Tag Archives: elasmosaurus

Elasmosaurus (Stuttgart NHM, Bullyland)

Elasmosaurus was a magnificent and charismatic marine reptile that had an incredible neck.   This sea dragon reached an estimated length of 43 feet (13 meter).  The head and neck comprised half of its length.  It might not have been the most powerful animal in prehistoric seas but it is one of the more elegant and recognizable plesiosaurs.

Due to its distinctive look, it is a popular sea creature that has been made many times by different toy companies. In classic paleo art depictions of Elasmosaurus, it either had a swan like neck raising out of the water or it was able to coil its neck like a snake to catch its prey.  As cool as that looked, that idea is very inaccurate and would have been impossible for the animal to do.  In reality the neck would have been held quite straight with some degree of flexibility for occasional sideward movements.   When coming up to breath I think it would be similar to how a sea snake or turtle breathes with just the tip of the nose coming out of the water.

About the toy:  The 2003 Bullyland Elasmosaurus embodies retro styling with a long twisting neck that would make Charles Knight and Zdenek Burrian proud. Its neck is twisting to its right, then gracefully turns upward and curves to its left,  then turns slightly to face forward, proudly holding its head high.  In all honesty this beauty has an incredible neck.  When measuring all the twists and turns its neck is about 9 in (22.86 cm)long.  The main body is about 3 in (7.62 cm) long, and its tail is about 3 in(7.62 cm) long. When measured from head to tail in a straight line the overall length is 10 in (25.4 cm) long. The head is held off the ground at 3 in (7.62 cm) in height.

The sculpting on the head is more accurate than the Carnegie version but it is not perfect.   The eyes look like they are placed close to the top of the head but they still look a little low.  It might be a nit-pick but the eyes also look too far back on the skull.  The nares are visible in the front.

What about the dentation? When we look at these chompers we should see long thin teeth that protruded from the mouth when closed.  The teeth should be intermeshed together like a zipper to impale and capture wiggling fish. Unfortunately this toy doesn’t have those features.  The teeth are marked by small lines that are etched into a solid block of teeth that look rather uniform.  It is hard to tell but if you look closely at  the teeth they might be ever so slightly protrude in the front.

The torso is flat on the bottom and looks inflexible and rigid.  The tail is short and curves to its left.  The flippers are thin but broad and on the front they curl upwards a little to give it a feeling of pushing water aside.    The front flippers are a copy of each other as they are posed and sculpted the same.  The same is true of the rear flippers.  The skin texture is circular bumps across the entire body, neck, flippers and tail.   The colorization is simple and believable.  It is painted in typical Bullyland pastel shade of colors.  Light blue on top and white on the underside.  From the head to the tail there are black spots and splotches.  This includes the flippers as well.  The eyes are yellow with a black pupil.

Play ability:  This sensational marine reptile has an incredible neck that is long and twisted.  It is an attractable pose for kids.  It offers many different imaginary ideas during playtime.  I have seen this model be at the mercy of many different predatory prehistoric toys.  This toy needs to be careful during play time and here’ s why.  The toy goes for a make believe swim to find fish to eat or perhaps to talk to mermaid Barbie, when suddenly you can hear the Jaws theme playing.   That darn Jurassic World Mosasaurus shows up, attacks, and before the Elasmosaurus can escape it has been grabbed by the neck and pulled to the inky depths of the carpeted floor.  The toy is not heavy, nor are there any sharp edges, which makes it safe to play with.  The paint job can scuff rather easily during play time so parents be prepared to paint touch ups.

Overall:  Is this a scientifically accurate toy?  No it is not.  If you want accuracy, check out the Wild Safari Elasmosaurus.  That doesn’t mean that the toy isn’t worth picking up.  I personally find the pose beautiful.  Yes it looks more like a monster from a movie or from some old paleo art with its head above water and twisting like a snake.  For me, that classic look is part of the appeal.  It is also a great toy for kids. If you are interested in this toy it is still relatively easy to find.

 

Elasmosaurus (Tsukuda Hobby Collection)

Review and photos by Bokisaurus, edited by Suspsy

Having previously reviewed the Tsukuda Hobby Styracosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex, I figured it is time to conclude the trilogy and add one more figure to the list, at least for now. This time we will take a dive into the prehistoric ocean and take a look at good old Elasmosaurus!

Elasmosaurus is perhaps the most famous member of its family. In the early days of prehistoric toys, almost all of the long-necked marine reptile figures were called Elasmosaurus. It is only recently that other species were added to the list. Tsukuda’s version is perhaps the most beautiful and elegant of all 13 figures in the collection. I find it simply stunning despite its age. Like the other figures, it is rather large at 1:30 scale; it measures a good 13 inches stretched out.

The head is beautifully sculpted. The signature glass eyes are yellow and make a nice contrast to the dark blue skin. The mouth is closed, but the teeth, which are all individually sculpted, are visible and nicely painted. The nostrils are placed on the top of the head, just in front of the eyes. There are subtle wrinkles around the jaw area, and there is also what appears to be loose skin around the area just below the jaw.

Like many plesiosaur figures, this one is smooth all over its body with hardly a hint of texturing besides a few wrinkled areas. The neck is held high in a regal, swan-like pose, although not to the extreme commonly seen in other plesiosaur figures. The neck is also nicely muscled and not too thin. This figure bares an unmistakable resemblance to the Invicta version both in pose and colouration. The blue body and the way the head and neck are posed makes it look like a larger, more detailed version of it.

With the Invicta figure

The body is robust and looks about right shape-wise. There is a slight hump on the back just after the neck connects with the body. The flippers are unique in that they are not shaped like any other plesiosaur’s. For starters, the flippers are huge and rounded in shape, more like a seal’s than a marine reptile’s. And just like a seal, there are clear groves that looks more like webbings on all four flippers. The rear flippers are larger and more fan-like than the front ones and the tail is short and stubby. The blue body is overally unremarkable. The underside is painted white, the only other colour to be found on this figure. The seams are visible both on the body and also on the two front flippers.

Despite some inaccuracies, this is a pretty good representation of a plesiosaur, much better than some of the later figures. Of the 13 Tsukuda figures, this one ranks as one of the rarest of them all. It shares this distinction with the equally beautiful and perhaps even rarer Dimetrodon. Both these figures are hard to find and when they do show up, can command high price. I was lucky enough to come across this one and acquire it many years ago.

In closing then, the Elasmosaurus is one of the best figures the Tsukuda collection has to offer. Despite its age, it remains a pretty good representation of the animal. The simple and elegant design is stunning and always commands attention. Despite the flood of more recent, more accurate plesiosaur figures, this one remains one of my all-time favourites. If you are lucky enough to find one at a reasonable price, I highly recommend adding it to your collection.

Elasmosaurus (Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd.)

Measuring nearly 50’ in length with a extraordinarily long neck the genus Elasmosaurus is surely one of the most charismatic and awe inspiring members of the plesiosaur order and even more popular than Plesiosaurus itself. It’s no wonder since Elasmosaurus was one of the largest members of the group and has been featured in numerous books, artwork, and other pop culture depictions.

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The 1991 Carnegie Collection Elasmosaurus may very well be the first mass produced toy depicting the marine reptile. I had one growing up and it was one of the best bathtub toys I owned! It was released alongside a Mosasaurus obviously inspired by old paleoart by the likes of Zdeněk Burian. The Mosasaurus hasn’t aged well, but what about this Elasmosaurus?

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For the most part this model has held up well. It has that standard plesiosaur body plan that is difficult to mess up too much. But much like that old Mosasaurus this toy does suffer from its age. The neck is bent upwards and curved as if attempting to snatch some poor Pteranodon from the air. We of course now know that plesiosaurs had stiff necks held out in front of them and despite what so many alleged Nessie pictures suggest these animals did not swim around with their necks out of the water like a swan.

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The head is also concerning because it completely ignores the somewhat odd cranial anatomy of this animal. To get an idea of what it should look like it would be good to compare it with the 2013 Wild Safari model. The skull should be low with the eyes towards the top of the head, not the sides. Also the teeth should be jutting out forward from the mouth, no doubt a useful tool for snaring fishes. What we have on the Carnegie model is just a generic looking lizard head. It’s a pity because the model is otherwise decent, just got to cut that head off.

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Despite its shortcomings anatomically the Carnegie Elasmosaurus has stood the test of time in other ways. Up until the complete retirement of the Carnegie Collection this toy could be found regularly and a few variations exist. There is this model that I own, painted in various shades of brown with a dark brown back and intricate gray colored, half-moon designs running down the side along with dark brown splotches overlaid with small black spots. The dark brown coloration stops 1/3 of the way up the neck but faint bands and dark spots run up the rest of its length. The head has black spotting and a black stripe that runs through the eyes and around the snout. A green stripe runs below each eye. Mine is odd in that it has spots on only one of the fore-flippers, and not on the rest. I’m not sure if that’s consistent with other models or unique to my own.

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Another version exists that is very similar to my own, the only difference being that there are darker, thicker bands running up the neck, brown edging on the front flippers, and no green stripe below the eyes. In 2007 the model would be released yet again with a completely new paint scheme. That one was blue with darker blue blotches along the back, a believable color scheme for an aquatic animal that would no doubt serve as camouflage in the rippling blue water. But the older color schemes work too.

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The toy is an impressive size; it measures 11” from tail to head, not counting the curvature in the neck. The details on the toy are slim but that’s to be expected from what is supposed to be a streamlined aquatic animal. There are some wrinkles where the fore-flippers meet the body and the model has a slightly dimpled texture. Three raised black bumps are sculpted on the neck just behind the head.

The Carnegie Elasmosaurus is a classic model of the genus and a must have for marine reptile buffs. It has some anatomical errors but is otherwise a well-made toy. Its large size and craning neck make it stand out on a shelf and it displays well. This model had a long run with the Carnegie Collection and is still easy to find and probably will be for years to come.