Category Archives: PNSO

Ampelosaurus (Age of the Dinosaurs by PNSO)

Ampelosaurus was a relatively small sauropod that lived in Europe during the Late Cretaceous. To protect itself against predators, this titanosaur’s back was covered in an impressive array of armoured osteoderms.

Meet Lans, the little Ampelosaurus from PNSO. He measures about 9.5 cm long, although he’d be longer if his tail were held out straight behind him instead of curling fluidly to the left. His head is held high and his left front leg is in mid-step. Like so many other PNSO miniatures, he looks like he’s out taking a casual walk without any fear or concern, which is probably what a lot of herbivorous dinosaurs really did spend most of their lives doing.

The upper half of Lans’ body is coloured dark green while the lower half is light brown. Dark brown is used for the horizontal stripes on his sides and to accentuate the many wrinkles on his body. Finally, his tiny eyes are black. For a sauropod figure, this is reasonably colourful.

The most distinctive feature about Lans is, of course, his armour. A tapering row of triangular osteoderms runs from the base of his neck to above his hips and his entire back is covered in round plates. The rest of his body features thick wrinkles. His small head has a typical titanosaur shape and his feet are correctly shaped. My only criticisms are that his neck looks a little too short and his body is too wide and flattened.

Overall, Lans the Ampelosaurus is yet another pleasing and unique little figure from PNSO. Indeed, to my knowledge, the only other existing toy of this genus is the one from CollectA, which is also quite good. It’ll certainly be interesting to see what PNSO has in store for us dinosaur collectors in the future. Thanks go out once again to them for this and many other miniatures. ūüôā

Kentrosaurus (Age of the Dinosaurs by PNSO)

As a hungry allosaur appears from the brush, Sethi abandons his breakfast and adopts a fighting stance. The predator moves in quickly, but Sethi responds by swinging his great tail in a full arc. The swooshing sound and flashing spikes give the allosaur pause, but then it resumes its advance. Sethi swings his tail again and this time, one of his spikes narrowly misses the theropod’s eye. Dissuaded, the allosaur slinks off in search of easier prey and Sethi quietly resumes grazing.

Kentrosaurus needs little introduction, as it is probably the second most popular stegosaur after mighty Stegosaurus itself. PNSO’s miniature rendition of this prickly customer, affectionately named Sethi, measures about 7.5 cm long. He is sculpted in an alert stance with his head turned sharply to the left, his left front leg raised, and his tail pulled back to the right, cocked and ready to deal a swift and painful blow.

The colour on Sethi’s body goes from olive green to sandy yellow, with grey spots. A white stripe runs horizontally from his neck to about halfway down his tail on both his sides. His eyes are orange and black. Finally, the plates on his back are purple while the spikes on his tail go from olive green to pale orange at the tips. Purple is a colour that’s seldom employed on “serious” dinosaur figures, so I think it’s very welcome here.

Sethi’s skin is covered in folds and wrinkles as well as small, oval-shaped osteoderms. Many creases are to be found on his plates and spikes. But while he is instantly recognizable as a Kentrosaurus, litte Sethi does have a number of anatomical errors. His front feet appear to have only three toes each. The spikes jutting out from his shoulders should be as long as the ones on his tail. The pair of spikes at the end of his tail should be angled further down, almost parallel to the tail tip. And finally, while this isn’t an inaccuracy per se, I would have liked it more if both the plates and the spikes were the same colour.

Overall, Sethi the Kentrosaurus is yet another impressive and endearing PNSO miniature, albeit with some minor scientific flaws. Thanks go out to PNSO for this figure!

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.