Tag Archives: Cryolophosaurus

Cryolophosaurus (Papo)

Review and photographs by “Loon”, edited by Plesiosauria

“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.” – Elvis Presley.

Cryolophosaurus was an early Jurassic theropod that hailed from the Hanson Formation around 194-188 mya in what is now Antarctica. Weighing in at over 1,000 lbs, and reaching over 20 feet long, Cryolophosaurus was one of the largest theropods of its time and the top predator of its ecosystem. The only known fossil is the holotype, FMNH PR1821, which belonged to a juvenile, meaning an encounter with a fully grown Cryolphosaurus would be truly astounding and terrifying. Though, like its cousin, Dilophosaurus, a juvenile could still most likely take down a fully grown Wayne Knight.

This figure is one of several debuted in 2017. Papo models are usually very high quality, and this Cryolophosaurus is no exception. Unlike several recent Papo figures, the sculpting on the figure comes across as much more consistent. The scales that adorn the body are very similar to the scales found on the bellies of modern crocodilians, and appear to be very defined and unique, almost as if they were individually sculpted. This is different to several recent Papo figures, where the postcranial scales appear to be little more than the result of horizontal and vertical cuts in the sculpt. The muscles are all very well-defined, and appear to be covered in a decent amount of fat and skin, giving this animal a very “alive” look. The figure features rows of osteoderms that turn into spikes on the top of the spine, they flow from the top of the neck to the base of the tail; while speculative, these features are an interesting addition.

Paint-wise, this figure is among, if not the, best Papo has ever produced. The paint makes it one of Papo’s most vibrant; which, I mean, isn’t saying much given their usual ‘go to’ selection of the ever-exciting brown and grey. These colors, while beautiful, are one of the figures more debatable aspects, Papo has a history of copying both design aspects and paint schemes from Sideshow Collectibles Dinosauria statues, such as almost the entirety of their Apatosaurus, Dilophosaurus, and Carnotaurus, and unfortunately, this figure is no exception. While ‘Dinosauria’ has never produced a Cryolophosaurus statue, the color scheme of this figure is nigh identical to the color scheme of the ‘Dinosauria’ Ceratosaurus. However, in defense of what may be viewed as Geoworld levels of thievery, the color scheme is appropriate. While we don’t know the exact color of Cryolophosaurus, it did live in a forested environment so these colors do seem suitable for a large predator trying to sneak through the woods in search of a meal.

The figure features the ever-necessary articulated jaw, which opens to reveal a highly detailed interior. The jaws are appropriately crocodilian, with a good amount of detail extending into the roof and back of the mouth, as well as to the tongue and gums.

The shape of the skull is quite accurate; we can tell this because it is quite visible. Overall, it’s not the worst case of shrink-wrapping, it does feature a decent amount of muscle in the fenestrae, and the oft-forgotten pterygoideus posterior muscle is thankfully featured on the lower jaw. The biggest point of inaccuracy in the head is that the skull does seem to be missing the “notch” in the premaxilla at the front.

The definitive feature of Cryoloposaurus is the crest which it is named for; Cryolophosaurus is the greek for “Frozen Crest Lizard.” The crest is well detailed, featuring a keratinous covering which extends to the front of the nasal. The current understanding is that the crest was probably used for intra-species recognition, as well as being functional in social behavior with other Cryolophosarus. Given this understanding, it would have been appropriate to give the crest a more colorful paint scheme. As is, unfortunately, it tends to blend in with the rest of the figure, unless, of course, this is a female animal.

Accuracy hasn’t always been Papo’s strong spot, however, 2017 seems to be a step in the right direction. While not all 100% accurate, most of their offerings for 2017 are definitely some of the most accurate figures they’ve ever made. This Cryolophosaurus is probably the second most accurate after their Ceratosaurus. The sculpt seems to adhere to the current reconstructions of the animal, albeit warping some parts to an unrealistic extent (we’ll get to that, don’t you worry). There are no known skin impressions of Cryolophosaurus However, the scales as well as the osteoderms/spikes, are known from its close relatives, the ceratosaurs. So, the aforementioned lack of a notch in the front of the upper jaw is the biggest issue in terms of accur…

…the tail, yeah, it’s…interesting, by which I mean impossible. Cryolophosaurus is thought to be the most basal member of tetanurae, a group of theropods classified for several features, including their stiff tails. This pose would have been simply impossible for a Cryolophosaurus to achieve without breaking its tail; it brings to mind the old practice of museum workers breaking dinosaur skeletons to achieve the outdated “kangaroo” tripod look. Perhaps, given the stance of the animal, it is frightened by something, and lunging away out of fear – it is so afraid that it broke its own tail in the process!

Overall, a solid figure, one of Papo’s best and most accurate. Despite its flaws, it is still highly recommended, you can pick it up on Amazon here.

Cryolophosaurus (Terra Series by Battat)

Well we’re three-fourths of the way through the new Terra series by Battat. At least, with the models released so far. No need to introduce the company to our readers at this point or discuss the fan fair generated by these new models. No real need to introduce the species we’re reviewing either. Cryolophosaurus ellioti is a bit of a fan favorite for those of us “in the know” where dinosaurs are concerned. Sure, normal folks may not be familiar with the genus but we’re not normal folks, just look at how excited we are for these toys! Nope, most of us are already familiar with the early Jurassic theropod from Antarctica described in 1994. In fact, most of us probably already own the Carnegie Collection take on this crested tetanuran.


Measuring 6” in length this figure is a 1:40 scale replica of the 20’ plus carnivore. Sculpted by Dan LoRusso, this is naturally a very accurate model. You won’t find bunny hands or tail draggers in this new series. In fact, this model is not even a tripod. It is capable of standing on two legs which is rare for theropod models. I don’t know if it was intended to stand this way because the tail does dip down and can support the model but at least with mine it doesn’t need to. That may become necessary however if the legs warp, which they often do. And oh yes, I should mention that the mouth on this model is closed! I think I speak for a lot of collectors when I say we’re tired of mouth-breathing theropod models. Although it is often nice to get a look at the palate, tongue and dental anatomy of a theropod toy, the more natural looking closed mouth is more appealing, at least to this collector. The model looks agile and alert and is sculpted in mid-stride while looking towards the left. A series of knobby scutes are sculpted from the back of the head and down the neck.


The paint job might be the best of all the models in the new Battat line. Though I’m not normally a fan of green dinosaur toys this model executes its chosen colors well with interesting patterns. Dark green dorsally and light green laterally the two shades are separated by brownish maroon colored edging. Maroon colored spots can be seen along the back and various other places and the edging again appears between the lateral green coloration and the creamy white underside. The feet and most of the tail are also white but bands and spots decorate the tail. The head is light green as well with a dark green mask over the eyes and white lower jaw. The characteristic crest is dark red. The combination of colors and patterns make the model realistic looking but not boring, it looks like a creature evolved to hunt in dark dense undergrowth. Unfortunately there are places where the paint application is a bit sloppy. That said, this is kind of the norm for a lot of Battat models. At least they are consistent. In fact, all of the new Battat models fit in nicely with the older collection which is commendable given the long gap between their production.


So what we’re left with here is a bipedal, closed mouth, accurate and interestingly painted 1:40 scale model of a fascinating theropod, and it’s cheap and readily available to boot! What’s not to love? If you are having a hard time locating these models go check out “Dan’s Dinosaurs” where he currently has them for sale. If you live near a Target store in the United States, keep an eye out there. They should be getting them in shortly if they aren’t already in stock.

Available from eBay here.

Cryolophosaurus (CollectA)

Guest post by John Hall

Many people are fascinated by the mythology of Atlantis, the legend that there was once an entire continent that was lost to the rest of the world when Atlantis sunk beneath the waves during some awful, ancient cataclysm. Less widely appreciated however, is the fact that the icy wastes of Antarctica represent a real-life Atlantis – real in the sense that Antarctica truly is a “lost continent”, a world completely obliterated by an ancient climate disaster. Around 35 million years ago (well after the age of dinosaurs), the last remnants of the super-continent of Gondwana broke apart to form the modern continents of Antarctica, South America and Australia. This rifting of the continents allowed a new cold-water ocean current to begin circulating around Antarctica’s polar seas, and it has done so ever since. Ocean currents are a major determining factor of climate, and as the waters around Antarctica cooled, so too did the air temperatures; until eventually the year came when snow that fell in the winter did not melt in the following summer… the icing over of Antarctica had begun. So for most of its long history (any time before 35 million years ago) Antarctica was not the continent of ice and snow that we know today, but rather a warmer and well-vegetated landscape that must have been rich in unique plants and animals. It’s fascinating to wonder what kind of creatures might have lived there over the millennia, but for the most part the evidence has been lost to us, with even their fossils now being buried deep under the polar ice cap. But glimpses into the lost worlds of ancient Antarctica are occasionally provided by the very rare fossils sometimes found in ice-free rocks, and one such example is the remarkable Antarctic dinosaur Cryolophosaurus. Collecta’s model of the “frozen lizard” is the subject of today’s review.

Cryolophosaurus Collecta

Collecta’s Cryolophosaurus is a well-designed little figure. Despite the small size, this is a lively-looking beast that stands well on its own two feet, with the tail held high. The colour scheme on this guy is simple but effective. The body on my example is a pale grey, dry-brushed almost white; pictures on the internet suggest some versions of this figure are an even more pronounced snowy white, an imaginative and interesting colour choice for a dinosaur. The skin is convincingly textured in tiny scales and wrinkles. The most distinctive feature of Cryolophosaurus was a transverse crest of bone across the top of the head which was too thin to have been used in any sort of physical contest, and hence could only have served as a visual signalling device – perhaps to impress potential mates, intimidate rivals, or to allow cryolophosaurs to instantly recognise others of their kind. In keeping with this ecology, the crest on the Collecta figure is done in a bright, high contrast red which makes absolute sense for a visual display structure. Overall, the colour scheme is distinctive, and makes this figure stand out nicely from other theropod dinosaurs you might have on the shelf.

Cryolophosaurus Collecta

The feet are perhaps over-large (no doubt necessary to make it stand without a tail-prop) and the tail seems a little thin and spindly to me (I mean aesthetically – I make no claims to being an anatomist!). This said, to my eye this is still a more appealing Cryolophosaurus than the larger Carnegie version, which looks very spindly (almost emaciated?) and relies on a ram-rod like tail-prop to make it stand up. The Carnegie Cryolophosaurus is ably reviewed by Plesiosauria here so you can compare the two and make up your own mind.

Cryolophosaurus Collecta

Buyers new to the Collecta range should be aware that this Cryolophosaurus, like many of their figures, is quite small in size. The model is about 14cm long, and since the real animal was around 7 metres long, this would make the scale something like 1:50, give or take. What the best of the Collecta models lack in size, they make up for in good sculpts of interesting dinosaur species at a pleasingly affordable price, and this Cryolophosaurus figure succeeds in meeting these expectations. While perhaps not in the very top tier of the Collecta range, I don’t think this fellow is very far behind, and he would definitely be worth picking up to add to your Collecta herd! The best thing about this figure, and the thing that immediately sets it apart from almost all other figures of carnivorous dinosaurs on the market, is that the jaws are shut. HOORAY!!! I mean seriously, why does every single theropod model out there have to have its jaws wide open at maximum gape, as if it was sitting in the dentist’s chair or belting out a Wagnerian opera? OK, I can understand that roaring theropods are highly marketable, but these animals also look really striking and beautiful with their jaws closed (as they no doubt were for 99% of the time back in the Mesozoic). A round of applause goes to whoever it was at Collecta who sculpted this Cryolophosaurus, for doing a really magnificent job of the head – not only for the closed jaws, but also for the beautiful details of the crest and hornlets, a pair of lively, gleaming eyes and a very charismatic toothy grin. This is a dinosaur model with that elusive quality of character, and for that reason I think kids would love incorporating this guy into their dinosaur play just as much as adults would find him an interesting addition to their collection.

Cryolophosaurus Collecta

The question of whether this Collecta Cryolophosaurus has any other faults brings us neatly to today’s word of the day, which is “pronated”. If, like me, you had no idea what this obscure anatomical term meant when you first stated reading the dinosaur toy blog, I can tell you that in the context of carnivorous dinosaurs, “pronated” means that the wrists are turned such that the palms face down towards the ground (as they would on a dog, sitting on its hind legs to beg) instead of facing side on to the body (as they do on a person standing with their arms at rest). The hands on the Collecta Cryolophosaurus are indeed pronated, which is a common error in theropod illustrations and models. While this arrangement seems to make intuitive sense to non-anatomists, when you think about it, the writs on a bipedal animal shouldn’t be pronated, as this would make the hands useless for many of the kinds of things a theropod dinosaur might need to do, such as grabbing onto prey, manipulating objects in their environment, or playing a game of scrabble, to quote a purely random example.

Cryolophosaurus Collecta

In conclusion, whether you’re in the market for an educational children’s toy, or a display piece for the collector’s shelf, the Collecta Cryolophosaurus represents a lively restoration of a cool and interesting dinosaur at a very affordable price. Here at last is a carnivorous dinosaur sensitively restored – not as an eternally-roaring killing machine – but rather as a real animal, jaws closed, going about its day-to-day life in a vanished world.

Available from Amazon.com here and Ebay.com here.