Category Archives: theropod

Pachycephalosaurus (Bullyland)

During this festive frenzy of reviews of late, lets take a small time warp back in time and bring forth a toy that has been left behind by the relentless march of time. In 2009, Bullyland,  the purveyor of  goofy eyed yet expressive figures, released a interesting looking Pachycephalosaurus. It wasn’t a perfect figure in the time it was made, but looking back it was a whole different world of dinosaur sculpts for collectors.  Carnegie was still around, CollectA was still figuring itself out, and the dreaded tripod stance was popular.  Its amazing how far toy companies have come since 2009.  What passes as an average  figure now would have been a good to great figures just seven years ago.

On top of that, Pachycephalosaurus is a strange animal in dinosaur collecting.  I would doubt it would make many top ten popular dinosaur lists, but at the same time it is easily recognizable to most adults and kids.  Due to that domed skull,  kids like to play with it as if it was Ram Man, head butting through obstacles and viscous predators.   In JP the Lost World there is a popular scene showing it ramming one of the Jeeps, reinforcing the popular belief that these animals just head butted their way through life.  In reality like many of the strange features we find on dinosaurs, like a Triceratops‘ frill, or Parasaurolophus’ crest, the domed skull was probably used as a display structures, sexual dimorphism perhaps, or other uses that we haven’t even come up with yet.

Size comparison: Carnegie Pachycephalosaurus on the left, Bullyland on right.

About the toy:  According to the print on the bottom of the figure it is 1:30 scale.  It is 4 in (10.16 cm) high and 9 in (22.86 cm) long.  The pose is active with the head down and eyes looking forward.  Pachycephalosaurus had a narrow face with a small muzzle which ended in a pointed beak. I think the head on this figure is too wide and big.  The dome-shaped head is present and looks quite thick.  All the way around from the snout to the back of the head it is covered by bumps and wart-like knobs with a fringe of dull spikes. There is a bunch of small white teeth in the upper maxilla.  In actuality the teeth should be less numerous and should look different by the  beak.

The arms are short but beefy and spread out with the hands pronated.  On each hand are five fingered which is accurate.  The legs are big and beefy and the figure stands on oversized feet, in which all four toes touch the ground.  That’s right, instead of standing on a three toed foot, they made the forth one long enough to help with its balance.

Accuracy wise this figure ends up being so-so.  As it is thought that Pachycephalosaurus would have been similar to other ornithopods, this figure does have some of the features you would expect.  It does have forelimbs with five-fingered hands, a long, heavy, fairly rigid tail, and a neck that is short yet thick.  Its belly also appears to be enlarged and looks well fed.

This figure is painted as if it lived in an arid landscape with tan and black colors.  A yellow color is dry brushed over the main colors.  There is a little bit or orange mixed in the bumps around its head and on the under side of the tail and belly.  The teeth and eyes are white while the inside of the mouth is black.  Around the eyes it is very black almost like eye liner.  All the claws are grey.

Overall:  Bullyland figures tend to take a little getting used to.  It is true that many of their figures are not one hundred percent accurate, but they do tend to have more of an persona and charm.  It could be the goofy eyes, I am not sure, but they do tend to be expressive.

With that big head, beefy arms, thick tail, and those meaty thighs, it is quite a stout figure.  I think a T-Rex would have loved to have this girl for dinner.  This thick skulled Pachycephalosaurus toy does have some inaccuracies as I mentioned earlier.  When making a decision on this toy you cannot discount that fact. Despite that fact it also has some charm along with a active pose.  I rate it as an average figure but one that I really like so maybe I’m a little biased.    If you like how this figure looks than in my opinion, it is worth it.  This figure is not for everyone and if you want accuracy you could check out the CollectA Pachycephalosaurus ,which is rather small, or the old Battat one if you are lucky enough to find it.

 

 

 

 

 

Deinocheirus (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

Review and photos by Faelrin, edited by Plesiosauria

This past year has seen a surprisingly large number of amazing figures produced by Safari Ltd. Of all the new prehistoric figures released for 2017, only a few have yet to be reviewed so far, including the Deinocheirus that will be the subject of this review. In fact, this figure of this strange (and for a while, mysterious) dinosaur was one of my most anticipated out of all the releases for 2017.

Deinocheirus mirificus has quite a history. Its name means “terrible hand” or “horrible hand”, because for several decades, only its arms and hands were known. I first learned of this dinosaur as a child, and the mystery of its identity enticed me back then. At the time I imagined it as a large theropod, similar to Allosaurus in shape. I dreamed that time would reveal what this creature looked like, with more complete remains discovered. However, I never could have imagined it would have been within my lifetime, let alone only another decade and some years away, or even what this creature truly looked like.

This figure by Safari Ltd is a bit on the small side, only measuring about 3 inches tall (or 7.6 cm), by a little over 7 inches long (or 17.8 cm), when compared to their much larger feathered Tyrannosaurus rex (also new for 2017). However, this figure is one of the few accurate figures of this genus, although that is because the more complete remains of this dinosaur have only been described in 2014. Deinocheirus was quite a strange animal, especially for an ornithomimosaur. It is the largest ornithomimosaur discovered so far, being about 11 meters or 36 feet long. On top of that, it had a strange duck or hadrosaur like head, a large sail or hump, and is also the largest known non-avian feathered dinosaur discovered from fossil evidence. The presence of feathers is inferred from the bird-like pygostyle structure at the end of its tail.

The figure has the correct proportions and has all the characteristic features mentioned above. The sculpt has lots of detail on it, from the feathers, to the tiny scales on its hand and feet. I am not sure what kind of feathers Deinocheirus would have had, or if it would have even had wings, but I think the shaggy ratite-like feathers fit this animal quite well. The duck-like bill is colored in a pale yellow, with black emphasizing the outline of the mouth. Its tiny black eyes are surrounded by some pink wrinkled skin, and its neck also has some of the same wrinkled pink skin. Its scales are a grey brown color with a dark wash over them, and the claws have all been painted black. The feathers are colored in white on the head, and a tan or light orange brown over most of the body, with some white feathers on the belly, legs, and tail. There are also some white stripes on the back. I think they look a bit too cleanly done in comparison to the areas on the belly, legs, and tail. Otherwise, I think it is a believable color scheme for such a large animal.

This figure makes a nice addition to my growing collection of dinosaur figures, and if you like obscure, or strange dinosaurs, then you might enjoy the figure of this Deinocheirus. I ordered my figure from Safari Ltd’s online store here, but it is also available on Amazon.com here.


Cryolophosaurus (Papo)

Review and photographs by “Loon”, edited by Plesiosauria

“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.” – Elvis Presley.

Cryolophosaurus was an early Jurassic theropod that hailed from the Hanson Formation around 194-188 mya in what is now Antarctica. Weighing in at over 1,000 lbs, and reaching over 20 feet long, Cryolophosaurus was one of the largest theropods of its time and the top predator of its ecosystem. The only known fossil is the holotype, FMNH PR1821, which belonged to a juvenile, meaning an encounter with a fully grown Cryolphosaurus would be truly astounding and terrifying. Though, like its cousin, Dilophosaurus, a juvenile could still most likely take down a fully grown Wayne Knight.

This figure is one of several debuted in 2017. Papo models are usually very high quality, and this Cryolophosaurus is no exception. Unlike several recent Papo figures, the sculpting on the figure comes across as much more consistent. The scales that adorn the body are very similar to the scales found on the bellies of modern crocodilians, and appear to be very defined and unique, almost as if they were individually sculpted. This is different to several recent Papo figures, where the postcranial scales appear to be little more than the result of horizontal and vertical cuts in the sculpt. The muscles are all very well-defined, and appear to be covered in a decent amount of fat and skin, giving this animal a very “alive” look. The figure features rows of osteoderms that turn into spikes on the top of the spine, they flow from the top of the neck to the base of the tail; while speculative, these features are an interesting addition.

Paint-wise, this figure is among, if not the, best Papo has ever produced. The paint makes it one of Papo’s most vibrant; which, I mean, isn’t saying much given their usual ‘go to’ selection of the ever-exciting brown and grey. These colors, while beautiful, are one of the figures more debatable aspects, Papo has a history of copying both design aspects and paint schemes from Sideshow Collectibles Dinosauria statues, such as almost the entirety of their Apatosaurus, Dilophosaurus, and Carnotaurus, and unfortunately, this figure is no exception. While ‘Dinosauria’ has never produced a Cryolophosaurus statue, the color scheme of this figure is nigh identical to the color scheme of the ‘Dinosauria’ Ceratosaurus. However, in defense of what may be viewed as Geoworld levels of thievery, the color scheme is appropriate. While we don’t know the exact color of Cryolophosaurus, it did live in a forested environment so these colors do seem suitable for a large predator trying to sneak through the woods in search of a meal.

The figure features the ever-necessary articulated jaw, which opens to reveal a highly detailed interior. The jaws are appropriately crocodilian, with a good amount of detail extending into the roof and back of the mouth, as well as to the tongue and gums.

The shape of the skull is quite accurate; we can tell this because it is quite visible. Overall, it’s not the worst case of shrink-wrapping, it does feature a decent amount of muscle in the fenestrae, and the oft-forgotten pterygoideus posterior muscle is thankfully featured on the lower jaw. The biggest point of inaccuracy in the head is that the skull does seem to be missing the “notch” in the premaxilla at the front.

The definitive feature of Cryoloposaurus is the crest which it is named for; Cryolophosaurus is the greek for “Frozen Crest Lizard.” The crest is well detailed, featuring a keratinous covering which extends to the front of the nasal. The current understanding is that the crest was probably used for intra-species recognition, as well as being functional in social behavior with other Cryolophosarus. Given this understanding, it would have been appropriate to give the crest a more colorful paint scheme. As is, unfortunately, it tends to blend in with the rest of the figure, unless, of course, this is a female animal.

Accuracy hasn’t always been Papo’s strong spot, however, 2017 seems to be a step in the right direction. While not all 100% accurate, most of their offerings for 2017 are definitely some of the most accurate figures they’ve ever made. This Cryolophosaurus is probably the second most accurate after their Ceratosaurus. The sculpt seems to adhere to the current reconstructions of the animal, albeit warping some parts to an unrealistic extent (we’ll get to that, don’t you worry). There are no known skin impressions of Cryolophosaurus However, the scales as well as the osteoderms/spikes, are known from its close relatives, the ceratosaurs. So, the aforementioned lack of a notch in the front of the upper jaw is the biggest issue in terms of accur…

…the tail, yeah, it’s…interesting, by which I mean impossible. Cryolophosaurus is thought to be the most basal member of tetanurae, a group of theropods classified for several features, including their stiff tails. This pose would have been simply impossible for a Cryolophosaurus to achieve without breaking its tail; it brings to mind the old practice of museum workers breaking dinosaur skeletons to achieve the outdated “kangaroo” tripod look. Perhaps, given the stance of the animal, it is frightened by something, and lunging away out of fear – it is so afraid that it broke its own tail in the process!

Overall, a solid figure, one of Papo’s best and most accurate. Despite its flaws, it is still highly recommended, you can pick it up on Amazon here.