Category Archives: Battat

Diplodocus (Battat)

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.

img_8696

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 . . .

img_8698

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.

img_8695

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.

img_8697

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.

img_8699

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.

img_8700

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’!

img_8701

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.

img_8702

Stegosaurus (Terra Series by Battat)

Before we get on with the review I need to give a special shout out to my fellow reviewer Laticauda for generously tracking down and donating this model for me. This Stegosaurus comes to me courtesy of his generosity and I extend my thanks to him, I owe you one Laticauda!

battat terra stegosaurus

Among the Battat line the Stegosaurus ungulatus has always been somewhat of a black sheep. While the line in general is often given high praise for its level of accuracy despite its age the Stegosaurus has long been considered a throwback of sorts. This is principally because of its eight tail spikes, a feature that harkens back to the days of O. C. Marsh, the “Bone Wars,” and the golden age of dinosaur discovery in North America.

battat terra stegosaurus

This perplexing inaccuracy is not due to ignorance of the species, however, but instead reflects the paleontological happenings of the time when it was originally released. Rather than explain it myself however I’ll let the late, great Dan LoRusso explain as he did in the comments section of Dinolord’s original review of the sculpt.

When the original sculpt was done in 1993, I was using pics I had taken at the Yale Museum of their Stego mount which at the time it had 8 spikes. I was also in correspondence with Ken Carpenter and the Dinosaur National Monument about a newly discovered Stegosaurus (which also appeared to have 8 spikes) as well as The Origin and Evolution of the Stegosaurs 1993 paper by George Olshevsky. This is what I based my smaller plates on as well. I agree the plates are too thin for a toy. Lesson learned. I didn’t want to sculpt the stenops like every other toy company had out at the time. I hope this answers some of the questions about my version of this particular species of Stegosaurus.

It’s also nice to see him address the plates which are another feature of this model that has put off a lot of collectors. And indeed, in this model the thin plates are also prone to warping. That said, I personally find this explanation satisfactory. In fact, it honestly makes me appreciate the model that much more. It represents one man’s vision drawn from his scientific research at a time when the appearance of this animal was called into question. It makes the model feel that much more real knowing this kind of backstory. I think too often we forget that real people with real talent are the ones who bring these models to life, and not necessarily a committee and an assembly line.

battat terra stegosaurus

With that out of the way I can now heap praise on this model which I truly think deserves it. Prior to owning it I was underwhelmed by the model. But pictures on the web don’t do it justice. These things are meant to be experienced in three dimensions. Aside from Dan’s justifiable artistic choices the rest of the model stands up remarkably well scientifically. The hands are correctly positioned, oriented slightly inwards with the correct number of digits. The beefier hind limbs possess three toes on each limb. The head is small and complete with cheeks and throat armor along the lower jaw and neck. The posture is decadently modern overall with the animal holding its tail high off the ground.

battat terra stegosaurus

The sculpting details are fantastic on this Stegosaurus. It’s well-muscled, making the animal look strong and healthy. Folds and creases of skin are present where the limbs meet the body and along the torso. I really appreciate the larger osteoderms sculpted all over the body, texturally this is a fun model to hold and move around the hands.

battat terra stegosaurus

Where the model does start to fall apart however is with the sloppy paint application, which sadly obscures some of the finer details. It’s particularly bad on the plates where the plate and body colors bleed into each other. It is fairly clean looking elsewhere but has that glossy finish that makes a lot of these models look that much less realistic. Under the Terra line this Stegosaurus also sports a new paint scheme. The plates are brick red, the body green, and the underside yellow. It’s a pretty standard color palette for Stegosaurus reconstructions. I think I prefer the paint choices on the original honestly.

battat terra stegosaurus

The Battat Stegosaurus is a model that perplexes and puts off a lot of collectors. Hopefully Dan LoRusso’s adequate explanation will ease some of the criticisms on an otherwise fantastic model. If anything these inaccuracies only add character and make this mass produced toy feel that much more human. The Battat Terra Stegosaurus is available exclusively at Target stores in the United States but recently some European companies have started offering them as well, including Everything Dinosaur.

Euoplocephalus (Terra Series by Battat)

Euoplocephalus is one of the largest and best-known ankylosaurids, with several nearly complete fossil specimens. Indeed, many popular depictions of Ankylosaurus in books, movies, and yes, toy lines, are actually based on Euoplocephalus.

image

Feast your eyes on the reissued Battat Terra series Euoplocephalus. It measures a good 16 cm long and is slightly over 5 cm wide at the hips. Its main colours are dark grey and dull brown with chocolate brown for the muzzle and tail club, pale yellow osteoderms, dark grey claws, orange eyes, and a pink tongue. It’s a slightly more elaborate colour scheme than the original version, and it works rather well.

image

The Euoplocephalus is posed in a battle-ready stance with its legs planted firmly. The head is lowered, the tail is raised, and both are turned to the left, in the direction of an imaginary adversary. Perhaps a hungry Albertosaurus is on the prowl. Good luck, brave theropod.

image

The armoured surface of the Euoplocephalus‘ back and tail has a pitted texture and the large spikes are grooved. The limbs and underside, meanwhile, are covered in thick wrinkles. The top of the skull is protected by countless knobs and the eyes are shielded by heavy palpebral bones. Makes sense given that the name Euoplocephalus means ‘true plated head.’

image

Accuracy-wise, this ankylosaurid seems quite impressive. It has the correct number of toes on its front and rear feet, stout, stumpy legs, and appropriately wide hips. The many spikes and osteoderms adorning the back appear to be properly arranged, as are the bands on the front part of the torso and the tail, and also the large sacral shield over the pelvis. But whereas the real Euoplocephalus had two cervical half-rings protecting its neck, this toy only has one. I think this can be forgiven though.

image

Indeed, the Battat Euoplocephalus ranks as one of the finest ankylosaurid toys to date. Strongly recommended for sure! A real shame it’s only available at US-based Target stores.