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.

Tyrannosaurus Rex w/articulated jaw (Prehistoric & Extinct by Mojö)

Ever since Tyrannosaurus rex was described back in 1905, this amazing animal has captured our imaginations.   Its not hard to see why. It was one of the largest land carnivores of all time and it had a huge skull with bone crushing jaws.  It is so recognizable that toy makers just can’t help themselves on trying to capitalize on their popularity by making as many as they can.  For 2017 Mojo released three new Tyrannosaur Rex toys and they are a vast improvement over their previous releases, which were tail dragging, piano playing monstrosities. Overall Mojo has improved their range of products.  By no means have they caught up with Safari or CollectA but they have taken a step in the right direction.

About the toy:  Of the three tyrannosaur’s that Mojo released for 2017, the articulated jaw T. rex is the smallest.   It is 7.5 in (19.05 cm) long and 3 in (7.62 cm) high.    It terms of size and pose the sculpt is similar (just a little smaller) to the striding Wild Safari 2011 sculpt.   It legs are not spread out as far as the striding Wild Safari version, instead they are closer together in a fashion that makes it look like it is creeping up on its prey.  Combine that with scientific inaccuracy, exaggerated rugosity on the skull,  a softer rubbery plastic feel that you would expect from a Schleich WOH toy, and suddenly this toy looks like the Schleich T. rex met the 2011 Safari and they had a baby.

Red Schleich T. rex side by side with 2017 Mojo T.rex

The pose is dynamic enough to make the toy look like it is on the hunt or it is just curious about what is on the other side of a river.   The figure is very steady on its feet without any assistance and this is due to the exaggerated size of both feet.  Unfortunately it does detract from the toy but I guess that’s the price for stability without a base.  Unless some new information has come out that I am unaware of, there is another error that plagues this T. rex, and that is the position of the arms.  The arms are pronated, with the claws facing down, which is inaccurate and every toy maker that wants to be taken seriously should know by now to have the claws facing inward.  I guess old habits die hard.

One of the most important features on a Tyrannosaurs rex is the impressive head.  One of the important things to look for is the position of the eyes.  The orbits are set in a way for the eyes to face foreword.  The back of the head should be expanded so that is in the shape of a T, with the snout being thin and long.  When we look at the head on this figure, it has those characteristics.  There is a clear antorbital fenestrae on the sides of the face in front of the orbit.   Also present on this figure is rough rugged bumps on the nasals that spread backwards and spouts a little flaring horn above the eyes.  This line of bumps continues going back on this toy until both sides meet at a point on the back of the skull. The seam for the head is visible despite attempts to blend it in along with skin folds on the neck.

Inside the mouth there are over thirty five teeth present.  That’s double than what you would normally find inside a T. rex mouth.  The teeth are individually sculpted and despite appearances, when you look closely you will notice they are different sizes.  Inside the mouth is a sculpted tongue.

As for the rest of the body on this figure it appears to be on the thin side.  There should be a little more heft to the toy.  On its back you can see a small bump from the dorsal vertebrae and at the hips you can see the ilium sticking out.  Above the arms you can see a bulge of muscle over the scapula.  There are similar muscle bulges on the legs.  There are some small skin folds connecting the torso and the legs.  The overall texture on the sculpt are lines of wrinkles running horizontal and vertically across the figure.  There are some scales on the antorbital fenestrae and on top of the head.

The colors are safe.  The head, torso, arms, legs, and tail are green.  The underside is in cream. There is some black wash in the skin folds that make them stand out a little.  Along the back all the way to the tip of the tail are dark blue triangle stripes.

If you are wondering were the feathers are, sorry but this is a scaly version.   Not trying to pick a fight but feathers are still speculative.  Yes it is highly likely that Tyrannosaurus rex had a liberal coating of feathers, it is also not impossible that it had a considerable coverage of scales on it as well.   Maybe feathers could have only been on youngsters.  The reality is we do not fully know yet, though there are some good ideas on what it could have looked like.   If you are interested in great feathered Tyrannosaurus rex toys both Safari (Hardbit)* and CollectA (Firestreak)* have made great versions with feathers, but lets take it easy on this figure as you can’t really take points off this toy for the lack of a feathery down.

Playability:  It is durable and has a moveable jaw.  Those are two important qualities for a dinosaur toy.  It is safe to use as they are no sharp edges and the material is bendy.  The toy is stable so it can be used on different surfaces with an increased chance of standing wherever it is being played.  The only problem is the size.  When you have a Tyrannosaurus rex toy, you want it to inspire awe and fear, unfortunately this is a smaller toy.  I guess it could be a juvenile that would accompany a parent on the hunt.

Overall:  Mojo has stepped foreword and released an improved product compared to their previous tyrannosaur releases.  It checks a few positive boxes but it does fail in other areas.  If you are looking for a gift for a child, well look no further as it is a really good toy for kids under eight years old.  For collectors it is not a must have,  as it is average at best when compared to all the other tyrannosaur toys that are available.  For educators , you should pass on this figure as it has too many scientific inaccuracies.  There is one more positive thing about this toy.  The cost.  It is an inexpensive figure.    As always, if you like it go for it, and happy hunting.

 

*Disclaimer: Both the 2017 Tyrannosaurus rex by Safari Ltd and Feathered Deluxe T. rex by CollectA do not go officially by the names Hardbit and Firestreak, those are names that were given to the toys by the reviewer Suspsy and used in this review as a reference to the reviews done for those figures.

 

Triceratops Baby (Mini)(Chap Mei)

In addition to their Standard and Electronic Deluxe figures, Chap Mei also produces miniature-sized prehistoric beasts of highly dubious accuracy. Let’s take a closer look at what is billed as a baby Triceratops.

From nose to tail tip, this toy measures about 10.5 cm long. The main colour is pinkish brown with dark grey markings on the head and back, light grey claws, beige horns with darkened tips, light green eyes, and a reddish pink tongue. As far as Chap Mei toys go, this is one of the blandest-looking ones.

The sculpting is alright, albeit nothing special. Fat wrinkles all over the main body and limbs, heavy scales on the head, a row of flat osteoderms covering the vertebrae all the way down to the tip of the tail, rows of small, round osteoderms, and grooves in the beak, horns, and claws. The almond-shaped eyes give this little ceratopsian an angry appearance, as do its firmly planted legs and the way its head is turned sharply to the left.

By now, I’m sure you’ve all noticed the most glaring flaw on this toy. This is supposed to be a baby Triceratops, but the large horns extending from its frill make it look like there’s some Styracosaurus mixed in there as well. A pretty sloppy mistake to make, although it would admittedly be cool if a real ceratopsian with such adornments was ever discovered. The other major flaw is that the feet all have three clawed toes.

The Standard-class Chap Mei figures available at Toys R Us always include a couple of mini-dinos in the package, so if you’ve been collecting them for awhile, you probably own one or more of these doubtful Triceratops figures. If not, I wouldn’t expend much energy trying to hunt one down.