Category Archives: CollectA

Deinocheirus (2017)(Deluxe by CollectA)

Part 1 of the Nemegt Fauna Series. Review and photos by Bokisaurus, edited by Suspsy.

Before we start, you may have noticed the title above. This review will be the first of a trilogy that I am planning to do. I have always wanted to do a review that not only discussed the specific prehistoric figure, but to also weave in some of the other fauna it lived with. My vision was to stitch these reviews so that they flow would from one to the next, creating a mini-series. Up until now, the opportunity never presented itself. While researching for this review, it occurred to me that this would finally be a good launching point for this experiment. So I hope that you all enjoy it.

The discovery in 1965 of a pair of enormous arms and shoulder blades was our first introduction to a mysterious dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous. This impressive animal was given the name Deinocheirus or “terrible hand.” The creature was discovered in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia in what is called the Nemegt Formation. For decades, these scant remains were the only material of this animal known to science. With such an incomplete record, its classification was uncertain. At first, it was thought that such formidable-looking arms must belong to a super predator, because what else would such impressive weaponry be used for other than to quickly kill prey animals?

The mystery and debate about this animal’s true identity continued for almost fifty years. In 2006 and 2009, however, new fossil material from two individuals was discovered. Then in 2013, with this new evidence, the mystery of the true identity of Deinocheirus was finally solved with the formal announcement of these additional fossil finds. The result was a creature that is much weirder-looking than originally thought. If you combine the main body form of a theropod, add in the large arms and claws of Therizinosaurus (a contemporary), the hump of a camel, and finally, the head of a duckbill dinosaur, then you have Deinocheirus! With its true identity finally revealed, its status has gone from that of obscurity to one of the most well-known of all dinosaurs.

To date, CollectA has released three versions of Deinocheirus. They released their very first one way back in 2012, only a year before the formal announcement of new fossil material. Obviously, it was not accurate, but given the evidence back then, it’s a pretty good model for which you can read the review here. Then in 2016, CollectA released their second figure based on the latest findings. This version is well made and proved to be highly popular, so much so that CollectA decided to release yet another version this year! For their third figure, CollectA decided to scale it up and make it part of their Deluxe 1:40 Scale series. This new figure is the subject of our review today.

CollectA Deinocheirus throughout the years

It is worth noting that this larger version of Deinocheirus is almost exactly the same as the standard figure released last year except for its size. Besides that, the only other difference is the pose. In this new figure, both the body and tail, as well as the tail fan, are held up in a more horizontal orientation instead of the more vertical stance seen on the standard model. The angle of the head is also slightly tilted to one side on this new figure, and its arms are at the same height, whereas the standard figure’s right arm is held slightly lower than the left.

Deinocheirus was a huge animal, with some size estimates give at 11 meters long, almost as big as Tyrannosaurus rex itself. It is the largest known ornithomimosaur. Although most of these dinosaurs are lightly built and fast-running, Deinocheirus was not particularly built for speed. Its huge size may have been a factor. After all, if you are that big, your size alone could be your best weapon against predators and rivals alike. The figure is supposed to be at 1:40 scale, but may in fact be larger. It measures a good thirteen inches long stretched out, and stands five inches tall at the highest point, the hump. Just like the standard version, it is mounted on a base.

Now that we have covered the differences between the Standard and Deluxe figures, and since the former was already given a fabulous review here, there is not a whole lot left to say about this new figure that hasn’t already been covered in the Standard’s review. The two of them do make a wonderful pair. They could be male and female, or they could be an adult with its young, however you pair them is completely up to your imagination!

Back in the Late Cretaceous, what we know today as the Gobi Desert was once a lush woodland savanna, very much like today’s African Okavango region. The endless open grassland is broken by streams and rivers that meander along the plains. Shallow lakes also dot the landscape. At the edges of these lakes and rivers stands lush forest, thick with tall conifers that formed high canopies above. This rich habitat is where one would find Deinocheirus. Its height advantage allowed it to browse on tender greens higher up than most of the other residents here, with the exception of the titanosaurs. It is also believed that despite being primarily vegetarian, Deinocheirus was also an opportunistic omnivore. Fossil fish remains found among gastroliths associated with Deinocheirus support the theory that it pretty much ate anything from plants to small vertebrates. So the streams and shallow lakes also provided an extra source of food as well as water.

In this environment, what may look like first glance to be a flashy colour scheme at first glance actually has its advantage. The browns that dominate the body are broken by a band of blue running from the back of the neck until it reaches the hip area. Above the blue, a black band runs the length of the back, obscuring the hump. The various shades and splashes of red in the face, including the white lines, all serve a purpose. These colours and bands all help break up the animal’s silhouette in the dappled light of the forests it frequents. In short, the animal blends in with its surroundings.

Not far from the forest edge where Deinocheirus lives, a large shallow lake dominates the scene. Here a herd of Saurolophus, one of the few large hadrosaurs (duckbills) that shared the landscape, can be seen feeding and drinking at the shoreline. There are also ankylosaurs here, and one species, Saichania, can be seen mixed in with the Saurolophus herd leisurely feeding at the lake’s edge.

In the far distance, out in the open plain, a vast herd of Gallimimus, a smaller and much faster relative of Deinocheirus can be seen. Their tan bodies dot the plain like moving termite mounds. The large herd creates dust clouds as they hurriedly run from one feeding ground to another. Unlike Deinocheirus, they are build for speed, preferring the open grassland over the forest edge and spend most of their life wandering the plains. And somewhere mixed in with this herd are various species of oviraptorids.

Back at the forest edge, a large figure emerges from the darkness, startling a pair of Deinocheirus. With its large claws and feathers ruffled, a huge Therizinosaurus charges the pair. Slightly larger than Deinocheirus, it is clearly the more aggressive of the two species. They are not related, but clearly share the same features such as large arms and claws. This big male is the Deinocheirus’ grumpy neighbor. Not looking for a fight, the pair moves on, searching for a quieter place to have a meal.

The peaceful coexistence of these animals is deceiving. Just like in today’s African plains, wherever there are abundant prey, there is surely a top predator somewhere. Sure enough, there are at least two or possibly three species of tyrannosaur staking this area. Not far from where the Deinocheirus, Saurolophus, and Therizinosaurus are feeding, a large shadowy figure appears. This is no ordinary or friendly figure. The wind carries his unmistakable scent and the animals by the lake know who it belongs to and are on high alert. This is Tarbosaurus, the top predator of the the land. With an estimated size between ten to twelve meters, he can easily take down any of these herbivores. The pair of Deinocheirus decide it’s best to retreat deeper in the forest where they will be safer.

Back out on the plain, another drama is unfolding. Exhausted by the heat and thirsty, the herd of Gallimimus is unaware of the danger that’s stalking them. Like a mirage, a figure appears and disappears in the distance, moving ever closer to the exhausted herd. But this is no mirage; this is Alioramus, the second, much smaller tyrannosaur that inhabits this place. It avoids direct conflict with its larger cousin by choosing a different prey and hunting style. It prefers the open plain where the vast herds of Gallimimus and oviraptorids provide abundant food source. Alioramus rarely ventures far from the open plains, so the Deinocheirus are not too concern about it. Still, the pair watches this unfolding drama with caution.

The thick forest provide the pair of Deinocheirus some level of protection. But with the panicked cries from the Saurolophus herd by the lake echoing through the forest, the Deinocheirus know its time to move on in search of a safer new home. With one final look, the pair turn around leaving the Saurolophus to their fate, and like a pair of shadows, vanish in the forest depth.

In closing, I find this Deluxe Deinocheirus figure from CollectA a must-have. Despite being almost identical to its Standard size predecessor, it still offers a lot of flexibility, and at this size, one can really appreciate the fine sculpting. It makes a nice pair to the smaller one, and it also pairs up nicely with some of the other 1:40 scale dinosaurs, making a fun diorama display. I hope you all enjoyed this review and the different format. On part 2 of the series, we will revisit the Nemegt Formation and meet up with Saurolophus. Till then, cheers!

CollectA Deluxe 2017 and 2012 figures, as well as Standard 2016 figure
Kinto resin Gallimimus herd with Battat figure
Kaiyodo Saichania
CollectA Deluxe Therizinosaurus
CollectA Standard Alioramus
Favorite Tarbosaurus and Saurolophus museum exhibit special figures

Kronosaurus (Deluxe by CollectA)

Slowly, steadily, silently, Keelhaul approaches his target, an elasmosaur too occupied in turn with stalking a school of fish to notice him. A sudden push of his flippers, a snap of his mighty jaws, a moment’s frantic struggle, and the elasmosaur is dead, its long neck nearly severed. Wasting no time, Keelhaul sinks his teeth into his victim’s abdomen and begins tearing apart the flesh . . .

Named after the cruel king of the Greek titans who swallowed his own children whole, Kronosaurus queenlandicus was truly a terror of the deep. Measuring over ten metres in length, propelled by powerful flippers, and equipped with a two-metre long head and a mouth filled with enormous conical teeth, this frightful pliosaur was probably capable of killing anything it encountered in the Early Cretaceous seas. Little wonder then that CollectA selected it as one of their Deluxe figures for 2017. And with a length of 31 cm and a flipperspan of 18.5 cm, this briny brute topples the Pliosaurus for the title of their biggest sea monster to date. It is sculpted in a swimming pose with its huge head turned to the left and its short tail swaying to the right. Unlike so many other plesiosaur toys that rest on their bellies, this giant is supported by its mighty flippers.

The main colours on the Kronosaurus are rust on top and beige underneath. Dark brown patches and tiny spots adorn the upper half of the body. The eyes are glossy black, the teeth are cream, and the inside of the mouth is pink. Given that most sea monster figures are painted in varying shades of blue or grey or green, I find this colour scheme to be quite distinctive and refreshing, yet still grounded in realism. The dark upper half and light underbelly would effectively camouflage the predator from above and below. And the large, inky black eyes give it a dark, sinister vibe similar to that possessed by a great white shark. The Schleich Kronosaurus has a very similar colour scheme, but it isn’t executed as well as this.

The Kronosaurus‘ mouth features a ribbed palate, a huge tongue, and, of course, lots and lots of conical teeth, sharp enough to be pleasing, yet not enough to present a potential hazard. Most of the wrinkles carved into the body are sparse and subtle, but the ones on its neck and at its shoulders and hips are much more pronounced. There are also a few small, wart-like bumps scattered across the skin. The flippers are long, thick, and muscular, perfect for propelling the animal rapidly through the depths. Similarly, the stocky neck would enable ol’ Keelhaul here to shake a victim to death, then tear the corpse apart piece by piece.

On that note, let’s talk about this toy’s action feature. The Kronosaurus‘ lower jaw is hinged, allowing the mouth to clamp shut, open wide, or chomp down on other toys as shown below. Needless to say, this is quite a fun feature, one that will appeal to many adult collectors and certainly any child. I know my eight year old self would been head over heels with this toy. It would have been devouring other aquatic beasts or G.I. Joes all day long. The only down side is that there’s a very visible seam along the jawline, especially when the mouth is closed.

And we mustn’t forget to discuss scientific accuracy. This Kronosaurus does have a small error in that there ought to be a diastema (gap in the tooth row) between the last pair of premaxillary teeth and the first pair of maxillary teeth. I’m not going to fault CollectA too much for this, as it’s relatively difficult to find good, up-to-date reference material for Kronosaurus. Indeed, the only mounted specimen, located at Harvard University, has been dubbed “Plasterosaurus” for the amount of fake bones it contains. Aside from the teeth, however, this toy measures up very well. The head is appropriately massive and well-fleshed out. The flippers are correctly proportioned with the rear pair being larger. And the chunky tail features a small fluke. There’s no direct evidence for such a feature on Kronosaurus as of this writing, but given that some of its relatives such as Rhomaleosaurus possessed them, the possibility exists.

Overall, this is a highly impressive and fun figure, one that will surely terrorize the other denizens of the deep in your collection. Would also be great to play with the bathtub or the swimming pool! Kronosaurus was my favourite prehistoric sea monster as a kid and Keelhaul here has captured its mighty essence wonderfully.

Thanks go out to CollectA for this review sample!

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!