It is not uncommon in the world of dinosaur toys to come across ones that appear to defy easy classification. Such is the case with the Chap Mei toy I will be reviewing here.
If memory serves me correctly, the original packaging for this creature described it as a Pteranodon. Anyone who knows their pterosaurs, however, can plainly see that that’s not the case. The large, blade-like crest on the head would seem to suggest either a Tapejara or a Tupandactylus, and the toy does indeed bear a suspicious resemblance to the JP3 Tapejara toy. But then there’s all those sharp teeth lining the inside of the bill to consider. So I’m just going to call this animal a pterosaur and leave it at that.
From the tip of the bill to the end of the tail, this flying ferocity measures about 15 cm long and has an impressive wingspan of 38 cm. Dark grey is the main colour, with greenish grey markings on the upper side of the wings. The head is black with red and yellow markings, white eyes and teeth, and a dark red tongue. Finally, the throat and chest are splashed with very light grey and the underside of the wings are dull blue with greenish grey markings. A pretty cool colour scheme.
The skin on the pterosaur’s main body is your standard scaly pattern while the upper side of the wings have a more leathery texture. The underbelly is covered in thick wrinkles, the tail bears a row of armoured osteoderms, and the crest and underside of the wings have large veins running through them. Speaking of the wings, they look more like those of a bat than a proper pterosaur. On a more positive note, they’re very posable thanks to the universal joints at the shoulders. The hind limbs also rotate at the hips. And finally, pressing the button on the pterosaur’s back causes the head to lower and the jaws to snap. I find this a much more satisfying action feature than the flapping wings you find on so many other pterosaur figures.
Taxonomy issues and batty wings aside, this is a pretty neat pterosaur. Its freaky and frightful appearance is compliment by its bright colours, and its articulation and snapping jaws definitely make it fun to play with.
Ah, Parasaurolophus. By virtue of its distinctive tube-shaped crest, it has become the “default” hadrosaur, the one most frequently depicted in films, television, and toys. This particular piece of plastic we’ll be looking at comes courtesy of Chap Mei.
From the tip of its bill to the curve in its tail, this dinosaur measures 21.5 cm long. Its colour scheme is very similar to that of the electronic Styracosaurus: muddy green with black stripes, white markings on the head, light green eyes, a red-orange crest, and a magenta tongue. As far as Chap Mei toys go, this is one of the more visually attractive ones. Too bad the claws aren’t painted.
The Parasaurolophus is in a modern quadrupedal walking pose with its right front paw raised and its mouth open. Looks like it’s just been startled by something. The entire body is covered in a variety of skin wrinkles, from thick ones on the neck, flanks, and belly to very fine ones running down the crest and vertebrae. The hands and feet feature rows of thick scales and the bill and claws have grooves. Pushing the well-concealed button on the Parasaurolophus‘ back causes its head to lower slightly. A simple, but fun gimmick. The arms and legs are articulated, but the latter have a very limited range of motion.
In terms of accuracy, this Parasaurolophus actually ranks very highly for a Chap Mei. The head is quite unmistakeable and the bill is toothless. The limbs don’t have insanely exaggerated proportions (although the hind limbs do look slightly too long) and the hands and feet have the correct number of digits and blunt claws. But then there’s the tail. Yes, like so many of its brethren, this poor Parasaurolophus is cursed with a ridiculously stumpy tail. I can’t imagine such an animal would be able to rear up on its hind legs.
Aside from the tail though, the Chap Mei Parasaurolophus is a pretty decent animal overall (and we all know there aren’t nearly enough ornithopod figures). It goes especially well with Jurassic Park toys.
Rounding out my electronic Chap Mei toys is that scrappy (and in this case, rather scary) thick-headed lizard, Pachycephalosaurus!
This rather dubious-looking dinosaur measures 25 cm long and stands 17 cm tall when hunched over. The main colours are light brown and dark brown with beige accents, electric blue stripes, white teeth, and translucent orange for the eyes and the cranium. It’s not the worst colour scheme I’ve come across, but that blue certainly does clash with the rest of it.
The Pachycephalosaurus‘ skin has the usual pebbled texture accompanied by thick wrinkles. Heavy scales cover the feet and the claws are grooved. The skull is festooned with heavy knobs, the largest ones forming a kind of ‘crown’ behind the cranium. There are also knobs covering much of the neck and back, just like the Tsukuda figure I reviewed awhile back.
And on that note, let’s cover all the other anatomical inaccuracies (no Chap Mei dinosaur would be complete without some). The head is too big for the body and the teeth are too big for the head. The hands have only four fingers instead of five. The tail is a stump. And finally, the feet are ridiculously huge and short a couple of toes. If you were to show this toy to someone who knew nothing about pachycephalosaurs, they’d probably think they were looking at a vicious carnivore. Oh, and there are screw holes all over the toy’s right side, curse them.
The Pachycephalosaurus is articulated at the shoulders and hips, allowing it to rear up threateningly. Pushing the large button over the hips causes the head to raise, the eyes and cranium to light up, and a series of croaky growls to emanate from the body. It’s like listening to a monster frog!
The Chap Mei Pachycephalosaurus is so painfully inaccurate and so ridiculously over the top, it actually ends up being kind of cool. Definitely not a toy for everyone, but I like a little bit of weirdness in my collection. I’ll take this frightful beast over any Jurassic World toy!