Author Archives: Suspsy

Giganotosaurus (Small)(Schleich)

Giganotosaurus is one of the largest known theropods, exceeding even Tyrannosaurus rex in body length, though not in mass. Its razor-sharp teeth were superbly adapted for slicing through the leathery hides of the rebacchisaurs and titanosaurs that lived alongside it in Cretaceous South America.

Today I’ll be examining the 2017 repaint of the small Schleich Giganotosaurus originally released in 2015. This figure is sculpted in a dynamic pose with its feet planted, its tail swinging to the right, its scrawny arms flailing, its head raised to the sky, and its mouth open in a thundering roar. Or more likely a bellow or a croak or a hiss. This gives the toy a height of just over 11 cm and a length of about 16.5 cm.

Whereas the 2015 version was coloured dark red and metallic silver, this one is beige and very dark brown with black wash. Red is used for the sides of the head and the row of triangular spines running from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail. The eyes are black, the mouth is dirty pink, the teeth are dirty white, and the claws are dark brown. Not what you’d call exciting.

The Giganotosaurus‘ skin texture consists mainly of crisscrossing wrinkles, with thicker ones at the joints and on the throats and underbelly. The feet feature the rows of bird-like scales found on virtually every theropod toy. And then there are the large, grid-like scale patterns on either side of the muzzle and the tiny pebbled scales in the orbits and the temporal fenestrae, which are ringed by osteoderms. Finally, the larger spines on the vertebrae have simple grooves carved in them.

On that note, let’s tackle the many inaccuracies plaguing this toy. First, the muzzle is too short, the teeth are too few, and the nostrils are totally absent. The cranium suffers from major shrink wrapping, with the eyes sunken in by about a millimetre. The arms are too large, the wrists are pronated, and the claws are blunt and the wrong shape. And lastly, the feet are grossly oversized and the tail is too short.

With its many anatomical errors and boring colour scheme, this really isn’t a quality toy. Heck, the only reason I ended up with it is because it came in a two-pack with the new Saichania. If you’re looking to snag a good Giganotosaurus toy, then I strongly recommend going with the new one from Safari. Or tracking down the retired Carnegie Collection version. Or even picking up one of Schleich’s Deluxe versions. As for this one, it’s going to be donated to a dinosaur bin in a kindergarten classroom.

Triceratops Baby (Mini)(Chap Mei)

In addition to their Standard and Electronic Deluxe figures, Chap Mei also produces miniature-sized prehistoric beasts of highly dubious accuracy. Let’s take a closer look at what is billed as a baby Triceratops.

From nose to tail tip, this toy measures about 10.5 cm long. The main colour is pinkish brown with dark grey markings on the head and back, light grey claws, beige horns with darkened tips, light green eyes, and a reddish pink tongue. As far as Chap Mei toys go, this is one of the blandest-looking ones.

The sculpting is alright, albeit nothing special. Fat wrinkles all over the main body and limbs, heavy scales on the head, a row of flat osteoderms covering the vertebrae all the way down to the tip of the tail, rows of small, round osteoderms, and grooves in the beak, horns, and claws. The almond-shaped eyes give this little ceratopsian an angry appearance, as do its firmly planted legs and the way its head is turned sharply to the left.

By now, I’m sure you’ve all noticed the most glaring flaw on this toy. This is supposed to be a baby Triceratops, but the large horns extending from its frill make it look like there’s some Styracosaurus mixed in there as well. A pretty sloppy mistake to make, although it would admittedly be cool if a real ceratopsian with such adornments was ever discovered. The other major flaw is that the feet all have three clawed toes.

The Standard-class Chap Mei figures available at Toys R Us always include a couple of mini-dinos in the package, so if you’ve been collecting them for awhile, you probably own one or more of these doubtful Triceratops figures. If not, I wouldn’t expend much energy trying to hunt one down.

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (CollectA)

The ivory-billed woodpecker(Campephilus principalis) was one of the largest woodpeckers in the world and certainly the largest to inhabit North America. Tragically, after relentless decades of hunting, pollution, and deforestation, this magnificent bird is largely believed to have gone the way of the thylacine and the quagga. Granted, there have been some alleged sightings in recent years, but nothing confirmed. Even if a few ivory bills do indeed still exist, it’s pretty doubtful that they’ll be around for much longer in these increasingly dark, selfish, and ignorant times.

New for 2017 from CollectA, this ivory-billed woodpecker figure is mounted on a thick pine branch. The bird itself measures around 8 cm long while the branch stands 9.5 cm tall. The bark is coloured dark brown while the sapwood beneath is beige and orange. Both parts have very realistic textures and the many gouges in the branch suggest that this woodpecker has been hard at work for some time.

The prominent red crest on this woodpecker’s head shows that it is an adult male (females had black crests). The bill (which was not actually made of ivory!) is coloured a very pale yellow with some faint orange streaks. The plumage is black with white wingtips and markings, the claws are taupe grey, and the eyes are pale yellow. There’s also a smattering of white on the wings to give them a shiny appearance. All in keeping with the known descriptions and specimens.

The detailing on this woodpecker is really top notch. The many feathers have been painstakingly sculpted and the feet, which are in a zygodactyly arrangement, are appropriately scaly. It really does look like the real deal. Indeed, looking at this beautiful, regal bird, it’s no wonder that its nicknames include the Holy Grail bird, the Lord God bird, the Elvis bird, and the King of Woodpeckers. As I mentioned in the introductory paragraph, there have been recent reports of sightings, and even some purported video, but none confirmed. It is more likely that the ivory-billed woodpecker has joined its theropod cousins in extinction. 🙁

Overall, I find this ivory-billed woodpecker to be a fantastic little figure, albeit a very saddening one. I’d certainly love to see CollectA tackle other recently extinct dinosaurs such as the moa, the dodo, the great auk, and the passenger pigeon. The fact of the matter is that we are in the midst of the sixth great extinction, caused directly by our own hands, and every little reminder of this can possibly help to prevent it.

On a brighter note, this has been my 50th review for CollectA’s products. Over the past two years, they have been immensely generous in sending me various review samples and I cannot thank them enough for it. Keep up the excellent work, CollectA. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next year!