Review and photos by Bokisaurus, edited by Suspsy
Without a doubt, the Battat line of dinosaur figures is one of the most famous that has ever been produced. Since its original release back in the mid-1990s’ and up to its most recent revival, so much has been said about the line that it is safe to skip all the history behind it. Instead, I will share a little bit of my own history and how the Battat line started my dinosaur figure collecting. Before the age of computer and online stores, catalogues and magazine ads were how you found things. I’m not sure exactly how I saw the ad for Battat dinosaurs, but I remember that when I saw those pictures, I wanted them. My search involved sending a letter (yes, you remember writing those, right?) to Battat Inc. and inquiring where I could purchase their figures. It took months, but I finally did hear back from them with a short list of stores that carried their product. Unfortunately for me, all of the stores were more than 60 miles away from where I lived at that time.
The distance did not deter me, so I took a road trip to Seattle and after visiting each store on the list, I finally found the toys! I was stunned by the beauty of each figure as I examined them on the shelf. Alas, I did not see the Diplodocus among those on display. As I was purchasing the set, one of the employees noticed that I was missing the most expensive and biggest figure from the line. He came over and asked me if I was aware that there was a “Brontosaurus” that went with the set. I told him I was aware and was looking for it, but did not see it on the shelf. He informed me that they had one in the back which was kept there because it was taking up too much space and was not selling due to its expensive price (it was retailing for $25 back then!). I promptly told him that I wanted it! And when he handed me the wrapped figure, I was in disbelief. I was so excited that I forgot that I had just spent my entire months grocery budget on toys! So why is the this toy so special to me and to so many others? Well, lets find out . . .
The Battat Diplodocus (MS110) was released way back in 1995 as part of the first series. It was one of the nine dinosaur figures that the late Dan LoRusso sculpted for the line. Like all other figures in the collection, it was done at 1:40 scale. As I have mentioned in one of my other reviews, there is nothing more awe-inspiring that a rearing sauropod. And this is the figure that first began that trend among toy companies continues to this day. But none of these later releases come close to attaining the same majestic beauty that this toy has achieved.
Standing close to 14 inches tall, this figure used to tower over all my sauropods until the arrival of PNSO’s Euhelopus. The sculpting is first class. It is truly a well-crafted and well-researched piece of art, a real testament to Dan’s talent as an artist. The figure is rich in details both big and small. The small head is nicely detailed and the peg-like teeth are individually sculpted. The mouth is slightly open, just enough to see those teeth. The eyes are painted yellow, and right above them on the tops of the head sit the nostrils. The neck is muscular as it should be. You can see loose skin on the underside of the neck being pulled down by gravity. You can also see the outline of the neck vertebrae, but nothing like the shrink-wrapped look that so many sauropod figures suffer from. There is a clear rise on the back where the neural spines are located.
The skin is textured like an elephant’s. There are many skin folds up and down the body adding depth and definitions. Both the shoulder blades and hip bones are clearly visible on the figure. These help create the illusion of the animal straining to lift its huge body and weight off the ground. The rearing stance is relaxed, as if the giant is slowly browsing on some delicious treetop greens. The front legs are lifted as if trying to push a tree down or just supporting its weight on a tree trunk.
This is perhaps the first sauropod toy to depict accurate front feet. So many sauropod sculptors insist on giving these giants elephant-like front feet with multiple claws sticking out. In this figure, claws are absent from all front digits except for the thumb claws. The back legs are huge when compared with the front ones. As we travel further down the body, we reach the base of the tail. This area is very thick with muscles as it should be. Again, so many other sauropod figure have thin tail bases. The tail itself starts off as thick, then slowly becomes thinner until it reaches the halfway mark before turning into the whip-like tip. The tail is curled upwards, then inwards on the figure. The muscular tail base acts as a third leg that supports and stabilises the animal’s huge weight. The overall body colour is brown with some darker strips starting on the back and running down the sides. There is not much variation among the shades of brown and not much dry brushing either, which is a shame, as it would have added a different layer.
In closing, the Battat Diplodocus is without a doubt one of the most accurate and majestic sauropod figures ever made. It has withstood the test of time some 20 years later. It has also earned the distinction of being one of the most highly sought-after figures, a holy grail for many collectors. In terms of dollar value, it ranks as one of the most expensive figures post-original release. I have seen one that was sold for $700 on eBay during the gold rush in the early 2000s’!
This figure continues to rule my collection of sauropods and I expect it will forever do so. It’s been 20 years since I had this figure and still to this day, I stop and look at it with the same admiration like I did the first day I brought it home.