Category Archives: PNSO

Huanghetitan (Age of the Dinosaurs by PNSO)

In 2016 the PNSO (Peking Natural Science-Art Organization) line introduced large figures of often under-represented Chinese dinosaurs. The largest of the line is the obscure macronarian sauropod Huanghetitan, which lived in the Aptian age of the early Cretaceous (some time between 125 to 113 million years ago) of what is now China.

Huanghetitan being known only from fragmentary remains, it is hard to judge the accuracy of this figure. However the portrayal is is consistent with known sauropod biology. The hands correctly have only one claw and a slight crescent-moon shape. The nostrils are positioned towards the front of the skull (albeit a bit asymmetrically). Small scales and larger osteoderms, known from other sauropods, cover the skin. Most importantly, there is an appropriate amount of soft tissue – this is one bulky sauropod! No shrinkwrapped fenestrae or neck vertebrae to be seen here, which unfortunately cannot be said for the line’s other sauropods. The only fault  is an errant fourth toe claw on the right hind foot. Sauropods only had three claws on the hind feet, with the fourth and fifth digits being more stub-like. The left foot is correct, but the right foot even has the extra claw sculpted on (not just painted). Perhaps the figure represents an individual with a congenital defect? More likely this was an oversight in the sculpting process or a mistake gone uncorrected.

The combination of bulkiness and sheer size lend this figure a grand presence. Proudly striding along with head held high, this Huanghetitan is large and in charge, a giant in its prime. Depending on the length estimates used, this figure is anywhere from 1:30 to 1:40 scale.

The color scheme is subdued, consisting of varied grays and browns reminiscent of large extant mammals. The upper body’s scales have a white wash between them suggestive of dust caked into the skin (as with a modern elephant), similar to PNSO’s Triceratops. If being picky one could say the wash cuts off rather abruptly along the bottom, but this is only noticeable upon close inspection. The eyes are neatly painted gold with black pupils.

Astute collectors may notice that this figure bears a resemblance to the much more expensive Sideshow Apatosaurus statue, with both being bulky gray sauropods. Given that the Huanghetitan retails for the equivalent of just under $60 USD (discounted at the time of writing to ~$30 USD), how do these two stack up? It’s a fraction of the Sideshow statue’s price, but is it only a fraction of the quality?

Both are sizeable, with the Huanghetitan measuring about 27″ long compared to the Apatosaurus‘ 43″. But the Huanghetitan, being hollow vinyl, is a much lighter 2 lb compared to the Apatosaurus’ 10 lb. Despite being hollow the Huanghetitan is quite sturdy, and its vinyl construction makes it much less fragile than the Sideshow piece. Not having a base, it is much more easily transported than the Apatosaurus.

In terms of quality the Huanghetitan falls short upon close observation. The paint is prone to wear, even in the original packaging, and there are visible seams across the limbs and attaching the tail to the torso. Thankfully the paint application and detailing make these a bit less obvious. Furthermore, the details, while fine and intricate, are not as crisp as those on the resin Sideshow piece. While (naturally) not as high-end as the much pricier Sideshow statue, this is still a fine piece, making a worthy centerpiece (or companion to those fortunate Sideshow owners). At its retail price the detail and size make this figure a great bargain.

This big beauty makes a great addition to the collection of any fan of sauropods or Chinese dinosaurs. The Huanghetitan and other PNSO figurs are available outside of China from various resellers, though usually with some markup. If you are fortunate to have family or friends in China who can order one from PNSO’s Chinese store for you, the price is much more affordable.

Triceratops (Age of the Dinosaurs by PNSO)

Review and photographs by Triceratops83 and Plesiosauria

Available from Amazon.co.uk here.

The PNSO brand has taken the dinosaur collecting world by storm, releasing within a year a respectable range of impressive figures and high end models. PNSO dinosaurs have become known for their realistic sculpts and the recently released Triceratops is no exception. We recently unboxed it on our Youtube channel and here we’ll take an in depth look.

PNSO Triceratops

This Triceratops is a hollow PVC figure and doesn’t have any of the prominent seam lines featured in the other large PNSO dinosaurs (there is a slight seam around the neck but it is subtle). The model has branding hidden on the underside of the feet – “PNSO” on the right foot, “Made in PRC 2016” on the left foot, “CE” on the left hand, and what appears to be a signature (presumably the sculptor’s) on the right hand. The model is about 37 cm long and fits in comfortably with other 1:20 scale dinosaurs. The pose is in mid-stride, as if it were pawing the ground with its front limb just before charging. Its pose and general appearance are reminiscent of the Safari Ltd Great Dinos Triceratops, but larger and significantly more detailed.

PNSO Triceratops

Anatomically, this brilliant Triceratops offers little to criticize. It’s not too shrinkwrapped like some of the other large PNSO models and is quite stocky. Its head is properly proportioned in size to the rest of the body. The back is nicely rounded, reaching its peak above the hips and the tail is the correct, short length. The front limbs are slightly bowed and sprawling, and the hands are oriented correctly, inclined away from the body. At first glance the hands appear quite stubby, so maybe the fingers could be a little longer, but it’s not really bothersome. The number of fingers and toes is correct, as is their arrangement.

PNSO Triceratops

The figure is highly detailed, showing fine skin texturing all over the body. The hide is lovingly sculpted with small round scales, interspersed with the larger, raised nipple-shaped scales (which are sometimes interpreted as the bases of quills in other ceratopsian figures). Along the spine is a line of rectangular scutes. The underside looks like that of a crocodile, with symmetrical lines of broad scales. There is no obvious cloaca. Along the outer edges and rear of the frill appears to be a series of growth lines, resulting in an oyster like effect.

PNSO Triceratops
PNSO Triceratops

The paint application is well done, if a little sloppy on the underside. The body is predominantly blue-grey, with the belly scales a creamy brown. The head subtly fades into orange, with black markings around the frill and eyes. The eyes are neatly picked out with tiny black pupils. This subdued paint scheme invokes large modern day mammals.  One notable paint detail is a white wash between the scales on the upper body, creating the impression of dust caked into the skin like a Serengeti elephant.

PNSO Triceratops

The model comes packaged in a quality box with a sleeve featuring impressive photographic artwork of the model in a forest setting. The figure also comes with a fold-out leaflet/poster. We’ve included ‘Age of the Dinosaurs’ in the title of this review under the presumption that the Triceratops belongs to that line, but the information is almost exclusively in Chinese so we aren’t sure.

PNSO Triceratops

In our opinion this is one of the very best Triceratops figures on the market. It is scientifically accurate, beautifully detailed and realistically painted. It is easily available on Amazon.co.uk and is reasonably priced for such a large and well done model. A must have for any collection!

Mandschurosaurus (Age of the Dinosaurs by PNSO)

Beijing-based PNSO (Peking Natural Science and Art Organization) made a splash this year with the release of several large hollow vinyl figures. Besides being imposing due to their size, the new figures are notable for their high level of detail and the unconventional species choices. Today we’ll look at their Mandschurosaurus, the first plastic figure of this genus ever released.
pnsomandschurosaurus1

Mandschurosaurus is not the most famous dinosaur, but rather an obscure genus known from just a few bones discovered in the Amur region of Russia’s far east. The figure is bulky, like the others in its line, about 40 cm long measured along the spine. I couldn’t find reliable length estimates for the animal, so to figure out the scale I actually found a copy of the holotype description in a Soviet paleontology journal (thanks, interlibrary loan and Stanford University!). Incidentally, the author, A.H. Рябинин, died in 1942 and under Russian copyright law his work is now in the public domain.mandschurosaurus_amurensis
The description is mostly in Russian, with parts in English and French. But all I needed was some measurements, and numbers are a global language! I got measurements from both the original specimen and the toy for three bones:

scapula: 76 cm, 4.8 cm on the toy
ulna: 62.4 cm, 3 cm on the toy
tibia: 90 cm, 5.2 cm on the toy

On the toy they’re not quite all to scale with each other, but if you average them together, this figure is about 1:18. That’s a big hadrosaur!

It’s a very nicely sculpted figure, although the preceding measurements suggest some minor proportion problems. The entire piece is painted in various shades of brown, with a glossy finish. It’s slightly paler underneath, with a finely detailed wrinkled texture with tubercles and spiky scales along the back and a nice saggy dewlap.
pnsomandschurosaurus2

The head is not well known for Mandschurosaurus, so this one is sculpted to resemble a generic crestless hadrosaur. The eyes are the sole spot of color, painted a cool blue.
pnsomandschurosaurus3

This hollow figure is molded in multiple pieces, and assembled with glue. Despite the reasonably nice paint job, the seams are still visible around the midsection and across the lower thigh. I don’t find the seams terribly distracting, but your mileage may vary. My copy stands well on its own, but I have heard from other buyers that it can be unstable. It comes on a clear plastic support that you can use to keep it steady, or you can prop it up against another dino on your shelf.
pnsomandschurosaurus4

This might be a good figure for older kids, but probably not for the very young, since the paint chips easily and one incautious child could bonk another one pretty good. I get the impression that it is aimed more at adult collectors, and the price reflects that. It’s an attractive replica that looks very impressive on the shelf, and depicts a unique animal, so I’d recommend it for any fan of hadrosaurs, expert sculpting, or large-scale dinosaurs in general.