Opthalmosaurus is one of the more recognizable ichthyosaurs thanks to its enormous eyes, which, at approximately 23 cm in diameter, rivalled those of the much larger Temnodontosaurus. Such peepers would have ideal for hunting squid in the depths of the Jurassic seas, or spotting dangerous predators such as Liopleurodon.
Despite featuring prominently in an episode of the BBC’s famous Walking With Dinosaurs series, Opthalmosaurus has not really caught on with toy companies. There’s the version from Toyway made in conjunction with WWD and then there’s this little critter that comes courtesy of Chap Mei. Measuring 12.5 cm long, it’s sculpted in a swimming pose with its tail angled down and swaying to the left. It balances nicely on the tips of its mandible, right pectoral fin, and caudal fin.
The main colours are a dull brick red and beige with black for the stripes and eyes and white teeth. Detailing is fairly good for a marine reptile. The skin is covered in faint crisscrossing marks, just like on a grey whale. Large circles around the bulging eyes indicate the sclerotic rings beneath the skin. The edges of the pectoral and caudal fins have a slightly frayed appearance to them.
In terms of accuracy, this Opthalmosaurus is one of Chap Mei’s least offenders. Granted, the body is a little too compact and the head is too large, and I wish the fins had smooth edges, but there are no completely ridiculous or grossly exaggerated features on this toy like there are on so many of its brethren.
Overall then, the Chap Mei Opthalmosaurus is one of the few toys in the line that can lay claim to being genuinely good, if not superb. Recommended.
The various Ankylosaurus toys that have been reviewed here on the DTB over the years range from the truly superb to the decidedly subpar. But the one I’ve got to review today may well be the most hideous of them all.
This here is the Mini Ankylosaurus from Chap Mei. It measures about 10.5 cm long and is 6.5 cm high at the tip of its raised tail club. The main colours are olive green and dark grey with white accents on the osteoderms and red accents on the club. A splash of black is on top of the head and the teeth and mouth are white and red respectively. The eyes are supposed to be yellow, but the left one on mine has not been painted. The claws are also unpainted, but as with all Chap Mei toys, that’s an intentional corner-cutter.
The skin textures on this Ankylosaurus range from large scales on the head to wrinkles on the underbelly and legs to pebbles on the back and tail and grooves on the osteoderms. The animal is sculpted in a defensive stance with its right front limb forward, its head turned to the left, and its tail raised high. While this is unquestionably a dramatic pose, it’s impossible for any ankylosaurid to achieve without breaking some of the vertebrae in its tail.
Which brings us to the issue of accuracy, or woeful lack of it. The limbs are too long for an Ankylosaurus, although the feet surprisingly have the proper number of toes. The armour is way too spiky. And ye gods, that head. That ridiculous head. Just look at that long muzzle, those sharp teeth, and the fact that there are no horns projecting out from behind the orbits. It looks like a rauisuchid head attached to a generic ankylosaur’s body!
This is one of those toys that is arguably so lame, it’s funny. Unless you’re fond of oddities (which is perfectly cool), you can definitely give this Ankylosaurus toy a pass.
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!