Category Archives: Favorite Co. Ltd.

Tarbosaurus (Favorite Co. Ltd.)

Part 3 of the Nemegt Fauna Series. Review and photos by Bokisaurus, edited by Suspsy

Today’s review concludes the Nemegt Fauna review trilogy by looking at the Tarbosaurus figure by Favorite Co. Ltd. As I explained in my Saurolophus review, back in 2012, the Osaka Museum Of Natural History launched an impressive special exhibit that highlights the impressive diversity of dinosaur fossils found in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. Along with the special exhibit were museum merchandise exclusives, of which two stood out. These are the Saurolophus and the Tarbosaurus, sculpted by the famous Hirokazu Tokugawa and released by Favorite.

Tarbosaurus, meaning “alarming lizard,“ is a large Asian tyrannosaurid that was found in Late Cretaceous Mongolia. For a while, there were many species named, but officially, only one is currently accepted by scientists: Tarbosaurus bataar. Although part of the royal family that includes the most famous dinosaur of all, Tyrannosaurus rex, Tarbosaurus has not reached the same fame level despite sharing similar features and being only slightly smaller. While its cousin ruled North America, Tarbosaurus ruled over Asia. He was the undisputed king of the land, the apex predator. For a tyrannosaur, Tarbosaurus is well represented by dozens of near perfect fossil specimens, including the important skull. This bounty of fossil finds makes Tarbosaurus one of the most studied dinosaurs.

The Royal Family

Size-wise, Tarbosaurus was slightly smaller than T. rex, measuring between 10 and 12 metres long for the largest known individual. At 11 inches long and 5 inches tall, this figure is roughly around the 1:34 to 1:40 scale. The sculpt is beautiful and active with the head tilted to the side, and of course, like 99% of tyrannosaur figures, its mouth is wide open! Rich in details, the figure has some nice muscle definition that shows this one is in his prime. The head is nicely sculpted and easily identifiable as a tyrannosaur. My only criticism is that the teeth are small, blunt, and very uniform in size. This give it a rather funny look.

The figure is painted an overall olive brown with some lighter highlights. A darker brown band runs along the back starting at the hips and ending at the tip of the tail. It is not fully feathered. Instead, the feathers are concentrated at the head and nape area, giving this Tarbosaurus a shaggy look. These hair-like feathers are colored black with a thin outer ring colored white. These colours are perfect for the desert environment and the hunting style of this large predator. The browns would blend in perfectly with dried vegetation, concealing the animal as it waits for its prey.

During the Late Cretaceous, what is now the Mongolian desert was then a lush environment with rivers, forests, savannas, and shallow lakes. This environment supported a vast and diverse range of large dinosaurs including Tarbosaurus. Imagine that the rainy season has just started and the surrounding land is starting to awaken. The rain not only rejuvenates the vegetation, but also signals the start of the migration season for some of the seasonal residents of this land. Patrolling his territory, a lone male Tarbosaurus surveys his domain for any signs of trespassing from neighboring rivals. His vast territory encompasses the lush forest edge and the dry plains below. At the center of his territory is a large, shallow lake that attracts many species of dinosaurs that are thirsty and hungry from their long journey. Only an animal at his prime can secure such rich hunting ground. At the edge of the forest where it meets the lake, a small corridor rich with vegetation is a perfect place to lay an ambush. The Tarbosaurus heads toward this corner of his territory. Along the way, he startles a small herd of Gallimimus and send them scurrying back out towards the open plain.

They are part of a vast herd numbering in the thousands on their migration journey. Our Tarbosaurus gives the herd a mock charge, but otherwise ignores the Gallimimus, as they are simply too fast for him to bother trying to take down. He is not built for fast running and agility. He is designed as an ambush predator, only bursting into speed only at the last second. He is after something much bigger and easier to catch than the fleet-footed Gallimimus. A scent suddenly captures his attention. It belongs to a predator, not another Tarbosaurus, but a close relative. It is Alioramus, a smaller tyrannosaur that also inhabits the region, although seasonally it spends its life wandering the plains and following the vast migrating herds like a shadow.

Although both animals are top predators, they avoid directly competing for the same food source by going after different prey animals. With its great size, Tarbosaurus goes after much larger prey, while Alioramus, being smaller but faster, tends to go after much smaller prey such as the Gallimimus and the various oviraptorids that inhabit the plains. To establish his dominance over this intruder, the Tarbosaurus charges toward the Alioramus, sending him running back towards the open plain. Satisfied that the intruder is no longer in his territory, the Tarbosaurus continues deeper into his favourite hunting ground.

As he nears the forest edge, two pairs of eyes observe him from a distance. A pair of Deinocheirus nervously watches his every step. During the lean months, Deinocheirus is Tarbosaurus‘ main prey. Despite their size and their impressively large claws, Deinocheirus are not aggressive animals and would rather flee to the safety of the forest depths than stand and fight. Somehow, the familiar sounds echoing from the distant plains signals to the Deinocheirus pair that today, and for the next few months, they are not on Tarbosaurus‘ menu. Still, the pair disappears back to the safety of the forest. The Tarbosaurus has reached his destination and slowly enters a brush thicket. Here he squeezes himself between the dried vegetation and keeps perfectly still. Only the movement of his blue eyes betrays his presence. Soon, the reason for this inaction becomes clear as a small herd of Saurolophus comes into view. They are heading directly towards the corridor between the forest and the lake. The Tarbosaurus is on a hunt.

Unaware of his presence, the Saurolophus herd passes by him as they enter the corridor. The Tarbosaurus‘ blue eyes locked in on his target: a young female Saurolophus who has wandered away from the herd and is heading straight into his trap. Once he is certain that the youngster is close enough, the Tarbosaurus charges out of the thickets. His roar sends the Saurolophus herd running back towards the safety of the open plain . . . except for one. The young female.

Now separated from her herd, the Saurolophus runs toward the opposite direction, right into the forest and into the trap. With no way out, she is now trapped and cries desperately for her herd. This is the moment the Tarbosaurus has been waiting for. He runs straight towards the trapped youngster, blocking the only escape route. The desperate Saurolophus tries to enter the forest as the predator closes in. But before she can go any deeper, she was sent back running by another large animal emerging from the forest shadows.

A large male Therizinosaurus emerges from the forest just as the Tarbosaurus is about to catch up with the Saurolophus. The predator’s unmistakable scent had caught the attention of the Therizinosaurus before he came predator within sight. Aggressive by nature and armed with deadly claws, the scent of the approaching Tarbosaurus has sent this Therizinosaurus into a blind rage. If there is anything that he hates the most, it is Tarbosaurus.

Although primarily a herbivore, Therizinosaurus is a formidable opponent for any predator. Its ill temper, large size, deadly claws, and habit of charging any danger instead of fleeing protects it from most attacks. Only a desperate predator would go after a healthy Therizinosaurus, and this Tarbosaurus generally avoids hunting them, although sick or injured animals have sometimes fallen prey. Now faced with this nemesis, Tarbosaurus narrowly misses a slashing claw aimed at his head. The unexpected encounter gives the young Saurolophus an escape route and she quickly bolts past the dueling titans and runs towards the open plain. The Therizinosaurus and Tarbosaurus circle each other, each one sizing up the other. With no sign of backing down, Therizinosaurus is gaining the upper hands as he pushes Tarbosaurus into a corner. Rather than risk injury, or worse, a fatal wound from those deadly claws, Tarbosaurus decides it’s best to retreat. He quickly turns and heads back towards the opposite side of the shallow lake, leaving the Therizinosaurus behind. With more and more migrating animals arriving each day, there are more opportunities for a successful hunt somewhere in his territory.

The story of life and death, predator and prey, and the complex relationships of the animals to one another and their environment has been playing out for millions of years. It will be millions of years before the curtain falls for these inhabitants of the vast Nemegt landscape. For now, the roars of Tarbosaurus and and all the other predators will continue to frighten prey animals. The cacophony of sounds that signals the arrival of the migrating herds will continue to echo throughout the vast plains and canyons as they once again fill the air with new life. Those strange and mysterious sounds from the forest dwellers will continue to enchant strangers, drawing them closer to its lush interior . . .

In closing, this Tarbosaurus figure is a welcome addition to any collection. It is well-crafted and jam-packed with details. It is also one of the few larger figures of the species currently available. Its size is perfect for those who likes their figures to be within the 1:40-ish range and displays nicely with other figures that are of the same scale. It may be a challenge and expensive to acquire this figure, but it is well worth the reward.

Well, we have now reached the end of my Nemegt Fauna Trilogy. We have met many fascinating inhabitants of this enchanting landscape along the way. I am glad that I was finally able to write reviews in this format, one that not only focuses on the subjects, but also includes other animals that lived alongside them. Thank you all for reading these reviews, and I hope that all of you enjoyed it as much as I had enjoyed writing them. Till the next review, cheers!

Anomalocaris (Favorite Co. Ltd.)

Review and photographs by Indohyus, edited by Suspsy

Imagine the weirdest alien you can think of. Give it as many tentacles, eyes, and other appendages as you like, but chances are they still aren’t as strange as anything from the Ediacaran or Cambrian Period, especially the latter. The Cambrian Explosion created some of the weirdest creatures imaginable, including this review’s topic: Anomalocaris, an anomalocarid arthropod predator found throughout the world from Canada to Australia and from Utah to China. This figure by Favorite appears to represent the largest member of this genus, A. canadensis.

Onto details. At 6.4” long and 1.3” high (from tip of appendages to the top of the eye stalks), it is on the larger size, especially compared to other figures of Anomalocaris, appropriate for one of the largest animals of the time (a length of one metre was considered big back then). The pose is simple, but works well. The animal appears to be swooping up, perhaps surprising its prey. The colour scheme also works well, with the mix of gold, pink, and black complementing each other in an odd way. Favorite made several mini-versions of this mould in a variety of paint schemes, so if this doesn’t work for you, there are alternatives. To make it easier to pose, this figure comes with a stand (1.8” high, 2” wide) shaped as rocks. While it works well, it leaves a large hole towards the rear of the figure when removed. Make of that what you will.

Accuracy-wise, this Anomalocaris is pretty good. The lobes are correct in number and shape, the eye stalks are correctly positioned, and the tail is correct too. The details on the mouth are there, very accurate to the fossils. The only nitpicks I can find are that the spikes on the arms could be a little more varied in size, rather than be quite as uniform, and they don’t capture the compound nature of the eyes, but otherwise it’s good for accuracy.

Overall, this is a good representation of Anomalocaris. It may not be the best (that goes to Kaiyodo), but it is the biggest, befitting of one of the first large predators known. eBay is your best bet for finding this figure, with the option of smaller, cheaper versions, as the larger one has become somewhat more expensive. Either will suit your collection well.

Saurolophus (Favorite Co. Ltd.)

Part 2 of the Nemegt Fauna Series. Review and photos by Bokisaurus, edited by Suspsy

Back in 2012, the Osaka Museum Of Natural History launched an impressive special exhibit highlighting the impressive diversity of dinosaur fossils found in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. This special exhibit was aptly named “The Gobi: Cradle of the Most Enchanting Dinosaur Fossils” and consisted of beautiful specimens of some of the most famous Mongolian dinosaurs for the public to admire. Like many special dinosaur exhibits in Japan, and there have been many of them through the years, there were museum merchandise exclusives. Of what must have been countless merchandise items, two stood out. These are the museum exclusive figures of Tarbosaurus and Saurolophus, two of the show’s star. These figures are sculpted by the famous Hirokazu Tokugawa and released by Favorite Co. Ltd.

These beautifully sculpted figures drove many dinosaur collectors crazy trying to acquire them. Like many museum exclusives, they were not widely available outside of the OMNH, let alone overseas. This made the hunt to acquire them difficult and often costly. Still, with some help, a few of these figures did find its way across the globe, including my own doorstep. Today, we will review one of them, the Saurolophus.

Saurolophus was a large saurolophine hadrosaurid that lived in the Late Cretaceous of what would one day be the Nemegt Formation of the Gobi Desert. It is unique in that it is one of the few hadrosaurs known from multiple continents. Two species are known to have existed. The first one discovered was the Canadian S. osborni, discovered back in 1911. The second species, S. angustirostris (which is the figure we are reviewing today), was discovered in Mongolia in 1946, and it was was much larger than its relative. It also turns out that Saurolophus is the most abundant of the Asian hadrosaurs. Its fossil record is also well documented with nearly complete skeletons, as well as various growth stages that give us a pretty good picture of its anatomy and how it may have lived.

The Asian Saurolophus was much larger than its North American relative, reaching an estimated size of around 12 metres (39 feet) long, and a weight of 2 tons. At around 1:40 scale, this Favorite figure stands 3.5 inches tall and 10 inches long. Unlike its flamboyant lambeosaurine relatives, Saurolophus’ headgear was rather modest. A bony, spike-like crest extended upwards from the back of the skull. In this figure, this crest is coloured a reddish brown. At first glance, the animal looks like it is sculpted in a calm, neutral pose with a quadruped stance. However, and depending on how you view the figure, this pose can be interpreted many ways. For example, with its head tilted slightly to the side, and its left front foot off the ground, this can be perceived as a surprised individual, especially when you notice the orientation of the eyes.

The colour scheme on this figure is dominated by olive green mixed in with some browns on the lower half, while a darker green band runs along the upper back half of the figure. There are also faint brown stripes running down the back. This may look drab, but it suits an animal that is mostly a savanna dweller. The drab colours help the animal blend in with the brown, dry vegetation that dominated the Cretaceous savanna.

Let us again return to Mongolia’s Gobi Desert during the Late Cretaceous. A large herd of Saurolophus can be seen mixed in with an even larger herd of Gallimimus. These animals are on their annual migration and the lush woodland savanna is one of their favourite feeding ground. The Saurolophus herd breaks into smaller groups as they fan out in search of food and water. One mixed group of adult and young Saurolophus approaches one of the shallow lakes that border the forest. They have come here to take advantage of the vegetation that grows abundantly in this environment, for Saurolophus are open savanna animals. This open environment gives the animals a better view of their surroundings, and much importantly, a better opportunity to spot predators before they get too close. The open space also allows these large animals a quick escape.

Entering the forest edge is dangerous for Saurolophus. Here the lush vegetation creates many blind spots that potentially hide predators and offer little escape routes. Still, the group approaches, the temptation is just too great to resist. One Saurolophus, a curious young female, decides to move closer into the forest. She ignores the adults’ warning cries to stay with rest of the group. Soon, she meets some of the forest’s more fascinating residents. Eyeing her with curiosity is a pair of Deinocheirus, those giant ornithomimosaurs with huge claws. They move closer and inspect this odd creature that has invaded their home. But they are not a threat to the young female, and she knows it, and they all soon settle into feeding.

Back at the forest’s edge, the peaceful scene is about to end. The wind carries the unmistakable scent of a predator. And not just any predator; this scent belongs to Tarbosaurus, the apex predator of the land! Soon, the Saurolophus herd sets off cries of alarm that echo around the forest. They regroup and run off back towards the open safety of the grassland as the Tarbosaurus charges. But he is not after the fleeing herd.

By the time our young female realizes her dire situation, it is too late. Her escape route blocked by the charging Tarbosaurus and her herd nowhere in sight, she looks towards the forest’s edge at the fleeing pair of Deinocheirus. Desperate to escape, she decides to follow the pair deeper into the forest.

Before going very far, she is stopped on her tracks by a loud warning cry coming somewhere deep in the thickets. Soon, the source reveals itself to be a large male Therizinosaurus. Although not a predator, he is equipped with formidable claws, very much like Deinocheirus’, but even bigger. He is not after the young female Saurolophus, for he is a herbivore. However, the scent of the pursuing Tarbosaurus has sent this grumpy male into a blind rage. Unlike the more docile Deinocheirus, whose first instinct is to run from danger, Therizinosaurus charges any potential threat. With his large, deadly claws swinging in multiple directions, a hit from one of them could be fatal. He heads straight to where our female Saurolophus is standing. Trapped now between him and the charging Tarbosaurus, she quickly turns around and heads back towards the only opening between the two.

The sudden appearance of Therizinosaurus distracts Tarbosaurus from his chase, allowing the young Saurolophus enough time to slip between them and runs toward the safety of the open savanna and hopefully, her herd. She runs fast without looking back. Her only clue to what is unfolding behind her are the loud growls and shrieks echoing around the lake.

As she reaches the savanna, she finds herself in the middle of a stampeding herd of Gallimimus. The dust clouds from the stampeding herd cause her to become temporarily disoriented. The the dust clears, she finds herself face to face with Alioramus, Tarbosaurus’ smaller relative. She has stumbled upon a hunt.

Although a formidable hunter, Alioramus is much smaller than Saurolophus. His main prey are the overaptorids and Gallimimus. Saurolophus can sometimes fall prey to Alioramus, but only the very small ones. Now almost an adult size, our female is simply too big for the predator to take down. The Alioramus simply turns away and leave the young female behind.

Our young Saurolophus scans the horizon for any sign of her herd. In the distance, she sees the familiar shapes rising like mirages. She has found her family at last. As she approaches, the adults start to call. Their loud honking sounds are welcoming and comforting to our young female. Once back in the safety of the herd, she finally looks back toward the distant lake and forest. Perhaps she does so to remember this place, and to remember both the opportunities it offered as well as the dangers hidden in its dark shadows. She will forever remember this experience, one that taught her a valuable life experience. A lesson on how to survive in this enchanting, but deceiving landscape. In time, she will pass on this knowledge to other young ones. And just like that, she turns back and rejoins her herd.

In closing, the Favorite Saurolophus figure is a must-have, especially with the shortage of good hadrosaur figures, not to mention saurolophines. The figure is very well-crafted and jam-packed with details. At 1:40 scale, it is one of the few hadrosaur figures at this size. As it was sculpted specifically as a partner for the Tarbosaurus, they do make for a beautiful display. Unfortunately, due to its very limited release, this and the Tarbosaurus are very hard figures to acquire, and often command high prices. Still, with some luck, patience, and good connections, one may be able find it at a reasonable price. I highly recommend this figure to anyone. It is truly a beautiful piece from a master artist. The figures come in blister packaging. The art design on the background shows two photos. One is a painting of a herd of Saurolophus by a shallow lake. The other half is a photo of a group of paleontologists today at a dig site.

I hope you enjoyed the review. On our next review, we will conclude the series, when we meet up with Tarbosaurus again. Until then, cheers!