Category Archives: ceratopsian

Pentaceratops (Chap Mei)

Pentaceratops was a very large chasmosaurine ceratopsian that ranged from Canada to the southern United States during the Late Cretaceous. One specimen described in 1998 was even said to possess the largest skull of any land animal. But in 2011, it was renamed as a separate genus, Titanoceratops, on the basis that it shared more characteristics with Triceratops than Pentaceratops.

Despite its very cool name and appearance, the “five-horned face” has not received a lot of love from toy companies. Schleich released a large figure in 2014, but CollectA, Papo, and Safari still have yet to produce one. A superb-looking prototype was sculpted by the late Dan LoRusso for the Battat Terra series, but for whatever reason(s), it remains unreleased. Today I’ll be examining the Pentaceratops from Chap Mei, which is infamous for its cheap and often freakish prehistoric toys. This particular version is currently available at Toys R Us as part of their exclusive Animal Planet line.

The toy measures 18.5 cm long, stands slightly under 12 cm tall at the top of its frill, and is coloured a dark shade of teal with black stripes. The upper part of the head is painted black with grey wash on the horns and hornlets, yellow-orange eyes, and yellow-orange, medium orange, and black for the display pattern on the frill. While it is unquestionably a striking colour scheme, it’s very sloppily applied. It’s also incomplete, with nary a single accent for the mouth, the lower jaw, the back of the frill, or the claws.

This toy is immediately recognizable as a Pentaceratops due to the enlarged jugal bones that earned it its name, and the large notch in the top of the frill. The beast appears to be in a ready-for-combat stance with tail raised, feet planted, head turned to the left, and mouth wide open. The skin has a wrinkled texture with rows of osteoderms on the back and grooves in the beak, horns, hornlets, and claws. The left front and right hind leg move a little, but the right front one is basically stuck in place. Pulling back on the left hind leg causes the head to raise in a nodding motion. This Pentaceratops is either really enthusiastic about something or bopping to its favourite tune!

But being a Chap Mei product, this ceratopsian is riddled with inaccuracies. For starters, the frill is missing the two forward-facing epiparietals(hornlets) in the notch. The body should be taller and the tail is too short and stumpy. The front limbs are too long and have extra joints in the forearms (ouch). And finally, the feet have the wrong arrangement of toes and too many claws.

The Pentaceratops is actually one of the less hideous Chap Mei toys, its inaccuracies notwithstanding. It certainly won’t win any prizes, but it’s a relatively cheap toy that’s fun to play with and goes well with the Jurassic Park line. In other words, kids will certainly enjoy it. And as I noted at the beginning, it’s not like Pentaceratops toys are legion. Sure would be nice if that changed!

Psittacosaurus (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

Review and photos by amargasaurus cazaui, edited by Suspsy

In 2005, a fossil specimen surfaced at the Tuscon Gem and Mineral Show that would soon set the world of paleontology on end. The slab, containing a single specimen of Psittacosaurus, had been preserved in such a way that it would soon yield a treasure trove of scientific firsts, new information, and depth to our understanding of this species. Most notable were the bristle-like tail structures exquisitely preserved. The specimen was so well-preserved, melanosomes establishing colouration, patterning, and shading were found. The specimen appears to be one of the few with intact melanosomes which establish colour in a non-avian dinosaur. It is seemingly the first dinosaur we have actual preserved scales for as well.

The toy market has very few examples of Psittacosaurus done in a more life-like realistic style, that are also generally available. The Carnegie Collection produced the most well-known and treasured version of the dinosaur, sculpted by Forest Rogers. A smaller, more bird-like version was issued by CollectA. As one of the most well-known and studied dinosaurs, the market seemed ripe for a more accurate and appealing version.

Enter Doug Watson and the Wild Safari company. In the final months of 2016, Safari announced and released a new model of Psittacosaurus for the collector market. In my discussions with the sculptor, I was able to learn his sculpt was an attempt to translate the Tucson specimen, now known as Senckenberg Museum R 4970, into the most accurate model possible. The model is intended to be P. mongoliensis and was intended to be scaled at 1/12 size. This would place the model as an adult.

The model itself is smallish in size, measuring roughly 2 1/4 inches tall at the head and slightly over 5 1/2 inches in length along the vertebrae. It balances fairly well on its legs, with its feet placed in a normal walking pose. The tail is slightly curved and demonstrates the famous quills that the specimen is known for. The hands are sculpted in an opposing or neutral position with the proper digits, including the vestigial traces of the fourth digit without a claw. The body demonstrates the appropriate musculature, and in no way appears shrink-wrapped. The head is properly shaped, with jutting jugals, a nicely formed rostral, and properly placed eyes and nostrils. The frill is quite subdued, but visible.

The colouration is inspired by and follows the information given for Specimen R 4970 fairly closely. It features lighter undershading and darker overtones, darker individual scales, and an overall palette of browns, tans, and rust colours. The colouring for the bristle-like structures would seem a decent possibility, and the overall aesthetic is pleasing.

What are my own thoughts? I would like to have seen this model given to us at a larger size, perhaps 1/6 scale, although that is more a personal preference. My only other possible nitpick might be for more pronounced jugals. In my discussions with Doug Watson, he had commented that he was not convinced regarding the jugals, whereas I think they would be even more pronounced and angular. On the plus side, I find the overall effect is a well done and carefully researched masterpiece. The colors are believable, the posture is borne out by evidence, and the unique features this dinosaur is so well known for are evident and well done. The bristle-like structures match the fossil, and are placed properly. The figure stands decently on its feet, balances well, and looks quite lifelike. I feel it is the best mass market toy offered for this species. Props to Doug Watson and Safari!

The Psittacosaurus sells affordably around the ten dollar price point and seems quite readily available on eBay, Amazon, and most major online dinosaur stores. A nice, fairly priced, and well-sculpted dinosaur, readily available on the market!

Regaliceratops (CollectA)

Review and photos by Bokisaurus, edited by Suspsy

When it comes to the dinosaur family know as ceratopsians, it seems that each new discovery yields a creature that is more weirder and more exotic than the previous one. Ceratopsians are famous for their exotic and sometimes outrageous head ornamentation and their impressive horns and head shields are unmatched in the dinosaur world. Today, we will look at one of the newest discoveries, and also one of the oddest. CollectA has long been known for their penchant of choosing dinosaur species that are obscure. So it is no surprise that for their 15th ceratopsian (to date, their list of ceratopsian species is at 16!) they would choose an exotic species that, up until now, has not been represented in toy form. Meet Regaliceratops peterhewsi or ‘royal horned face.’

Regaliceratops is a fairly recent discovery, having just been discovered in 2005 and officially described in 2015. It is only from a single, almost complete skull. Although the skull was slightly distorted from compression, it is beautifully preserved. Early in its discovery, the difficulty of extracting the skull from the surrounding rock matrix and the challenging preparation process earned Regaliceratops the nickname ‘Hellboy.’ The difficulty of extracting the skull is also one reason why a formal description took almost ten years after its discovery to be formally announced. Regaliceratops is a close relative of the famous Triceratops. Although it is classified as a chasmosaurine, it has some unique features that are closer to centrosaurines.

Unlike the majority of chasmosaurines, Regaliceratops sported a rather enlarged nasal horn (more like those of centrosaurines) and unusually short and small horns (for a chasmosaurine) over the eyes. In addition, its impressive frill is elaborately decorated with large triangular and pentagonal plates. This impressive, crown-like frill is what led researchers to give this new ceratopsian its name (an image of Queen Elizabeth I in her famous collar comes to mind). CollectA’s beautifully sculpted figure possesses all of these unique features. The head and frill are faithful to the fossil evidence. The brow horns are appropriately small, while the nose horn is much larger. The unique triangular and pentagonal frill plates are beautifully done, each one a different size. The largest ones are at the top of the frill and then gradually decrease in size down the sides.

At first glance, some may notice that the snout looks longer on the figure than the fossil skull. This is due to the fact that the skull was missing the snout and rostral bones, and also that the it was deformed by compression. So if you add these missing parts, the head on the figure is about right. CollectA never disappoints in giving their ceratopsians colourful frills. This figure’s frill is outlined by black that extends all the way down to the jaw. This is followed by red that also runs down all the way to the tip of the snout. A white teardrop-like circle with an olive inside is at the center, with another band of black running down the center of the frill (separating the sides) all the way down to the forehead and snout. The horns and plates are painted brown, as is as the beak. The tiny eyes are painted black.

It is worth noting that, despite the Regaliceratops‘ small size, its head is very rich in detail. There are multiple skin textures and wrinkles on the head, all of them very delicate and only truly appreciated in person. Speaking of size, Regaliceratops was a fairly small ceratopsian, with a size estimate of roughly five metres long. This figure is also small, much smaller that CollectA’s previous ceratopsians. It measures five inches long from horn tip to tail tip and stands two inches tall at the highest point. This puts the figure roughly around the 1:40 scale. The small size has its pros and cons. Those who like their figures at 1:40 scale will find this figure fitting nicely with their collection. As for cons, well, it sure looks diminutive when compared to the rest of CollectA’s herd.

However, don’t let the small size of this figure fool you into thinking that it lacks detail. Despite the size, this figure is rich in detail. The body is very well-proportioned and does not have those wide hips that plagued its predecessors. This ceratopsian is a certified weight loss program graduate! Wrinkles and rich texturing abound all over the body, as well as bumps of varying sizes. The main body is given a tan base with multiple shades of brown hues applied over it to bring out details and add depth. There are dark brown stripes that runs along the back as well as the tail and legs. The tail quills are given a reddish brown color and the underbelly is given a light brown wash.

The legs show muscle definition and are very well sculpted. The figure is posed in a calm state with both front legs slightly bent, as if the animal is lowering its head closer to the ground to leisurely browse on some delicious greens. The toes are accurate as well.

In closing, the CollectA Regaliceratops is a very welcome new addition to their already impressive herd of ceratopsians. The figure is rich in detail and beautifully sculpted. The colourful paint is very well applied there are no sloppy areas. It is a joy to watch CollectA grow and improve with each passing year, and this figure certainly reflects that. I highly recommend this figure. I believe that it is better appreciated in person, and I can guarantee that soon, you too will be charmed by it.

Hope you enjoyed the review of this fascinating figure. Till next time, cheers!