Review by Patrick Padilha
As you may know, it’s not easy to choose a figure to review when you have a small collection and most of the figures you do have were already inspected by one of the expert collectors of DTB. I was wondering which item of my collection I could review and I did spot the perfect figures for my reviews. The figures would be the Salvat ones, that I’m certain no one else would review, in part because of their rarity, in part because a lot of people dislike the collection. I have the whole collection, so it’s easy for me to bring some info about them to the blog readers. For those who are curious about why one would dislike this collection I have a little of the collection’s history to tell. Salvat Editores is a publisher from Spain (as far as I know) and they’re known for publishing collections composed of magazines (or fascicles), usually sold once a week and focused in an specific theme. In 2000/2001 Salvat made a collection on dinosaurs, with 40 fascicles, each one presenting a different prehistoric critter. The consumer was prized with a dinosaur model (a giveaway if you prefer) per magazine and the figure represented the species featured in the corresponding week issue. As an example, we have the nº1 issue, that was about T-rex, therefore the figure was a T-rex model.
So far , so good, right? Not quite. The problem is that Salvat didn’t hire a professional sculptor do make original toys for the collection, they just took some figures of the main toy companies at the time and let’s say, ask the sculptor to modify a little to avoid copyright problems. They actually did knock offs of Carnegie, Battat, Toyway (WWD), Schleich and Bullyland figures. The thing is that the knock offs are good, some are poor, but most of them are cool for a stolen piece. I know that the collection was sold in Spain, Portugal and Brazil (I’m Brazilian BTW).
Done with the background history, let’s check the figure nº 35 of the set, the Salvat Acrocanthosaurus, that was copied from the mighty and extremely sought after (therefore rare and expensive) Battat one (reviewed here by Tomhet).
The Salvat figure is 24.5 cm long and 8.5 cm high at the top of the neck, the highest part of the body. The Battat figure (as I will refer sometimes as the original) is the same size, but its tail is practically straight what makes the Salvat one longer by 1 centimeter, a result of its tail being curved upwards. The Battat one is taller though.
As far as color goes, I like the Salvat one pattern, but have to say it could be better. While the green stripped paint job of the Battat one is cool suits well the animal, the Salvat one is all gray, starting at the feet and bottom part of the body, with a very light grey, which is present also in the snout of some exemplars, to turn into an dark grey at the middle of the body, being even darker at the sail. There are several golden brownish perfectly round dots running from the neck to the tail and also in the upper part of the leg, which I don’t think adds any realism to the figure. Maybe if the spots were irregular in size and shape the model would look more lifelike. The sculpt is pretty close to the one made by Battat, a bit cruder of course, as we can see on the hands, which surprisingly aren’t pronated but lack on detail. The claws could be sharper, but they are just round and painted white, one the main flaws of the Salvat figure.
The head is quite similar to Battat’s rendition of the animal, presenting some minor differences, like more prominent teeth that unfortunately aren’t as sharp and individually sculpted as in the original. The tongue also is more raised and the interior of the mouth is painted pink and not purple like the Battat’s. The teeth are white and the eye is orange with a tiny black pupil, like the Battat Acrocanthosaurus.
The sail is equally prominent in both versions and both of them stand fine without any help, at least the exemplars I own do. Another failure of Salvat is the asymmetrical head, what is quite noticeable if you look at the figure from its right side or in a frontal view. I may have to say that the legs and arms look significantly thicker than the original Battat.
The paint application is good in the Salvat figures, but if you get to own one or more exemplars of the same model, you’ll notice that the paint job differ a lot from one to another. I have right now 2 Salvat ones, and while one of them has a vivid shiny (looking new) paint, the other one is opaque, looks dusty and the gray tone is different.
As the Battat Acrocanthosaurus is one of the best renditions of the animal ever to be made, so I can’t say otherwise of the Salvat figure. I would highly recommend the Salvat figure to collectors that like rare figure, as it’s getting rarer every day. It’s not as expensive as the Battat one, what makes a perfect candidate to fill the gap in a Battat collection until one gets the original. Also, would be a cool figure to repaint without the fear of being chased by a crowd of collectors yelling at you for “ruining” a Battat Acrocanthosaurus.
I am particularly fond of Salvat figures because when they were released there was no other figures as good as these in Brazil. We don’t have any company of good dinosaur figures around and at that time, I had no way to get figures from other countries. When I found out that Salvat copied other companies’ work, I decided to get the original ones. Happily I could get a Battat Acrocanthosaurus to compare and make this review. If you would like to get a Salvat Acrocanthosaurus, look on Ebay, sometimes collectors sell it there, but I must say, even being a knock off, it’s hard to find. I hope you like the review, even as it is a comparison of two figures and not a single figure review.