Allosaurus (2000)(Bullyland)

4.1 (7 votes)

Many of Bullyand’s figures have yet to be covered here on the Dinosaur Toy Blog as of this writing. The subject of this review, their 2000 Allosaurus, is actually my first piece from the company. Allosaurus remains a mainstay in dinosaur merchandise today, with a wide range of pieces in varying degrees of quality, but at the turn of the century, this Walking With Dinosaurs-inspired offering would have been one of the best among a much smaller pool of choices.

Bullyland isn’t as famous as Safari Ltd.’s Carnegie Collection or Battat’s Museum of Natural History series, but it was a contemporary of the two lines. Founded in the 1970s, Bullyland began producing museum-quality prehistory replicas in the 1990s, when such figures were still a novelty on the market. I use the past tense here because, although the company has trekked on well after Battat and Carnegie retired their own lines and had a particularly strong presence in Europe, their prehistoric offerings have gradually wavered off. As of early 2019, the company as a whole has sadly declared official bankruptcy. Whether Bullyland was out-competed by other companies like Schleich, or victim to other circumstances not privy to the public, chances are we’ve seen the last of their dinosaurs; so let this review be a belated tribute to the company.

Bullyland’s Allosaurus is a sizable version of the genus, measuring just over 12″ (30cm) long and standing 4″ (10cm) tall at the head crests. The label on the belly lists the figure as 1:30 scale, which seems accurate to current estimates of the animal’s real-life size. The plastic used for the figure is softer than what one finds in most other brands, but it is sturdy and probably very resilient to play. It’s well worth noting that the figure stands squarely on its two feet with no additional support – a feat which many other companies have only recently started solving without exaggerating anatomical features.

Comparing with more recent Allosaurs: the 2019 Wild Safari and the 2008 Papo

Dinosaur aficionados can probably immediately recognize the figure’s similarity to the CG model of Allosaurus used in the 1999 BBC miniseries Walking With Dinosaurs. That Bullyland would capitalize on the show’s success is no surprise; their Tyrannosaurus from the same time also imitates the show’s design, and Schleich would later do the same for several of their Allosaurus releases. But that imitation does come at a cost. The model has a very rounded and broad skull, with the signature eye ridges, painted red and placed directly over the eyes. Although recognizable, the design is not accurate to known fossils of Allosaurus, which display much narrower skulls and ridges that developed just in front of the eyes, not over. The fenestrae of the skull are also visible despite the broadness; a common mistake in dinosaur depictions from the past few decades. Any such holes in the skull would have been obscured or filled in by muscle, skin and other tissue. Apart from these and a couple other issues, though, the figure holds up pretty well. The hands are incorrectly pronated – likely another result of imitating the WWD model – but as previously mentioned, the figure is balanced on its two feet with the tail held high above, positioning it horizontally and parallel to the ground. Even today, some dinosaur figures fail to accomplish this feature, but the Bullyland figure accomplishes it while keeping the feet moderate in size. The figure appears muscular, with no shrinkwrapping besides the skull, and although the hip region might be too wide in comparison to the rest of the body, the tail is thick and long as it should be. Big theropods were lean, but they weren’t scrawny!

Most of the figure is covered in mottled circular scales of varying size, with some extra folds of skin along the neck and body contour. Larger overlapping scales cover the feet and hands, which have fallen out of favor in reconstructions recently but would have been perfectly reasonable in 2000, what with resembling the feet of large reptiles and birds. The mouth is sculpted closed, but the individual teeth remain visible and are individually painted (albeit with some slop). Arguments about dinosaur lips aside, it’s a nice compromise between typical mouth agape figures and potentially less exiting neutral sculpts. The eyes are also neatly painted and positioned forward, giving the figure a sense of agency. A yellow-green wash across the upper body is highlighted by dark stripes and a few large spots on the sides, with a darker wash bringing out all of the fine scale details. It’s easy to imagine this predator prowling the deep Jurassic forests of Western North America, preying on young sauropods and harassing large stegosaurs.

Even as other high profile companies have provided their own modern takes on the genus, Bullyland’s Allosaurus is still among the better representations on the market, even if it is a little dated. Time will tell how accessible this figure and others from the line will remain, in the wake of the company’s decline. For the time being, you can still purchase the figure from online retailers like Everything Dinosaur and Dejankins.

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Comments 2

  • Nice review! I really like bullyland dinos.
    I own three of those guys, and their color can change from an individual to another, from darker variant to lighter. One of them is almost yellow wether the darker one is more in greyish tone.

  • A theropod of luxury more suitable for children and sincerely this beautifully sculpted, is one of the best theropods made by this company and for every interested collector is a necessary figure.

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