Category Archives: ceratopsian

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!

Einiosaurus (CollectA)

After years of going ignored by toy companies, the centrosaurine known as Einiosaurus is finally enjoying a surge of attention. First there was the endearing miniature from PNSO, then the sterling rendition from Wild Safari. And now we have CollectA’s take on the ‘buffalo lizard.’

The first thing you notice about this figure is its size. This Einiosaurus is significantly smaller than previous Standard-sized ceratopsians, measuring only 12 cm long and standing slightly over 5 cm tall. I’ve been informed by CollectA that this is part of an effort to put their ceratopsians in scale with one another from now on. So for example, a future Standard Triceratops figure would be closer in size to last year’s Mercuriceratops.

The main colour on the Einiosaurus is olive green with a pale yellow underbelly, faint brown stripes, medium grey claws, and black accents for the speculative row of quills on the tail. The head features patches of pale yellow with brown half-ovals on the frill, medium grey horns and epoccipitals, blacks eyes, a dark grey beak, and a pink mouth. There are also blackened tips on the two frill horns. Flashy yet realistic.

Despite its size, the Einiosaurus‘ skin is beautifully sculpted with a varying pebble texture all over and rows of round osteoderms along the flanks and back. The nasal horn and beak feature very faint grooves and the powerful muscles in the neck and limbs are very well-defined. The feet have the correct number of claws and are better shaped and positioned to reflect our current understanding of their anatomy. The tail is longer than on other such figures, the hips are the correct width, and the horns and epoccipitals are the proper shape and size. As for the quills on the back, there’s no direct fossil evidence for such a feature, and they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. But they’ve come to be a signature feature of CollectA and I’m fine with them myself.

The Three Einiosauruses Gruff

With its exquisite sculpting and more accurate proportions, this Einiosaurus represents a major improvement over previous CollectA ceratopsians. I highly recommend this figure and eagerly look forward to whatever ones are slated for next year!

Thank you to CollectA for this review sample. 🙂