Tag Archives: Plesiosaurus

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.

IMG_6954

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.

IMG_6955
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.

IMG_6950
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.

Plesiosaurus skull (Favorite Co. Ltd)

Here’s a bit of an experiment – our first ever video review. So, I’ll stand back and let the youtube video do the talking (video also embedded below). I will note, however, that I’m a complete novice when it comes to recording and editing, so there’s a lot of room for improvement! Nevertheless, I’ll be interested to see how this goes down, and to learn whether readers are also interested in becoming viewers!?

Transcript of the video review:
0:14 Oh! So, this is the Favorite Plesiosaurus skull,
0:19 It’s half natural size, consists of the cranium,
0:24 and also the lower jaw.
0:27 For display purposes it’s attached to this false wooden base,
0:33 It’s actually not wood, it’s some sort of plastic I think
0:37 and it is detachable so we’ll take that off now
0:39 and have a look.
0:42 So, here we are, Plesiosaurus, distinctively so as well.
0:45 Plenty of details. You can see on the top of the skull
0:49 two little opening there, they’re the external nares or nostrils
0:53 er, the orbits – openings for they eyes – and they have
0:58 sclerotic rings inside them – a little ring of additional bones
1:01 that help support the eyeball.
1:03 This opening on the top there – a pineal foramen.
1:06 And then these two large openings in the rear of the skull.
1:09 They’re the temporal fenestrae, and they are, erm,
1:13 openings that housed the muscles for closing the jaws.
1:18 There are details on the underside as well – the palate.
1:22 But something that is missing is the braincase
1:26 You can see here I can poke my finger straight through the braincase.
1:31 Now, I think that the error comes from the source material,
1:35 which is this reconstruction of the Plesiosaurus skull
1:38 by Glenn Storrs in 1997, and this is still the most recent reconstruction
1:43 of this genus, but you’ll notice in side view the braincase is missing,
1:48 it’s in shadow, and I think that this is why the reconstructed skull model is also missing the braincase.
1:54 While it’s intended to look like bone, it actually isn’t very bone-like at all,
2:00 The individual bones as well are separated with suture lines,
2:05 but these have simply been marked in.
2:07 The teeth are incredibly delicate as well, er,
2:12 particularly fragile and easy to break, and this has
2:15 actually happened – one of the teeth here at the back has come off,
2:19 and that happened in transit before my figure arrived
2:23 so you do have to be careful.
2:25 It’s also a bit scruffy in places, especially where the
2:28 top of the skull is attached to the lower part, the lower jaw.
2:32 These bits are particularly crudely done and it looks
2:35 like they’ve been splodged together.
2:38 To conclude, this is a good but not brilliant statue
2:42 It’s the only one of its kind, so that’s definitely a positive.
2:47 Erm, and for the price I’d actually recommend it,
2:51 and i’d give it, say, 8 out of 10.
2:54 So, that’s my first video review for the Dinosaur Toy Blog,
2:57 very much an experiment, let me know if you like the style,
3:01 like the tone, think there’s something that should be added or removed,
3:04 and we’ll take that on board in the future.
3:07 Thank you for watching.

Plesiosaurus favorite skull.

Plesiosaurus (version 2) (Soft Model by Favorite Co. Ltd)

Nope, you’re not seeing double. Ever since Favorite released their second wave of ‘Soft Models’, their line is starting to resemble an alternative retelling of the Noah’s Ark fable, in which the dinosaurs march along two by two. That’s because they decided, instead of creating new species, to redo and update their existing species list.

Plesiosaurs Favorite comparison

Compare and contrast. Favorite Co. Ltd Plesiosaurus version 2 top, version 1 bottom.

After delaying my review of the original version 1 Plesiosaurus for far too long, my bad habits have diminished very little. This new version, essentially a replacement for the previous version, has been on my ‘to review’ list ever since I received it as a generous gift from dinotoyforum regular and all-round top bloke, Postsaurischian, back when the figure first became available a few years ago. For two representatives of exactly the same genus there are a lot of differences to note between this pair, which make the review ripe for a bout of ‘compare and contrast’.

Plesiosaurs Favorite comparison
Plesiosaurs Favorite comparison

I’ll start with the proportions. It’s obvious at first glance that this new figure is more stocky than its predecessor, with a shorter neck, and broader shorter flippers. But let’s quantify this. To determine which figure is closer to reality I decided to take some measurements and here’s what I found. The neck of version 1 is 46% of the entire length of the animal, almost half, while version two is only 33%, a third. Based on measurement of the holotype specimen of Plesiosaurus I calculated that the creature’s neck is %41 of the total length of the animal. So, the version 1 figure is too long by 5%, while the version 2 has under-compensated in the opposite direction by 8%. Version 1 wins the battle of accuracy by a slim 2% margin, but it is not a spectacular victory, and neither figure is apparently correct.

Plesiosaurs Favorite comparison

In my review of the version 1 figure I praised the head because it was obviously based on reconstructions from the literature (e.g. this one by Storrs, 1997). The head of the second version has no glaring anatomical errors, but isn’t as detailed and doesn’t match the skull reconstructions of Plesiosaurus quite so closely. The vacuum-packed appearance gives it a bug-eyed look and the post-temporal fenestrae are too sunken. The number of teeth has been correctly increased, but they aren’t well defined. The head is therefore a step down from the original figure.

Plesiosaurs Favorite comparison

Kissy, kissy! Favorite Co. Ltd Plesiosaurus version 1 on the left, version 2 on the right.

The distance between the front and hind limbs (the torso) has been increased in the new figure. This is an improvement because this region was too short in the first version which gives it a mildly ungainly appearance. This new version is more balanced in this regard. The hind limbs in the new version are pointed backwards more, and the left hind flipper is notably curved along its length, as if resisting water during the upstroke. This works well.

Plesiosaurs Favorite comparison
Plesiosaurs Favorite comparison

There’s nothing too exciting about the colour, which is grey all over and not particularly photogenic. The texture is similar to the version 1 model, with strong wrinkles – I’d expect the living creature to be smoother and more streamlined. A fold of skin on the flank of the body in version 1 figure is absent in the new version, and I prefer the updated version. This figure comes with a nice little stand that consists of a blue section of sea floor, which holds a transparent rod that fits into a hole in the belly of the beast. It displays really well. The previous version had a display stand that had to be bought separately.

Plesiosaurs Favorite comparison

There are some points of similarity. Both figures have a strongly arched back. My research is showing that the spine in plesiosaurs was actually rather straight, so the curvature in this model is probably too pronounced, but that’s through no fault of the sculptor – this is an active field of research. The overall posture is also similar in the two figures, with the forelimbs raised higher than the hind limbs.

Plesiosaurs Favorite comparison

The relatively shorter neck and broader flippers in version 2, and the shape of the skull, are all closer to Cryptoclidus than Plesiosaurus, so I wonder if the sculptor  made a booboo and based this updated restoration on the former genus instead. Overall, this is a really nice plesiosaur model, although not a huge  improvement over the earlier incarnation. Certainly a keeper for the marine reptile enthusiasts.

Available new from ebay.com here and the whole new Favorite Soft Model set is available from Amazon.com here.