVC. I’m used to statues being made of more brittle materials (e.g. resin) so I unpacked Wilson with great care, as anyone who watched the youtube unboxing can attest to. However, such care really wasn’t necessary – the PVC is durable, strong, and slightly flexible, so only the most serious accident will cause it any damage. This claim is backed up with evidence because I came home one day to find my beloved Wilson on the floor of my Kitchen. Perhaps dizzied by the height,  he had taken a a tumble and fallen more than two metres (6.5 feet) from his perch above the cupboards. The fall may have been ‘cushioned’ by the kitchen work top but, miraculously, Wilson survived without a scratch.

PNSO Tyrannosaurus rex Wilson

The actual reason for this accident is the only issue I found with the model – stability. Wilson’s feet have holes on the underside that slot into circular pegs located in footprints on the base. In my statue, the feet don’t align completely. One of the legs must be slightly distorted, so he leans slightly over to the right. You can see this in the photos. It seemed stable enough, so I didn’t anticipate it falling over, but obviously the pegs were not long enough to stop him tumbling eventually. Perhaps this is just my figure but it is important to mention in a review like this. I fixed the issue by raising one side of the base up, so the dinosaur itself is in a more balanced position. It would also be possible to glue him into place to be certain.

PNSO Tyrannosaurus rex Wilson

All in all, this is an excellent piece, which demands attentions. Wilson shows that PNSO are painstakingly serious when it comes to accuracy, but maybe they can review stability/production issues. At the moment, their figures are difficult to get hold of outside of China. They used to be for sale on Amazon but have been unavailable for several months. I undertsand that PNSO are going though a change in personnel, which might account for them being unavailable, but hopefully they’ll be in full force again soon and back up on Amazon.

PNSO Tyrannosaurus rex Wilson

Thanks to PNSO for sending us ‘Wilson’ for review. I should also note that PNSO provided me with two versions of the book, identical in every way except for the different language. So, make sure you order your preferred language version.

Upcoming releases from CollectA (New for 2017)

CollectA’s exciting line up for 2017 includes one ‘supreme’ model, four ‘deluxe’ models, and five standard models, so their relentless trend of releasing bucket-loads of new dinosaur toys each year continues! CollectA’s categories refer to their scale: ‘deluxe’ models are larger and more detailed than standard models, and the ‘supreme’ models are larger still. On the opposite end of the scale are CollectA’s minis, of which they are also releasing one new set in 2017. So, let’s summarise, starting with the ‘supreme’ and ‘deluxe’ models.

The ‘supreme’ toy this year is a pterosaur, Dimorphodon, which will look great alongside its predecessor the deluxe pterosaur Guidraco. According to Everything Dinosaur this model is 37.5cm long. That makes it not far off a life size 1:1 scale.

CollectA new for 2017

The four new ‘deluxe’ figures are as follows:

Deluxe Kronosaurus. It will be interesting to compare this one with the new Safari Ltd Kronosaurus also being released for 2017. Two Kronosaurus‘ in one year – perhaps this shows that great minds think alike?!

CollectA new for 2017

Deluxe Uintatherium. A great option for fans of prehistoric mammals.
CollectA new for 2017

Deluxe Styracosaurus. One of several new ceratopsians from CollectA this year.
CollectA nw for 2017

The new deluxe Deinocheirus is based on their excellent existing standard toy of this genus.

CollectA new for 2017

The five new standard models represent…

Basilosaurus, and about time too!
CollectA new for 2017

Einiosaurus, another toy that it will be fun to compare with Safari Ltd’s new version (great minds thinking alike again?).
CollectA new for 2017

Excalibosaurus, an ichthyosaur with a swordfish-like snout – a great choice in my opinion!
CollectA new for 2017

Gigantspinosaurus, an unusual stegosaur and another great choice.
CollectA new for 2017

Regaliceratops completes a trio of new ceratopsians from CollectA. The horned dinosaurus seem to be out in force every year!
CollectA new for 2017

Finally, the new set of prehistoric minis is marine creatures, with some interesting choices in the lot, some based on existing standard and deluxe CollectA models, others completely new sculpts.

CollectA new for 2017

All in all, this is another great show from CollectA. For some reason CollectA’s publicity shots seem a little washed out to my eye, as if taken through a mist, which makes them feel drab and does them no favours. I’ve tried to correct this in the above shots, purely for aesthetic reasons, so although the colours may not be quite true to life, at least they are eye-catching. I can’t wait to see the real things!