Author Archives: Guest Reviews

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.

Styracosaurus (Deluxe by CollectA)

Review and photos by Paul Carter AKA Carnosaur, edited by Suspsy

Styracosaurus, the “spiked lizard,” has long been a popular dinosaur. Thanks to its distinctive arrangement of horns, any depiction of it is easily recognizable. Indeed, it sparked the imagination of filmmakers during the earliest days of motion pictures, which has led to numerous film appearances ever since. Notable among them are The Son of Kong (1933), where a Styracosaurus battles the movie’s heroes; The Valley of Gwangi (1969), where Styracosaurus is pitted against a carnivorous dinosaur; The Land That Time Forgot (1975), where two animals are shelled by a German U-boat; Disney’s CGI film Dinosaur (2000), and Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur (2015). The genus also appeared in the novel of Jurassic Park, and in the list of dinosaurs present in the park, but was not seen in the film adaptation.

In 2017, CollectA released a 1:40 scale Deluxe Styracosaurus, and it is easily one of their best ceratopsian models to date. The figure’s length is approximately 23.5cm and its maximum height is around 14 cm thanks to its frill horns. This makes it one very large and impressive figure! The tan hide, with its rust-coloured highlights, is nicely detailed with small scales and larger scutes that run the length of the animal’s body. Its underbelly is nicely blended, fading into a cream colour.

The horns, spikes and beak are a bone colour highlighted with black tips, which is reminiscent of some bovine horns. The figure has the correct number of grey-painted toes on its feet, and there is no “shrink wrapping” present. Indeed, it appears quite robust. The mouth is open and features a visible tongue. But the eyes are particularly arresting, as they are painted red with solid black pupils which gives them a bloodshot appearance seen in some large herbivores today. Both the eyes and the nostrils have a glossy coat that make them look even more lifelike.

The figure is nicely posed with both its head and tail turned towards the right and the legs spread out in a very stable position. Although there is no supporting evidence for the row of filaments seen on this Styracosaurus‘ rump, they are known on its older, more primitive relative Psittacosaurus, and they do not detract from this figure at all. And with the recent reordering of the clades Ornithischia and Saurischia, it may be even more likely that Styracosaurus had this feature.

If you are a fan of Styracosaurus, or ceratopsians in general, then this is a figure you shouldn’t pass up. It looks great amongst my other Styracosaurus figures, and I highly recommend it.

Tyrannosaurus rex (Breakout Rex by Chronicle Collectibles)

Review and photographs by Sammy Allouba (aka JurassicGeek09), edited by Suspsy

Continuing on with Chronicle Collectibles’ offering of high-end JP items, today I have the highly anticipated Breakout Rex, which obviously is a reenactment of Rexy breaking out of her paddock in the first Jurassic Park. For those of you who have been following the development of this piece via social media, you may recall there was some controversy regarding the final product in terms of its paint job, with some people claiming Chronicle pulled a bait-and-switch on them because the final product was a complete 180 from what the promo shots advertised. I’ll touch on all that in this review. This statue is approximately two feet long and when assembled, weighs around 30 pounds.

I know the packaging may seem like a pointless part of discussion, but given how much a collectible of this nature sells for, I think it’s important to highlight the respectable and tightly packed nature of the shipment. Let’s be honest, when you buy something from eBay for instance, you rate the seller based on how well they packaged an item amongst other things. This one here is snug and tight. If you’re wondering where the fence cables are, they are located in a separate compartment located on the reverse of the styrofoam. It’s easy to miss and almost made me think I was missing pieces until a friend of mine who also bought one pointed this out to me.

Well, there she is, in all her glory! Please do note that the photos you are seeing here are not filtered and as such, are presented in natural lighting. This is important because, as I said at the beginning, the paint job was a point of contention for a lot of people, so let’s talk about that. But by all means, do take in her glory before we start an analysis. She stands proudly, free of her constraints, ready to take on the world. Even if you’re not entirely sold on her, it’s hard to take your eyes off her. She fits squarely into the base via pegs on the underside of her feet.

So, the paint job. I hate to admit it, but it is a tad underwhelming. It’s more leopard-y than I’d like and based on shots of Rexy in the film, she wasn’t quite so spotted. When I compared the shots of my model to the ones featured on Chronicle’s product page, I saw where the difference lay. Those images featured a slightly darker underbelly and fewer spots.

On to the head. This is really where people started freaking out when the retail images began to surface. Again, same story as the underbelly. In the promo shots, it was darker around the neck with fewer visible stripes. The eyes were also darker. Both of them, in the final release, look like they were painted brighter. For me, this isn’t a deal breaker, but it makes one wonder what the heck happened during production. The teeth are painted, but beyond that, there isn’t much detail to them. They’re pointed, but serrations aren’t noticeable on them, like the Lost World Rex Bust.

This is what the base looks like when fully assembled. It’s very easy to put together. You just need to slide the wire poles into their respective holes, and (I only discovered this after the fact) the middle pole with the lighting fixtures (which do not light up) has small circlets in which you insert the wires from the pole on the left and twist them accordingly. The wires do not feel flimsy, but loose enough that you can twist and turn them to your heart’s content. I had a lot of fun with this part. I tried to make it as “screen accurate” as possible.

And there she is, fully assembled! The night falls, the power fails, and the Queen will once again mark her mark on this primordial world. Overall, I say it’s an impressive piece to look at and can certainly be a conversation starter but the paint job could’ve been better. From what I understand, Chronicle outsourced the final phase of production to a company called Toynami and after the complaints started to come out, Chronicle took matters into their own hands and pulled most of the figures back prior to shipment to touch them up. That said, it’s not nearly as bad as some people claimed it to be. Lord knows some people were ready to tear Chronicle apart, calling them scam artists and such (can you imagine?). A few more touch ups would have been nice, but I would still recommend this piece for any Jurassic Park lover. I look forward to the next one!