Author Archives: Suspsy

Mighty Dinosaurs (Creator by Lego)

“Season’s Greetings, fellow dinosaur lovers! Yes, it is I, Dr. Bella Bricking, enjoying another holiday season! And where would I be without my trusty and beloved companion, Beth Buildit?”

“I can’t believe I let you talk me into wearing this hat, Doc.”

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“Now, now, no humbugs, Beth! We’ve got a big job ahead of us! Today we’ll be reviewing Lego Creator set 31058, Mighty Dinosaurs! New for 2017, this 174 piece set is quite similar to Prehistoric Hunters in that it contains instructions for three different builds! Ready, Beth?”

“Sure. Let’s jingle bell rock, Doc.”

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“As you can see, this set contains pieces in medium green, dark green, beige, light grey, dark grey, black, and white. There are also some translucent orange pieces used as eyes, a couple of red Technic pins, and three dark red pieces. Ready for the next one, Beth!”

“Coming, coming.”

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“And here’s our first build! Lego refers to it as a “Pterodactyl,” but you and I both know full well that that’s an all too common misnomer, Beth! No, my paleontological training tells me that this is that most famous of pterosaurs, Pteranodon!”

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“And not just any old Pteranodon, Doc! Check out how small that head crest is! I don’t know if Lego intended this or not, but I think we have the first ever female Pteranodon toy! Sweet!”

“Indeed, Beth, how delightful! Now, from the tip of its bill to the end of its tail, this Pteranodon measures 18.5 cm long and its wingspan is 26 cm. Now, being a relatively simple Lego build, it would be wrong to say that this is a scientifically accurate animal. The wings are too short and the blocky legs end in enormous talons. As well, the Pteranodon‘s hands have claws sticking out at both ends!”

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“That’s due to the nature of Creator sets, Doc. Lots of pieces end up doing double or triple duty. Just look at how poseable our girl is! Her neck, legs, and tail are ball-jointed and each of her wings has two ball joints and a hinge joint. She can be put in a wide variety of walking or flying poses. Definitely a fun toy!”

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“I concur, Beth! Very well, let’s dismantle this Pteranodon and begin our next build!”

*sigh* “We’re gonna need a good long rest after this review!”

“Careful where you step, Beth!”

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“And there it is, Doc. Our second build is a Triceratops!”

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“Unmistakably so, Beth. This blocky representation of the iconic three-horned lizard measures 19 cm long with its tail fully extended. Like the Pteranodon, it boasts impressive articulation, with ball joints at the head, shoulders, hips, and two sections of the tail. The horns are large and intimidating. And how nice that the frill features epoccipitals!”

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“Brow horns aren’t quite right though, Doc. In real life, they’d be curving in the other direction. You can rotate these horn pieces around, but it doesn’t look very good.”

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“That’s true, Beth, but as an alternative solution, you could conceive of this as a juvenile specimen, still in the process of growing its horns. Now then, take one last look at the Triceratops before we move on to our third build.”

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“Hey Doc, have you noticed how I seem to be doing all the heavy lifting during these builds?”

“And you do it wonderfully, my dear Beth. Now, if you’re finished with that tail, please fetch me another one of these tooth pieces.”

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“Check out this Tyrannosaurus rex, folks! This bad boy has the most steps and uses all 175 pieces in the set. From nose to tail tip, it measures 27 cm long and stands around 10 cm tall at the hips. And it comes with part of a large rib cage. Must’ve been a good meal.”

“What a ferocious-looking theropod, Beth! It features a mouth full of sharp teeth, curved claws on its hands and feet, and is relatively streamlined for a brick-built Lego dinosaur. Granted, its arms are too large and the hind claws ought to be smaller and less blade-like, but everyone from the youngest enthusiast to the most esteemed paleontologists like myself can immediately recognize this as the tyrant lizard. Oh, and it features forward-facing eyes and non-pronated wrists!”

“And again, Doc, the articulation on this toy rocks. The head, shoulders, hips, feet, and first two sections of tail are ball-jointed and the lower jaw, neck, wrists, tail tip, and middle toes are hinged. The mouth can open extremely wide and the stiff hinged toes give good stability to action poses. Oh, and check this out! If you’ve got some extra slope pieces, you can give this T. rex some feathers!”

My, my, how very creative, Beth! But I’m afraid it’s time once again to dismantle this build and start anew!”

“Come again, Doc? You said at the start that this set only comes with instructions for three builds!”

“Ah, but Lego has graciously provided the instructions for a fourth build on their website! Come, come, let’s see what it is!”

“Huh, how about that? Looks like a Brachiosaurus to me, Doc. Well okay, it’s generic to the point where it could pass for a lot of long necks, but Brachiosaurus is still the big star in the public’s mind, so I’m gonna stick with that.”

“I agree with your hypothesis, Beth. Like the Triceratops, this sauropod is possibly just a youngster, as it’s relatively small. Still, it can raise its head to a height of slightly more than 14 cm or stretch itself out to a length of 26 cm.”

“Sure is well articulated, Doc! The head and neck have two ball joints and a hinge joint, the tail has two ball joints, and there are ball joints at the shoulders and hips. And granted, the eyes stick out on either side and the feet are blocky, but overall, this little fellow still looks pretty organic and fluid for a Legosaur.”

“Fine observations, Beth. Now tell me, how do you think Mighty Dinosaurs compares to Prehistoric Hunters?”

“Well, Lego’s constantly churning out new pieces and coming up with new building techniques, so Mighty Dinosaurs definitely beats out its 2012 predecessor. All four builds look smoother and less blocky. And while the Triceratops is kinda limited in terms of poses, the Pteranodon, the T. rex, and the Brachiosaurus have awesome articulation that makes them a ton of fun to play with. Bottom line, they’re both great kits that many dinosaur fans and any Lego fan would love. Prehistoric Hunters has long been retired, but Mighty Dinosaurs is brand spanking new, retails for only $17.99 Canadian, and available in toy stores everywhere. And don’t forget that you can always ditch the instructions and come up with your own creations! A great Christmas gift, folks!”

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“And on that note, fellow dinosaur lovers, Beth and I wish you the happiest of holidays and all the best for 2017. Be brave, be strong, be active, be true, and above all else, be kind. Thank you.”

“Here’s to that, Doc. Be awesome to each other and party on!”

Microraptor (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd)

Now available from Amazon.com here.

Microraptor is a relatively recent discovery, but it has quickly become very popular with dinosaur enthusiasts. And why not? It’s one of the best known dromaeosaurs, with a whopping 300 or so fossil specimens spread out globally in various museums. It’s also one of the smallest known dinosaurs, being only around the size of a crow. And with its full plumage and four wings, it would have been truly wondrous to see this unique little animal swooping through the Liaoning forests of China some 120 million years ago.

A Microraptor is one of thirteen new Wild Safari toys for 2017. Appropriately, this individual has been captured in full flight with its front wings outspread, its legs bent, and its long tail held straight out behind it. Well, it’s supposed to be straight, but the one on mine is slightly warped. This gives it a length of just over 18 cm as well as a wingspan of 17.5 cm. Unlike its tripod counterpart in the Carnegie Collection, this Microraptor balances on just its feathery hind limbs, with its tail held off the ground.


It’s presently unknown who the sculptor of this figure is, but he or she clearly possesses genuine talent. The contour feathers covering the Microraptor‘s main body are too small for a lot of detail, but the larger flight feathers on its four wings look very marvelous indeed. Each of these feathers features visible vanes and barbs. The flight feathers are arranged in multiple layers just like on extant flying birds, beginning with the large primaries and secondaries at the edges, then going to greater coverts, median coverts, lesser coverts, and scapulars at the shoulders and hips. The tail features a small fan with two extra long feathers trailing out from the tip. The featherless muzzle, fingers, and toes have faint wrinkles and the mouth features tiny but sharp teeth. The feet feature the distinctive “killing claws” that mark this animal as a member of the famous and deadly dromaeosaur family, in spite of its small stature. For a long time, paleontologists debated over whether Microraptor was a mere glider or a proper flyer, but the most recent studies have concluded that it was indeed the latter.


Another admirable feature of this figure is just how full and streamlined it looks. As you can see from the group shot below, the Carnegie Microraptor has a rather skinny neck and body that gives it a reptilian appearance in spite of its ample feathering. By contrast, this one’s neck is covered in so much contour feathering that it looks nice and thick. This Microraptor really looks and feels like a true bird to me. My wife feels the same way. She’s rather averse towards birds in general (especially ones that aren’t afraid of coming up close and begging/attempting to snatch food), and her initial response to this toy was a decisive “EWWW.” I love her so much. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another fascinating fact about Microraptor is that we actually know what colour its feathers were! In 2012, a team of researchers used scanning electron microscope techniques to analyze fossilized melanosomes found in a particular fossil specimen. They concluded that Microraptor had dark, iridescent plumage just like a modern grackle. But here’s where my one beef with this toy arises. As you can see, it is coloured black all over with pale yellow for its muzzle, fingers, and toes, medium skin tone for the mouth tissue and the patches around the orange eyes, pink for the inside of the mouth, and white teeth. But the black is a dull, flat tone, not iridescent at all. Whereas the 2015 Archaeopteryx figure has a much more vibrant appearance despite the fact that it too is mostly black in colour.

Flatness aside, this is still an absolutely superb figure in terms of anatomical accuracy and sculpting detail. The Wild Safari Microraptor is definitely going to please any feathered dinosaur fan.

Heartiest thanks go out to FaunaFigures.com for selling me so many awesome prehistoric toys over the past two years. This has been my 125th review for the DTB! ๐Ÿ˜€

The Safari Ltd Wild Safari Microraptor is now available from Amazon.com here.

Spinosaurus and Velociraptor (Jurassic Park 2009 by Hasbro)

Nearly all of the Jurassic Park 2009 toys were repaints of older toys save for the Allosaurus and the Pachyrhinosaurus. These included the miniature two-packs such as this one, containing hatchling versions of the famous Spinosaurus and Velociraptor.

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The Spinosaurus measures 12.5 cm long. It is posed in a crouching stance with its left arm outstretched, as though it’s reaching for some food or fighting with its nestmate. Its colour scheme appears to have been inspired by the common iguana: bright green with moss green for the head, sail, hands, and feet, a pale underbelly, and dark green stripes on the tail. The eyes are yellow, the inside of the mouth is maroon, the teeth are yellowish white, and there are some pale green spots on each flank. The JP logo is painted on either thigh in white.

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The sculpting on this toy is fairly good, with lots of scales, a few folds and wrinkles, and well-defined muscles in the limbs. Unfortunately, this Spinosaurus, like all the JP renditions of this animal, has a snout that’s far too short and broad, even for a hatchling. As well, the feet are so thick, it looks like it’s wearing boots. And of course, if the much-disputed Ibrahim/Sereno reconstruction is indeed accurate, then the limbs on this toy are all wrong too.

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The Velociraptor hatchling is 10 cm long. Its pose suggests that it too is confronting a hostile nestmate or some other threat. Stands rather well for such a small bipedal toy. Its main colour is orange with pale yellow and light orange stripes, pale yellow for the underbelly, black hind claws, red eyes, a maroon mouth, yellowish teeth, and white JP logos on the thighs.

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The Velociraptor is more wrinkly than scaly, and again has well-defined musculature in the arms and legs. As you can see, it suffers from all the glaring inaccuracies of a +20 year old movie design: lack of feathers, pronated wrists, a head and neck that are too beefy, and a curled tail.

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Overall, these little dinosaurs will probably be appealing to JP fans, but for anyone who prefers their dinosaurs up to date, they can safely give this set a pass.