Category Archives: Kinto

Dunkleosteus (Favorite Co. Ltd)

Review and photographs by Tim Sosa

In the Devonian period, the largest animals were arthrodires, huge armored fish informally referred to as placoderms. ‘Arthrodire’ means “joint-necked,” referring to the fact that there was a hinge in their armor between the neck and the back of the head. One of the largest arthrodires was Dunkleosteus, a fish so ancient that when Tyrannosaurus rex was walking around, Dunkleosteus had already been extinct for almost 300 million years! It’s also the prehistoric fish that toy companies have made most often. Today’s review concerns the version produced in 2014 by Favorite Co. Ltd. (formerly known as Kinto).

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It’s a hefty toy, thick-bodied as you would expect a large marine predator to be; when you’re large, having a circular cross-section makes you much more hydrodynamic. Measured along the spine, it’s almost 20 cm long, which puts it at right about 1:40 scale for a typical 8 meter individual (some estimates range up to 10 m for the largest specimens). A 10 or 12-year-old child would be about the height of the Lego minifigure in the above picture.

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This toy reflects good research. The head is boxy and its armor plates are all arranged correctly. In life, it probably wouldn’t have been possible to see every suture, as some would have been covered in skin. But it looks much less skeletal than some toy versions of Dunkleosteus. Some other toys even show the sclerotic ring, a series of small bones that provide internal support for the eyeball–the Favorite rendition correctly hides the sclerotic ring inside the eyeball where it belongs. It’s painted a pleasing blue with gray highlights and armor plates, with a nice fishy pink inside the mouth. It comes with a well-balanced stand so you can display it in a dynamic swimming pose.

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The tail might strike some as slightly controversial. I looked up technical descriptions of Dunkleosteus remains, and I couldn’t find any reference to tail fossils. All known remains are of the head armor, which fossilizes much more easily. I even asked a fish paleontologist, who confirmed that nobody knows what the back half looked like. Smaller relatives, like Coccosteus, have fossils that show a simple, eel-like tail. But Dunkleosteus was so much bigger that water would be thinner from its point of view. You can understand this by thinking about walking on water–you can’t do it, but many insects can. For a large fish, swishing an eel-like tail would make the whole body move side to side, which would both cause it to go-off course (“yaw”) and create turbulent spots that would slow it down. A small fish pushing against more viscous (thicker) water wouldn’t have the same problems. So it seems likely that a big predator like this would have had a crescent-shaped tail, like tunas and some kinds of sharks (my fish paleontologist friend shares this opinion).

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This is an excellent Dunkleosteus replica, and although its retail price in Japan is $10 or less, in most parts of the world you’ll need to look for it on eBay or other secondary market sources, where it can be found for roughly twice the price.


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

Here I am again with another review for another Favorite dinosaur. No, I don’t mean it is my favorite but rather made by the Favorite Company who it seems feel so confident in their models that they changed their name from Kinto to Favorite. It still feels weird to say the word favorite not as an adjective but as the name of a company. Regardless, the dinosaur being discussed is among my favorites and its model representation developed by the Favorite Company is one of my favorite Favorite figures. Enough of that non-sense though, I’m just typing filler material. Let’s get on with the very serious discussion of this magnificent Parasaurolophus released this year and sculpted by Kazunari Araki.

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 I know from my last review of the Favorite Stegosaurus that it was not a model as well received by some of my fellow collectors as it was by me. You could say, it was not their favorite Favorite. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I’ll try to stop. But this Parasaurolophus is a different model and I think you will all agree that it is among the best in Favorite’s new line and one of the best Parasaurolophus on the market. Perhaps you will find it better than the Battat Parasaurolophus? I won’t go there; those are big shoes to fill. I will at least say it is the best since the Battat model, and lacking a good Parasaurolophus in my own collection I had to grab this guy up.

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 Before we discuss the required accuracy component of this model I should point out that I am not a professional paleontologist. I have some fancy books and a lifelong interest in the subject but aside from that I’m just an adult man who collects dinosaur toys. I try to do the appropriate research before writing my reviews but I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed some glaring inaccuracy. With that out of the way we can FINALLY get on to the review. I needed to mention that because looking at this Parasaurolophus model and comparing it to skeletal drawings by the likes of Scott Hartman and Greg Paul I cannot find anything wrong with this figure! All the proportions and features of the animal are there. The tall neural spines run along the back with the tallest at the hips. The hands are correctly sculpted with the animal supporting its weight on three fingers. There are even cheeks on this animal for those who wanted them on the Stegosaurus (or the original Favorite Parasaurolophus for that matter). The only nit I can pick is that the small finger on each hand has a claw and I’m fairly certain they should not but seriously, that is a tiny nit to pick. There is also a speculative webbing of skin between the crest and back of the head and while I normally don’t like that addition it is small enough to work well here. The model is also a bit on the skinny side but that is Araki’s style. Seriously, have you seen his Kabaya Seismosaurus?

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 This figure measures 8” long, putting it at about 1:40 in scale. Though not as flamboyantly painted as the original Favorite model this is still a colorful character, but not in an off putting way. Though we don’t know for certain it is thought that Parasaurolophus lived in floodplains and swampy forests. If that is the case than the mix of greens looks appropriate on this figure. You could see it disappearing into the ferns and conifers of a humid wet forest with the mottled dark and light greens on this figure. The webbing on the crest as well as the throat is painted pink, outlining the likely display function of that crest. The eyes are orange with black pupils. The beak and nails are brown but the nails also have a bit of pink outlining them as do the corners of the mouth. Overall the paint scheme is pleasing and unlike the new Favorite Stegosaurus the application a lot less sloppy. Like all the Favorite models both new and old the smaller details did not get neglected. Small scales are present over the entire body as well as appropriate musculature, skin folds and wrinkles.

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 I can’t sing the praises of this model enough but unfortunately the review must end. If you’re a fan of model ornithopods and Parasaurolophus in particular than this is a must have figure, even if you’re not you should probably pick one up anyway. A fantastic sculpt combined with accuracy and an interesting color scheme all help to make this model among the best of its kind. This is a newer release so get one while you can but keep in mind that although it is a great model, you should still avoid some of the high price tags attached to this thing on eBay.

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

Stegosaurus has for some reason become a recent favorite of mine among the dinosaurs. It is such a bizarre dinosaur and I feel it is taken for granted due to its large presence in pop culture, that, and we’ve known about it since 1877. As a stegosaur alone it is quite bizarre, the only one with such exaggerated plates, but as a dinosaur it is one of the original show stoppers. As a toy the Stegosaurus is a staple of any toy line done many times over and when Favorite released re-sculpts of much of their original line this year, the Stegosaurus was included. So just how well does this take on the classic Stegosaurus hold up against the masses of other Stegosaurus toys out there?

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 Sculpted by Kazunari Araki this 1:40 scale model competes well with Favorite’s original. Those with an eye for accuracy will appreciate the bodily proportions and attention to detail sculpted here. The posture of Stegosaurus was truly interesting with short forelimbs requiring this animal to hold its head low to the ground and that spike-bearing tail high up in the air. The tail of this model is held high without any sagging and is a testament to how far we’ve come in reconstructing these animals. While the posture is not particularly dynamic this looks like a serious and confident animal that is fully aware of what that thagozimer is used for. The sturdy hind legs are supported by three blunt toes while the smaller forelimbs and hands make it easy to see this dinosaur as an occasional biped. The digits on the hand appear to be in the correct semi-circular arrangement and include all five toes, even the reduced ones.  All 17 plates are present and correctly arranged with the largest positioned over the hips. The head is nicely sculpted if not a bit large but lacks the cheeks these animals were thought to have had. That decision probably had more to do with artistic license than anything else but it doesn’t look bad. The neck is properly sculpted with a bony armor on the underside. Overall this looks like an accurate Stegosaurus for the modern age, aside from the missing cheeks.

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 Aesthetically the dimensions and posture of the model make it pleasing to look at but the color choices probably could have been picked better. This Stegosaurus is painted like a toy with a lime green body and orange plates. The plates and spikes are darker orange towards the top with a paler tone where they meet the body. Similarly, the green body is painted with darker green stripes running down the sides. Underneath the body is a paler green. The throat plates are a pinkish color, the beak and toes brown and the eyes white. That said the color is pleasing to look at. This Stegosaurus looks like an animal in full display which certainly helps it stand out on the shelf. Unfortunately the paint application is sloppy in places, where the plates meet the body in particular. There are many spots on my model where green is seen on the plates and spikes and orange bleeds onto the body. Texturally however this Stegosaurus succeeds. Small and larger scales cover the body as do wrinkles in all the appropriate places. The sculpting on the musculature makes this look like an active animal in its prime.

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 Overall, I would have to say this model mostly succeeds. Sloppy paint application and questionable color choices might hold it back, as might the missing cheeks to people bent on accuracy. It should also be noted that given the soft material this dinosaur is made out of, the plates and spikes appear to bend easily. All in all, I quite like it. It really pops out and has a lot of charm to it. Despite its few shortcomings Araki has managed to sculpt an interesting and eye catching depiction of an animal we’ve all seen done before. This model was just released so should be easy to locate. Be careful of inflated prices on eBay however, a little searching can help you find this toy at a reasonable price.