Author Archives: Laticauda

Pachycephalosaurus (Bullyland)

During this seasonal, festive, frenzy of reviews, lets take a small time warp back in time and bring forth a toy that has been left behind by the relentless march of time. In 2009, Bullyland,  the purveyor of  goofy eyed yet expressive figures, released a interesting looking Pachycephalosaurus. It wasn’t a perfect figure in the time it was made, but looking back at the era in which it was released, it was a whole different world of dinosaur sculpts for collectors to choose from.  Carnegie was still around, CollectA was still figuring itself out, and the dreaded tripod stance was popular.  Its amazing how far toy companies have come since 2009.  What passes as an average  figure now would have been a good to great figures just seven years ago.

On top of that, Pachycephalosaurus is a strange animal in dinosaur collecting.  I would doubt it would make many top ten popular dinosaur lists, but at the same time, it is easily recognizable to most adults and kids.  Due to that domed skull,  kids like to play with it as if it was Ram Man, head butting through obstacles and viscous predators.   In JP the Lost World there is a popular scene showing it ramming one of the Jeeps, reinforcing the popular belief that these animals just head butted their way through life.  In reality like many of the strange features we find on dinosaurs, like a Triceratops‘ frill, or Parasaurolophus’ crest, the domed skull was probably used as a display structure, sexual dimorphism perhaps, or other uses that we haven’t even come up with yet.

Size comparison: Carnegie Pachycephalosaurus on the left, Bullyland on right.

About the toy:  According to the print on the bottom of the figure it is 1:30 scale.  It is 4 in (10.16 cm) high and 9 in (22.86 cm) long.  The pose is active with the head down and eyes looking forward.  Pachycephalosaurus had a narrow face with a small muzzle which ended in a pointed beak. I think the head on this figure is too wide and big.  The dome-shaped head is present and looks quite thick.  All the way around from the snout to the back of the head it is covered by bumps and wart-like knobs, with a fringe of dull spikes. There is a bunch of small white teeth in the upper maxilla.  In actuality the teeth should be less numerous and should look different by the  beak.

The arms are short but beefy and spread out with the hands pronated.  Each of the hands have five fingers, which is accurate.  The legs are big and beefy and the figure stands on over-sized feet, in which all four toes touch the ground.  That’s right, instead of standing on a three toed foot, they made the forth one long enough to help with its balance.

Accuracy wise this figure ends up being so-so.  As it is thought that Pachycephalosaurus would have been similar to other ornithopods, this figure does have some of the features you would expect.  Some of the positives are: it does have forelimbs with five-fingered hands, a long, heavy, fairly rigid tail, and a neck that is short yet thick.  Its belly also appears to be enlarged and looks well fed.

This figure is painted as if it lived in an arid landscape with tan and black colors.  A yellow color is dry brushed over the main colors.  There is a little bit or orange mixed in the bumps around its head and on the under side of the tail and belly.  The teeth and eyes are white while the inside of the mouth is black.  Around the eyes it is very black almost like eye liner.  All the claws are grey.

Overall:  Bullyland figures tend to take a little getting used to.  It is true that many of their figures are not one hundred percent accurate, but they do tend to have more of an persona and charm.  It could be the goofy eyes, I am not sure, but they do tend to be expressive.

With that big head, beefy arms, thick tail, and those meaty thighs, it is quite a stout figure.  I think a T-Rex would have loved to have this girl for dinner.  This thick skulled Pachycephalosaurus toy does have some inaccuracies as I mentioned earlier.  When making a decision on this toy you cannot discount that fact. Despite that, it also has some charm along with a active pose.  I rate it as an average figure but one that I really like so maybe I’m a little biased.    If you like how this figure looks than in my opinion, it is worth it.  This figure is not for everyone and if you want accuracy you could check out the CollectA Pachycephalosaurus ,which is rather small, or the old Battat one if you are lucky enough to find it.

 

 

 

 

 

Excalibosaurus (CollectA)

Excalibosaurus lived during the early Jurassic about 190 million years ago and at 22 feet (7 meters) long, it was a decent sized fellow.  Looking much like a modern sword fish, it was named after the sword Excalibur of Autherian legend.  This marine reptile is characterized by the extreme elongation of the rostrum, in which the lower jaw is a quarter shorter in length then the upper jaw.    Where as I do agree that “strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government,” naming a unique ichthyosaur after the legendary sword of King Arthur does make this animal stand out.

It is nice to see CollectA continuing to make marine reptiles.  To date they have made thirteen different prehistoric aquatic reptiles.   This is their second ichthyosaurs, as previously they made a Temnodontosaurus giving birth.   I appreciate CollectA’s willingness to take chances on animals that are not as well known.  So with out further ado I present the 2017 CollectA Excalibosaurus.

About the toy:  The toy was made for CollectA’s  standard size range of toys which means that this is a small toy that is only 5 in (13cm) long.  The pose is simple.  The head and upper half of the torso are stiff and straight, but after the dorsal fin it bends gracefully to its left.  The thin snout is 1 inch long with the lower jaw slightly longer than half an inch (1.27 cm).  Unlike the sword fish, Excalibosaurus has teeth all the way down its upper jaw.  On this toy the teeth are present, visible, and nicely sculpted.  The eyes are the appropriate size and the external nares are present.

The body is streamlined and flowing looking the part of an active predator.  I feel that the body should be a little longer when I compare it to the fossils but it is hard to tell so I will not hold it against this figure.   The forepaddles are long and look like a dolphins pectoral fin.  The hindfins are small and rounded.  A small dorsal fin is on top and when you look at the tail fin, the lower lobe is longer than the top.

Size comparison: Kaiyodo Ichthyosaur front, CollectA Excalibosaurus back

The coloring on this figure is modern and believable with a color scheme that has the top being dark, and lighter on the underside.  Very similar to many modern day animals and it correlates well with the evidence that has been found in the pigments preserved in fossilized skin .    The top is black, the bottom is white, with a thin layer of grey blending in between.  On the head it is white around the eye.  The white paint continues in front of the eye and curves down the upper and lower jaw, which leaves the tip of the lower jaw black.   The eyes are black and white. All the fins are black.  The toys texture is very smooth.  The jaws, flippers, and tail are all flexible.  This can lead to some warping. The jaws are especially vulnerable to being bent and warped due to how thin they are.

Overall:  It is a very nice figure of a cool marine reptile.  If you like  ichthyosaurs and only have limited room for display, then this is a good figure to have as it doesn’t take up that much space.  If you are in the mood for an exciting or morbid display, thanks to its small size, it can fit inside the mouth of many other marine reptile toys, which will make the mosasaur and pilosaur figures happy.  Personally I find the figure a little underwhelming,  I think it would have been better if it was a bit bigger to highlight the long jaws.    The colors are bland but accurate so no complaints there. I rate this as a good figure.

Ophthalmosaurus (Age of the Dinosaurs by, PNSO)

Kids perspective by, William and Erin

By day the squid lurk in the deep waters were only the brave dive into the unknown. It is in these murky depths were they hide from the predators above. When the sun goes down and the moon arrives they come up from down below to the surface to feed.  Awaiting the strange creatures from the depths is a fast predator with big eyes that can see through the gloom.  A squid is gliding around looking for small morsels to eat.  It never sees the big eyes that have locked onto him.  The creature speeds towards it target and snap, the squid is grabbed quickly and swallowed.  For as wonderful as nature is, it is unforgiving and deadly.

The Ophthalmosaurus was an ichthyosaur that was around 19 feet (6 meters) long and like dolphins today it was a voracious predator that was well adapted for eating squid.   It lived around 155 million years ago and had big eyes, a graceful tear drop body, and a half-moon caudal fin.

Little Becky along side the Kaiyodo Ichthyosaurus.

I am not sure why there are not more toys of this species made as they fit the definition of cute.  I remember watching Walking with Dinosaurs and rooting for the little juvenile Ophthalmosaurus  as it dodged bigger predators in the cruel sea.  Lets face it, they look like dolphins (thank you convergent evolution) which makes us think of them as fun, graceful, and playful animals from a long time ago.  Unless your a squid they ae not the things of nightmares, as they don’t have a gaping maw with large man eating teeth.  Combine that with their large eyes and it is hard not to like these wonderful ichthyosaurs.  There have been two other Ophthalmosaurus reviewed on the blog, the beautiful WWD version and the mini Chap Mei toy.  So lets take a look at Becky the little Ophthalmosaurus toy from PNSO.

About the Toy:  Like the other PNSO little figures, this toy came with a poster and information.  The toy is small at 3.8 in (9.65 cm) long and about a half and inch (2 cm) high.  True to its claim to fame the eyes are big on this model and takes up most of its skull.  This probably means that it hunted at a depth where there is not much light or that it may have hunted at night when prey was more active. The pose on the toy is that of an active swimmer.  The head to its dorsal fin is stiff, then the body curves and ungulates gracefully to its right and then flattens back toward  the midline.  This follows the thought that it was a thunniform, high speed, long distance swimmer were all the sideways movement is in the tail and the region that connects to the body.  The tail is in the shape of a crescent moon which appears correct.  The forepaddles and hindfins seem correct as well.  The dorsal fin appears a little small but within the realm of possibility.

The colors and texture are pleasant.  Texturally there is not much to mention other than the entire body is covered in small diagonal lines that give the appearance of skin.  The forepaddles and hindfins also have small lines on the top and bottoms.  In reality, the color on this model probably should be darker on top, instead it is painted in a pleasing light green, with blueish green stripes.  The under side is a light creamy tan.  On the sides of the toy there is a blend of green and tan along with markings that appears to be a question mark design in blueish green.  That same blueish green is dotted on the forepaddles and along the crescent tail.

Kids perspective:  It is small and I wish it was bigger but I can still play with it.  I like the colors, as the colors look real but not as real as in Walking with Dinosaurs.  I really like the green on the tail.  The toy looks like it is a fast swimming fish torpedo.  To play with it is ok.  You can play with it in the pool, or bathtub, as they are both great places to play with this toy.  You do have to be careful when playing in water as you could lose it.  In a deep pool it could go to the bottom and be hard to find.  It is a lot of fun to play with it in the bathtub but it could go down the drain as it is small, so be careful.  You can definitely play with it in Barbies pool but it doesn’t go well with other animals like horses.  We would rate it is an average toy.

Overall:  I think this is a nice figure. It is cute and has an active pose which gives it personality.   I think it displays very well and I did not notice any major anatomical flaws.  The colors are pleasing even with the strange question mark pattern.  The cost on this little figure is low as well.  With all those thoughts in mind I would say that Becky the little Ophthalmosaurus is a keeper.