Category Archives: Favorite Co. Ltd.

Zhuchengtyrannus vs Sinoceratops (Favorite Co. Ltd)

Review and photos by Triceratops83, edited by Suspsy

The Favorite Zhuchengtyrannus and Sinoceratops come packaged in a boxed set for the Fukui Dinosaur Museum in Japan. They are sculpted by Favorite’s premiere artist, Kazunari Araki. Both of these dinosaurs are only known from fragmentary remains, so the scale is a bit iffy, but they fit in well enough with other 1:40 figures (or possibly slightly smaller).

We’ll start off by taking a closer look at Sinoceratops zhuchengensis, the only known large centrosaurine from Asia. Its remains consist of two partial skulls that show a nasal horn and upward curving epoccipitals(hornlets) on the back of the frill. Its size is estimated to be around five metres in length.

This is the second figure of this genus after the Takara Tomy version. The Favorite Sinoceratops is 10.5 cm long and posed in an active mid-stride. The proportions are typical for a centrosaurine, with a rounded back and a medium length tail. The hind feet each have four toes, the hands each have five fingers, and the correct number of hooves are painted on with a dark grey. The figure is too small to show fine details like scales, but the skin is nicely textured with wrinkles. The head shows the known details of the fossils, including the Centrosaurus-like nasal norn and the curving epoccipitals at the top of the frill. The mouth is slightly open, as though it was out of breath from its’running pose. The feet are slotted into a sandy base, but it stands perfectly well on its own. The paintjob is nothing imaginative: a brown upper body over a grey underside, but the contrast actually suits the toy quite well.

Zhuchengtyrannus magnus, which is known only from pieces of its upper and lower jaws, was found in the same fossil beds as Sinoceratops. It was one of the largest tyrannosaurs, perhaps even surpassing Tarbosaurus in size. Like Sinoceratops, Zhuchengtyrannus has been previously portrayed in toy form by Takara Tomy.

The Favorite Zhuchengtyrannus is 19.5 cm long and is captured in mid-stride with mouth agape, no doubt lunging towards its Sinoceratops prey. As can be expected, there’s little to distinguish this from other tyrannosaur figures. The hide consists of scaly leathery skin with no sign of feathers. As is usual for Araki’s sculpts, there is some shrink-wrapping present in the skull. The face, when viewed from the front, shows binocular vision. The arms are oriented correctly with the palms facing each other. The paintjob is simple, but suits the figure nicely with white stripes against a sandy golden back, which fades to a dull yellow underside. The paint application gets a little sloppy in the mouth though, with pink on the teeth and white bleeding onto the lips. The only major drawback, as with most Favorite theropods, is the issue of balance (in my experience, at least). It comes with a base that pegs into one of the feet, but it is still prone to occasionally toppling over.

Overall, this Zhuchengtyrannus vs Sinoceratops box set has no major flaws and is a great collector’s piece. As for availability, unless you can get to the Fukui Museum in Japan, it can be picked up on eBay, although it may be harder to get as time goes on. I recommend this set, particularly for the wonderful Sinoceratops, and is a must-have for fans of Favorite dinosaurs.

Spinosaurus (Soft Model Series 2 by Favorite Co. Ltd.)

Spinosaurus Favorite 1

How do you like your Spinosaurus?  The reason why I ask, is that when it comes to Spinosaurus, there is still a lot of speculation and hypothesis about its actual anatomy, posture and gait. It leaves it wide open for interpretation for paleo artists and toy makers.   Do you prefer the “classic tail dragging look, or maybe the Jurassic Park super predator that can take down tyrannosaurs.  Why not contemplate a lean, mean,  long legged hunter that spent more time hunting and fishing on dry land, especially during the dry season?   Perhaps you envision Spinosaurus swimming in the channels during the high tide, then sliding on its belly over the mud flats during low tide,  as the short legs are an advantage in  keeping it from getting stuck in the mud.  Do you  imagine it doing laps in the river as a full time water baby, hunting the waters like a crocodile?  Of course it could have hunted like a  modern heron, wading in the shallows and picking off fish.  If you chose the long legged fishing dinosaur as your choice of style for Spinosaurus, here is a figure that might appeal to you.

Spinosaurus Favorite 2

About the toy:  The Favorite soft model Spinosaurus is all about style.  It came out before the 2014 paper that proposed a shorter legged, water based animal, so it still retains the longer legs. It is a wonderful sculpt, that depicts it in a shrink wrapped style, with its head up, looking into the distance.  It is over 9 in (26cm) long, 4in high at the tip of the snout and 4.4in (12cm)high at the spine.

This figure comes with a base.  Mine stands with no problem without the base, but I have herd that for some people the figure can not stand with out the base due to leg warping.  On the base, there are two indented footprints with pegs, for the figure to fit into.  It is very basic with a sandy color paint and some lighter tan brushed across to give it some contrast.  There are some rocks on it, but it is painted the same color as the rest of the base.

While the figure is rather gaunt, it is slightly stylized and exaggerated with lots of detail.  The head is rather slender and inside the mouth there are different sized individually sculpted teeth.  The eyes are beautifully sculpted and painted.   The whole head looks really nice.  Along the neck there are creases and folds.  There is a wattle of skin hanging down from the throat.  Starting at the back of the head there are a bunch of sharp spines that run the entire length of the figure all the way down the tail.  Their is a small row of osteoderms  on either side of spine.  Thea arms shows some muscle tone and the hands have three fingers with different claw lengths and are properly turned inward.

Spinosaurus Favorite 3

The torso and sail are nicely detailed.  There are some areas of skin on the flanks that are sculpted as being pulled taunt, while in other spots it shows the skin being compressed between the arms and legs, which is some fine attention to detail.  The skin on the sail is so tight that you can see the neural spines underneath.  The shape of the sail is not the typical even crescent, it is uneven, with little spikes on top, and looks rather interesting.  The legs are slender but with strong muscles underneath.  The tail is long,  slender, and slightly undulates in a flicking motion.

The colorization is a glossy blue grey, and darker blue striping and spots.  The glossy color is a shame, as it is slightly distracting.  The underside of the animal is painted in white.  The mouth is painted in a strange purple color, that blends very well with the rest of the colors.  All the claws are painted as well.

Spinosaurus Favorite 4

Play ability:  It is a safe toy, as the plastic is soft and bendy.  The only danger may be the teeth and the spines along the back and sail as they are a sharp enough to get your attention, but not sharp enough to hurt anybody.    The paint job is vibrant and that will get most kids attention.  It has that fierce predatory look that kids find appealing.  It can hold up to rough play, the paint job is especially robust.

Spinosaurus Favorite 5

Overall: I think this is wonderful Spinosaurus.  The blue colorization really pops.  The colors may not appeal to everyone, but I love it.  The sculpt is rather skeletal, as you can clearly see the bones and muscles underneath, their is very little fat on this animal.  It is a bit stylized, and perhaps a little over the top, but I feel that it enhances it more than it takes away from it.  Due to the soft plastic, there are some areas that may be prone to warping, such as the legs.  Where as I love this figure, and it is my favorite Spinosaurus (no pun intended), if you like the look, it is worth it, if you don’t,  there are many, many, many other options out there.

Allosaurus (Soft Model Series 2 by Favorite Co. Ltd.)

If you like your dinosaurs well detailed, accurately sculpted, and shrink wrapped in true 1990’s fashion than look no further than Favorite’s latest take on some of our favorite classic dinosaurs. Favorite Co. Ltd. is a Japanese company formally known as Kinto. Their first series of dinosaurs consisted of a line of well-made and mostly accurate dinosaurs, all popular classics, none of them obscure. They then released a second set of dinosaurs, all of which were the same dinosaurs they already made. As it stands they now occasionally produce obscure dinosaurs but only in limited quantities’ as museum exclusives. What prehistoric animals they do mass produce are all non-dinosaurian and again, they typically stick to popular genera. It’s a strange business model for sure and I know I’m not the only one that laments the fact that they don’t produce more dinosaurs for the general populace. Since I’m generally unable to get a hold of their more interesting pieces like Saurolophus and Tarbosaurus I’m forced to buy yet another model of Allosaurus. In a world with endless Allosaurus choices, including the legendary Papo model, does this one have anything unique to offer that makes it stand out from the rest?

favoriteallosaurus1

Well, since this model is sculpted by Kazunari Araki there are a few things you can expect right out the gate. Accuracy, detail, emaciated dinosaurs. Addressing the shrink wrapping is necessary these days. This is no longer the late 80’s and 90’s where people liked their dinosaurs as skinny as their super models. Heroin chic is out and we like our dinosaurs a little fuller bodied and healthier looking. It was the common look for dinosaurs of the time, popularized by artists like Gregory Paul, but in our modern world it seems there is no greater blasphemy than shrink wrapping dinosaurs. Personally, I still like the look; these are the dinosaur depictions I grew up with. You might even call them retro and as off putting as they are to some they’re not necessarily inaccurate. So while I may seem like I’m about to give this Allosaurus a negative review, I’m not. I did buy it after all and lord knows I don’t need to put another Allosaurus on my shelf without good reason.

favoriteallosaurus2

Aside from the gaunt appearance the model is a well-made piece. It’s accurately proportioned and well researched. It comes with a detachable base which means it stands steady on two feet without being awkwardly posed or with the aid of large feet or wide hips. And that is perhaps its biggest selling point. The model stands just over 3” tall and is 8” long.

favoriteallosaurus3

The color choices here are garish and toy like. I don’t mind it personally but it’s not very realistic. The Favorite Series 2 models are plagued by outlandish and unrealistic paint jobs, often with sloppy application. This is a shame because the models do actually look quite good. The Allosaurus is orange with dark orange stripes and a lighter shade of orange on the underside. You can almost imagine this predator living in a dry and sunny scrub-land type environment but even if the color choices worked the model is far too “shiny” to allow it to look believable. The latest Favorite models all have a glossy finish that only serves to make the model look more like a toy. It goes without saying that for those skilled enough, these models would be greatly improved with a custom paint job.

favoriteallosaurus5

Color choice aside the detail work here is immediately noticeable. The dinosaur may be thin but as a result you can see a lot of the underlining musculature and anatomy. The scapula, rib cage, pubis bone and ilium are visible under the skin, accurately placed and proportioned. The legs are especially well muscled and athletic looking with the calf muscle in particular showing up prominently, again harkening back to Greg Paul’s dinosaur representations. The dinosaur is sculpted without a lot of fancy adornments or frills save for a line of osteoderms running along the back. Although not much artistic license is taken with the sculpture it does accurately show us the features we’ve come to associate with Allosaurus. That said, the thumb claw on this model matches the scale of the other claws when we know Allosaurus had thumb claws proportionately larger than the rest. The tail is also way too thin with no visible caudofemoralis muscle. But again, this is typical for 90’s style dinosaurs. The problem here is that this model was made in 2013.

favoriteallosaurus4

And I guess that’s really the big issue here. In an era where toy companies are trying to make their dinosaurs more modern, more believable and taking artistic risks, something like this Allosaurus comes across as a little underwhelming. I can appreciate it because it is well made, and Allosaurus is one of my favorite theropods. There is no denying the sculptor has talent and Favorite makes some great products. I truly hope Favorite gives us some more daring sculpts of some more obscure dinosaurs but that doesn’t seem to be the direction they’re headed. Good thing then that we have so many other companies taking up the challenge. For fans of the genus or those already lacking a decent Allosaurus I recommend considering this model. The only real flaw here is the lack of more meat on the bones. Otherwise this is one of the better Allosaurus models to come out in recent memory.