Tag Archives: Styracosaurus

Styracosaurus (Tyco)

Review and photos by Lanthanotus, edited by Suspsy

Months ago, there was a call for completing the Tyco page of the DTB and I replied that I’d add a review. I intended to have a look for the Pteranodon, a figure I just then had acquired, but couldn’t manage to write down a review in time and eventually this was done by Gwangi. Then there was a second call more recently, and this time, I managed to review the last Tyco figure I can, because it’s the only one left in my puny collection that hasn’t already been reviewed . . .

. . . although technically, perhaps it is. Six years ago, Griffin reviewed Tyco’s Monoclonius and stated that “a Styracosaurus was also made by Tyco that is exactly the same as this toy except for its spiky frill and different colour scheme.” That pretty much sums it up, and not much more would need to be said, but since you worked yourself through that lengthy introduction, you’ll get a proper review.

Styracosaurus is a Late Cretaceous centrosaurine that inhabited a seasonal flood plain environment. The first specimen was found in the famous Dinosaur Park Formation in Alberta, Canada, by Charles Sternberg and was scientifically named and described by Lawrence Lambe in 1913. There may be several species within the genus, but in the past, some that were counted towards Styracosaurus were already given their own genus. For this review, that does not matter anyway, as no species name is assigned to the toy.

Tyco’s Styracosaurus was released for the first wave of Dino-Riders back in 1988 and served as a beast of war for the heroic Valorians. The figure was also later released for the Smithsonian line with the only mould difference being the lack of lateral square gaps for attaching a harness. The toy is made of a light olive-green plastic that’s very rigid and breaks rather than bends, as can be seen in the left horn of that little fellow. Unlike most of its Tyco brethren, the Styracosaurus makes relatively minor use of its base colour. The figure is almost completely coloured in maroon-red and yellowish white, with just two stripes along its spine. The outsides of the legs reveal the odd green colour the figure is made from, but one can hardly recognize that pattern.

As noted earlier, the Styracosaurus shares its whole postcranial body with the Monoclonius. It stands on four short, sturdy, and straight legs with four toes on the hind legs and five on the front ones. The tail is short and slightly elevated off the ground. It provides the action feature of this figure where moving the tail from side to side results into the head bashing from one side to the other, opposite to the tail. The head of the Styracosaurus is nicely sculpted and fairly detailed in the front. The frill’s horns are too straight and placed in weird angles, and there’s one less pair of horns than the real deal. With the exception of this inaccuracy, the whole body morphology is not exactly false but far outdated. Back in the late 80s’, however, this ceratopsian was quite a fair reconstruction and the beady eyes so typical for Tyco’s dinosaurs add a lot of charm and liveliness.

This Styracosaurus should appeal to many people besides Dino-Riders collectors. It is indeed a very nice toy with a neat and robust play feature. Having been discontinued for decades, the obvious way to obtain this model is through eBay. Without any armour or weapons, it can frequently be found for just a few bucks.

Styracosaurus (Tsukuda Hobby Collection)

Review and photos by Bokisaurus, edited by Suspsy

These days, the race to produce the latest, most scientifically accurate dinosaur figures is all the rage. Each year, toy manufacturing companies and the collector communities are so focused on which of these new models will be the most accurate, those figures that are deemed not accurate are quickly tossed to the side or worse, bombarded with enough criticism to fill an entire encyclopedia! In a way, this is a natural evolution of how dinosaur figures are no longer just toys, but scientific replicas of the animals they represent. We have arrived at a new level of standards that in many ways, is so hard to keep up with, that it becomes exhausting at times. With that in mind, it’s nice to get a break and to look back at a time when toy figures were subjected to much less vetting and enjoyed purely for what they are: toys.

It’s so easy to overlook prehistoric figures from long ago. A friend and fellow collector once asked me why do I even bother collecting “vintage” dinosaurs when there are so many accurate figure out there to choose from. My answer was simple: these so-called vintage figures may not reflect the latest scientific research, or have the high production qualities of the newer figures, but they are a part of dinosaur toy history. They are figures that pull you back to a much simpler time, and often to childhood memories that are often full of wonder. So join me as we journey back and take a look at one of most obscure and fascinating line of prehistoric figures: the Tsukuda Hobby Collection line of prehistoric animals.

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The Tsukuda Hobby Dinosaur Series was first released in the late 1980s’. The figures that made up the series included 13 species of prehistoric animal that came individually boxed and are scaled at 1:30. The Tsukuda figures share some similarities with another 80s’ line of prehistoric figures, Tyco’s Dino-Riders. Just like Dino-Riders, the eyes on the Tsukuda figures are made of small glass beads and not just sculpted or painted on. These add a different realism to the figures and give each one a unique expressive quality.

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These critters included most of the famous dinosaurs, but also some species that were once popular but has now gone largely ignored. Today, we will look at one species that continues to be popular: the ceratopsian Styracosaurus. While not as famous as Triceratops, it has remained a consistent presence in each of the the succeeding lines of toy companies throughout the decades. I will skip the whole introduction about Styracosaurus‘ history since it’s a well known and much studied species.

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The Tsukuda Styracosaurus is a charming little figure, one of my favourites from the set. The figure is posed in a neutral stance. The articulation on the legs give you a little bit of flexibility as to how you want to pose the figure. With a little bit of adjusting of the legs, the figure can be posed as if it’s about to charge (the raised front left leg helps support this pose) or in a running pose. The back legs are much taller than the front ones, which gives the figure a hunchbacked appearance. The head, beautifully sculpted, is held lower to the ground, and if you look closely, you will notice it tilted slightly to the side. The shield spikes are coloured cream as well as the single nose horn and the beak. The shield itself is coloured plain brown, although I have seen photos of some variant showing some purple on the shield.

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The Styracosaurus has lots of different skin texture going on all over its body. There are skin folds and bumps of varying size on the body as well as on the legs. There are prominent osteoderms on the back, arranged in five rows. Starting at the base of the neck, these osteoderms vary in size, with the largest ones being the three rows in the middle part of the back. The middle row also continues down the tail, while the others terminate just around the point where it reaches the base of the tail. The tail is hefty and is pointed directly downward. There are no curves on this one, making it look super stiff and heavy.

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The overall colouration on my figure is a uniform brown. There is not much variation in colour, although there is a subtle shade of lighter brown here and there (most noticeable on the face and belly). Again, I have seen a variant that shows some purple on the face, as well as the body and legs.

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Overall, this is a nice figure that heralds back to a different, much simpler time. The simplicity of the figure is one of its great appeals, and those glass eyes add so much more life to it as it stares and follow you around. The Tsukuda Styracosaurus is not the rarest figure in the series, although it is still not easy to find. If you are lucky to have a chance to acquire it, I highly recommend getting it. It may not be the most accurate or flashy ceratopsian around, but its beady little eyes are sure to charm you and it will make a wonderful addition to your ceratopsian herd. Hope you enjoyed this review. Cheers!

Styracosaurus (AAA)

Review and photographs by Dilopho, edited by Suspsy

AAA is a company that had prominence when many of us were young, way back before we cared about detail or company or accuracy. Instead, just cared about actually having a dinosaur figure. And surprisingly, Styracosaurus was not a dinosaur often made into a figure back then–Monoclonius was a winner among the horned dinosaurs. Hah, and now it’s the reverse, with Monoclonius disappearing and Styracosaurus rising to second place behind Triceratops. The figure we will be looking at today is the version by AAA, and as we will see, it’s a darn good one!

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Now, two things may strike you by looking at this picture. One, this figure is really good-looking! And two, those horns look blunt. And there is a reason for that: they are not normally blunt! If you can find this figure in good condition, it should have long, curving horns on the frill, and the nose horn should be nice and sharp. But alas, I let my nephew borrow this figure, and his mother decided to safety proof it by cutting the ends of the horns off! Evil! But yes, cruelty to dinosaurs aside, this figure does look really good. Considering this figure is from the age of tail-dragging theropods and menacing pterosaurs that carry off prey with their feet, this figure has some nice accuracy going for it! It is well-proportioned, pretty sleek-looking, and not a snarling monster. In fact, it has some pretty nice realism too–the gentle eyes work wonders here.

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The pose is as if the dinosaur is on the alert, having stopped mid-stride to check the surroundings. The flared nostrils indicate that it has smelled something . . . but is it food or a predator? Truly, only the AAA sculptors can tell. The colour scheme is a base coat of pale yellow with a soothing purple laid over top of it. The strange, diamond-like shapes on the side, yellow with reddish outlines, add a hint of colour to the dinosaur. It makes the figure look active and helps to “thin it out,” making it look less chubby. As you can see, the paint can be rubbed off with play, but thanks to the yellow base coat, kids hardly notice it. But collectors will. Then again, there’s almost no way you’ll find a pristine AAA figure due to their age, so if you want one, you shouldn’t care about paint scuffs or you might be very frustrated!

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The face of this Styracosaurus is . . . extremely funny to me! It looks like a grumpy old turtle in my mind, but they have done a really nice job with the beak and mouth. They went through the trouble to even add a black wash on only the mouth in order to make it stand out more. What great amounts of detail! However, many dinosaur collectors nowadays think that the mouth would not stretch back that far without any cheeks.

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The head from a normal view, however, looks great. The wrinkles and scales work nicely, but there are still some flaws. The pupils on the eyes pop out in a bulge, so it’s very hard to avoid paint wear if you keep it in a box. The spikes on the frill may also be problematic, as some of them seem too short, and the main two are very thick, as thick as the nasal horn. Also, the notch at the top of the frill looks strange. Finally, the small spikes on the cheek area seem too small.

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​I have found that this AAA Styracosaurus seems more at home with the Carnegie Triceratops than his AAA brethren. And both of them certainly seem at home both in a sandbox or on a shelf. This dinosaur, while lacking some accuracy, is still leagues ahead some of his friends and it shows the progressive nature of dinosaur reconstructions in a really nice way. I would totally recommend this figure if you can get behind the minor issues with paint and accuracy.