Allosaurus (Kaiyodo Dinotales 1:20 Collection)

A couple years back I put together a poll on the Dinosaur Toy Forum with the goal of compiling a top ten list of the best Allosaurus toys ever produced. It was no small task, up until the 1990’s the Allosaurus only played second fiddle to Tyrannosaurus in the popularity contest. Since then other theropods have pushed it down the list; Velociraptor, Spinosaurus, Carnotaurus to name a few. Allosaurus is still a favorite of mine though. A perfectly proportioned, generalized predator that ruled the Jurassic, even if it was not among the largest theropods it was certainly one of the most successful. That top 10 list ended up with a lot of great contenders and naturally the Papo Allosaurus won the day. At the time I had considered this 1:20 scale Allosaurus by Kaiyodo to be the best Allosaurus figure. It was a perfect blend of accuracy, size, detail, craftsmanship. But I didn’t own the thing at that time, and now I do. So now that I have it in-hand how does it hold up? Is it worth the often expensive price tag? Is it truly the best Allosaurus out there?

Standing 9” tall and measuring about 17” long, this rendition of the Jurassic carnivore is certainly going to take up some shelf space and draw attention in a crowd. The heavy detailing only helps in this regard. Raised scutes are immediately noticeable along the back and reminiscent of those on a crocodile. Wrinkled folds of skin are sculpted along the neck, around the shoulders and legs, and down the length of the tail. The head is adorned with not only those diagnostic brown horns but smaller hornlets at the corners of the mouth. That said, the detailing seems to suddenly diminish below the knees, on the arms, and along the underside where the body is nearly smooth in some places, with only a minimal hint of scales and other bodily adornments. The feet have those bird-like scutes we’ve come to expect on theropod models but the sudden lack of detail on these parts is rather jarring. Obvious seams along the neck, jaw, arms, knees, and tail don’t help enhance the realism of this piece either.

The accuracy here is pretty good. I can’t find much to complain about but some will no doubt consider this model to be shrink-wrapped. The torso is nicely rounded with the extremities lean and muscular. The head is quite obviously Allosaurus and even the neutral facing hands posses the enlarged thumb claw so frequently omitted. The tail base could use some thickening but overall this is a very modern looking Allosaurus with some obvious Greg Paul influences. This model was sculpted by Matsumura Shinobu whose other dinosaurs are in very much the same style which seems to be popular in Japan, where this model originates.

The most off-putting feature on this model is its lack-luster, static posture. Not only are both feet planted flat on the ground, but the knees are not bent at all, giving the figure an unnatural appearance. In fact, without some kind of support the model will tilt back and rest on its tail and looks like one of those fainting goats. The mouth is open with the arms just sort of dangling there. This is a shame because it makes for a really unnatural looking pose on a very life-like sculpture.

This model comes in a couple different color schemes with mine being the brown variant painted in yellowish, sandy color tones. The claws are a dark brown color, teeth white, inside of the mouth, pink, and the eyes meticulously painted orange with yellow irises and black pupils. The other variant is green in color. Other colors exist of this model as well, including one that’s entirely painted blue. But the blue model also possesses minor sculptural differences too and is a part of the Kaiyodo Dinoland collection, unlike this piece.

All in all my opinion about this model has changed little upon seeing it. It’s still a fantastic piece and easily among the best Allosaurus figures out there. For its price point however there are some glaring issues that must be acknowledged. Lazy detailing, visible seams, and an uninspired pose all conspire against what is simultaneously one of the most detailed and accurate Allosaurus models to date. I was able to acquire mine for about $35 but the prices vary a lot and seems to have gone up recently, especially on eBay where they range between $30- $188! Even the cheaper models have expensive shipping prices so buyers beware. In the end though this is a must have model for those who are still fans of this once popular but now forgotten theropod.

Plesiosaurus (Mini)(Chap Mei)

As its name suggests, Plesiosaurus was the very first plesiosaur ever to be discovered, in England back in 1823 by the legendary fossil hunter Mary Anning. At around 3.5 metres in length, it was a relatively small sea reptile, a far cry from later relatives such as Elasmosaurus and Thalassomedon.

This Mini Plesiosaurus from Chap Mei measures just under 15 cm long. Its main colours are blue-green on top and white on the bottom with dull orange eyes and stripes, black on the head and along the back, a dark pink tongue, and white teeth. Probably would have looked a lot better without the orange, but that’s Chap Mei for you.

The Plesiosaurus is sculpted in a swimming pose with its front flippers held directly underneath its body, its hind flippers angled out around 45 degrees give or take, its tail swaying to the right, and its neck bent in an S-shaped curve. Unlike so many other aquatic reptile figures, it balances nicely on the tips of its flippers. But as any plesiosaur expert will quickly inform you, there’s no way the neck could be bent in such a manner without breaking a number of vertebrae!

The sculpting on this toy is quite a haphazard mixture. The head and body have large scales, the neck and tail have small wrinkles like the ones on an earthworm, and the flippers and underbelly have crisscrossing wrinkles. Three rows of osteoderms are on the animal’s back and the tail appears to have caudal fins just like on an eel. Again, that’s Chap Mei for you.

This Plesiosaurus certainly won’t win any prizes for sculpting or accuracy, but it’s got kind of a weird, retro charm to it. Kids will no doubt enjoy playing with it. It’s also one of the rarer Chap Mei toys, so if you’re intrigued, good hunting!

Giganotosaurus (Small)(Schleich)

Giganotosaurus is one of the largest known theropods, exceeding even Tyrannosaurus rex in body length, though not in mass. Its razor-sharp teeth were superbly adapted for slicing through the leathery hides of the rebacchisaurs and titanosaurs that lived alongside it in Cretaceous South America.

Today I’ll be examining the 2017 repaint of the small Schleich Giganotosaurus originally released in 2015. This figure is sculpted in a dynamic pose with its feet planted, its tail swinging to the right, its scrawny arms flailing, its head raised to the sky, and its mouth open in a thundering roar. Or more likely a bellow or a croak or a hiss. This gives the toy a height of just over 11 cm and a length of about 16.5 cm.

Whereas the 2015 version was coloured dark red and metallic silver, this one is beige and very dark brown with black wash. Red is used for the sides of the head and the row of triangular spines running from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail. The eyes are black, the mouth is dirty pink, the teeth are dirty white, and the claws are dark brown. Not what you’d call exciting.

The Giganotosaurus‘ skin texture consists mainly of crisscrossing wrinkles, with thicker ones at the joints and on the throats and underbelly. The feet feature the rows of bird-like scales found on virtually every theropod toy. And then there are the large, grid-like scale patterns on either side of the muzzle and the tiny pebbled scales in the orbits and the temporal fenestrae, which are ringed by osteoderms. Finally, the larger spines on the vertebrae have simple grooves carved in them.

On that note, let’s tackle the many inaccuracies plaguing this toy. First, the muzzle is too short, the teeth are too few, and the nostrils are totally absent. The cranium suffers from major shrink wrapping, with the eyes sunken in by about a millimetre. The arms are too large, the wrists are pronated, and the claws are blunt and the wrong shape. And lastly, the feet are grossly oversized and the tail is too short.

With its many anatomical errors and boring colour scheme, this really isn’t a quality toy. Heck, the only reason I ended up with it is because it came in a two-pack with the new Saichania. If you’re looking to snag a good Giganotosaurus toy, then I strongly recommend going with the new one from Safari. Or tracking down the retired Carnegie Collection version. Or even picking up one of Schleich’s Deluxe versions. As for this one, it’s going to be donated to a dinosaur bin in a kindergarten classroom.