Category Archives: PNSO

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

Majungasaurus (Age of the Dinosaurs by PNSO)

Majungasaurus was an abelisaur, closely related to Carnotaurus and Rajasaurus. One of the very last dinosaurs to roam the planet, it was the feared and undisputed ruler of the island of Madagascar.

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Here’s Seia, the little Majungasaurus from PNSO. Sculpted atop a tan oval-shaped base, she is in a running stance with her right leg forward and her powerful tail curled back like a dog’s. This gives her a height of slightly over 7 cm and a length of 8.5 cm. While this pose unquestionably looks dramatic, I’m not sure if it was possible for a big theropod to achieve such a feat without breaking some tail bones.

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Seia’s main colours are ochre and very pale yellow with dark grey stripes and orange eyes. An appropriate colour scheme for a predator, very much like a tiger’s pelt. Her skin is wrinkly all over with multiple osteoderms on her neck and back. Her head features sculpted teeth and the single signature horn above her eyes. Her snout is short in length and tall in height, her hips are the correct width, and her muscular hind limbs make her look swift and graceful, but also deadly.

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Unfortunately, Seia is plagued by some major inaccuracies. First, her arms. Abelisaurs are famous for having arms so insanely tiny, they make a T. rex‘s look downright huge by comparison. Majungasaurus was no exception to this feature, but Seia’s arms, while small, are simply too large and long. Secondly, both her neck and her torso should be longer. And thirdly, her legs should be shorter. Seia also has a couple of mould issues. Her right foot is fused with a lump of plastic and looks ugly. Worse, she has a tendency to sag to the left. I keep her propped up with a support column made out of Lego, but she begins to sag again soon after I remove it. Not sure if this is just an individual case of bad luck or a widespread problem.

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Overall, Seia the Majungasaurus has a number of anatomical flaws, but she’s still an attractive and dynamic little toy. I extend my thanks to PNSO for this sample figure.

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Tuojiangosaurus (Age of the Dinosaurs by PNSO)

What an impressive debut PNSO has made this year! From huge resin statues ranging from $500 to $2000(yowza!) to large vinyl figures and to a variety of finely detailed miniatures, it looks like this Chinese company is going to be causing us dinosaur collectors much joy and much lighter wallets in future!

Today we’ll be taking a look at an adorable little Tuojiangosaurus going by the name of Rahba. Hailing from the Late Jurassic period, Tuojiangosaurus is the best-known of all the Asian stegosaurs, and at 7 metres in length, it was one of the larger members of the family.

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Rahba is posed in a walking stance with both her head and her thagomizer turning to the right and her right front leg raised in mid-step. Her main colours are sea green and beige with dull brown for her plates and spikes and orange for her eyes. Dark brown is used to accent the many wrinkles on her skin.

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From nose to tail tip, Rahba measures a mere 8 cm long. As I mentioned above, her body is covered in a network of thick folds and wrinkles. Her plates and spikes are grooved and there are even small, rounded scales on the underside of her jaw and her throat. Her head, neck, limbs, body, and tail all look very well-proportioned. No easy task when sculpting such a small toy.

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Rahba has three toes on each hind foot and at least three on each her front ones (it’s difficult to tell at this scale). Her thagomizer is made up of four long, curved spikes. No complete thagomizer of Tuojiangosaurus has been found to date, but all the skeletal reconstructions I’ve found online have depicted it with four spikes. The two small row of plates running down the back are also in keeping with the available fossil material. But the same cannot be said for the large spikes projecting from Rahba’s shoulders. For some reason, there is an abundance of paleoart depicting Tuojiangosaurus with shoulder spikes, but no such feature is known to exist in the fossil record. Nor do any mounted skeletal reconstructions include them.

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Tuojiangosaurus is not well-represented at all in the world of dinosaur toys, so it’s a real shame about those shoulder spikes. Nevertheless, Rahba’s impressive sculpting detail make her a lovely little toy in spite of her inaccuracy. Recommended.

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Thanks to PNSO for this and many other products!