Tag Archives: dinoland

Allosaurus (Kaiyodo Dinotales 1:20 Collection)

A couple years back I put together a poll on the Dinosaur Toy Forum with the goal of compiling a top ten list of the best Allosaurus toys ever produced. It was no small task, up until the 1990’s the Allosaurus only played second fiddle to Tyrannosaurus in the popularity contest. Since then other theropods have pushed it down the list; Velociraptor, Spinosaurus, Carnotaurus to name a few. Allosaurus is still a favorite of mine though. A perfectly proportioned, generalized predator that ruled the Jurassic, even if it was not among the largest theropods it was certainly one of the most successful. That top 10 list ended up with a lot of great contenders and naturally the Papo Allosaurus won the day. At the time I had considered this 1:20 scale Allosaurus by Kaiyodo to be the best Allosaurus figure. It was a perfect blend of accuracy, size, detail, craftsmanship. But I didn’t own the thing at that time, and now I do. So now that I have it in-hand how does it hold up? Is it worth the often expensive price tag? Is it truly the best Allosaurus out there?

Standing 9” tall and measuring about 17” long, this rendition of the Jurassic carnivore is certainly going to take up some shelf space and draw attention in a crowd. The heavy detailing only helps in this regard. Raised scutes are immediately noticeable along the back and reminiscent of those on a crocodile. Wrinkled folds of skin are sculpted along the neck, around the shoulders and legs, and down the length of the tail. The head is adorned with not only those diagnostic brown horns but smaller hornlets at the corners of the mouth. That said, the detailing seems to suddenly diminish below the knees, on the arms, and along the underside where the body is nearly smooth in some places, with only a minimal hint of scales and other bodily adornments. The feet have those bird-like scutes we’ve come to expect on theropod models but the sudden lack of detail on these parts is rather jarring. Obvious seams along the neck, jaw, arms, knees, and tail don’t help enhance the realism of this piece either.

The accuracy here is pretty good. I can’t find much to complain about but some will no doubt consider this model to be shrink-wrapped. The torso is nicely rounded with the extremities lean and muscular. The head is quite obviously Allosaurus and even the neutral facing hands posses the enlarged thumb claw so frequently omitted. The tail base could use some thickening but overall this is a very modern looking Allosaurus with some obvious Greg Paul influences. This model was sculpted by Matsumura Shinobu whose other dinosaurs are in very much the same style which seems to be popular in Japan, where this model originates.

The most off-putting feature on this model is its lack-luster, static posture. Not only are both feet planted flat on the ground, but the knees are not bent at all, giving the figure an unnatural appearance. In fact, without some kind of support the model will tilt back and rest on its tail and looks like one of those fainting goats. The mouth is open with the arms just sort of dangling there. This is a shame because it makes for a really unnatural looking pose on a very life-like sculpture.

This model comes in a couple different color schemes with mine being the brown variant painted in yellowish, sandy color tones. The claws are a dark brown color, teeth white, inside of the mouth, pink, and the eyes meticulously painted orange with yellow irises and black pupils. The other variant is green in color. Other colors exist of this model as well, including one that’s entirely painted blue. But the blue model also possesses minor sculptural differences too and is a part of the Kaiyodo Dinoland collection, unlike this piece.

All in all my opinion about this model has changed little upon seeing it. It’s still a fantastic piece and easily among the best Allosaurus figures out there. For its price point however there are some glaring issues that must be acknowledged. Lazy detailing, visible seams, and an uninspired pose all conspire against what is simultaneously one of the most detailed and accurate Allosaurus models to date. I was able to acquire mine for about $35 but the prices vary a lot and seems to have gone up recently, especially on eBay where they range between $30- $188! Even the cheaper models have expensive shipping prices so buyers beware. In the end though this is a must have model for those who are still fans of this once popular but now forgotten theropod.

Stegosaurus (Field Museum Mold-A-Rama)

Finishing off our reviews of the Field Museum Mold-A-Rama collection is the Stegosaurus. Older original Mold-A-Rama dinosaurs exist as well but they aren’t currently being produced at the Field Museum and the only way to really obtain them is through eBay. It has come to my attention that the Stegosaurus machine was recently removed from the Field Museum so if you don’t already have the Stegosaurus then try to find one on eBay before they become scarce. The “retired” figures include the Ankylosaurus, Edmontosaurus (Trachodon), and Corythosaurus. All of the Mold-A-Rama dinosaurs were offered up as souvenirs at the World’s Fair Dinoland back in the 1960’s.  To the best of my knowledge the only place that still has working Mold-A-Rama machines are those located at the Field Museum in Chicago. For a brief history of Dinoland and the World’s Fair check out the review of the original Tyrannosaurus written by Foxilized.

The Stegosaurus is presented as you would expect it to be in a pre-renaissance era. It’s low to the ground with a dragging tail, sturdily built but obviously dim and slow moving with a considerable amount of bulk. True to Stegosaurus the plates at least alternate but aside from that there is little in common with modern depictions.

There is a good bit of detail on this dinosaur but the painfully yellow color makes them difficult to see. Circular scales adorn the body, loose skin hangs from the neck, and skin folds sag along the flanks. The plates are unusually small but vertical striations are etched along them. Although lacking cheeks the mouth does have a thick set of frowning lips which only accentuate the plodding demeanor of the mold.

Personally this Stegosaurus is my least favorite of the Field Museum molds. It lacks the same charm and character that even the oddball Tyrannosaurus possesses. The yellow color is a bit of a turn-off too but that’s just my personal preference and he certainly stands out on a shelf of conventional dinosaur toys.

Caution must be exercised with this particular mold. All of the molds are fragile, made of hollow waxy material but the Stegosaurus seems particularly prone to breakage along the tail. Mine came to me broken but it was easy enough to just glue it back on.

This is the kind of figure that only dinosaur historians might find interesting. The history of the Mold-A-Rama machines, Dinoland, Sinclair Motor oil, and the World’s Fair are all fascinating bits of American history that make seeking this and the other Mold-A-Rama figures worth the effort. Get this Stegosaurus while you can and good luck!