Tag Archives: Shantungosaurus

Shantungosaurus (Age of the Dinosaurs by PNSO)

Review and photographs by Fembrogon, edited by Suspsy

Hello, all, this is Fembrogon with my first review for the DinoToyBlog. My featured creature for this review is the gargantuan hadrosaur Shantungosaurus–a genus which I believe could achieve minor stardom in the mainstream with the right push. Shantungosaurus obviously wasn’t a carnivore, and didn’t have fancy ornamentation like some of its relatives, but with size estimates reaching up to 50 feet long and 13 tons heavy, Shantungosaurus holds the record for largest known non-sauropod land animal in history. That’s not bad for a duckbill!

Of course, with size being Shantungosaurus‘s potential claim to fame, the best way to market it would be to bank on BIG merchandise. The Chinese company PNSO finally took a stab at this dino, as well as several others (some of which have already been reviewed here on the blog), as part of a large hollow plastic toy line. How well does Shantungosaurus hold up?

Unfortunately, not so well in the case of my particular figure. The feet are so unevenly balanced that the big hadrosaur is prone to falling like dying prey. Hot water treatments to the legs have only offered temporary respites. Hopefully, this issue is unique to mine (I don’t even know if it’s actually a sculpting or shipping issue), but it’s the biggest criticism I have to lay on the figure, so let that issue . . um . . . Stand at the front.

The above problem notwithstanding, the PNSO Shantungosaurus has an impressive shelf presence, standing 6.5″ tall at the hip and 13″ long, 17″ counting the curves in the neck and tail. This puts the figure at roughly 1:35 scale. I’m no expert on hadrosaur anatomy, but looking at skeletal photographs and illustrations, PNSO seems to have nailed the overall proportions and features of the genus. I particularly like the thick, rectangular lower jaw replicated on the figure, which distinguishes it more from other, more “plain”-looking hadrosaurs (if the honking great size wasn’t enough for you). I don’t know if Shantungosaurus could bend the end of its tail as well as it is on this figure (hadrosaurs are thought to have very stiff, reinforced tailbones), but it certainly adds to a dynamic pose not often seen in herbivorous dinosaurs.

Finer details are very good for what is ostensibly a child’s toy. There’s little or no shrink-wrapping I can make out, besides a rather bony face. The body is covered with fine scaly detail, pronounced by dark paint highlights. The paint job is very earthy and natural in appearance, with light and dark brown washes and a nice, subtle striping on the tail. There are some odd rusty red highlights on the face, but they aren’t too distracting. My figure does have a few tiny scuffs on the toes and spine, however, so I would recommend treating this figure gently. There is also a noticeable paint blotch on the left back leg of mine; hopefully that is another flaw unique to my own.

PNSO appears to be off to a strong start with their dinosaur figures. While I can’t praise this particular one as much as I’d like, what with the various issues mine has (getting it to stand risks becoming a hassle), the PNSO Shantungosaurus is nonetheless a very nice representation of a genus rarely seen in toy form. If you’d like to obtain one for yourself, DeJankins still has this figure and others in the line for reasonable prices as of this writing.

Shantungosaurus (Dinotales Series 4 by Kaiyodo)

Trust Kaiyodo to turn such a monstrously huge dinosaur into a miniature masterpiece of a figure. It might have had nothing on the largest sauropods, but this animal was named Shantungosaurus giganteus for a reason (it is the biggest non-sauropod dinosaur yet known). For Kaiyodo, emphasising the animal’s sheer size was not an option, so they simply concentrated on making it beautiful instead.

It’s easy to forget just how small the Dinotales figures are when viewing close-up shots, so let me spell it out for you – at just over 10.5cm long and 4cm tall at the hips (not including the base), it’s something like 1:140 scale. The head is approximately 1.5cm long. Given its tiny size, the amount of detail on this figure is incredible, especially given that it is ostensibly a cheapo snap-together collectible. The intricate details extend from a carefully modeled skull to skin creases, muscles and tendons moving beneath the skin and a ‘crest’ along the animal’s back, which has been modeled on related hadrosaurs. There are even pupils painted inside the eyes, which themselves are no more than 1mm across.

From an anatomical standpoint this is as good as it gets. Virtually every aspect of this model is in perfect proportion. Perhaps the tail could have been a little longer, but that is the nittiest of picks – other than that, there really is nothing to find fault with, and an awful lot to praise. Notable points of comparison with the real dinosaur include the rather deep lower jaw and tall vertebrae over the hips. Not a lot more I can add here – the sculptor really did their research for this sculpt, and it shows.

In terms of aesthetics, the mere fact that this is a faithful restoration of the animal concerned makes it immediately appealing, but to compound this the figure has also been given a very attractive paint scheme. It’s not going to appeal to everyone – some might view it as a little unlikely, or overly bright – but the dazzling, almost tribal patterns are certainly a scene-stealer, and there are a number of excellent small touches (check out the red and white stripes running down from the head). The energetic pose is also wonderful, and really makes this sculpt come alive. For once, this is a hadrosaur figure that celebrates hadrosaurs as more than just terrified tyrannosaur-fodder; fitting, ‘cos Shantungosaurus would be the one hadrosaur you really wouldn’t want to cross.

This is one of the few figures I can recommend without any reservation. There’s no compromise on scientific accuracy, detail, or paintwork, and if the small size bothers you then, well, you’re Just Wrong. You’ll probably have to go looking on eBay and on the sites of specialist retailers, but this eminently affordable figure is definitely worth your while!