Category Archives: crocodile

Dinosaur Boxset 2 (Toyway)

Review and photos by Indohyus, edited by Suspsy

We’ve all seen them. The crude dinosaur toys that you get in small museum shops for extremely cheap prices, normally just bought by parents to keep their children quiet for a while. The last thing you’d expect is to put six of these together and sell them as a box set. Yet that is what Toyway did. Granted, their wildlife sets are extremely well made and varied. Their dinosaur models, on the other hand, are more . . . Chinasaur. Do any of these toys shine in spite of this? Well, let’s see . . .

First is this odd green and yellow quadruped. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was an early ankylosaur with inaccurate teeth. At 5.1” long and 2” high, it looks like a small herbivore. But then I looked up what it was I was quite surprised. This is meant to be a Postosuchus!!! It is too wide, the head is all wrong, and the front legs are much too long! This dreadful figure really is the worst of the set.

Next is a small ornithopod, Camptosaurus. Another small figure, 3.5” long and 2.2” high, it stands out with its dynamic, sweeping pose. The problem is that it can bend out of shape, causing stability issues. The colour is quite subdued: muddy brown and dark greens, good for a herbivore that wishes to stay camouflaged. The main issues are that it is a bit thick in certain areas, like the neck, and the front limbs are too long. A mixed bag.

The hadrosaur in this set is Corythosaurus, a classic. Posed in a strange quadrupedal stance, it certainly looks retro, very lizard-like, though with a rather unnatural dip in the neck. The subdued colours from the Camptosaurus return, but with lilac instead of green, and a garish lime green underbelly. At 4.5” long and 2.4” high, it would suit for a youngster among its kind.

Now, for even more retro, it’s Iguanodon. Between the upright stance and iguana-like head, it will certainly appeal to fans of older dino designs. With a light red colour, it certainly stands out, though. At 3.5” high and 3.9” long, it is one of the bigger figures in this mini set.

Euoplocephalus is the ankylosaur of the set, and one of the best in the bunch. It has the traditional stance of defending itself from a predator, pulling it off quite well. Its brown and turquoise colouring is odd, as is the club design, which is too spaced out. The body is too thin as well, and not squat enough. Again, good for a juvenile at 4.5” long and 2” high.

The final member of the set is the biggest surprise: Placerias, a dicynodont from the Triassic. This figure is well made and really accurate, and it’s hard to find anything to say against it. The green and beige colours work well here and, though the pose is a bit stoic, it still sticks out. At 4.3” long and 2” high, it certainly works as a small reptile among its contemporaries.

Now, here is the final twist. As most of these are cheap, small figures from museum shops, few tend to put these on eBay, except rarely in sets with other figures. As a result, outside this set, they’re surprisingly rare, especially for the Placerias, as it is one of only a few representations of this figure. And the price for it can range from £8.00 to £64.00! If you can find it cheap, it would be worth it, otherwise I can’t strongly recommend it too highly.

Postosuchus (Walking With Dinosaurs by Toyway)

Review and photographs by Indohyus, edited by Suspsy

Walking With Dinosaurs introduced the general public to a suite of extinct species that most people would never have heard of otherwise. Along with the dinosaurs themselves, it also covered several other ancient reptiles, including the review subject: Postosuchus, a Triassic relative of crocodilians that has been found in Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Texas. It featured in the first episode, having enough screen time (and causing enough controversy) to merit a figure in the Toyway line.

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The figure itself is 2.3” high and 10.8” long, making it one of the shortest figures, and yet the longest at the same time. Go figure. The colour scheme is very close to the show, albeit with the tan swapped for a grey shade (something of a theme among these figures). As with the rest of the line, it does suffer from a stoic pose, though it does have an open maw, which gives it a slight improvement over some of its fellow figures.

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In recent years, the debate over whether Postosuchus was a biped or quadruped has favoured the former owing to the short nature of the forelimbs and the similarity of its limbs and spine to theropod dinosaurs, which are (mostly) obligate bipeds. This figure is from the late 90s’ however, so it favours the quadruped stance. Thus this is an inaccuracy that can be forgiven (no one has yet bucked this trend in more modern lines either). All the other features are correct here: short forelimbs, correct number of digits, and an accurate skull and tail. I do feel that it is too skinny, and could do with a bit of bulking out, but otherwise it’s pretty accurate.

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Overall, this is a really good figure. It certainly earned its spot at number 5 in the top 10 prehistoric ‘croc’ toys, and is worthwhile despite a few flaws. This is one of the harder figures to track down, and often sell for high prices on eBay, but is certainly worth the money. If you can find one, loose or as a set, for a reasonable price, get it. It won’t disappoint.

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Deinosuchus (Recur)

Deinosuchus was a giant alligatoroid (which is NOT the same as an alligator!) that inhabited the coasts of North America around 80 to 73 million years ago. Along with Purussaurus from South America and Sarcosuchus from Africa, it’s a contender for the title of Biggest Crocodyliforme Ever.

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The 2015 Recur Deinosuchus is quite a large beast at 27 cm long, and it would be even longer if the head and tail were straightened. Its active and aggressive pose suggests that this individual is engaged in combat with a rival over food, territory, or mating rights. The colours and markings are typical and appropriate for a crocodyliforme: dark and olive green with dark grey claws, mustard yellow eyes, a dull pink mouth, and ivory teeth.

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The Deinosuchus‘ hide is also typical, with heavy scales protecting the underbelly and limbs and a network of plate-like osteoderms covering the back. Osteoderms, it should be noted, are not simply for protection. They also serve as a kind of load-bearing chassis, reinforcing the animal’s body and enabling it to walk on land. The teeth lining the huge mouth are thick and conical, ready to seize and crush an unfortunate victim. Deinosuchus is frequently depicted in paleoart dragging hadrosaurs and even the likes of Albertosaurus to their watery doom, but fossil evidence seems to suggest that its main diet consisted of crispy, crunchy sea turtles.

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And this is where the anatomical inaccuracies arise. First off, the snout is all wrong. Recur clearly based it on this famous restoration, which is the one most of us grew up seeing in our dinosaur books. Problem is, that restoration is from 1954 and has been dismissed as inaccurate. As an alligatoroid, Deinosuchus possessed a very broad snout that would have allowed for a super powerful bite. Mind, I don’t fault Recur too much for this oversight, as Deinosuchus sadly doesn’t receive nearly as much media attention as dinosaurs or even Sarcosuchus. Other such products reviewed here on the blog suffer from the exact same problem.

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The other glaring flaw is the very generic armour on the back. Many people assume that crocodyliformes share(d) more or less the same network and shape of osteoderms, but that’s not the case. Compare a modern gharial, a saltwater crocodile, and a common caiman and you’ll see what I mean. In the case of Deinosuchus, we know that the osteoderms were very thick and chunky, and became more rounded than keeled as they aged. In the words of paleontologist Mark Witton, “the dorsum of a big Deinosuchus would have looked more like a gnarly Dalek chassis than the back of any modern crocodilian.” Again, I’m not going to fault Recur too much for this, because it’s not exactly well-known information. Nevertheless, this Deinosuchus toy comes off looking more like a big old modern crocodile than the Cretaceous alligatoroid it’s meant to portray. And to top it off, mine has a belly that’s so bloated, the feet can’t touch the ground! This is probably because the Deinosuchus was immersed in water at one point during an informal and fun test session I conducted with the Recur toys in a kindergarten classroom. Guess the cotton inside the toy got all wadded up. Oh well.

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I really hope that some company produces a more accurate Deinosuchus figure someday. In the mean time, I think you can safely give one a pass unless you happen to be a big fan of crocodyliformes. Or if you’re looking for a nice, durable, scary-looking croc toy for your kid to play around with in the sandbox.