Author Archives: Guest Reviews

Stegosaurus (Deluxe by CollectA)

Review and Photographs by Quentin Brendel (aka Pachyrhinosaurus), edited by Suspsy

The Deluxe Stegosaurus was the first of the few CollectA dinosaurs to enter my collection and it’s still one of my favourite. It originally attracted my attention since it was the only figure out at the time that had exactly seventeen plates, laterally-pointed thagomizer spikes, and throat armour. Ironically it appears as though the former two are no longer considered correct now, but I was impressed at the time.

In length, this figure measures 9.5″ long straight from snout to tail. Without doing the math, this looks like 1:40 scale to me (since 1 inch = approx. 1 metre), which is the standard scale for most dinosaur figures. The Stegosaurus is in a slow walking pose with its head tilted to the right and its mouth open, perhaps calling to another dinosaur or letting out a passive bellow. The angle of the head and curvature of the neck work well with the dermal armor, almost as though it’s showing off to the other figures which lack this feature. The tail is slung high and stiffly held so that the dorsal surface is nearly level with the body. As noted earlier, this figure’s back is adorned with no less than seventeen bony plates from neck to tail. These are amber in colour with black airbrushing. The body is gray, with the high areas leaning towards blue-green. This darkens at the top to the colour of the lower areas. The underside is white, once again airbrushed. The white continues down the interior of the legs where the claws appear to be the same colour as the darker parts of the body. The mouth interior is a solid light pink and the eyes have a touch of the amber colour of the plates.

The skin is textured with individual scales defined in the model as well as a series of small bumps on the darker areas near the plates. There are markings on the thagomizer spikes which look like they were meant to be scales, though in four years of owning this figure it took me until now to notice them. In addition, there are very reptilian-looking ripples on the underside of the body and tail, as well as the legs.

The CollectA Stegosaurus was put out a few years before the “Sophie” specimen was published and so doesn’t reflect the most recent understanding of the animal. According to the new fossils, Stegosaurus should have a longer neck and a lower-hung tail than in the figure. It’s thought that the very end of the tail where the thagomizer is should be pointed downwards. The torso of this figure has a longer relative length, which is more of a trend in newer models. Also due to recent finds, it is now known that Stegosaurus had nineteen dorsal plates instead of the more traditional seventeen. The hands have five digits, each with a claw. If I remember correctly, only the innermost two digits should have claws. I believe the feet are correct with three on each.

Overall, this could very well be the best Stegosaurus on the market for accuracy. There tends to be a lack of accurate figures of more popular species since most companies put them out first, and don’t often replace them once they’ve improved. The CollectA Stegosaurus is stamped 2009 and is still in production, as well as a smaller version and even a carcass which are painted to match this one. You can easily find it on eBay here and Amazon here .

Dinosaur Boxset 2 (Toyway)

Review and photos by Indohyus, edited by Suspsy

We’ve all seen them. The crude dinosaur toys that you get in small museum shops for extremely cheap prices, normally just bought by parents to keep their children quiet for a while. The last thing you’d expect is to put six of these together and sell them as a box set. Yet that is what Toyway did. Granted, their wildlife sets are extremely well made and varied. Their dinosaur models, on the other hand, are more . . . Chinasaur. Do any of these toys shine in spite of this? Well, let’s see . . .

First is this odd green and yellow quadruped. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was an early ankylosaur with inaccurate teeth. At 5.1” long and 2” high, it looks like a small herbivore. But then I looked up what it was I was quite surprised. This is meant to be a Postosuchus!!! It is too wide, the head is all wrong, and the front legs are much too long! This dreadful figure really is the worst of the set.

Next is a small ornithopod, Camptosaurus. Another small figure, 3.5” long and 2.2” high, it stands out with its dynamic, sweeping pose. The problem is that it can bend out of shape, causing stability issues. The colour is quite subdued: muddy brown and dark greens, good for a herbivore that wishes to stay camouflaged. The main issues are that it is a bit thick in certain areas, like the neck, and the front limbs are too long. A mixed bag.

The hadrosaur in this set is Corythosaurus, a classic. Posed in a strange quadrupedal stance, it certainly looks retro, very lizard-like, though with a rather unnatural dip in the neck. The subdued colours from the Camptosaurus return, but with lilac instead of green, and a garish lime green underbelly. At 4.5” long and 2.4” high, it would suit for a youngster among its kind.

Now, for even more retro, it’s Iguanodon. Between the upright stance and iguana-like head, it will certainly appeal to fans of older dino designs. With a light red colour, it certainly stands out, though. At 3.5” high and 3.9” long, it is one of the bigger figures in this mini set.

Euoplocephalus is the ankylosaur of the set, and one of the best in the bunch. It has the traditional stance of defending itself from a predator, pulling it off quite well. Its brown and turquoise colouring is odd, as is the club design, which is too spaced out. The body is too thin as well, and not squat enough. Again, good for a juvenile at 4.5” long and 2” high.

The final member of the set is the biggest surprise: Placerias, a dicynodont from the Triassic. This figure is well made and really accurate, and it’s hard to find anything to say against it. The green and beige colours work well here and, though the pose is a bit stoic, it still sticks out. At 4.3” long and 2” high, it certainly works as a small reptile among its contemporaries.

Now, here is the final twist. As most of these are cheap, small figures from museum shops, few tend to put these on eBay, except rarely in sets with other figures. As a result, outside this set, they’re surprisingly rare, especially for the Placerias, as it is one of only a few representations of this figure. And the price for it can range from £8.00 to £64.00! If you can find it cheap, it would be worth it, otherwise I can’t strongly recommend it too highly.

Triceratops (Baby by CollectA)

Review and Photographs by Triceratops83, edited by Suspsy

CollectA has grown over the years from a curiosity producing mediocre figures at best to a leading brand rivaling Safari as the favourite makers of toy dinosaurs. One of their earlier, and admittedly better efforts was the Triceratops baby, released in 2007.

CollectA released several baby dinosaurs, most of which didn’t look very good (only a few of them actually looked like what they were supposed to). Until Papo and REBOR released their Triceratops juveniles, the only major competition this figure had was Safari’s. And while the Safari version was cuter, this CollectA baby is arguably more accurate.

This figure is 8.5 cm long and is a pudgy little thing. The body is very deep and the back arches strongly–perhaps a little too much. The tail is a nice length for Triceratops. The legs are thick and elephant-like, and although it has four toes on its hind feet, they are all planted on the ground, without the shortened inner digit. It only has four digits on the front limbs, and all are unfortunately hoofed, with no vestigial fingers. The left hind leg is bent at the ankle, giving the limb a weird bent look. The skin is wrinkled and lightly scaled.

The skull is the standout feature on this figure. The entire growth series of Triceratops is known and this toy matches a hatchling or young juvenile. The frill lies flat against the back and the horns are short and stubby. The epijugals, however, are weirdly thick and kinda look like jowls. Another drawback to the otherwise fine skull are the deep lines and wrinkles around the mouth and neck, giving it a baggy appearance.

The figure is mostly grey and dry brushed with a drab olive green. It’s a very dull and depressing paint job and gives the toy a mammalian look. The eyes are brown with a shiny black pupil. It’s a wonder they didn’t paint it blue to match the standard sized adult Triceratops (although they may have been trying to distance themselves from that particular model as it’s quite bad).

The CollectA Triceratops Baby is halfway to a good figure, mixing accuracy with, well, ugliness. The wrinkled skin, dull colours, and poorly sculpted limbs detract from what could have been the best baby Triceratops available. I’d still say the figure is worth getting, even though the Safari, Papo, and REBOR versions are more visually appealing. I hope that CollectA, with their improved quality, will one day update this toy.