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Rebbachisaurus (CollectA)

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In the 1950’s some fragments of an interesting sauropod with tall neural spines was discovered, unfortunately, unlike many other dinosaurs with tall neural spines, it has not captured the imagination of others in its family.  The name of this animal is Rebbachisaurus.  It is unknown if it supported a sail or a hump, though the trend is to show it with a sail.    Other than the tall neural spines, it is widely considered to be a generic diplodocid sauropod with a large build,‭ ‬long neck, and whip-like tail.  Of course its popularity could change if more material was found.  The  holotype  included part of a vertebral column,  a scapula, a humerus, and an ischium.

This is one of CollectA’s earlier attempts which was very simplistic in its design and colors, but over time, they have grown up.  CollectA continued getting better and better, and now they have become a serious competitor in the prehistoric toy market.  With Rebbachisaurus they continued the trend of making every type of animal, from the obscure, to the well known.   Since this is an earlier figure, you know their will be some small issues with it.   Could it be a surprising figure, that is better than many expect or remember?  Lets take a look.

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About the toy:  It is small toy, which is typical for CollctA’s standard size figures.  It is 20.5 cm long and 6.7 cm high. Unfortunately, it has the typical horse head that many early CollectA figures were given.  The mouth is open and showing off its white peg like teeth.  Starting at the base of the skull, and going all the way down the  spine to the tip of the tail, are the tall neural spines, that are sporting a sail.

The pose is ok.  The head turned slightly to its left, and the tail raised off the ground with some flowing curves to it.  The front and back legs are paired up and are in a static standing pose.  The feet are outdated and inaccurate, showing multiple claws on each foot. The gut is bulging and rotund, yet it feels small, wedged between the front and back legs.  The neck is thick and long with a nice dewlap, while the tail is thin and long.

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The texture is made up of small wrinkles and skin folds along with some osteoderms embedded in its flank.  The colors are rather dull.  The base color is actually a light brown that is overlaid in a thick dark chocolate brown.  Due to the dark brown, the orange on the sail really pops.  The material used on the figure is very bendy.  As the legs, neck, and tail can bend easily.  Despite this, the material will snap back into place and will not break or tear easily.

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Overall:  It isn’t really a bad figure, but neither is it memorable or outstanding. There are some typical scientific errors, the brown color is kind of off putting, and its pose is a bit on the static side.   For most collectors, they might want to pass on this toy.  When I compare it to some of the other early CollectA sauropods toys, I kind of like it.  Due to  its calm and innocent demeanor, along with its bright sail, it has some personality, and that makes me like it despite its flaws.  Its size can come in handy if you need shelf space, but not for those who like to have their figures in a compatible scale.  Rebbachisaurus  toys are rarely made, I know GeoWorld made one as well, but it is a harder species to find as a toy.

 

 

Utahraptor (Wild Safari, by Safari Ltd.)

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The first specimen of  Utahraptor ostrommaysorum  was found in 1975.  In 1991 further remains were found, and like its fellow dromaeosaurids, it also sported a large, nightmare inducing, “killing” curved claw on its toe.  Thanks to its size being comparable to the over sized Velociraptors in Jurassic Park, and starring in a popular book written by paleontologist Robert T. Bakker, it became a popular dinosaur in the mid 90’s.  Safari Ltd. introduced their first Utahraptor toy with the inaugural dinosaurs for the brand new Wild Safari line in 1996.  The book Raptor Red came out it 1995 and I can’t help but wonder if Safari painted the red stripe on the head of this toy in honor of the way the Utahraptors are described with a red snout in the book.

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About the Toy:  It is on the smaller side at 13.5 cm long, with the tail taking up over half its length at 8 cm.  It is 6 cm high at its highest point, which would be around the mid point of the tail.  It is posed for stability by using the hidden one arm down tripod pose, comparable to the large Safari Velociraptor and the Schleich WOH Velociraptor.  At least its wrist isn’t broken like its fellow original line Wild Safari pal, Carcharodontosaurus.  Since it is leaning on its right front hand, the shoulders are low, and the hind quarters and tail are high.  Either it is about to pounce on its prey, or it tripped on a rock while chasing its intended victim, and is trying to stay upright.

The head is up with its mouth open wide and inducing fear to its adversary.  The teeth are relatively the same size and painted sloppily in white.  Also inside its open jaws is a sculpted tongue which is painted in a dull pink.  The rest of the mouth is painted in the same dull pink.  Starting under its eyes and extending forward is a strip of red the ends before it gets all the way to the nostrils.  Also present are small ear holes at the back of the skull.

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The hands are facing inward and end with three claws.  The claws on the right foot are ok, with the large claw raised but not entirely painted so it looks smaller than it was sculpted.  On the left foot, the large claw is too small and almost uniform with the rest of the claws on its left foot.  The dew claws are present as well.  All the claws are rounded and blunted for safety.

This toy is also devoid of feathers, but this was the norm at the time and should not be held against this toy.  Instead it is covered in the typical wrinkles and skin folds that Safari put on its models during the 90’s.  Its tail is also semi straight with some small bends in it.  Its base color is light brown with a tan underneath.  Starting at the base of its skull and ending almost all the way to the tip of its tail are dark charcoal brown stripes.  The stripes do not extend far down its flanks, stopping at the hips and shoulders.

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Safari Utahraptor and CollectA Gastonia squaring off.

Play ability:  It is a really nice and playable toy.  It has a vicious look to it, with its mouth open, body low, and big claws.  It is a look that many kids like for their predatory animals.  Kids usually have this toy jump onto their intended prey, which incidentally is probably how this animal hunted if it was going to take down larger prey.  It is also really stable, so it easy for kids to set it up on sofas and carpeted floors, which is a bonus.  The toys edges are not sharp and it is tough enough to take on some hard playtime adventures.  The paint holds up very well.

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Overall:  For collectors, this is an outdated, featherless, Utahraptor from the early days of the Wild Safari line.  The line originally was designed to cater to kids for the quick spur of the moment purchase.  It is in this capacity were this toy really shines.  For kids, it is still a fun toy to play with.  If you like featherless 90’s style dromaeosaurids, or you know a younger dinosaur fan, then this is a good toy to pick up.  It can be usually be found on Ebay for a reasonable price.

 

 

“Wangensaurier” (Pareiasaurus) by Wagner Margarinefiguren

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Today I would like to introduce to you the „Wangensaurier“ (literally meaning „cheek lizard“) from the “Wagner Margarinefiguren” series. When these figures were released sixty or so years ago, it was quite common in Germany to give prehistoric creatures German names and not to use the common species name. What is called “Wangensaurier” actually means Pareiasaurus.
Pareiasaurus were early anapsid reptiles which lived in the middle Permian period in what is now South and East Africa and in some parts of Europe, too. Today we know four subspecies. They were massively built plant eaters walking more or less upright. Pareiasaurus could reach up to 3 metres in length. Scutosaurus from Russia and little Elginia from Scotland belonged to the same family. They probably fell victim to the top predators of that time, the Gorgonopsids, and some say they lived in big herds.
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Still I do not know how come that these figures seem to come from the very same molds as the Shreddies cereal premiums from England. Maybe one of you can enlighten my knowledge in the comment section below. At the underside of the base it says it´s number 4 from the series and “Wangensaurier Permzeit Afrika Kapland”. (“Kapland” is an old German term referring to the South African Kap colony that was first under Dutch, later under British despotism.
This little figure is a nice, but obsolete depiction of Pareiasaurus. It shows how these reptiles were seen back in the 50s and 60s, crawling instead of walking upright, lazy instead of active. As all Wagner / Shreddies figures it reveals nice detail for its size: A ridge alongside the back, eyes, nostrils, muzzle and even some of the skull outgrowth at the upper and the lower jaw.
You know me, I love figures like this. These little interesting old pieces of plastic are antiques themselves, depicting even older animals from long lost times. There were some strange species choices in this series, too, just like Geosaurus and Nothosaurus and a Triassic “Panzerlurch” (refering to one of the Labyrinthodontia). And there were some rather “boring” choices like T.rex or Plateosaurus or a Wooly Rhino. I try to do regular reviews of these over the net few months, but sorry, don´t wait for them, I am always short of time. I recommend the Wagner Margarinefiguren / Shreddies cereal premiums to every collector who likes curious little figures that are not mainstream.