Category Archives: Tsukuda

Elasmosaurus (Tsukuda Hobby Collection)

Review and photos by Bokisaurus, edited by Suspsy

Having previously reviewed the Tsukuda Hobby Styracosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex, I figured it is time to conclude the trilogy and add one more figure to the list, at least for now. This time we will take a dive into the prehistoric ocean and take a look at good old Elasmosaurus!

Elasmosaurus is perhaps the most famous member of its family. In the early days of prehistoric toys, almost all of the long-necked marine reptile figures were called Elasmosaurus. It is only recently that other species were added to the list. Tsukuda’s version is perhaps the most beautiful and elegant of all 13 figures in the collection. I find it simply stunning despite its age. Like the other figures, it is rather large at 1:30 scale; it measures a good 13 inches stretched out.

The head is beautifully sculpted. The signature glass eyes are yellow and make a nice contrast to the dark blue skin. The mouth is closed, but the teeth, which are all individually sculpted, are visible and nicely painted. The nostrils are placed on the top of the head, just in front of the eyes. There are subtle wrinkles around the jaw area, and there is also what appears to be loose skin around the area just below the jaw.

Like many plesiosaur figures, this one is smooth all over its body with hardly a hint of texturing besides a few wrinkled areas. The neck is held high in a regal, swan-like pose, although not to the extreme commonly seen in other plesiosaur figures. The neck is also nicely muscled and not too thin. This figure bares an unmistakable resemblance to the Invicta version both in pose and colouration. The blue body and the way the head and neck are posed makes it look like a larger, more detailed version of it.

With the Invicta figure

The body is robust and looks about right shape-wise. There is a slight hump on the back just after the neck connects with the body. The flippers are unique in that they are not shaped like any other plesiosaur’s. For starters, the flippers are huge and rounded in shape, more like a seal’s than a marine reptile’s. And just like a seal, there are clear groves that looks more like webbings on all four flippers. The rear flippers are larger and more fan-like than the front ones and the tail is short and stubby. The blue body is overally unremarkable. The underside is painted white, the only other colour to be found on this figure. The seams are visible both on the body and also on the two front flippers.

Despite some inaccuracies, this is a pretty good representation of a plesiosaur, much better than some of the later figures. Of the 13 Tsukuda figures, this one ranks as one of the rarest of them all. It shares this distinction with the equally beautiful and perhaps even rarer Dimetrodon. Both these figures are hard to find and when they do show up, can command high price. I was lucky enough to come across this one and acquire it many years ago.

In closing then, the Elasmosaurus is one of the best figures the Tsukuda collection has to offer. Despite its age, it remains a pretty good representation of the animal. The simple and elegant design is stunning and always commands attention. Despite the flood of more recent, more accurate plesiosaur figures, this one remains one of my all-time favourites. If you are lucky enough to find one at a reasonable price, I highly recommend adding it to your collection.

Tyrannosaurus rex (Tsukuda Hobby Collection)

Review and photos by Bokisaurus, edited by Suspsy

In my last review, we looked at the Tsukuda Styracosaurus. Today, we will look at another classic favourite from the same line. Without a doubt, the most famous dinosaur of all time is Tyrannosaurus rex. No line of prehistoric figures is complete without one, and it is usually one of the first figures that a new company releases when they first launch. Its fame and popularity is unrivaled.

Throughout its long history of being an icon, it is appropriate that T. rex also serves as a good indicator of the changing views of dinosaurs and how they are depicted in science and popular culture. No other species of dinosaur (well, maybe Spinosaurus) has undergone such dramatic transformation as T. rex. From the kangaroo tail-dragging creature of early years, to the scaly monster of not so long ago, to the sleek top predator of the 90s’, and finally, to the fully feathered king of today, T. rex is without a doubt the super model of the dinosaur world!


T. rex through the years

The Tsukuda Tyrannosaurus rex is from the earlier years. Like the rest of the figures from the collection, it too has the signature beaded eyes that set the figure apart from many of its contemporaries. Alas, despite those cute eyes, this version of T. rex is rather cartoony or more accurately, looks more like a caricature of what T. rex should look like. It, along with the Spinosaurus, is the most old school in style, looking very uncoordinated and awkward.

The figure measure a good 12 inches long stretched out, and stand at almost 8 inches tall. Size-wise, it goes well with the standard 1:40 scale figures. The head is not a very good representation of what a T. rex head should look like. It looks more like a generic theropod head. Those famous eyes are bright yellow, contrasting nicely with the deep green colouration. Like almost all T. rex figures, this one also has a gaping mouth, although the effect is more like a laughing animal than a ferocious one! The teeth are individually sculpted, and inside the mouth you can see the large, pink tongue. There are lots of wrinkles and texturing going on around the head as well.

The neck on this figure is muscular with a throat pouch clearly visible just under the lower jaw. As we come to the robust body, one can appreciate the many details that adorn it. There are plenty of skin wrinkles all over the body and scutes that runs along the back, starting at the base of the skull and going all the way down to the lower hip area. The skin is also given a rich texture in the form of bumps of varying sizes. On the back, there is what appears to be rectangular scutes located in the lower back area.

Surprisingly for a figure this age, the arms does not show the extreme pronation that is typically seen on older(and still some newer) theropod figures. The tail on this guy is bulky, perhaps the meatiest one I have seen on a toy figure! This allows the figure to use the tail as an extra support for it to stand. The fat tail is stubby and does not lose any of its heft as it moved down the tip. But perhaps the most awkward feature of this figure is its legs. They are so sprawled and uncoordinated-looking. It looks like more like an infant trying its first steps. Like the rest of the Tsukuda collection, the colouration on this figure is nothing remarkable. A simple dark green forms the base colour, with a lighter grey/green was on the underside. I have seen photos of what looks like a brown version, so maybe there is a colour variant out there.

Overall, the Tsukuda Tyrannosaurus rex is a beautiful example of what was then a typical depiction of this animal. The rather child-like and uncoordinated look of the figure is a flaw, but it is also what makes this figure so fascinating and charming. Like the rest of the Tsukuda figures, the T. rex was not widely distributed, making them rare and sometimes hard to find. However, it is also the one you are most likely to find at a reasonable price. In closing then, for those of you looking for something old school, I highly recommend this figure. Those beady eyes and comical pose is irresistible and would make a nice addition to any T. rex collection.

Styracosaurus (Tsukuda Hobby Collection)

Review and photos by Bokisaurus, edited by Suspsy

These days, the race to produce the latest, most scientifically accurate dinosaur figures is all the rage. Each year, toy manufacturing companies and the collector communities are so focused on which of these new models will be the most accurate, those figures that are deemed not accurate are quickly tossed to the side or worse, bombarded with enough criticism to fill an entire encyclopedia! In a way, this is a natural evolution of how dinosaur figures are no longer just toys, but scientific replicas of the animals they represent. We have arrived at a new level of standards that in many ways, is so hard to keep up with, that it becomes exhausting at times. With that in mind, it’s nice to get a break and to look back at a time when toy figures were subjected to much less vetting and enjoyed purely for what they are: toys.

It’s so easy to overlook prehistoric figures from long ago. A friend and fellow collector once asked me why do I even bother collecting “vintage” dinosaurs when there are so many accurate figure out there to choose from. My answer was simple: these so-called vintage figures may not reflect the latest scientific research, or have the high production qualities of the newer figures, but they are a part of dinosaur toy history. They are figures that pull you back to a much simpler time, and often to childhood memories that are often full of wonder. So join me as we journey back and take a look at one of most obscure and fascinating line of prehistoric figures: the Tsukuda Hobby Collection line of prehistoric animals.

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The Tsukuda Hobby Dinosaur Series was first released in the late 1980s’. The figures that made up the series included 13 species of prehistoric animal that came individually boxed and are scaled at 1:30. The Tsukuda figures share some similarities with another 80s’ line of prehistoric figures, Tyco’s Dino-Riders. Just like Dino-Riders, the eyes on the Tsukuda figures are made of small glass beads and not just sculpted or painted on. These add a different realism to the figures and give each one a unique expressive quality.

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These critters included most of the famous dinosaurs, but also some species that were once popular but has now gone largely ignored. Today, we will look at one species that continues to be popular: the ceratopsian Styracosaurus. While not as famous as Triceratops, it has remained a consistent presence in each of the the succeeding lines of toy companies throughout the decades. I will skip the whole introduction about Styracosaurus‘ history since it’s a well known and much studied species.

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The Tsukuda Styracosaurus is a charming little figure, one of my favourites from the set. The figure is posed in a neutral stance. The articulation on the legs give you a little bit of flexibility as to how you want to pose the figure. With a little bit of adjusting of the legs, the figure can be posed as if it’s about to charge (the raised front left leg helps support this pose) or in a running pose. The back legs are much taller than the front ones, which gives the figure a hunchbacked appearance. The head, beautifully sculpted, is held lower to the ground, and if you look closely, you will notice it tilted slightly to the side. The shield spikes are coloured cream as well as the single nose horn and the beak. The shield itself is coloured plain brown, although I have seen photos of some variant showing some purple on the shield.

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The Styracosaurus has lots of different skin texture going on all over its body. There are skin folds and bumps of varying size on the body as well as on the legs. There are prominent osteoderms on the back, arranged in five rows. Starting at the base of the neck, these osteoderms vary in size, with the largest ones being the three rows in the middle part of the back. The middle row also continues down the tail, while the others terminate just around the point where it reaches the base of the tail. The tail is hefty and is pointed directly downward. There are no curves on this one, making it look super stiff and heavy.

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The overall colouration on my figure is a uniform brown. There is not much variation in colour, although there is a subtle shade of lighter brown here and there (most noticeable on the face and belly). Again, I have seen a variant that shows some purple on the face, as well as the body and legs.

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Overall, this is a nice figure that heralds back to a different, much simpler time. The simplicity of the figure is one of its great appeals, and those glass eyes add so much more life to it as it stares and follow you around. The Tsukuda Styracosaurus is not the rarest figure in the series, although it is still not easy to find. If you are lucky to have a chance to acquire it, I highly recommend getting it. It may not be the most accurate or flashy ceratopsian around, but its beady little eyes are sure to charm you and it will make a wonderful addition to your ceratopsian herd. Hope you enjoyed this review. Cheers!