Tag Archives: kronosaurus

Kronosaurus (Deluxe by CollectA)

Slowly, steadily, silently, Keelhaul approaches his target, an elasmosaur too occupied in turn with stalking a school of fish to notice him. A sudden push of his flippers, a snap of his mighty jaws, a moment’s frantic struggle, and the elasmosaur is dead, its long neck nearly severed. Wasting no time, Keelhaul sinks his teeth into his victim’s abdomen and begins tearing apart the flesh . . .

Named after the cruel king of the Greek titans who swallowed his own children whole, Kronosaurus queenlandicus was truly a terror of the deep. Measuring over ten metres in length, propelled by powerful flippers, and equipped with a two-metre long head and a mouth filled with enormous conical teeth, this frightful pliosaur was probably capable of killing anything it encountered in the Early Cretaceous seas. Little wonder then that CollectA selected it as one of their Deluxe figures for 2017. And with a length of 31 cm and a flipperspan of 18.5 cm, this briny brute topples the Pliosaurus for the title of their biggest sea monster to date. It is sculpted in a swimming pose with its huge head turned to the left and its short tail swaying to the right. Unlike so many other plesiosaur toys that rest on their bellies, this giant is supported by its mighty flippers.

The main colours on the Kronosaurus are rust on top and beige underneath. Dark brown patches and tiny spots adorn the upper half of the body. The eyes are glossy black, the teeth are cream, and the inside of the mouth is pink. Given that most sea monster figures are painted in varying shades of blue or grey or green, I find this colour scheme to be quite distinctive and refreshing, yet still grounded in realism. The dark upper half and light underbelly would effectively camouflage the predator from above and below. And the large, inky black eyes give it a dark, sinister vibe similar to that possessed by a great white shark. The Schleich Kronosaurus has a very similar colour scheme, but it isn’t executed as well as this.

The Kronosaurus‘ mouth features a ribbed palate, a huge tongue, and, of course, lots and lots of conical teeth, sharp enough to be pleasing, yet not enough to present a potential hazard. Most of the wrinkles carved into the body are sparse and subtle, but the ones on its neck and at its shoulders and hips are much more pronounced. There are also a few small, wart-like bumps scattered across the skin. The flippers are long, thick, and muscular, perfect for propelling the animal rapidly through the depths. Similarly, the stocky neck would enable ol’ Keelhaul here to shake a victim to death, then tear the corpse apart piece by piece.

On that note, let’s talk about this toy’s action feature. The Kronosaurus‘ lower jaw is hinged, allowing the mouth to clamp shut, open wide, or chomp down on other toys as shown below. Needless to say, this is quite a fun feature, one that will appeal to many adult collectors and certainly any child. I know my eight year old self would been head over heels with this toy. It would have been devouring other aquatic beasts or G.I. Joes all day long. The only down side is that there’s a very visible seam along the jawline, especially when the mouth is closed.

And we mustn’t forget to discuss scientific accuracy. This Kronosaurus does have a small error in that there ought to be a diastema (gap in the tooth row) between the last pair of premaxillary teeth and the first pair of maxillary teeth. I’m not going to fault CollectA too much for this, as it’s relatively difficult to find good, up-to-date reference material for Kronosaurus. Indeed, the only mounted specimen, located at Harvard University, has been dubbed “Plasterosaurus” for the amount of fake bones it contains. Aside from the teeth, however, this toy measures up very well. The head is appropriately massive and well-fleshed out. The flippers are correctly proportioned with the rear pair being larger. And the chunky tail features a small fluke. There’s no direct evidence for such a feature on Kronosaurus as of this writing, but given that some of its relatives such as Rhomaleosaurus possessed them, the possibility exists.

Overall, this is a highly impressive and fun figure, one that will surely terrorize the other denizens of the deep in your collection. Would also be great to play with the bathtub or the swimming pool! Kronosaurus was my favourite prehistoric sea monster as a kid and Keelhaul here has captured its mighty essence wonderfully.

Thanks go out to CollectA for this review sample!

Kronosaurus (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd)

Available from Amazon.com for under $20

When their vaunted Carnegie Collection was discontinued in early 2015, Safari Ltd evidently got to work pretty quickly to take up the slack elsewhere, because in a mere two years they more than doubled the output of figures from their standard dinosaur line. This year they’ve released a whopping 13 new figures, several of which are updated versions of animals that had been in the Carnegie Collection. One is this Kronosaurus, the first new figure of this genus since Schleich’s in 2005. The Carnegie Collection version was on the market for nearly 20 years, and Schleich’s was really no improvement, so we were due for a new one.

Safari Kronosaurus

This figure is large. It’s roughly 34 cm long, almost a third of which is the head. This is appropriate, as Kronosaurus had a truly gigantic head, up to 2.7 meters long. This figure is about 1:25-1:30 scale and could easily serve as a doorstop.

Safari Kronosaurus

Our hefty friend sports a fairly standard color scheme for a large marine predator, with a mix of grays above and white below. Even with the relatively conservative color scheme, the pattern is deceptively intricate, consisting of a broad, graded band of gray along the dorsal midline, criss-crossed by irregular but sharply defined transverse striations. The effect is quite eye-catching, and if I didn’t have the toy in my hands you could convince me that it was a computer-generated model. It’s sculpted in an active pose, with the head twisted slightly to the side as though striking at prey.

Safari Kronosaurus

The gaping jaws show off the dentition to great effect. We can see four teeth per side in the premaxillae (the front of the snout), marking this as K. queenslandicus. The gap between the fourth and fifth pair of teeth aligns with huge teeth in the flared lower jaw. This sort of pattern occurs in many aquatic predators, such as crocodiles, and makes it easier to handle prey.

Safari Kronosaurus

This new Kronosaurus represents a dramatic improvement in accuracy relative to previous renditions. Comparison with its Carnegie predecessor is especially instructive. Whereas the old one was perfectly cylindrical, inviting frequent comparisons to a sausage, the new one has a broader head and body, which makes it look much less…extruded. And while the old one had dinky rear flippers, the new one has long, broad ones, reflecting their important role in swimming.

Safari Kronosaurus

There is a low, subtle keel along the back of this figure, continuing on to the tail, but there is no fin. There is circumstantial evidence for small tail fins in some Jurassic pliosaurs, but tens of millions of years of evolution separate them from Kronosaurus. In contrast to ichthyosaurs, mosasaurs, whales, or metriorhynchid crocodiles, Kronosaurus did not use its tail for thrust production. Rather, it propelled itself with its flippers, which is unusual in modern animals. Sea turtles probably come closest, with perhaps penguins a distant second. Neither has any sort of vertical fin. Although Kronosaurus did not have a shell, it shared with turtles a relatively stiff torso, which, along with its slight dorsoventral compression, would help with stability. Therefore, it may not have been necessary to have a fin to prevent rolling. Since we have no clear and obvious modern analogue to compare, until and unless soft tissue around the tail of a big advanced pliosaur is found, Safari’s decision not to include a fin looks perfectly reasonable. At the same time, including one would also be defensible.

Safari Kronosaurus

The one minor gripe I have with this figure is that the fins tend to curl upward. I’m not sure why this is, and if it were a subtler bend it could be explained as minor deformation as the animal rows against the water. It might be that if you softened them up with a hair dryer and squished them between two books they would assume a more natural shape. If you try that or something similar, let us know in the comments!

Safari Kronosaurus

With the small exception of the curly fins, this is a spectacular figure that reflects great attention to detail. It’s the most accurate Kronosaurus on the market, ending the Carnegie version’s dubious 20-year reign. Kids and adult collectors alike should find a way to give it a home.

Available from Amazon.com for under $20

Kronosaurus (Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd)

We now return to our series of pliosaur reviews. We have already looked in detail at the popular Chap Mei Liopleurodon here and more recently the Kronosaurus by Schleich. Let take a look now at Safari’s offering, another popular figure, the Carnegie Collection Kronosaurus.

Once again, we are not in a very good state of affairs, there are far more problems with the sculpt than there are commendable points. However, Safari may be forgiven for some of the errors they make as their figure is clearly based on a fossil mount now known to be inaccurate, as I will discuss later. But first, lets take the figure at face value. The main body is a perfectly cylindrical tube, more like a miserable fat sausage than a pliosaur body. The distance between the flippers is far too long. The body is also made of a harder plastic than the head – the two materials are quite crudely joined together just in front of the fore flipper and the join is visible.

kronosaurus<br /> safari

The head is widely gaping and quite fearsome looking. The nostrils are accurately retracted close to the eyes (nicely sculpted narrow slits as in the Schleich Kronosaurus) but the eyes are way too far back, situated in the temporal fenestrae. This figure is unusual for plesiosaur figures as it is the only one with ears – at the back of the skull there are two small distinct external openings. Whether such a feature would be present in derived aquatic reptiles is unclear. Where the lower jaws meet the upper jaws the cheek extends very far back – this region would have been more muscular.

kronosaurus<br /> safari

The dentition suffers from some of the same problems as the Schleich figure – the teeth are all equally sized whereas there should be a lot of variation. Worse, there is an inexplicable gap in the dentition at the very front of the jaws, as if some teeth have fallen out. The tooth rows do not therefore meet up, but form separated rows in each of the jaws, and the snout extends beyond the teeth like: all very un-pliosaur-like. The shape of the lower jaw is very nice though, it is narrow and triangular but expands near the tip forming a spatulate symphysis, a character typical of pliosaurs. Again, there are some nice speculative additions to the mouth – a gullet and a big bulbous tongue are visible in the open mouth.

kronosaurus safari

The spine is perfectly straight, and this figure has a distinct neck, two improvements over the Schleich version. The flippers are incredibly weedy, they look like they might be ripped off in choppy waters. The hind flippers are tiny and impossibly curved backwards. In fact, the hind-flippers in pliosaurs are larger than the fore-flippers and all four limbs had an active role in propulsion. The limbs are possibly the worst and most inaccurate aspect of this figure. In my version the limbs are all horizontal, but in other versions the forelimbs are angled down proppping the animal up a bit. Just liek the Schleich Kronosaurus, the flippers are too thin where they meet the body, there is hardly enough depth for the humerus/femur head, let alone the strong muscles associated with the flippers. The tail tapers to a narrow tip and is just about the right size.

Kronosaurus Safari

The colour scheme is grey and light grey, the underside is counter-shaded with a pale grey. The eyes are black (no pupils). The figure is 33cm long making it the longest pliosaur replica currently available. is quite a stunning figure, but there are far too many mistakes.

I mentioned near the start of my review that Safari might be forgiven for some of their errors, perhaps they have an excuse? Well in some cases yes, because their reconstruction clearly stems from the most famous skeletal mount of Kronosaurus, the ‘Harvard Specimen’. To cut a long story short, the specimen was badly damaged and much of it had to be reconstructed in plaster, earning the mounted skeleton the nickname of ‘Plasterosaurus’. The number of vertebrae has been overestimated – there are 10 or so vertebrae too many in the backbone – at least Safari can fall back on this to explain their ridiculously long-bodied Kronosaurus toy.

In my next pliosaur review, we will meet the Walking With Dinosaurs Liopleurodon!

This figure is available here for $15