Category Archives: baby dinos

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.

Parasaurolophus (Baby)(Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

Review and photos by Quentin Brendel, edited by Suspsy

With its long, tubular crest protruding from the back of its skull, Parasaurolophus is one of the most easily-recognized hadrosaurids. The model to be reviewed today does not have much of one, being a juvenile animal. Safari Ltd’s rendition, while not perfect, is still a nice toy for collectors and children alike. This figure is stamped 1997, coming out a year after the original Wild Safari adult Parasaurolophus.

The dinosaur is posed so that it looks like it is calling out, with its head up and mouth open, perhaps to the adult. The primary colour on this figure is a brownish orange, which, unlike in the adult, is solid and does not fade to a darker shade. The underside is painted beige with hard edges. There is an intermediate colour between it and the orange which has feathered edges, though it lacks the intermediate colour on the right side of the torso. The most striking part of this colour scheme are the green dorsal markings. The back is painted a dark green with lighter green patches on top of it. These markings are also on the top of the crest as well as on the dinosaur’s face. On the sides are smaller green spots which resemble the rosettes of a jaguar. On mine, these are asymmetrical with more spots on the right side. The nails are painted a navy blue and the inside of the mouth is pink. The eyes have black pupils on yellow and a white spot to simulate a reflective surface.

The neck is very thin and goose-like. Recent reconstructions depict Parasaurolophus holding its neck forward and being better-muscled, similar to a horse. The hands each have five fingers (one too many), however, only the outermost digit should have a claw. The others were bound together in a hoof-like structure with the metacarpals being longer. It is not to scale with the adult and should be smaller.

Hadrosaurs are known not only from skeletal remains, but many skin impressions as well. This makes it much easier (or harder, depending on how you look at it) to make an accurate model. The skin of the baby Parasaurolophus has large, wrinkly striations going down its neck, trunk, and tail. They are on the legs more subtly. The skin would have been scaly but the tiny scales of a hadrosaur would not be too visible at this scale anyways. Lambeosaurines also had a series of larger scales on the ventral side of the base of the tail, but even these would probably be too small to sculpt. There should be a bumpy ridge running down the length of the back as well. The most conspicuous inaccuracy of this figure is in the skull. A newly-described specimen of a baby Parasaurolophus is known to have had a crest not unlike that of a Hypacrosaurus which would have later grown into the characteristic crest of the adult parasaurolophus. Safari’s Hypacrosaurus Baby, while not perfect, would actually work better as a baby Parasaurolophus than this one.

The Wild Safari Parasaurolophus baby, despite its inaccuracies, is still a classic figure to those who (like me) grew up with the old Wild Safari line. It does go well with the adult as well as the other baby dinosaurs from the earlier years of WS. It sometimes makes its way onto eBay, but can also occasionally be found in stores with old stock and is more common (from my experience) than the adult. I happened to find three of mine at an old toy store for the great sum of seventy-five cents. Despite Parasaurolophus‘ popularity, there are not as many good figures of it as one might expect, almost none which are completely up-to-date, and very few baby dinosaurs in general.

Brachiosaurus (Baby)(Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

Although Brachiosaurus remains one of the most popular dinosaurs, in large part due to once being heralded(incorrectly) as the “biggest of the big,” the reality is that very little is known about this Jurassic giant. Only scant fossil remains have been found in North America, and what was once thought to have been an African species is now recognized as a separate genus, Giraffatitan. Interestingly though, SMA 0009, a nearly complete skeleton of a juvenile sauropod from the Morrison Formation, may actually be a baby Brachiosaurus!

Safari Ltd first released their Brachiosaurus Baby figure all the way back in 1997. This repainted version came out in 2013, at least according to the date printed on its tummy. Its main colours are grass green and sandy yellow with orange eyes, a pink mouth, and black claws. It’s a simple but bold look, appropriate for a children’s toy. The little giant proudly stands 7.5 cm tall and measures 8 cm long.

The Brachiosaurus is sculpted with its neck reared back and its head turned to the right. Being such an early Safari product, it lacks the magnificent sculpting detail that we’ve come to expect from their figures nowadays. The skin has a very basic wrinkled texture all over, a soft ridge of vertebrae runs down the back and tail, and a keel runs down the front of the neck. The proportions are pretty much what you’d expect in a baby sauropod toy: an oversized head, a relatively short neck and tail, and stout, stubby legs. Indeed, with its large, round eyes and decidedly friendly expression, this little sauropod looks quite, quite cute! You almost want to offer it a slice of grape or a fresh spinach leaf.

There are a couple of major inaccuracies to be found here. First, there appear to be no visible nostrils anywhere on the head. And second, the front feet each have five claws, whereas the real animal would only have had claws on its thumbs. I have no doubt that the overall proportions are off as well, but given the age and simplicity of this toy, I see little point in dwelling on them. And again, we don’t know for certain yet what a juvenile Brachiosaurus really looked like.

Overall, I find the Brachiosaurus Baby to be an endearing little toy in spite of its shortcomings. Young children especially should adore it.