Category Archives: therizinosaur

Dinosaurs Of Japan (Capsule Q Museum by Kaiyodo)

For most of the field’s history, the bulk of paleontological research has occurred in North America, a fact reflected in the average dinosaur shelf lineup. There’s certainly no shortage of figures representing classics like Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, and Stegosaurus, while more obscure species from elsewhere in the world languish in the shadows. However, the rise of new discoveries from once (paleontologically) neglected regions of the world is slowly turning the tide. Kaiyodo’s latest CQ set features prehistoric animals (some only recently discovered) known from the company’s native Japan. The collection consists of five figures: TambatitanisFukuiraptor, a therizinosaurid, Pteranodon, and the crocodilian Toyotamaphimeia.

tambatitanis_kaiyodo

First up is Tambatitanis, from the early Cretaceous of Japan. Initially discovered in 2006, this species was only described very recently in 2014. Known from partial remains, many of this species’ distinguishing features are aspects of the bones (particularly the vertebrae) that wouldn’t be visible in the living animal. However this figure is an accurate depiction of a generic sauropod, with ample flesh and soft tissue (unlike some sauropod depictions with glaringly gaunt necks). The hands correctly have a single claw – while later titanosaurs lost this claw altogether, more basal forms like Tambatitanis still retained it. As is standard for Kaiyodo’s offerings, the level of detail packed into this small (4.25″, or just under 11 cm) figure is superb. The skin is folded and wrinkled without appearing elephantine, and small details such as the eyes and claws are applied precisely. While the color palette isn’t particularly vibrant, the stripes and dappling add visual interest to what would otherwise be a dull figure.

fukuiraptor_kaiyodo

Next is Fukuiraptor, a megaraptoran also from early Cretaceous Japan. Kaiyodo has previously produced figures of this genus a few times, but their latest depiction is a departure from their usual orange and black portrayal. Only known from fragmentary remains, not much can be said as to the figure’s accuracy besides the fact that it is a realistic interpretation of a generic megaraptoran, including the enlarged hand claws (which are interestingly painted white). Once again, the use of patterning, most prominent on the jaws and the white osteoderms along the neck (appearing almost mane-like), makes for a striking appearance.

therizinosauridae_kaiyodo

This next figure is actually quite unusual in that it is not intended to represent a specific genus but rather a generic therizinosaurid (the informational packet labels it simply as Therizinosauridae, the clade containing the classic Therizinosaurus amongst others).  Only very fragmentary therizinosaur remains are reported from Japan, but given the group’s prevalence in the rest of Asia it’s reasonable to assume they were a presence in Cretaceous Japan. This figure properly represents all the classic therizinosaur anatomical traits. The hallux (first toe) is enlarged and weight-bearing, and the body is covered in primitive, down-like feathers (known from early therizinosaurs like Beipiaosaurus). The feet are not plantigrade (all the foot bones flat on the ground). Trackway finds suggest larger therizinosaurs may have been plantigrade, but the evidence isn’t definitive either way so the standard digitigrade (walking on only the toe bones) depiction is perfectly plausible. Interestingly the color scheme is rather reminiscent of an ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalus), an impression furthered by the pine green base.

pteranodon_kaiyodo

Those of you in the know may now be having mental alarm bells going off: “Isn’t this set called dinosaurs of Japan? This is no dinosaur! And since when is Pteranodon Japanese?”. Indeed, this is the quintessential pterosaur Pteranodon longiceps. Japanese pterosaur remains have been attributed to Pteranodon, but given Japan’s distance from the American Western Interior Seaway (Pteranodon‘s primary habitat) this identification is unlikely. Perhaps Kaiyodo saw the need to include at least one iconic genus in their set – given the obscurity of the other genera included this is excusable. This is a familiar face in more ways than one – it’s the same model that appeared in Kaiyodo’s 2015 Cretaceous Collection. The notable difference is in the color scheme – this Pteranodon is primarily various shades of white and pink, a fate usually reserved for the bristle-toothed pterosaur Pterodaustro (if you don’t believe me a quick Google Image search will show what I mean). In fact, when combined with the grey beak the colors are remarkably similar to those of a roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) – seems like Kaiyodo has been pulling heavily from extant animals for inspiration with this set. Something worth mentioning is that the plastic used for these figures is softer than that of Kaiyodo’s previous Dinotales figures, meaning protruding features like the Pteranodon‘s beak and crest are susceptible to bending during shipping – manually applying force in the opposite direction should correct any warping.

toyotamaphimeia_kaiyodo

Last up is another non-dinosaur, the crocodylian Toyotamaphimeia. Not only is it not a dinosaur, it’s not even Mesozoic! It lived 450,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene, and was a close relative of the modern false gharial (in fact it was once considered to be in the same genus, Tomistoma). Toyotamaphimeia‘s remains are actually rather well-known, and the figure represents it accurately. Like its modern relative, the snout widens towards the base of the head, the feet are webbed with the correct number of toes, the caudofemoralis muscle at the base of the tail is sufficiently thick, and the inside of the open mouth is even a very pale pink color like seen in extant crocodilians. Once again the detail is superb, with distinct scales and scutes present all over the body.

dinosaursofjapan_kaiyodo

Overall this is another set of accurate, well-detailed, and interestingly colored figures from Kaiyodo. Though not all the depicted animals are necessarily dinosaurs or Japanese, this group of figures establishes an excellent precedent for released sets of mostly obscure genera, offering superb depictions of rarely represented animals. In fact, the Toyotamaphimeia is the first figure of its genus ever made (Fukuiraptor and Tambatitanis come in at third and second respectively)!  Like the previous Cretaceous Collection set, these figures don’t have the tiny accompanying human figures included in earlier CQ sets, something I actually prefer (keeping the human figures matched up with their respective animals gets to be a bit nerve-wracking on a jumbled collection shelf). This is a must-have set for any lover of obscure prehistoric creatures, and I highly recommend it to Kaiyodo fans and those who collect smaller figures in general. It can be found on eBay or obtained by services that purchase directly from Japan.

Therizinosaurus (World of History by Schleich)

Review and photos by Tallin, edited by Plesiosauria.

As one of the strangest looking dinosaurs discovered it is unsurprising that Therizinosaurus and its kin have been represented in toy form by most of the major companies, sometimes more than once or in different scales. CollectA and Safari Ltd have several examples of this strange therapod family in their ranges, and we have thus come to expect a similar shape for members of the therizinosaur clade: a pot-belly, small head and stumpy legs (reflecting fossil evidence from a variety of finds over the years). It seems evident that Schleich has decided to break with this design as seen in their 2014 Therizinosaurus.

Therizinosaurus (Schleich)

The ‘scythe lizard’ was first known from its huge 3 foot claws, discovered in 1954. At this point it was thought to belong to a turtle family, and the claws made up the body of vast flippers or were used to harvest seaweed. Thanks to several other discoveries, it became evident that this bizarre animal was actually a type of theropod, and still more recent evidence points to therizinosaurs being herbivorous. The hypothesis is that the massive 10m animal used it’s enormous claws to pull down branches, much like a ground sloth.

Therizinosaurus (Schleich)

Now to Schleich’s representation of this unique dinosaur. It seems clear to me that they are going for the monstrous approach with this design. Evidence points to therizinosaur heads being very small compared to their body, as well as being narrow and filled with small teeth. The head on this beastie is much bigger than it should be in proportion to its body, with big teeth and ending with a strange little curved beak. It is true that no skull is known for Therizinosaurus in particular, but the head given to this creature is unlike any skulls related to the dinosaur. It also features one of the meanest gazes of any model I own, with bright green eyes surrounded by black. The neck is suitable long, but curved over 90 degrees quite sharply at the top, of which I am unsure of the plausibility.

The hands sport the famously wicked claws that signify this dinosaur, though they look like they could do a great deal of damage to more than just a branch! The model is also not as pot-bellied as most reconstructions show, and I would say that the legs are perhaps slightly too long and large in proportion to the rest of the body. The feet should feature four weight-bearing toes rather than three as shown, and in the case of this model they are rather too large and splayed. I can see this has been done for stability reasons like with many of Schleich’s theropods, though this seems unnecessary given that the model can rest on its tail (though it can also be free standing over the edge of a desk/shelf).

Therizinosaurus (Schleich)

Accuracies aside, there are, however, many things I do like about this model and I think it has a wonderful character and personality, if a little villainous. I see it as a fictitious beastie rather than a specific dinosaur, and when viewed this way becomes rather charming, with the high level of detail in the head and articulated jaw and arms. It has a huge amount of wrinkly detail around the belly and legs, and you can also see a fine texture of feathery down running down the back, with larger feathers running down the sides of the suitably short tail. It is also an exceedingly brightly coloured model, with a rich orange/red back and a hyacinth blue underside separated by a line of black, with a few black spotted markings here and there. I can see a child loving this dinosaur and it taking up the role of super-villain in many a scenario. The posable arms with those huge claws are great for play, as is the jaw, and at 20cm tall it certainly isn’t a small fiddly model. It is roughly 1:35 scale. The material has a slightly rubbery feel and the paint seems fairly tough.

Therizinosaurus (Schleich)

I think that Schleich have produced a marvellous action monster figure here, with lots of character and playability. To say that this is an accurate representation of a therizinosaur is somewhat questionable, but there is little doubt that this model is a lot of fun.

Available from Amazon.com here.


Therizinosaurus (Deluxe version by CollectA)

Review and photos by suspsy

Although only scant remains of Therizinosaurus have been uncovered, careful study of its more complete relatives Alxasaurus, Nothronychus, and Falcarius have given us a reasonable idea of how it looked and lived. We also know for a fact that it possessed the largest claws of any dinosaur.

Therizinosaurus CollectA Deluxe

At around 21 cm tall, this 1:40 scale model towers most of the other dinosaurs in my collection. It has all the weird and wonderful features of the therizinosaur family: a small head on a long neck, powerful arms ending in massive curved claws, a sizeable pot belly, wide hips, stout legs, and a stumpy tail. My girlfriend, who is not a dinosaur nut like me, thinks this figure is absolutely creepy and horrifying. No amount of reassurance that it was a peaceful plant eater that only used its great claws for feeding and the occasional defence will change her mind.

Therizinosaurus CollectA Deluxe

The colours and detail on this Therizinosaurus are striking. The hands, underbelly, shins, and feet are dull beige with scales, but the rest of the animal is decked out in shaggy khaki and dark green feathers. Blue accents are used for its handsome mohawk and the small tuft on top of its shoulders. Even more striking are the small wings on its forearms, which are blue with white stripes. The tiny eyes are yellow, the inside of the mouth is pink, and the small hind claws are white. Oh, there’s airbrushed brown around its cloaca. Eww.

Therizinosaurus CollectA Deluxe

The Therizinosaurus is sculpted in a erect pose with its mouth wide open and its arms raised. Is it defending itself against a hungry tyrannosaur? Is it trying to intimidate a rival or impress a potential mate? Or is it simply slicing through its meal of leaves and branches? The choice is yours. The figure stands well on its own, although a small nudge is enough to knock it back on its tail.

Therizinosaurus CollectA Deluxe

Like other Deluxe CollectA dinosaurs, this one comes with a small beige human figure for scale. This one is decked out like a field researcher complete with sun hat, binoculars, backpack, and pickaxe. If we assume that the human is meant to be six feet tall, this would make the Therizinosaurus around 30 feet tall, which is far greater than any size estimates I’ve seen. Still, given how few actual bones of this dinosaur have been found, who is to say for certain how big it could grow?

Therizinosaurus CollectA Deluxe

Therizinosaurus has long been one of my favourite dinosaurs and this model doesn’t disappoint. With excellent sculpting, attractive colours, solid play value, and arguably the most bizarre proportions of any dinosaur, it’s guaranteed to shine on your shelf.

Therizinosaurus CollectA Deluxe

Special thanks to FaunaFigures.com for this and many other great dinosaur toys!

Also available from Amazon.com here.