Author Archives: Guest Reviews

Kentrosaurus (Conquering the Earth by Schleich)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

Kentrosaurus is one of those dinosaurs that almost everyone in this community has heard of, as it’s basically a cousin of Stegosaurus with more spikes and spines coming out of its shoulders. It may have been smaller than Stegosaurus, but that did not mean that it was not potentially dangerous, as the animal had enough spikes to take on even the largest of predators. It was found in Africa, at the Tendaguru Formation, where it lived alongside other plant eaters such as Giraffatitan and Dicraeosaurus.

In 2015, Schleich released a Kentrosaurus for their World of History line, and it was one of the company’s most well-received figures. Not only was it one of the best dinosaurs they made that year, but it was also one of their best ones to date. So it may (or may not) come as a surprise to you all that that figure is being retired for 2018 and being replaced with this new one made for the 2017 Conquering the Earth line.

First impressions are decent. The detailing is great, and this time, the model has a good colour scheme to really accent the detail (unlike the 2017 Stegosaurus). A majority of the model is sculpted with individual scales, and the head resembles that of a real stegosaur. The pose is not as dynamic as either the first Kentrosaurus, and I feel that it could use a little tweaking. Now, I’m not exactly sure how to interpret this pose, as the right forelimb is in motion (with only the claw tips touching the ground) and the tail is pointing upwards while curving to the side. Some may interpret this as a threat display, but I also wonder if the model could be in a walking pose as well. If the tail was held more straight, I would have liked it a lot more, as it would deviate it from the poses given to the previous Stegosaurus and Kentrosaurus, but as it is, it’s just giving me a headache to interpret this figure.

As far as accuracy is concerned, there is plenty to talk about. The spikes and plates are paired evenly along the back like they should be. However, the figure is made by Schleich, so there are some faults to be had here. For one, the feet on this figure are incorrect, as only three claws should be present on the front feet, not the whole set of toes. Another issue with this figure is the head. If you take a look at the skeletal drawing by Scott Hartman, you can see that Kentrosaurus had a pretty small head when compared to the body. It is also apparent that the neck is too short. While I was looking at the skeleton, the other issues with the sculpt became even more apparent, as the plates are not spaced correctly and the shoulder spikes are jutting out too much. However, comparing this model to the previous Kentrosaurus shows that the shape of the plates have been corrected in accordance to the skeleton, making this version a little more accurate.

As for the colours on this figure, the model’s base colour is white with a normal tan washed over it. The sculpt is also adorned with maroon stripes, which look fantastic, and make it look a bit more interesting than the Stegosaurus. Other colours include a dark brown for the claws and beak and white on the tips of the spikes.

At around 7 inches from head to tail, the model is most likely around 1:25 scale, which would make it too big to be in scale with anything that’s 1:40. But then again, I feel that the days of scale model dinosaur figures are long gone, as almost every company out there today has abandoned scale in favour of making toys that are big enough for kids to play around with. As a toy, this Kentrosaurus can offer a lot of play value, as it has more than enough spikes to make kids want to impale their theropod figures. As a collectible, I can safely say that the accuracy has improved a bit, so if you were hard-pressed to own only one Kentrosaurus from Schleich, then this would be the one if you are also a stickler for accuracy. Even though it’s not perfect, it is still a lot better than all of the theropods Schleich released this year, and it should go down as one of their better efforts to date.

Spinosaurus (Small)(Recur)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

Today’s review is of the Recur Spinosaurus released back in 2015 (according to the year printed on the belly). As a modern take on the species, this model is a pretty decent replica, and a stark contrast to the Tyrannosaurus I recently reviewed from the same line.

​One thing that’s obvious is the fact that this toy was made with longer hind legs like most reconstructions prior to 2014. Despite this, it is sculpted with its arm acting as a third leg, just like the Papo Acrocanthosaurus. Unlike that toy, the arm on this one is propping it up high enough to give us the classic horizontal theropod impression, and it gives off a somewhat imposing look. In terms of accuracy, this model could be decent for a pre-2014 model if it were not for the head, which shows traces of the Spinosaurus that appeared in Jurassic Park 3. These include a head that is clearly too broad, a pair of crests, and the lack of a tooth notch. The other issues with this figure include the fact that the feet are too big and the legs are too long. Of course, there has been ongoing controversy over the the 2014 Ibrahim/Sereno reconstruction, so I’m willing to let this slide for now. One thing that I have to praise the toy for is the fact that Recur gave it the large fish hook claws that the spinosaurid family are known for. Though being a toy, the claws have blunted tips to prevent its target audience from getting hurt. Like all Recur toys, this Spinosaurus is made out of a soft and squishy PVC material and there is likely cotton inside of it. The only hard parts on this model are the arms, which are made out of a incredibly stiff plastic. Which is good, because if the arms were not this hard, the toy would have no way of standing, because the hind legs are very pliable.

​In terms of detail, the model is decked with wrinkles, but there are small osteoderms at the base of the sail that run up about halfway down the tail before they stop. Along the top of the tail, there are larger osteoderms than those found along the base of the sail, and almost look like they would be spiky if it were not for the fact that this was a toy made for kids. On the back of the neck, there is a set of completely different integument in the form of crocodile-like armour. Why Recur decided to do this is beyond me. Perhaps this was meant to go down the entire length of the back, but they scrapped it instead. It would not be the first time a company took the crocodilian look of spinosaurs to the extreme.

The colours on this toy are very dull at first glance, but if you look closely, you can see more variety. The majority of the Spinosaurus is painted in grey, but the armour on the neck is painted green and the tops of the neural spines alternate between green and blue, giving it a nice pattern when viewed in the right lighting. The teeth are painted in a dull white and the tongue and mouth interior are painted purple.

Overall, this makes for a excellent toy, but a only decent replica of Spinosaurus. It really was not made to be included among the likes of CollectA or Safari figures, and it is aimed at a much younger age group than most other toys we review on this blog. The soft materials make it ideal for very rough play should you (or your child) wish it to clash with other dinosaur toys. As of now, the only place you can find it at is DeJankins, which just got its replenishment orders in as of the time of this writing.

Neanderthal (Starlux)

Review and photographs by Indohyus, edited by Suspsy

Time and new discoveries are incredible for changing ideas and concepts in every field of science and nature. Such is the way with the genus Homo, of which we humans are now the only living members. Our closest cousins, the Neanderthals, are an example of this change. The old views of them being stumbling brutes, only capable of grunting and violence are gone, with new discoveries showing that they had a form of language, cave paintings, and adornments (although they were still capable of being violent). There aren’t many figures of Neanderthals, however, possibly due to being too close to humans. Of course, the original dino toy line, Starlux, had their own examples.

The figure is a similar size to other Starlux figures, being 3.7” high (from base to club) and 1.8” wide. The colouring is based on the Caucasian skin complexion of certain modern humans, likely because Neanderthals are our evolutionary cousins. The pose is certainly of the time: very dynamic, maybe about to strike down prey. Feels a bit Wacky Races to me, but it’s passable.

Despite the older look, this figure does look pretty accurate for a hominid. The musculature is correct for the skeletal structure, and appears reasonably robust and rounded, at least in comparison to the human figures that Starlux produced. Even the hair seems accurate to modern ideas, though slightly too dark. Not too bad. Though the clothing doesn’t all the way around the crotch, no genitalia is present.

Overall, this isn’t too bad, despite the age. With CollectA and Safari producing Neanderthal figures of higher quality, you can overlook this figure, but this is still worth considering. They pop up on French eBay seller sites fairly frequently, so the choice is yours.

A final (obligatory) warning: the Starlux figures are made with different plastics to modern lines and are much more brittle. Most of the versions of this model have small bumps coming out of the club, but this one’s looks like they were knocked off. Proceed with caution.