Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (CollectA)

The ivory-billed woodpecker(Campephilus principalis) was one of the largest woodpeckers in the world and certainly the largest to inhabit North America. Tragically, after relentless decades of hunting, pollution, and deforestation, this magnificent bird is largely believed to have gone the way of the thylacine and the quagga. Granted, there have been some alleged sightings in recent years, but nothing confirmed. Even if a few ivory bills do indeed still exist, it’s pretty doubtful that they’ll be around for much longer in these increasingly dark, selfish, and ignorant times.

New for 2017 from CollectA, this ivory-billed woodpecker figure is mounted on a thick pine branch. The bird itself measures around 8 cm long while the branch stands 9.5 cm tall. The bark is coloured dark brown while the sapwood beneath is beige and orange. Both parts have very realistic textures and the many gouges in the branch suggest that this woodpecker has been hard at work for some time.

The prominent red crest on this woodpecker’s head shows that it is an adult male (females had black crests). The bill (which was not actually made of ivory!) is coloured a very pale yellow with some faint orange streaks. The plumage is black with white wingtips and markings, the claws are taupe grey, and the eyes are pale yellow. There’s also a smattering of white on the wings to give them a shiny appearance. All in keeping with the known descriptions and specimens.

The detailing on this woodpecker is really top notch. The many feathers have been painstakingly sculpted and the feet, which are in a zygodactyly arrangement, are appropriately scaly. It really does look like the real deal. Indeed, looking at this beautiful, regal bird, it’s no wonder that its nicknames include the Holy Grail bird, the Lord God bird, the Elvis bird, and the King of Woodpeckers. As I mentioned in the introductory paragraph, there have been recent reports of sightings, and even some purported video, but none confirmed. It is more likely that the ivory-billed woodpecker has joined its theropod cousins in extinction. 🙁

Overall, I find this ivory-billed woodpecker to be a fantastic little figure, albeit a very saddening one. I’d certainly love to see CollectA tackle other recently extinct dinosaurs such as the moa, the dodo, the great auk, and the passenger pigeon. The fact of the matter is that we are in the midst of the sixth great extinction, caused directly by our own hands, and every little reminder of this can possibly help to prevent it.

On a brighter note, this has been my 50th review for CollectA’s products. Over the past two years, they have been immensely generous in sending me various review samples and I cannot thank them enough for it. Keep up the excellent work, CollectA. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next year!

Gigantspinosaurus (CollectA)

It’s no secret that the stegosauria were an odd bunch of dinosaurs, one that we perhaps take for granted given the popularity of one genus in particular; Stegosaurus. But Stegosaurus is but one of many, and for whatever reason the other genera of this unique clade have never gained in popularity like the admittedly charismatic Stegosaurus.

In typical CollectA fashion we’ve recently been introduced to many of the other interesting genera in the stegosauria. The most recently introduced of these obscure dinosaurs is the appropriately named Gigantspinosaurus. No, it’s not a new hybrid for “Jurassic World”, nor is in a super-ultra-mega version of Spinosaurus. It’s a stegosaur from late Jurassic China and with its unique combo of plates and spikes and the perfect choice for expanding your stegosaur collection.

Gigantspinosaurus is not a genus I was too familiar with before acquiring the CollectA toy. Superficially it looks a lot like Kentrosaurus, that other popular stegosaur. A new dinosaur by scientific standards the Gigantspinosaurus wasn’t described until 1992 and generally ignored until a 2006 paper on the genus.

Gigantspinosaurus possessed a number of characteristics that make it quite distinctive, not least of which are the enormous spikes coming out from its shoulders. These spikes protrude upwards and point back, unlike the similar spikes on Kentrosaurus. CollectA faithfully recreates this feature as well as the other anatomical features of this animal. Like most stegosaurs (aside from Stegosaurus) the plates on Gigantspinosaurus were fairly small and triangular. The thagomizer at the end of the tail possesses four spikes. Skin impressions from this animal show a series of raised scutes that are also reproduced here. Basically, CollectA did their homework on this one, and it shows. The slightly enlarged head (for a stegosaur) is also in keeping with what we know about this dinosaur.

Although the model only measures a mere 5.4” it is packed with a high level of detail. Three clawed and two vestigial digits can be seen clearly on the robust forelimbs. The hind limbs possess three forward facing toes and one small dewclaw on each foot. Folds of skin run down the flanks and tail along a muscular and athletic looking body. The toy is sculpted in an alert posture with the right forelimb stepping forward and the head looking towards the right. The tail is swinging slightly upwards and towards the left.

The paint scheme is particularly nice on this one, and a far cry from the war-paint that CollectA used to be so fond of. This dinosaur is painted in soft, mottled earth tones. It’s both eye-catching and believable without being gaudy. The plates and shoulder spikes are gray with red tips highlighting the spikes. The thagomizer spikes are painted brown. Although the nails are clearly sculpted on this toy they are still painted in the same sandy color as the toy’s base color. The scutes on the body are painted in a variety of colors but I think they’re all supposed to be gray like the plates. But those on the brown portions of the animal are brown and there are a few on mine that aren’t painted at all. Given the small size there are also quite a few mistakes in the paint application. It’s barely noticeable though and shouldn’t put you off from an otherwise fantastic little piece.

Overall this is a really interesting, well made, and affordable little toy and a must have in any collection. Being new for 2017 it shouldn’t be hard to track one down. In closing I would like to thank Suspsy, a fellow reviewer, for donating this model to me for review.

Stegosaurus (Version 1)(Recur)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

When it comes to dinosaur toy lines, Stegosaurus is almost always a necessity. So when Recur first created their line of soft toys for kids, they were sure to include the plated lizard. There are currently two different versions to choose from and today I will be reviewing the first one, made back in 2015.

This Stegosaurus is sculpted in an interesting stance, with its hind legs planted firmly on the ground and one of its front feet slightly raised up. Unfortunately, this pose is not an original idea, as one glance at this image from the Jurassic World website should be enough to show you where the inspiration came from. Indeed, one can argue that Jurassic World has been a major influence in the creation of a few of their models. It’s similar to how the films influenced Papo’s models as well.

In terms of accuracy, this model is not going to win any awards. The feet are all elephantine and the plates are too small. Other issues include the fact that there’s too much space in the middle of the back, and that the thagomizer spikes are pointed out to the sides when they should be pointed backwards. Finally, the head is too big and lacks the animal’s signature throat armour.

So how well does this Stegosaurus stand up to being a toy? Well, like all Recur models, it is made out of a soft PVC plastic filled with cotton on the inside. It can clearly be bashed around while still retaining its shape. I know this because I actually had this toy inside a tote with other ones made out of a harder material, and the only parts that were damaged on it was the paint on the face and plates. Speaking of the paint, the colours are a assortment of different shades of green (that I will have a hard time describing to you), while the beak and claws are painted black.

At around 11 and a half inches, this dinosaur is way too big to be in 1:40 Scale, but like all Recur items, it was designed to be a toy first and foremost, made to withstand the toughest play possible while still retaining its shape, and keeping kids safe from getting their eyes poked out. That being said, if you’re a stickler for accuracy, then it’s best to wait for a model that matches that of Scott Hartman’s current skeletal diagram. But if you’re a collector of stegosaurs or just want a nice, safe, and durable toy for your child, then this is a must-have. Right now, you can buy it at DeJankins, who just got their Recur stock replenished due to high demand, and Amazon.com.