Review and photos by Bokisaurus, edited by Suspsy
In the Early Cretaceous of what would one day be Argentina, there lived one of the most distinctive sauropods known: Amargasaurus cazaui (La Amarga Lizard). Despite their huge size, complete sauropods skeletons are fairly rare. Fortunately, what was discovered of Amargasaurus‘ skeleton is nearly complete, including part of the skull. For a dinosaur discovered in 1984, but only been described in 1991, Amargasaurus has quickly gained popularity, rivaling some of the more well-known giants such as Apatosaurus and Diplodocus. Sauropods are well know for their gigantic size, but Amargasaurus was relatively small, measuring in around 33 feet in length and not much larger or taller than a modern elephant. But what Amargasaurus lacked in size, it made up in its truly bizarre and unique appearance. For starters, Amargasaurus sported two rows of tall, upward projecting neural spines running down its neck and running all the way down its back, very much like a stegosaur. This striking feature is what really sets Amargasaurus apart from any other sauropod known to date.
The whole purpose of these tall spines is still debated. Some believed the spines are for defense against predators, while others interpret it as purely for display and recognition. In addition to their purpose, there is also a debate about what these spikes could have looked like in life. Some restorations show these spikes as being partially encased in skin, creating a sail-like appearance, while others show these spike as completely free of any type of covering. Like others in the family Dicraeosauridae, Amargasaurus had a shorter neck than other famous sauropods.
Amargasaurus was first introduced into the toy world and popular culture by the famed Battat line of prehistoric figures way back in the mid 1990s’. Since then, it has found fame with other toy companies. In today’s review, we will look at one of the most beautiful and sought-after Amargasaurus figures currently out there. It’s from SEGA, which has released many prehistoric figures over the years. Perhaps best known are their multiple sets of prehistoric figures tied in with video games.
This Amargasaurus figure is part of their large figures that were prizes for those grabber type arcade machines. Since these figure sets were prizes, they were not widely available outside of Japan, making them rare, highly sought after, and very expensive to acquire. There are four figures known from this prize set: Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus(with two versions), Stegosaurus, and Amargasaurus. Each of these figures got multiple paint variants. T. rex leads the pack with five known paint variants, followed by Triceratops with four. Stegosaurus joins Amargasaurus with having only one known paint variant. As mentioned before, these SEGA prize figures are huge, so they do take up a lot of display space. But it is well worth it, as they display beautifully together.
Measuring in at 20″ long and 6″ tall, this impressive figure is very well-sculpted and full of details. Posed at mid-stride, the walking stance gives life to the Amargasaurus, making it look relaxed. In this interpretation, the spikes on the neck are free of any skin covering. The spikes start on the neck just behind the head, and as they travel down the length of the neck, each pair of spikes grows longer, with the longest being located on the middle part. The spikes then become shorter again until they come to the shoulders. The spikes on the back are nothing more than a tall ridge completely covered with skin, although you can still see evidence of the parallel vertebral spines. The ridge continues on as it reaches midway into the tail before disappearing. The tail has a sideways curve to it as it tapers off to the end.
The neck is short and muscular as it should be. The head is nicely sculpted, although it looks a little too big in proportion. The mouth is open and you can see the tongue and teeth, all nicely done. The eyes are painted light blue and atop the eyes, one can see the nostrils which are small black dots. The skin is covered in multiple wrinkles as wells as some skin folds along the neck and leg regions. Unlike newer versions of Amargasaurus, there are no osteoderms visible anywhere on the body on this figure.
The legs are nicely proportioned, with the front pair shorter than the back pair. The front feet are horseshoe-shaped as they should, and although fossil foot material was recovered from Amargasaurus are very fragmentary, it is reasonable to assume that its feet were similar to the rest of its family’s. The figure is a very bright yellow colour, which is perhaps due to the video game influence. There are flashes of orange all over the body, mostly on the sides and base of the back ridge, as well as the tail region. The tall back ridges are painted maroon on the top, with stripes as it runs down the back. The neck spikes are also yellow in color and the same maroon colour is used to break the silhouette in the form of horizontal stripes.
If I have a complaint about this figure, it is that it comes as a two part: the body and the tail. Unfortunately, the tail and body attachment creates a very visible gap in between as the two part don’t fit very well. This really distracts from the overall visual beauty if this otherwise flawless figure.
In closing, this Amargasaurus figure ranks as on of my all time favorite dinosaur figures. It’s beautiful and accurately sculpted, and will always command attention in any collection. It is also a rare and expensive figure that took me years to finally acquire at a reasonable price. Unlike other SEGA figures, these prize figures are in short supply, but very much worth the chase and adding to any collection.
Hope you enjoyed this review of one of my favorite dinosaur and figure. Till next time, cheers!