Category Archives: PNSO

Shantungosaurus (Age of the Dinosaurs by PNSO)

Review and photographs by Fembrogon, edited by Suspsy

Hello, all, this is Fembrogon with my first review for the DinoToyBlog. My featured creature for this review is the gargantuan hadrosaur Shantungosaurus–a genus which I believe could achieve minor stardom in the mainstream with the right push. Shantungosaurus obviously wasn’t a carnivore, and didn’t have fancy ornamentation like some of its relatives, but with size estimates reaching up to 50 feet long and 13 tons heavy, Shantungosaurus holds the record for largest known non-sauropod land animal in history. That’s not bad for a duckbill!

Of course, with size being Shantungosaurus‘s potential claim to fame, the best way to market it would be to bank on BIG merchandise. The Chinese company PNSO finally took a stab at this dino, as well as several others (some of which have already been reviewed here on the blog), as part of a large hollow plastic toy line. How well does Shantungosaurus hold up?

Unfortunately, not so well in the case of my particular figure. The feet are so unevenly balanced that the big hadrosaur is prone to falling like dying prey. Hot water treatments to the legs have only offered temporary respites. Hopefully, this issue is unique to mine (I don’t even know if it’s actually a sculpting or shipping issue), but it’s the biggest criticism I have to lay on the figure, so let that issue . . um . . . Stand at the front.

The above problem notwithstanding, the PNSO Shantungosaurus has an impressive shelf presence, standing 6.5″ tall at the hip and 13″ long, 17″ counting the curves in the neck and tail. This puts the figure at roughly 1:35 scale. I’m no expert on hadrosaur anatomy, but looking at skeletal photographs and illustrations, PNSO seems to have nailed the overall proportions and features of the genus. I particularly like the thick, rectangular lower jaw replicated on the figure, which distinguishes it more from other, more “plain”-looking hadrosaurs (if the honking great size wasn’t enough for you). I don’t know if Shantungosaurus could bend the end of its tail as well as it is on this figure (hadrosaurs are thought to have very stiff, reinforced tailbones), but it certainly adds to a dynamic pose not often seen in herbivorous dinosaurs.


Finer details are very good for what is ostensibly a child’s toy. There’s little or no shrink-wrapping I can make out, besides a rather bony face. The body is covered with fine scaly detail, pronounced by dark paint highlights. The paint job is very earthy and natural in appearance, with light and dark brown washes and a nice, subtle striping on the tail. There are some odd rusty red highlights on the face, but they aren’t too distracting. My figure does have a few tiny scuffs on the toes and spine, however, so I would recommend treating this figure gently. There is also a noticeable paint blotch on the left back leg of mine; hopefully that is another flaw unique to my own.

PNSO appears to be off to a strong start with their dinosaur figures. While I can’t praise this particular one as much as I’d like, what with the various issues mine has (getting it to stand risks becoming a hassle), the PNSO Shantungosaurus is nonetheless a very nice representation of a genus rarely seen in toy form. If you’d like to obtain one for yourself, DeJankins still has this figure and others in the line for reasonable prices as of this writing.

Confuciusornis (Age of the Dinosaurs by PNSO)

Confuciusornis is a prehistoric bird from the early Cretaceous of China, named after the famous philosopher. This small toy by PNSO is one of a handful of examples of this species committed to plastic, and the first Confuciusornis model reviewed on the Dinosaur Toy Blog. This one also goes by the nickname of ‘Yoyo’ and is one of the “Little” figures in the PNSO’s Age of the Dinosaurs series. PNSO they have completely done it justice.

Confuciusornis PNSO

The main reason I wanted to  review this particular figure is because of my involvement in an exciting Dinosaurs of China exhibition coming to Nottingham, UK, in summer 2017. This world exclusive one-time-only exhibition will explore the relationship between dinosaurs and birds, and includes real fossils of feathered dinosaurs and prehistoric birds from China – including a Confuciusornis. So, as the curator of the exhibition, I feel a certain connection to this species! If you want to see a real fossil of this species, plus 24 other dinosaurs including mounted skeletons of the mighty Gigantoraptor and Mamenchisaurus, then make sure to drop by Wollaton Hall this summer. See the teaser trailer, and tickets are for sale on the website: http://www.dinosaursofchina.co.uk. The PNSO are also connected to this Dinosaurs of China exhibition because they have provided all of the stunning artwork for the exhibition graphics. Anyway, that’s enough exhibition plugging, back to the model!

Confuciusornis PNSO

The sculpt is accomplished and finely detailed, as are all of the PNSO’s models. The anatomy is remarkably accurate, even the articulation of the wrists and the relationship between the wing feathers and the fingers, a point that trips up uninitiated palaeoartists. The long, hooked claws on the fingers are very clear, and the animal is in a flying pose. This pose encourages me to fool around and make it swoop: there is lots of playability in a pose like this. It has a punk-like hairdo and a puffed out chest so PNSO haven’t scrimped on the plumage.

Confuciusornis is remarkable because it is known from many specimens that reveal sexual dimorphism. That is, the males are different from the females. The paired strap-like tail feathers in Yoyo indicate that he is a male. For anyone into diorama building, a simple surgery would make him female.

Confuciusornis PNSO

The tail feathers are slightly warped so their tips overlap. They can be adjusted, as I have done for the photos, but their positions quickly revert. A treatment with hot water or a hair dryer might fix this permanently.

The paint work on this tiny figure is expertly applied and quite brilliant – adventurous but still believable. The wing feathers have natural-looking earthy tones in bands, which contrast sharply with the jet-black paired tail feathers. These strap-like feathers terminate with bright blue eye-spots. My only quibble would be that the eyes (the ones in its head!) are white without pupils, which make it feel a bit lifeless. Black eyes would seem more appropriate.

Confuciusornis PNSO

This is a lovely tiny figure that I highly recommend on all fronts.  This brings us lastly onto the topic of how to get our hands on these products. I know that the PNSO are still going through a change of personnel and there seem to be no signs yet of their toys returning to Amazon. These miniature figures also seem to be absent from the PNSO’s most recent catalogue, but one can only speculate as to why. I think it is just a matter of remaining patient while PNSO find their feet.

Thanks to the PNSO for the review sample.

Archaeopteryx (Age of the Dinosaurs by PNSO)

It’s all or nothing now. Having caught the young female’s eye, Jonas fluffs his feathers, spreads his wings, and raises his tail. She continues to watch him from a distance. Encouraged, Jonas rapidly bows his head and utters low clicks and rattles. At last, the female approaches him and the two touch muzzles. Jonas has found his mate.

Say hello to Jonas, the little Archaeopteryx from PNSO. The sculptor has caught this iconic feathered dinosaur in what appears to be the act of courtship display. Jonas’ wings are outstretched and held to the front, his right foot is raised, and his tail elevated, which are all things that many extant male birds do when trying to attract a mate. From his wingtips to the end of his tail, Jonas measures 9.5 cm long and is 5.5 cm tall. Much smaller than the other Archaeopteryx figures that have been reviewed here on the DTB.

Jonas balances well enough on his wingtips and left foot, although he falls over easily. His main colours are light grey and medium brown with very pale beige on the underside of his waist and tail and muddy brown for his fingers and feet. The plumage on his head is mostly very dark brown with white patches surrounding his black eyes and burnt orange on his cranium and snout. Dark brown is also used for the primaries on his wings and the accents on his tail. Finally, white is used to line the tips of the primaries and the secondaries. It’s a realistic colour scheme to be sure, but it’s not in fitting with the studies which concluded that Archaeopteryx had black covert feathers.

In terms of both detailing and scientific accuracy, Jonas rates pretty high. His plumage has been meticulously sculpted, with visible barbs on the feathers on his wings and tail. His wings feature all the major feather groups: front, coverts, secondaries, and primaries. They are also asymmetrical, which is a trademark characteristic of flying birds. His bare feet have faint wrinkles and the feathers covering his neck make it appear appropriately thick. His second toes, however, are lying flat when they ought to be raised just like a dromaeosaur’s.

Aside from this one flaw, Jonas the Archaeopteryx is an exquisite and enjoyable little toy. Definitely worth adding to your feathered dinosaur collection.

Thanks go out to PNSO for this toy!