Author Archives: Suspsy

Kronosaurus (Deluxe by CollectA)

Slowly, steadily, silently, Keelhaul approaches his target, an elasmosaur too occupied in turn with stalking a school of fish to notice him. A sudden push of his flippers, a snap of his mighty jaws, a moment’s frantic struggle, and the elasmosaur is dead, its long neck nearly severed. Wasting no time, Keelhaul sinks his teeth into his victim’s abdomen and begins tearing apart the flesh . . .

Named after the cruel king of the Greek titans who swallowed his own children whole, Kronosaurus queenlandicus was truly a terror of the deep. Measuring over ten metres in length, propelled by powerful flippers, and equipped with a two-metre long head and a mouth filled with enormous conical teeth, this frightful pliosaur was probably capable of killing anything it encountered in the Early Cretaceous seas. Little wonder then that CollectA selected it as one of their Deluxe figures for 2017. And with a length of 31 cm and a flipperspan of 18.5 cm, this briny brute topples the Pliosaurus for the title of their biggest sea monster to date. It is sculpted in a swimming pose with its huge head turned to the left and its short tail swaying to the right. Unlike so many other plesiosaur toys that rest on their bellies, this giant is supported by its mighty flippers.

The main colours on the Kronosaurus are rust on top and beige underneath. Dark brown patches and tiny spots adorn the upper half of the body. The eyes are glossy black, the teeth are cream, and the inside of the mouth is pink. Given that most sea monster figures are painted in varying shades of blue or grey or green, I find this colour scheme to be quite distinctive and refreshing, yet still grounded in realism. The dark upper half and light underbelly would effectively camouflage the predator from above and below. And the large, inky black eyes give it a dark, sinister vibe similar to that possessed by a great white shark. The Schleich Kronosaurus has a very similar colour scheme, but it isn’t executed as well as this.

The Kronosaurus‘ mouth features a ribbed palate, a huge tongue, and, of course, lots and lots of conical teeth, sharp enough to be pleasing, yet not enough to present a potential hazard. Most of the wrinkles carved into the body are sparse and subtle, but the ones on its neck and at its shoulders and hips are much more pronounced. There are also a few small, wart-like bumps scattered across the skin. The flippers are long, thick, and muscular, perfect for propelling the animal rapidly through the depths. Similarly, the stocky neck would enable ol’ Keelhaul here to shake a victim to death, then tear the corpse apart piece by piece.

On that note, let’s talk about this toy’s action feature. The Kronosaurus‘ lower jaw is hinged, allowing the mouth to clamp shut, open wide, or chomp down on other toys as shown below. Needless to say, this is quite a fun feature, one that will appeal to many adult collectors and certainly any child. I know my eight year old self would been head over heels with this toy. It would have been devouring other aquatic beasts or G.I. Joes all day long. The only down side is that there’s a very visible seam along the jawline, especially when the mouth is closed.

And we mustn’t forget to discuss scientific accuracy. This Kronosaurus does have a small error in that there ought to be a diastema (gap in the tooth row) between the last pair of premaxillary teeth and the first pair of maxillary teeth. I’m not going to fault CollectA too much for this, as it’s relatively difficult to find good, up-to-date reference material for Kronosaurus. Indeed, the only mounted specimen, located at Harvard University, has been dubbed “Plasterosaurus” for the amount of fake bones it contains. Aside from the teeth, however, this toy measures up very well. The head is appropriately massive and well-fleshed out. The flippers are correctly proportioned with the rear pair being larger. And the chunky tail features a small fluke. There’s no direct evidence for such a feature on Kronosaurus as of this writing, but given that some of its relatives such as Rhomaleosaurus possessed them, the possibility exists.

Overall, this is a highly impressive and fun figure, one that will surely terrorize the other denizens of the deep in your collection. Would also be great to play with the bathtub or the swimming pool! Kronosaurus was my favourite prehistoric sea monster as a kid and Keelhaul here has captured its mighty essence wonderfully.

Thanks go out to CollectA for this review sample!

Einiosaurus (CollectA)

After years of going ignored by toy companies, the centrosaurine known as Einiosaurus is finally enjoying a surge of attention. First there was the endearing miniature from PNSO, then the sterling rendition from Wild Safari. And now we have CollectA’s take on the ‘buffalo lizard.’

The first thing you notice about this figure is its size. This Einiosaurus is significantly smaller than previous Standard-sized ceratopsians, measuring only 12 cm long and standing slightly over 5 cm tall. I’ve been informed by CollectA that this is part of an effort to put their ceratopsians in scale with one another from now on. So for example, a future Standard Triceratops figure would be closer in size to last year’s Mercuriceratops.

The main colour on the Einiosaurus is olive green with a pale yellow underbelly, faint brown stripes, medium grey claws, and black accents for the speculative row of quills on the tail. The head features patches of pale yellow with brown half-ovals on the frill, medium grey horns and epoccipitals, blacks eyes, a dark grey beak, and a pink mouth. There are also blackened tips on the two frill horns. Flashy yet realistic.

Despite its size, the Einiosaurus‘ skin is beautifully sculpted with a varying pebble texture all over and rows of round osteoderms along the flanks and back. The nasal horn and beak feature very faint grooves and the powerful muscles in the neck and limbs are very well-defined. The feet have the correct number of claws and are better shaped and positioned to reflect our current understanding of their anatomy. The tail is longer than on other such figures, the hips are the correct width, and the horns and epoccipitals are the proper shape and size. As for the quills on the back, there’s no direct fossil evidence for such a feature, and they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. But they’ve come to be a signature feature of CollectA and I’m fine with them myself.

The Three Einiosauruses Gruff

With its exquisite sculpting and more accurate proportions, this Einiosaurus represents a major improvement over previous CollectA ceratopsians. I highly recommend this figure and eagerly look forward to whatever ones are slated for next year!

Thank you to CollectA for this review sample. 🙂

Pteranodon (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

It was once thought that there were two distinct species of the famous Pteranodon. P. longiceps is the “standard” one with a knife-shaped crest, while P. sternbergi was larger and had a more ornate, upright crest. However, a 2010 study concluded that P. sternbergi was distinct enough to be a distinct genus, Geosternbergia sternbergi.

This figure, released by Safari in 1999, is clearly a Geosternbergia, but I’ll refer to it as a Pteranodon, as that’s what it was intended to be at the time (Safari’s Tapejara figure has the same issue). At 8 cm in length and a maximum wingspan of 18 cm, it’s small compared to more recent pterosaur figures. The main colour is brownish-orange with light orange for the brachiopatagium, a greenish-yellow bill, and bright yellow eyes ringed in black.

This Pteranodon features the most important details of any pterosaur figure: wrinkled, leathery wings and a body covered in pycnofibres. The crest has the correct shape, but the bill could certainly stand to be longer. The feet and the first three fingers on each arm are little more than notches, and the extended fourth digits are ridiculously thick. On top of that, the head on mine is permanently warped to the right, and treating it to boiling water has not proved successful. If that were all there was to this toy, it’d be easy to write off.

But as you can see from the photos, this Pteranodon figure has poseable wings! Bendable rods inside the arms allow you to raise, lower, fold, expand, and tilt the wings to your content. Needless to say, this is quite a fun gimmick, one that I would have dearly loved fiddling with as a youngster. And I love fiddling with it now. Indeed, I think it would be great if Safari or CollectA or some other company revisited this gimmick.

And so, while the Safari Pteranodon (or Geosternbergia, if you prefer) isn’t going to win any awards for meticulous sculpting detail, it’s definitely one of the most fun pterosaur figures I’ve come across in my collecting. Recommended.