Category Archives: Chap Mei

Plesiosaurus (Mini)(Chap Mei)

As its name suggests, Plesiosaurus was the very first plesiosaur ever to be discovered, in England back in 1823 by the legendary fossil hunter Mary Anning. At around 3.5 metres in length, it was a relatively small sea reptile, a far cry from later relatives such as Elasmosaurus and Thalassomedon.

This Mini Plesiosaurus from Chap Mei measures just under 15 cm long. Its main colours are blue-green on top and white on the bottom with dull orange eyes and stripes, black on the head and along the back, a dark pink tongue, and white teeth. Probably would have looked a lot better without the orange, but that’s Chap Mei for you.

The Plesiosaurus is sculpted in a swimming pose with its front flippers held directly underneath its body, its hind flippers angled out around 45 degrees give or take, its tail swaying to the right, and its neck bent in an S-shaped curve. Unlike so many other aquatic reptile figures, it balances nicely on the tips of its flippers. But as any plesiosaur expert will quickly inform you, there’s no way the neck could be bent in such a manner without breaking a number of vertebrae!

The sculpting on this toy is quite a haphazard mixture. The head and body have large scales, the neck and tail have small wrinkles like the ones on an earthworm, and the flippers and underbelly have crisscrossing wrinkles. Three rows of osteoderms are on the animal’s back and the tail appears to have caudal fins just like on an eel. Again, that’s Chap Mei for you.

This Plesiosaurus certainly won’t win any prizes for sculpting or accuracy, but it’s got kind of a weird, retro charm to it. Kids will no doubt enjoy playing with it. It’s also one of the rarer Chap Mei toys, so if you’re intrigued, good hunting!

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.

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!