Author Archives: Guest Reviews

Spinosaurus (Unknown Company)

Review and photographs by Rajvinder “IrritatorRaji” Phull, edited by Suspsy

Behold Spinosaurus, a ‘marmite’ animal among dinosaur enthusiasts. Love it or hate it, you can’t deny how fascinating this beast is. It’s a creature still shrouded in mystery, much like the statue we’ll be looking at today. I’m not really sure what company produced this statue; all I can say is that I picked it up at the Kents Caverns gift shop in Devon, England. I’ve not found any information or images of this statue online, and statues that appear to be of the same style offer contradictory information about their origin.

Remember what I said about ‘marmite’? Well, that may be one’s interpretation of this statue as well. This model appears to be an older sculpt, perhaps early to mid-2000s’ when public perceptions of Spinosaurus were still being shaped by Jurassic Park 3. The posing on this figure is typical for the ferocious ‘rex killing’ monster that Spinosaurus was portrayed as. Mouth open with teeth on display, muscular arms baring flesh-tearing claws carelessly hanging, and walking among the bones of the fallen.

Measuring at 40 cm (15.7 inches) long and 25 cm (9.8 inches) tall, this is a decent-sized model. Inaccuracies aside, the sculpt is quite nice. The scales are individually sculpted with a life-like texture. Skin folds are also found throughout the model. The muscles aren’t too well sculpted, but in few places, such as the legs, there seems to be some evidence of musculature. The facial details are symmetrical. The teeth in the lower jaw are also individually sculpted and are also sharp. The same can’t be said for the teeth in the upper jaw, which are, in all honesty, slightly pathetic. While there are some teeth, they are found on the right side of the jaw only, and they take the form of random bumps. The left side of the upper jaw is devoid of teeth, save for a ridge that makes it look as if the sculpt is unfinished.

Part of this model’s sculpt did surprise me. A cloacal opening and non-pronated hands are unexpected on an otherwise very scientifically inaccurate model, but are welcome nonetheless. The sculpting on the hands and feet are good, featuring large and broad scales that give the hands and feet a bird-like appearance. The signature crest of Spinosaurus is also present.

The base is also interesting, but a little lacklustre. It’s littered with the rib bones of some long deceased (or recently eaten) dinosaur, a far cry from the river setting that Spinosaurus is often associated with. Personally, I welcome this base. I imagine that Spinosaurus would definitely wander further inland during dry seasons or drought. The base does allow one to question the circumstances that led this Spinosaurus so far from home. My only wish for the base is that it had more detail. While you can make out some rocks, the terrain this Spinosaurus is wandering through isn’t very clear. I’d say it’s desert, yet tall, healthy plants are present. I’d say marsh, but the Spinosaurus doesn’t seem to be sinking into the ground, and the sides of the base look very rock-like.

Now it’s time to list the flaws, of which there are MANY. First of all, no, that is not a camera trick, the tail really is that short. In reality, it would be incapable of balancing the animal, meaning it’d probably be falling forward onto those oversized hands all the time. The legs are also incredibly long, even if you’re comparing them to JP3’s Spinosaurus. The hands lack the enlarged killing claws that would have been used to fish. The torso section of the Spinosaurus is very robust; this guy (or gal?) has massive hips. The face and neck are incredibly shrink-wrapped and lack any sort of muscle definition. The neck itself is also very long, thin, and serpent-like, forming an ‘S’ curve that I’m not sure Spinosaurus was capable of achieving. The face is also quite rounded, short, and small, as opposed to long and narrow. A tooth notch is somewhat present, but it’s so subtly sculpted that it’s very difficult to see. The teeth, as mentioned before, are appalling and fail to represent not just spinosaur teeth but theropod teeth as a whole. The eyes are also incredibly large and the interior of the mouth isn’t sculpted at all.

Final verdict: this is not a statue that those who care for scientific accuracy. It’s nowhere near as bad as other dinosaur models, such as early Schleichs, but it’s no Sideshow Collectable either. Dinosaur model collectors may also have a hard time fitting this one in their collection. Those who like or appreciate vintage models may take a liking to this figure. However, to obtain one, you’d need to want it very badly, given that I couldn’t find any information (or even evidence of existence) about this figure online.

Doedicurus (Jurassic Hunters by Geoworld)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

When it comes to glyptodonts, only two species have ever been replicated in toy form. The first one is the standard Glyptodon, which has been made by many companies over the years (yet many have yet to be reviewed). And then there’s Doedicurus, the one glyptodont that most laypeople can tell is different from Glyptodon because of the spiky club on its tail that would make many ankylosaurs green with envy. Unlike Glyptodon, this animal has been made by fewer companies, with only Kaiyodo, Safari, and this one from Geoworld coming to mind.

The Geoworld model is not half bad for a model of this species. The carapace is covered with many little osteoderms just like in the fossils, but I can’t help but wonder if they are too big. The tail is sculpted correctly with the rings of bone covering it to look like the animal can extend or retract its tail (I’m not saying it could really do that, just that that’s how it looks to me). As for the club, it seems to match the fossils as well. The spikes on this model are somewhat sharp, so be careful should you give this to a kid who is prone to rough play.

The one thing I am not sure about accuracy-wise would be the head. I do not know much about mammals, and in case it was not obvious, I basically compared the model to images of the fossils themselves since they are well known. Reconstructing the face of a mammal seems to be a harder thing to do then reconstructing the face of an extinct dinosaur, so please forgive me for not knowing if this figure’s face is accurate or not. But just to help you decide, I will go ahead and describe it. The face is rounded just like it should be on a glyptodont. The head is also armoured, which is a correct thing to do, but the nostrils and ears are huge. This almost gives the animal a rodent-like appearance, when it’s supposed to be an armadillo.

The figure is painted in a mostly tan colour with the tiny osteoderms and head plate coloured in brown. The toe claws are painted brown as well and the eyes are painted red. In case you’re wondering, this 6″ figure is an entirely original creation from Geoworld, which I think is good, because we all know of the company’s misdeeds when it comes to the paleoart used in the fact cards that come with their models. On that note, the image on the card that comes with this model has not been ripped from any other source that I can think of. Instead, it shows a drawing of the animal that looks an awful lot like the model.


Overall, this looks like your typical Doedicurus and if you want one in your collection, I say you should pick one up if you see it at a store. Unfortunately, these mammal toys have become very hard to find outside of DeJankins, which has proven to be the best source of these models should you care to buy them. It’s a long road ahead to reviewing every Geoworld Jurassic Hunters model I have, so I’m glad to check this one off the list.

Acrocanthosaurus (Papo)

Review and photographs by Rajvinder “IrritatorRaji” Phull, edited by Suspsy

Like diamonds to a woman, Papo is a dinosaur lover’s best friend. While they tend to fall short in terms of scientific accuracy, their models are renowned for being packed to the brim with detail. Their offerings are pleasing to look at, even if it’s a slightly less enjoyable viewing experience for a trained eye. However, for 2017, Papo have brought out the big guns, with this Acrocanthosaurus arguably taking centre stage. Measuring at 28 cm (11 inches) long and 15cm (5.9 inches) tall at the tip of the tail, it’s a decently sized model. Just how good is this figure though? Well, let’s take a closer look.

The pose is an interesting one, but certainly not unique, with Battat’s Acrocanthosaurus and Safari Ltd’s original Carcharodontosaurus having used this stance before. While it’s not the dreaded tripod stance, the animal does not stand on its own two feet. Instead, it rests on the middle claw on its right arm. That being said, Papo has certainly made this pose their own. Through use of beautifully sculpted muscles, the figure gives off the illusion of a heavy animal shifting all its weight onto its left leg. While I feel this figure may have had a lot of potential being sculpted in a horizontal position, similar to Papo’s new Ceratosaurus, the impact of this forward-lunging pose can’t be denied. What makes this pose better for me is the ambiguity of the animal’s emotion; it doesn’t appear to be inherently passive or aggressive. Simply altering the position of the articulated jaw can turn this cautiously curious reptile into a predator striking at its prey.

In typical Papo fashion, the detail is superb. The face is adorned in small, individually sculpted scales. The teeth are also individually sculpted and are not uniform. The tongue and inner mouth are also worthy of merit, not only being well sculpted, but being wonderfully painted too. The lower jaw and neck showcase those signature Papo spines. The skin of the Acrocanthosaurus is sculpted beautifully, stretching to expose muscle and bone and bunching into highly detailed folds. The hands, which are not pronated, and feet are coated in broad, bold scales, giving them a very bird-like appearance. The hands are missing the enlarged claws that allosaurs are known to have, but given that I myself nearly forgot to talk about it, I can’t really blame Papo, especially since it’s not an obvious or iconic feature. The model is also very sturdy, and I mean very sturdy. On a flat surface, it’s nearly impossible to knock this figure over unless you were trying to, so you can trust that it will not accidentally fall off your shelf to its doom.

The paint job is another plus to this figure. Gray, orange, dark blue, white, gold and purple create this dinosaur’s skin. A very strange choice of colours, in my opinion, but definitely worth that gamble. The dark blue sail and thin purple line help to bring out the bright orange streak going along the body. White osteoderms also contour the animal’s neck, shoulders, back, and tail. The face and neck are also dotted with gold. Its small eyes, which feature yellow scleras with red irises and black pupils, are lined with a thin black that makes them pop. It’s also worth noting that this figure isn’t overly shiny, having a nice matte finish instead.

That’s all that’s great about this model, but does it have any flaws? While it does have some, they’re quite small, and if you’re not looking for them you may never notice them. First of all, while my Acrocanthosaurus was unaffected, I’ve seen other ones where the paint on the gums spills onto the lips. The spines that line the animal’s sail were also worn and unpainted on a few of them for my model. The tail also curves at the end, it looks nice but may not have been possible in reality given the stiff tail that we generally accept. I also have an issue with the pink paint on the cheeks, and that’s that it ends so abruptly, it looks like a mistake. It was probably intentional, but I feel it could have been blended with the grey skin better. There are also two large ‘canines’ in the lower jaw that tower above the other teeth. I don’t recall these canines being present in current findings or restorations of Acrocanthosaurus, but maybe I’m just out of touch. The temporal fenestre are also difficult to see. This figure also shares a flaw that was present in Papo’s Baryonyx. Namely, the head and neck are covered in small, bumpy, sculpted scales, but the body is covered in smoother wrinkles. It’s not a massive problem by any means, but the difference between the details in the head and the body are clear to see.

So, what’s my verdict? This is a fine model, a real beauty that any dinosaur lover should consider adding to their collection. While it does have its flaws, none of them should deter anyone who’s thinking of picking this figure up. And that’s it for my first review, thank you for reading!