Tag Archives: elasmosaurus

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.

Plesiosaur (British Museum of Natural History by Invicta)

It is with much trepidation that I attempt to review my next figure. It’s actually one I’ve intended on reviewing for years but when you write for a blog owned by a plesiosaur expert you’re naturally a bit hesitant to review a plesiosaur model, especially based on accuracy. Honestly I’m a bit shocked this classic hasn’t been reviewed yet but I digress. I’m talking of course about the Invicta “plesiosaur”. I put plesiosaur in quotes because curiously we don’t get a specific name with this model, just that generic plesiosaur label. Based on the length of the neck it’s clear we’re not dealing with Plesiosaurus proper, to my untrained eye this appears to be Elasmosaurus. It shouldn’t make much difference with this review anyway. And oh yes, a note on the pictures. Please pardon the chew marks on this model. They weren’t there when I bought it, but they quickly appeared when I temporarily housed a kitten in my home. Needless to say I’m on the lookout for a less damaged specimen. Cats are why I don’t have nice things…like Sideshow models.

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The Invicta plesiosaur is a modest but elegant model. It lacks the intense detail that most of the Invicta dinosaurs possess but this makes sense for this aquatic reptile where a streamlined no-frills body plan was probably likely. Produced in 1978 this model actually stands up fairly well for its age. The neck is raised up in an inaccurate swan-like pose as was common in reconstructions of the day but it’s not raised dramatically so, far less so than many later models. The head is fashioned in the classic plesiosaur style with the skull more lizard-like than it is like the flatted skulls of actual plesiosaurs. The eyes are placed on the side of the head instead of angled towards the top as they should be and the model also lacks the gnarly teeth that the exceptional Safari version possesses and we know actual plesiosaurs had. The body is shallow in build, the flippers slim but capable looking and the tail fairly short. In fact, once you get past the head and the slightly elevated neck the rest of the model is fairly accurate.

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As stated before, the details are sparse. There are a few wrinkles where the flippers meet the body and a ridge down the back but aside from those and the facial features we’re left with a pretty basic model. That’s not an insult though, it’s appropriate for an aquatic animal. The monochrome variation is blue in color; the painted version has a brown back with dark brown spots down the spine and a white underside. The pose is basic with the neck slightly leaning towards the right but with plesiosaurs there are only so many ways you can pose them anyway.

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As with all the Invicta models the age of this figure needs to be taken into account when judging it. It has all the inaccuracies you would expect but it’s still a handsome and graceful model essential to any collection consisting of aquatic reptiles. Naturally you’ll need to check out eBay to find this plesiosaur but it’s usually one of the more inexpensive figures in the Invicta line.

Available from Ebay.com here.