Category Archives: Papo

Acrocanthosaurus (Papo)

Review and photographs by Rajvinder “IrritatorRaji” Phull, edited by Suspsy

Like diamonds to a woman, Papo is a dinosaur lover’s best friend. While they tend to fall short in terms of scientific accuracy, their models are renowned for being packed to the brim with detail. Their offerings are pleasing to look at, even if it’s a slightly less enjoyable viewing experience for a trained eye. However, for 2017, Papo have brought out the big guns, with this Acrocanthosaurus arguably taking centre stage. Measuring at 28 cm (11 inches) long and 15cm (5.9 inches) tall at the tip of the tail, it’s a decently sized model. Just how good is this figure though? Well, let’s take a closer look.

The pose is an interesting one, but certainly not unique, with Battat’s Acrocanthosaurus and Safari Ltd’s original Carcharodontosaurus having used this stance before. While it’s not the dreaded tripod stance, the animal does not stand on its own two feet. Instead, it rests on the middle claw on its right arm. That being said, Papo has certainly made this pose their own. Through use of beautifully sculpted muscles, the figure gives off the illusion of a heavy animal shifting all its weight onto its left leg. While I feel this figure may have had a lot of potential being sculpted in a horizontal position, similar to Papo’s new Ceratosaurus, the impact of this forward-lunging pose can’t be denied. What makes this pose better for me is the ambiguity of the animal’s emotion; it doesn’t appear to be inherently passive or aggressive. Simply altering the position of the articulated jaw can turn this cautiously curious reptile into a predator striking at its prey.

In typical Papo fashion, the detail is superb. The face is adorned in small, individually sculpted scales. The teeth are also individually sculpted and are not uniform. The tongue and inner mouth are also worthy of merit, not only being well sculpted, but being wonderfully painted too. The lower jaw and neck showcase those signature Papo spines. The skin of the Acrocanthosaurus is sculpted beautifully, stretching to expose muscle and bone and bunching into highly detailed folds. The hands, which are not pronated, and feet are coated in broad, bold scales, giving them a very bird-like appearance. The hands are missing the enlarged claws that allosaurs are known to have, but given that I myself nearly forgot to talk about it, I can’t really blame Papo, especially since it’s not an obvious or iconic feature. The model is also very sturdy, and I mean very sturdy. On a flat surface, it’s nearly impossible to knock this figure over unless you were trying to, so you can trust that it will not accidentally fall off your shelf to its doom.

The paint job is another plus to this figure. Gray, orange, dark blue, white, gold and purple create this dinosaur’s skin. A very strange choice of colours, in my opinion, but definitely worth that gamble. The dark blue sail and thin purple line help to bring out the bright orange streak going along the body. White osteoderms also contour the animal’s neck, shoulders, back, and tail. The face and neck are also dotted with gold. Its small eyes, which feature yellow scleras with red irises and black pupils, are lined with a thin black that makes them pop. It’s also worth noting that this figure isn’t overly shiny, having a nice matte finish instead.

That’s all that’s great about this model, but does it have any flaws? While it does have some, they’re quite small, and if you’re not looking for them you may never notice them. First of all, while my Acrocanthosaurus was unaffected, I’ve seen other ones where the paint on the gums spills onto the lips. The spines that line the animal’s sail were also worn and unpainted on a few of them for my model. The tail also curves at the end, it looks nice but may not have been possible in reality given the stiff tail that we generally accept. I also have an issue with the pink paint on the cheeks, and that’s that it ends so abruptly, it looks like a mistake. It was probably intentional, but I feel it could have been blended with the grey skin better. There are also two large ‘canines’ in the lower jaw that tower above the other teeth. I don’t recall these canines being present in current findings or restorations of Acrocanthosaurus, but maybe I’m just out of touch. The temporal fenestre are also difficult to see. This figure also shares a flaw that was present in Papo’s Baryonyx. Namely, the head and neck are covered in small, bumpy, sculpted scales, but the body is covered in smoother wrinkles. It’s not a massive problem by any means, but the difference between the details in the head and the body are clear to see.

So, what’s my verdict? This is a fine model, a real beauty that any dinosaur lover should consider adding to their collection. While it does have its flaws, none of them should deter anyone who’s thinking of picking this figure up. And that’s it for my first review, thank you for reading!

Tyrannosaurus rex (Rainbow Running Version by Papo)

Since its release in 2012, Papo’s Running Tyrannosaurus rex has become immensely popular with dinosaur enthusiasts. Its fearsome visage has popped in multiple books and magazines, and it has even crashed a few weddings! Not surprisingly then, Papo released this very colourful repaint in mid-2016. Unlike the super-rare brown variant, this one is widely available both online and in certain stores such as Mastermind Toys here in Ontario.

I’m not going to go much into sculpting detail, as it’s already been amply discussed in the reviews linked above. As you can see, the “rainbow” moniker is well-justified. The T. rex’s back is covered in dark blue, purple, and light brown while its flanks and underside feature medium grey with dark stripes, dark blue hands and feet, and dark grey claws. The throat, with its thick wattle, is dark pink. The brow ridges are dull purple, the eyes are blood red, the inside of the mouth is off pink, and the teeth are pearly white.

At first glance, this colour scheme appears identical to the female version’s. However, there are a few differences. The male’s skull and mouth interior are darker. The tissue connecting the skull to the mandible is pink painted over with purple as opposed to just pink. The purple stripes running horizontally along the sides are more pronounced. Finally, the hands and feet are dark blue as to blue-grey. Blueback, meet Bluefoot. May you live long and dispatch many ceratopsians together. Oh, and Bluefoot is also distinctly glossier on his head and back compared to his mate.

The other two versions of the Running T. rex are infamous for having difficulty standing on their own. Happily, Papo appears to have addressed this flaw. As you can see in the comparison photo below, Bluefoot leans less to the right than Roughskull, making him a centimetre taller and greatly improving his stability!

Out of all three versions, this one is now my favourite, due to the spiffy colour scheme and the improved stability. If you don’t own any of them yet, I definitely recommend getting this one. And if you’re particularly fond of T. rex, as I am, then you’ll definitely want to add this figure to your collection regardless. Incidentally, the upcoming 2017 Acrocanthosaurus figure has the same colour scheme as Bluefoot and Blueback. Someone at Papo must really like this blend.

Smilodon (2011)(Papo)

One of the more bizarre proposals I’ve heard recently is that Smilodon and other machairodonts may have had large, drooping jowls to protect their famous (and fragile) fangs from the elements. I’m not convinced of this reconstruction myself, but I do find it rather amusing. Speculation will always be a large part of paleontology.

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The Papo Smilodon was released back in 2011, so its fangs are out in the open for all to see. It is posed in an extreme crouching stance with its muscular limbs taut and its mouth open in a roar. No proper predator would ever let out the slightest peep during a hunt, so it’s doubtful that this guy (you can clearly tell this is a male) is stalking game. No, more likely he’s confronting a rival who’s been trespassing on his turf. Or maybe he’s facing down a vicious pack of dire wolves or a hulking short-faced bear bent on stealing his hard-earned kill. Or perhaps he’s been cornered by a band of early human hunters. In any case, this big cat is ready to rumble!

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The Smilodon measures 15.5 cm long. Its colour scheme appears to be based on an African lion: tawny brown and white fur with dark brown on the ears and the tip of the tail, grey claws, black for the pads on the paws and the accents around the eyes, nose, and mouth, light brown eyes, a dark pink nose, pink and dark purple for the inside of the mouth, and creamy white dentition. It’s perfectly possible that Smilodon was coloured like this, but I much prefer my machairodonts with spots or stripes on their pelts.

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The detailing on this toy is very impressive. Finely sculpted fur covers the entire animal and the muscles in the limbs look well-defined and powerful. The ribs can be felt on the flanks and the wrinkles on the muzzle add to the Smilodon‘s enraged appearance. No major anatomical inaccuracies to be found here, although the overall build is probably too sleek and streamlined. And the inside of the mouth is quite a disappointment. Look inside the mouth of just about any Papo theropod and you’ll see plenty of fine sculpting detail. But aside from the simple tongue, the inside of this cat’s mouth is flat and plain.

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In conclusion, while I like the versions from CollectA and Safari better, this is nevertheless one of the better-sculpted, more fun Smilodon toys currently available. Recommended.

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But if the standard appearance isn’t your cup of tea, there’s the upcoming 2017 version with tiger stripes and a lion’s mane. Looks like it’s wearing a babushka to me.