Tag Archives: Saichania

Saichania (Small)(Schleich)

Saichania, meaning “the beautiful one” in Mongolian, derives its name from the magnificent state of preservation the type specimen was found in. Like Ankylosaurus and Euoplocephalus, it was covered in heavy armour and bore a large club at the end of its tail. But whereas its North American relatives inhabited lush forests and floodplains, Saichania was adapted for the harsh life of the desert. Special air passages in its head cooled the air it breathed in and helped restrict water loss, while a reinforced hard palate enabled it to grind up tough plants.

Schleich has been very fond of Saichania, having released several different versions over the years. This is their newest one, released in 2017. From snout to club tip, it measures a respectable 13 cm long. The main colours are pine green and beige washed over with black and complimented by rust red streaks. The eyes and nostrils are black and the tongue is bright red. I think it looks pretty good. Like most dinosaur toys, this one appears to have been caught in the midst of confronting an enemy. Its head is raised, its mouth is open, and its mighty tail is raised and swinging to the right.

The Saichania‘s back and flanks are covered in small, rounded scales while the underbelly features larger, square-shaped scales. The top of the skull has a knobby texture and the beak, osteoderms, and club are covered in grooves, giving them a rough, worm appearance. Thick wrinkles add realism to the throat and the limb joints. While not in the same league as the sculpting jobs by CollectA, Papo, and Safari, it’s still nothing to sneeze at.

Accuracy is a mixed bag here. The skull is broad with an almost pig-like snout and the correct arrangement of horns jutting from the mandible and behind the orbits. The forelimbs are covered in heavy armour, a distinguishing characteristic that was absent on all of Schleich’s previous attempts. The plates covering the back run in parallel rows with the largest ones at the rear, which is also in keeping with skeletal reconstructions. But there are still a number of major inaccuracies. The head is too big for the body, the armour on the forelimbs should extend further down, the body should be wider, the tail is too short, and the club is too large and too deep. As well, the limbs are too thick and stumpy, and the hind feet should have three toes, not four.

I’m generally not fond of Schleich products, but I’ll give credit where I believe it’s due. This toy has its issues, but it’s a pretty swell rendition of the real deal nevertheless. If all of Schleich’s prehistoric figures were like this, we’d be a lot happier. The Saichania is sold in a two-pack with a repaint of the small 2015 Giganotosaurus, but some online stores like DeJankins sell them separately.

Saichania (original sculpt) (Replica-Saurus by Schleich)

The Late Cretaceous ankylosaurid Saichania (which means “beautiful” in Mongolian) was a moderately sized but heavily armored dinosaur whose fossils were first discovered in southern Mongolia in 1977. Saichania was a squat animal which reached a maximum length of slightly over 20 feet, making it smaller than its more famous American cousin Ankylosaurus. A characteristic of Saichania was the heavy armor present on its limbs. The environment Saichania inhabited was desert, much like Mongolia today, and the animal had several adaptations to living in arid conditions including air passages in the skull which may have cooled its breath and glands next to its nostrils for excreting excess salt. Just know one thing: this is NOT a model of Saichania.

Saichania Schleich

Size comparison of Saichania with a six foot man

This figure was released in 1998 and enjoyed a good long run, being retired recently in 2009. The tag says “Saichania” and the figure is also stamped with this name, but it’s clearly been based off of the North American ankylosaur Euoplocephalus rather than Saichania, which I will get into in a bit. The figure is about 7 in. (17 cm.) long and 3 in. (7 cm.) tall, fitting into 1:40 scale. The colors, while a bit bland, are more interesting than usual for Schleich, I think. The unarmored parts of the animal are colored dark blue-gray, while the armor, spikes, and tail club are colored tan, with dark tan around the edges of the armor plates. Its eyes are small and black, as are the nostrils, and the inside of the mouth is pink.

Saichania Schleich

While this  model may not be accurate as a Saichania, for a Euoplocephalus it could certainly be a lot worse. The arrangement of the armor and spikes is accurate to fossil reconstructions of Euoplocephalus, including the line of dermal scutes on its upper forelimbs. Saichania was a much squatter looking animal than this, with almost every inch of its body including the limbs protected by bony armor, unlike this figure. The skull with its two pairs of spikes is also accurate to Euoplocephalus, although the rest of its head is decidedly fleshy when the animal’s name translates to “well-armored head”.

Saichania Schleich

The figure’s skin is meant to have a scaly dinosaurian look which works well but I think it’s a bit much, since all the armor and the tail club are also covered in scaly skin when in life these parts of the anatomy would have been more bony and smooth. Being a Schleich model this guy certainly has his quirks. The neck is a little too long and the body is much too short, causing the fore and hindlimbs to be squashed too close together. In addition the limbs seem a bit too long. There are also too many digits on every limb; they all have five when the forelimbs should both have four and the hindlimbs three. He’s got some mighty big feet as a result! All in all I like this figure, and the dynamic pose with that swinging tail is far better than Schleich’s new Saichania, which also doesn’t resemble the real animal and looks like a piece of wood.

Saichania Schleich

In short, this is not a Saichania; it’s a Euoplocephalus. I think it’s a great model of Euoplocephalus too, and had Schleich actually labeled it as such instead of trying to sound exotic with Saichania, I’d have much more respect for this figure. Still it’s a very good thyreophoran and I recommend it over the 2009 Schleich Saichania. Since it’s only recently been retired it’s still available from certain stores on the web and on eBay here

Saichania Schleich

Saichania Schleich

This is probably one of the best angles to view it from.

Saichania (Dinomania Series 1, by Kaiyodo)

Kaiyodo is known for making excellent dinosaur sculpts with awesome coloring, for but many a fan’s grief, they’re sold only in Japan. from 2004 onward, some of these could be found in specialty stores across America, but the quantity was minimal and they were always gone very quickly. Series 1 was the only series released in America, under the name Dinomania, and it was comprised of several dinosaurs, reptiles, fish, and fossil replicas. One of these was the Saichania.

Saichania means “beautiful” in Mongolian dialects. It isn’t necessarily called beautiful due to the dinosaur’s aesthetics, but due to the great condition in which Saichania’s fossilized skeleton was found. Saichania was an ankylosaur unlike any other. It was covered in large, triangular plates across its back, sides and towards its belly (which was previously unknown for ankylosaurs), covered with smaller plates like chainmail on its softer sides, and it was a low slung animal due to its short limbs. Like all ankylosauridae, it had a club on the end of its tail.

The mold Kaiyodo made is simply the most accurate Saichania figure ever (Kinto was making one, but decided to leave it as a skeleton. THAT would be the most accurate one). The figure displays its triangular spikes perfectly, and armor everywhere on its body. The head sculpt look just like the fossil. The animal is posed as if it were ready to strike an enemy tarbosaur. The coloring is mostly tan, with a flesh colored underbelly, dark plates, and the only complaint I have with this color scheme is that its beak is covered with a hideous white, making it look as if Saichania had been drinking too much milk. But all in all, the sculp is extremely detailed, and so is its color. At around just 6 cm long, you’d have to hold one in your hands to completely appreciate it.

All in all, Saichania is simply “beautiful”. Accurate mold, good pose, good colors, and an easy build (All Kaiyodos come with candy and need to be built). It’s one of my favorite molds of any dinosaur line, and every thyreophoran lover should have one in his or her pocket for good luck. I was very lucky to have found one Saichania within the five Kaiyodo boxes I found in that store two years ago.

Available here

Review by Emperordinobot