The Battat dinosaurs’ triumphant return to mass-production means that figures once unobtainable for the average collector with bills to pay and no time machine are now easily had by anyone with so much as a few spare dollars. The Ceratosaurus is no exception. Once one of the scarcest Battats, only rarely listed on eBay for exorbitant prices unbecoming of a plastic toy, this horned theropod can now be bought for $6 at your local Target store.
For an almost 20-year-old figure released in 1996, this sculpt has aged fairly well accuracy-wise – as I mentioned in my review of the original version, this Ceratosaurus is mostly true to the genus’ known fossil remains. The distinctive nasal horn, lacrimal ridges, and osteoderms are all present without being overly stylized as can be the case with other popular depictions of this animal. The tail is deep, tall, and well-muscled, bearing resemblance to Ceratosaurus‘ crocodian-looking tail. The painted-on teeth are a bit less prominent than those on the original figure, which looked a tad over-sized (Ceratosaurus did have large teeth, but the adults wouldn’t have dentition as prominent as depicted on the original). Unfortunately other minor inaccuracies from the first version remain. The hands and fourth fingers are slightly large, and the left hand is pronated (a physical impossibility).
This iteration’s most obvious difference from the original model is the color scheme. Whereas the original Battat Ceratosaurus was mainly a subdued forest green, the Terra reissue is an eye-catching deep maroon with black spots and stripes. Though both figures have a pale underbelly, this contrasts much more strongly with the rest of the body’s coloration in the Terra version. The paint application is rather well-detailed and executed for a figure with such a low price tag. The hand and foot claws, pupils, and teeth are all neatly painted in their appropriate positions. The nasal horn and lacrimal ridges are a vibrant orange with red and black bands, suggesting display purposes. This is a popular theory amongst paleontologists, and is even mentioned in the little write-up on the back of this figure’s box (also readable on the Terra website).
Another major difference from (some of) the original figure(s) is the pose. When released in 1996, the Battat Ceratosaurus was originally a fully bipedal sculpt, tail held horizontally and well off the ground. While this pose was retained in some figures (such as mine which I previously reviewed), many others had stability issues due to warping. Thus a tripod version with a downturned tail was released two years later in 1998; it is this revised tripod sculpt that has been reissued. Though some collectors generally dislike tripod theropod figures (including yours truly), I think it works very well in this case. The tail’s downward angle is very subtle. Most of the body is held horizontally, unlike some other tripod theropod figures where the entire torso is angled 45 degrees upwards. Though the tail’s tip does touch the ground, the overall range of articulation is scientifically reasonable and still pleasant to look at. Furthermore the added stability means that the sculpt does not need plastic ‘snowshoes’ (like the original Battat series’ second T. rex issue) or oversized feet (which afflict most other Ceratosaurus figures on the market) for stability. Luckily the Ceratosaurus is not front-heavy like many of the other Terra theropods, so it firmly stands on its own.
Though the same sculpt as its 1990s predecessor, the Terra Ceratosaurus has a distinctly unique overall impression compared to the original. The first Battat Ceratosaurus has an air of elegance and calmness – one could easily imagine it peacefully strolling through a tranquil Jurassic forest. Meanwhile the Terra version, with its brighter colors gives off a more brash, dynamic impression. The tripod pose contributes to this as well. While the figure is largely horizontal, it is still angled slightly upwards compared to the original biped sculpt, making it appear as if this Ceratosaurus slightly rearing up and pointing its head towards something that has caught its attention (perhaps a rival Ceratosaurus or a future meal).
This accurate and vibrant figure is certainly a worthy acquisition for any dinosaur enthusiast’s collection. As part of the Terra line, it is exclusive to Target department stores, which are only found in the United States. However international collectors need not despair, as they can also be acquired through various online sellers, eBay, or American members of our very own Dinosaur Toy Forum. Of course no review of a Battat Terra model would be complete without mentioning the great contributions of Dan Lorusso. It is thanks to Mr. Lorusso that we have half of the original Battat sculpts (this Ceratosaurus included), along with the reissue of the Battat series along with some new sculpts. Unfortunately Dan passed away in fall 2015 after a long battle with cancer. But even in his final years, he was still a champion of those of us in the dinosaur collector community, pushing to get the much-coveted Battat sculpts reissued and even creating new sculpts that will be enjoyed for generations. Us collectors are fortunate that he succeeded – as a result we now have access to this figure and others in the Terra collection that carry on Dan’s legacy and memory.