Tag Archives: Spinosaurus

Spinosaurus (Tsukuda Hobby Collection)

Review and photos by docronnie, edited by Suspsy

​Like all Tsukuda figures from the standard 13 piece set in the 1980s’, this Spinosaurus is made of hollow vinyl plastic in a multi-piece construction moulded into a single piece; hence the evident appearance of seams along the head, extremities, and tail. It also has the signature glassy eyes.

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Measuring 28 cm long and 18 cm in height, this figure is in an outdated, bipedal, tail-dragging pose. It is basic brown in colour with dark brown highlights on the dorsal part of the head, body, tail, extremities, knees, and feet. There are also five dark brown stripes on each side of the beautifully sculpted sail. The Spinosaurus has visible scales from its head to its tail tip, wrinkles on the ventral sides from the neck to the tail and “O TSUKUDA HOBBY” printed on the anterior side of the tail.

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Obviously, the head does not represent a proper Spinosaurus and the location of the nostrils is incorrect. The wide open oral cavity exhibits a pinkish, protruding tongue, a frenulum, a detailed hard palate, 17 white conical lower teeth and 20 white conical upper teeth. The figure also possesses 4 digits on its hands and feet.

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I bought this Spinosaurus because of its charm, vintage look, rarity, and great price! It might not appeal to everyone, but it seems worth having in someone else’s collection.

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Spinosaurus (Replica-Saurus by Schleich)

Review and photos by Lanthanotus, edited by Suspsy

Today I want to introduce you to a figure so obsolete that one can almost only recognize it by the big sail set on the somewhat generic theropod body: the Spinosaurus from Schleich’s Replica-Saurus 1:40 line, released in 1993.

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The fossil collector Richard Markgraf discovered the first remains of Spinosaurus during an expedition in 1912 in the Bahariyya oasis in Egypt. His friend, the German paleontologist Karl Heinrich Ernst Freiherr Stromer von Reichenbach (yeah, back in the days you got names!) then described the dinosaur scientifically in 1915. The fragmentary holotype was completely lost and destroyed during an Allied bombing of Munich in the Second World War and despite quite detailed drawings of the fossil remains and some recognizable characteristics of the species (as in the lower mandible), Spinosaurus was often depicted in books with a generic and blocky head which was the bane of many theropod dinosaurs back then. The next discovery of fossils of the species did not take place until 1996 and so it comes to no surprise that Schleich’s figure boasts this blocky head. It still took until 2001 when Jurassic Park III prepared the stage for Spinosaurus‘ worldwide fame and updated its reconstruction to a certain degree. Since then, nearly every dinosaur toy company jumped on the bandwagon and depicted Spinosaurus as in JP3. Just recently, this changed again with the designation of a neotype by Paul C. Sereno and Cristiano Dal Sasso and the reconstruction by Nizar Ibrahim–which is still under debate. Thus Spinosaurus is a fine example of science as the rolling stone it should be.

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Back to our figure. As a part of the Replica-Saurus 1:40 line, it is quite a heavy hunk of plastic at almost 25 cm long and more than 11 cm tall. Like all Schleich figures, it’s made of a very durable plastic and a firm, if simple paint job, all in all making it a great toy if not much more. Considering the German market for toy figures in the pre-JP era, one could call the Spinosaurus a decent figure, more or less on par with the Carnegie Spinosaurus, which boasted a way more attractive paint job, but not the durability.

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Nevertheless, with regard to the scientific accuracy, Schleich’s figure is a miss in almost every possible way, although one can hardly blame them when you consider how the species was depicted in the books. Still, the detailing isn’t very good either, and one could ask what made them choose Spinosaurus as a figure anyway. While I have no answer to that, I suggest that the mystery of its appearance and the fact that it was described by a German paleontologist led them to the decision.

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More interesting is the fact that the figure was just retired in 2008 with the introduction of a more JP-style figure, seven years after the movie. However, the figure seemed to sell quite well and is still widely available at German flea markets, eBay or the likes. But as many Germans seem to think of Schleich as the world’s best toy producer and every single one of their figures highly collectible, the offerings often boast ridiculous prices. With a bit of patience, you can find it for just one or two euros though. As many other figures of the 1:40 line, this was also available as a smaller, but more attractively painted version.

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Do I recommend the figure? Only if you are a Schleich collector, a hopelessly anachronistic dino lover, or on the hunt for an indestructible rough house/sand box companion for your kid.

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Six little dinosaurs (Tyrannosaurus, Mamenchisaurus, Amargasaurus, Ankylosaurus, Spinosaurus, Triceratops) (PNSO)

Enter the PNSO! I first became aware of The Peking Natural Science-Art Organisation in March 2016, when I visited their offices and workshop in Beijing on a work-related business trip. It was with great excitement that I discovered this blossoming company has its sights set not only on literature and 2D palaeoart (my expectation going in), but also on commercially available 3D art as well: dinosaur toys. It is early days yet, but the PNSO may have a lot to offer dinosaur toy collectors over the coming months and years.

Six Little Dinosaurus PNSO

This review will focus on one of the PNSO’s current offerings, a box set of ‘6 little dinosaurs’. This is a series of small figures based on a book of stories by PNSO writer Yang Yang and PNSO illustrator Zhao Chuang. The beautifully packaged set includes the book and six accompanying figures, which are visible by lifting a flap on the front of the box. This flap also reveals some stunning paleoartwork.

Six Little Dinosaurus PNSO

As per our remit here on the Dinosaur Toy Blog, this review will focus on the dinosaur figures, but I must say a few words about the book itself to put the models into context. The white hardback book contains six short stories in both Chinese and English (translations by Wang Yile and Lin Youji) about the trials and tribulations six young dinosaurs face growing up in the Mesozoic. It is illustrated with pictures of the toys as well as beautiful artwork. Bedtime stories are infinitely better when they’re accompanied by dinosaur toys!

Six Little Dinosaurus PNSO

The figures are small, each one just a few centimetres long, on a par with Japanese Kaiyodo miniatures and Safari Ltd ‘toob’ figures. All the characters are babies, too, so these are ‘little dinosaurs’ in more than one way. The models are single piece solid sculpts produced in a flexible ‘Environmental PVC’, so they are robust enough to play with (age: 3 years old and above). The species names are not listed anywhere on the box, or the figures themselves, but the book reveals all. The dinosaurs will be familiar to most (if not all) readers.

Tyrannosaurus rex
Who can resist the charisma and infamy of T. rex? The King of the Tyrant Lizards makes an inevitable appearance in this delightful set. Aaron (for that is his name) has a mane of feathers on his head and neck. The colouration is simple countershading with the large baby eyes picked out in a wet-look black. This colouration is true for all the figures in the set. The posture is reminiscent of recent Carnegie Collection theropods in that it tries to find a middle ground between holding a horizontal spine while supporting itself in tail-supported tripod pose.

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Mamenchisaurus
This is the only Chinese dinosaur in the set, although PNSO’s other offerings have a stronger focus on Chinese taxa, which makes sense given their location. Emmy (for that is her name) has a subtle satisfied smile but is otherwise unremarkable.

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Amargasaurus
Amargasaurus stands out in the pack because it shades of green, whereas the others are shades of brown. Its distinctive double-row of neck spines are just sprouting, so there is little doubt that Romario (for that is his name) represents a baby.

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Ankylosaurus
Darcy (for that is his name) has an incredibly squat body with extremely short limbs. It is difficult to judge the proportions as they are supposed to be different from the more familiar adults. The armour is finely detailed with individually sculpted scutes.

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Spinosaurus
This is a modern take on the species, with a long and narrow snout; and long and relatively low spine. I noticed the feet have four large webbed toes, so this represents a a semi-aquatic incarnation of Spinosaurus. The ‘extra’ fourth toe, by the way, is an enlarged digit 1, the digit is present but small in most other theropods (which have only three large toes). The posture is remarkable too: Nada (for that is her name) is sitting back in a crouched position. There is a speculative flourish on the tip of the tail. I approve of such additions.

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Triceratops
Bringing up the rear of the group, head held high, is my favourite of the bunch. Elina (for that is her name) is full of energy and has adopted a trotting pose with two legs raised mid-step. As with all six figures, this one is beautifully textured with both fine scales and the occasional large scale. No bristles on the tail, though, which some companies have got into the habit.

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The individual figures are stamped “PNSO Made in PRC 2015”. PRC, of course, is the People’s Republic of China.

In conclusion, this is a charming set of miniature baby dinosaurs aimed squarely at a young audience. The figures are cute but accurate modern representations of six familiar species, and the detail is good for such small play things. The retail price for the box set is 199 Chinese Yuan, which is about 30 USD, but the products are currently difficult to find outside of China (link below). Hopefully this changes with time.

It is wonderful to see yet another company enter the scene, and you can expect more PNSO figure reviews here on the Dinosaur Toy Blog as their models become more widely available. For more information and options to acquire PNSO figures, follow the PNSO discussions on the Dinosaur Toy Forum here. You can check out the PNSO’s website here. Lastly, I thank the PNSO for accommodating me when I visited and for providing this sample.

Available from Amazon.com here and Chinese online shop here (for the special price of 139 Yuan).