Tag Archives: Amargasaurus

Amargasaurus (HG Prize by Sega)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Prehistoric Tube B (CollectA)

Time again to downsize with CollectA’s second tube collection. Like the previous set I reviewed, this one came out in late 2015 and contains no fewer than ten teeny toy dinosaurs and other prehistoric monsters, a couple of them making their debut with CollectA.

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First up is a bantam Amargasaurus, based on the Deluxe version. Measuring slightly over 7 cm long, it’s light green with maroon stripes, yellow for the underbelly, black for the eyes, and dark brown shading on the feet. It is posed in a walking stance with its head held high and the tip of its tail curled. The teeth in the mouth, the twin rows of spines on the neck, and the sails on the back are well-defined and the pitted skin has tiny osteoderms as well as thick wrinkles. In terms of accuracy, this animal looks pretty good, although the neck could probably be a little shorter and the tail could be longer.

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Second is a diminutive Ankylosaurus, coloured dark brown on top and fading to light brown on the underside. The tiny eyes are black and maroon is used for the stripes running parallel down the animal’s head, neck, and back and for the two bosses on the mighty tail club. This 7.5 cm long figure is posed in a defensive stance with its legs planted and its tail raised and swinging from side to side, ready to rumble. I had assumed that this toy was virtually identical to the Deluxe version, but in a number of ways, it’s actually superior. The rib cage is proportionally wider, the limbs are smaller, and there are more osteoderms comprising the armour. The nostrils are still too close together and there are too many toes on the feet, though. The back and limbs have a pitted skin texture while the underbelly is covered in wrinkles. The osteoderms are keeled and the tail club has a knobby feel to it. This is quite a cool little ankylosaur!

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Now we have one of the newcomers to the world of CollectA, a bitty Apatosaurus! At 4 cm tall and 9.5 cm long, it’s the biggest figure in this set. Its main colour is dark grey with a pale pink underbelly, black shading on the feet, and black eyes. The Apatosaurus is sculpted in a classic museum pose with its neck turning to the left and its tail swinging to the right. The tail could afford to be longer, but on the whole, the toy looks reasonably accurate. The skin is pebbly with spiny plates running down the vertebrae, two rows of osteoderms on the back, and wrinkles on the neck and flanks. Despite its size, this Apatosaurus looks beefy and strong. I do wish that it had been Brontosaurus instead (it really is wonderful to have the thunder lizard back), but I think it’s one of the best in the set.

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Next up, a runty Brachiosaurus. Not surprisingly, it’s the tallest figure in the set, standing 7 cm tall and measuring 10.5 cm long. Based upon the second Standard class figure, it’s standing rather stiffly with its head raised to maximum elevation. The main colour is greenish-grey with a light grey underbelly, dark grey shading on the feet, and black eyes. The skin is pebbly all over with a few thick wrinkles around the flanks. The limbs and tail look correctly proportioned, but the neck needs some beefing up. Overall though, it’s an okay rendition of Brachiosaurus.

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Here’s the second newcomer, a pocket-sized Giganotosaurus! Mounted atop a rocky brown base, it measures 9.5 cm long and is coloured light green with a yellow underbelly, dark grey stripes, black eyes, and a pink mouth. Unlike the Tyrannosaurus rex from the other miniature set, the teeth on this carnosaur are painted the same colour as its mouth, which is disappointing. And despite the name printed on the bottom of its base, it is clearly based on the Deluxe Carcharodontosaurus. Perhaps CollectA originally intended to release it as the shark-toothed lizard, but then decided to introduce the giant southern lizard instead. Unfortunately, while Carcharodontosaurus and Giganotosaurus are closely related, there are noticeable anatomical difference between their skulls. As well, this little fellow has inherited the Deluxe’s shrink-wrapped skull and overly wide hips. And to top it off, the paint on the feet has been poorly applied, making it look like the toy is melting. On the positive side, the sculpting itself is undeniably impressive, with sharp teeth and claws, lots of scales and wrinkles, rows of triangular osteoderms, and thick muscles. It’s a ferocious-looking monster in spite of its faults.

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And now here’s a mini Liopleurodon. At only 6.5 cm long, it’s the smallest figure in this set. Like nearly all plastic renditions, its main colours are very dark blue and pale yellow, a result of the animal’s exaggerated appearance in the BBC’s Walking With Dinosaurs. There are also some very faint airbrushed pink patches on the flanks, but the eyes and teeth are unpainted. A pity, but it would have been very difficult to apply paint at this scale. While the front flippers are angled beyond the real animal’s range of motion, on the whole, it’s a pretty accurate pliosaur, with a pitted skin texture and thick wrinkles around its joints. And as with the Mosasaurus in the other set, this little swimmer makes a perfect baby for its Standard class parent.

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Our seventh toy is an undersized Quetzalcoatlus. Standing almost 5.5 cm tall and measuring 8 cm long from the tip of its bill to its heels, this largest of azhdarchids is coloured dusty brown with grey wings, pale yellow on its throat and chest, a black head, yellow crest, pink eyes and mouth, and light blue on the back of its neck. Its head is raised high and tilting to the left, but unlike the larger version, there’s no baby Alamosaurus struggling helplessly in its bill. The neck and body are covered in pycnofibres and the folded wings are wrinkled. The bill is slightly warped, but overall, this is a very good rendition. As I’ve said many times now, I love walking pterosaur figures.

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Behold, a wee Spinosaurus, only about 9.5 cm long. Based on the famous and controversial Ibrahim/Sereno reconstruction, this finned fish eater is striding slowly along on all fours, its left paw raised and its long tail swinging well to the right. The main colour is sandy beige with faint patches of bright green, black stripes on the sail, airbrushed grey on the front claws, black eyes, and a pink mouth. Like the Giganotosaurus, the Spinosaurus‘ tiny teeth lack paint detail, but at least they’re not pink. The sculpting detail is excellent, with fine scales and osteoderms on the body, ribs on the sail, long, sharp claws on the hands, and a crocodilian-like tail. This is definitely one of the best figures in this set.

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A scrubby Torosaurus is our ninth toy. The perforated lizard is just over 3 cm tall due to its mighty frill and just over 6.5 cm long from the tips of its brow horns to the end of its tail. The main colour is pumpkin orange with dark brown accents on the head, horns, and body. The frill features white wash and black “eyes” shaped like inverted teardrops. The tiny eyes are black as well. Aside from the smooth horns, the entire animal is covered in fine pebbled scales with just a few wrinkles around the joints and belly. Unlike the Standard class toy, this Torosaurus‘ brow horns are correctly curved instead of straight. But sadly, the little fellow has all the same issues as his big brother: a snout that’s too long, a lack of epoccipitals on the rather flattened frill, and limbs that are far too lanky for any chasmosaurine.

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Finally, I give you this Lilliputian Velociraptor. It measures nearly 7 cm long and is quite possibly the blandest-looking dromaeosaur figure I’ve ever seen. It is coloured beige all over with darker patches on its tail, limbs, and head, as well as black eyes and a pink mouth. Due to its size, it is moulded onto a small earthen base. On the plus side, despite the fact that it is based on the aging Deluxe version, it’s got more accurate proportions, with a smaller head and a longer tail. The head, hands, and feet are scaly, but the rest of the Velociraptor is nice and feathery, complete with a large fan at the end of the tail. The wrists are properly aligned and the claws and teeth make this animal look like quite a savage predator. Of course, any dinophile worth his or her salt knows full well that this raptor doesn’t have nearly enough plumage. Still, any feathered dinosaur is welcome in my book.

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Overall, while I like the other miniature set better, this one is still quite good. Granted, some of the figures have accuracy issues, but they’re all rather endearing little toys. And considering that you’re getting ten of them for a relatively low price, I can’t see many people not enjoying them. Plus as I mentioned in my other review, the durable plastic case means that you can easily and safely take this set on the road with you. Recommended.

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This marks my second year anniversary as a reviewer for the Dinosaur Toy Blog! As always, thanks go out to Dr. Adam S. Smith and everyone who’s been enjoying my work. Here’s to another year! 🙂

Six little dinosaurs (Tyrannosaurus, Mamenchisaurus, Amargasaurus, Ankylosaurus, Spinosaurus, Triceratops) (PNSO)

Enter the PNSO! I first became aware of The Peking Natural Science-Art Organisation in March 2016, when I visited their offices and workshop in Beijing on a work-related business trip. It was with great excitement that I discovered this blossoming company has its sights set not only on literature and 2D palaeoart (my expectation going in), but also on commercially available 3D art as well: dinosaur toys. It is early days yet, but the PNSO may have a lot to offer dinosaur toy collectors over the coming months and years.

Six Little Dinosaurus PNSO

This review will focus on one of the PNSO’s current offerings, a box set of ‘6 little dinosaurs’. This is a series of small figures based on a book of stories by PNSO writer Yang Yang and PNSO illustrator Zhao Chuang. The beautifully packaged set includes the book and six accompanying figures, which are visible by lifting a flap on the front of the box. This flap also reveals some stunning paleoartwork.

Six Little Dinosaurus PNSO

As per our remit here on the Dinosaur Toy Blog, this review will focus on the dinosaur figures, but I must say a few words about the book itself to put the models into context. The white hardback book contains six short stories in both Chinese and English (translations by Wang Yile and Lin Youji) about the trials and tribulations six young dinosaurs face growing up in the Mesozoic. It is illustrated with pictures of the toys as well as beautiful artwork. Bedtime stories are infinitely better when they’re accompanied by dinosaur toys!

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The figures are small, each one just a few centimetres long, on a par with Japanese Kaiyodo miniatures and Safari Ltd ‘toob’ figures. All the characters are babies, too, so these are ‘little dinosaurs’ in more than one way. The models are single piece solid sculpts produced in a flexible ‘Environmental PVC’, so they are robust enough to play with (age: 3 years old and above). The species names are not listed anywhere on the box, or the figures themselves, but the book reveals all. The dinosaurs will be familiar to most (if not all) readers.

Tyrannosaurus rex
Who can resist the charisma and infamy of T. rex? The King of the Tyrant Lizards makes an inevitable appearance in this delightful set. Aaron (for that is his name) has a mane of feathers on his head and neck. The colouration is simple countershading with the large baby eyes picked out in a wet-look black. This colouration is true for all the figures in the set. The posture is reminiscent of recent Carnegie Collection theropods in that it tries to find a middle ground between holding a horizontal spine while supporting itself in tail-supported tripod pose.

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Mamenchisaurus
This is the only Chinese dinosaur in the set, although PNSO’s other offerings have a stronger focus on Chinese taxa, which makes sense given their location. Emmy (for that is her name) has a subtle satisfied smile but is otherwise unremarkable.

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Amargasaurus
Amargasaurus stands out in the pack because it shades of green, whereas the others are shades of brown. Its distinctive double-row of neck spines are just sprouting, so there is little doubt that Romario (for that is his name) represents a baby.

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Ankylosaurus
Darcy (for that is his name) has an incredibly squat body with extremely short limbs. It is difficult to judge the proportions as they are supposed to be different from the more familiar adults. The armour is finely detailed with individually sculpted scutes.

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Spinosaurus
This is a modern take on the species, with a long and narrow snout; and long and relatively low spine. I noticed the feet have four large webbed toes, so this represents a a semi-aquatic incarnation of Spinosaurus. The ‘extra’ fourth toe, by the way, is an enlarged digit 1, the digit is present but small in most other theropods (which have only three large toes). The posture is remarkable too: Nada (for that is her name) is sitting back in a crouched position. There is a speculative flourish on the tip of the tail. I approve of such additions.

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Triceratops
Bringing up the rear of the group, head held high, is my favourite of the bunch. Elina (for that is her name) is full of energy and has adopted a trotting pose with two legs raised mid-step. As with all six figures, this one is beautifully textured with both fine scales and the occasional large scale. No bristles on the tail, though, which some companies have got into the habit.

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The individual figures are stamped “PNSO Made in PRC 2015”. PRC, of course, is the People’s Republic of China.

In conclusion, this is a charming set of miniature baby dinosaurs aimed squarely at a young audience. The figures are cute but accurate modern representations of six familiar species, and the detail is good for such small play things. The retail price for the box set is 199 Chinese Yuan, which is about 30 USD, but the products are currently difficult to find outside of China (link below). Hopefully this changes with time.

It is wonderful to see yet another company enter the scene, and you can expect more PNSO figure reviews here on the Dinosaur Toy Blog as their models become more widely available. For more information and options to acquire PNSO figures, follow the PNSO discussions on the Dinosaur Toy Forum here. You can check out the PNSO’s website here. Lastly, I thank the PNSO for accommodating me when I visited and for providing this sample.

Available from Amazon.com here and Chinese online shop here (for the special price of 139 Yuan).