Review and photos by Patrx
It pains me to admit this, friends, but the truth is that Allosaurus never made much of an impact on me when I was younger. I had many books on the subject of dinosaurs, (and other prehistoric animals™) but most of those seemed unsure of what to do with this particular beast. The local museum had a life-sized Allosaurus model, but it was an outmoded, lizardy thing with a serious charisma deficit. I ended up with the impression that Allosaurus was little more than a miniature Tyrannosaurus with an extra digit on each hand. Oh, the ignobility.
In time, there were more books, more museums, and the realization that Allosaurus is indeed every bit as inspiring and fun to learn about as any saurian predator, with its own unique features and adaptations. Certainly, a creature worth capturing by way of art, including plastic toys. While I may have been slow to pick up on Allosaurus‘ unique charm, it’s actually quite popular. In addition to this offering from CollectA, we’ve seen new or updated renditions from Safari Ltd., PNSO, Papo, Nanmu, and W-Dragon just within the last few years. So, what makes CollectA’s 2020 Allosaurus stand out?
If I had to identify one word that comes to might when looking at this piece, it would be “cute.” I know, it seems a bit of a stretch, but bear with me a moment. For one thing, it’s surprisingly small—around 171⁄2 cm or 7 inches long. For those of you who care about scale, that seems to place this somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/50, definitely a positive for Allosaurus fans with limited display space. It’s posed in a sort of wide stance with its forelimbs held up and its mouth agape. It’s a pretty typical posture probably meant to illustrate some manner of intraspecific display, but, because of the figure’s small stature, I can’t help but take away the impression of a tiny, harmless animal trying to make itself look larger to scare off a would-be predator.
Despite the size, the detail here is fairly impressive. Lots of miniscule reticulae cover the skin, smaller along the flanks, neck, and tail, and somewhat larger around the legs. Broader, rectangular scales cover much of the ventral surface and a few larger scutes or osteoderms feature dorsally. All these integumentary structures are exaggerated somewhat relative to the scale of the animal, but at a “realistic” size, such detail would be imperceptible, not to mention impossible to capture in cast PVC. A row of quite-finely sculpted scutes form a dorsal ridge, and a few larger scales can be seen on the jaw, both very iguana-like details. I’ve noted before that the legs of CollectA’s dinosaurs often seem unconvincingly joined to the hips due to some weirdly-delineated soft-tissue detail, but this one seems to have largely dodged that issue The wrinkles around the limbs are only moderately overdone, and some nice muscle details are present, most notably around the powerful-looking neck.
Cast in a soft, almost rubbery olive-green plastic, the figure’s been airbrushed with a few shades of brown and green, including some subtle stripes along the tail, and CollectA’s customary dark shading around the cloaca. A sandy brown on the ventral surface provides some nice countershading. The claws are picked out in an interesting steel-grey color. The dorsal scutes are pale brown, and there’s just a little blood-red highlighting the top edge of the animal’s distinctive lacrimal hornlets. Gleaming black eyes stare out from the face, the mouth and tongue are bubblegum pink, and the teeth shine a retro-computer beige. These applications are imprecise, but considering the size of this piece, I might have expected worse. In all, it’s a simple color scheme that suits the unassuming nature of this little figure.
In terms of accuracy, there’s some give-and-take with this one. One look at that sloped, triangular skull makes it clear that we’re meant to be looking at Allosaurus jimmadseni; it’s quite a nice match with the known material. Overall, the skeletal anatomy seems fairly good, although the torso might be a little short. The feet are only slightly oversized, and I’m actually quite impressed with how stable my copy has been so far, especially considering the flexible nature of this particular plastic. Some issues arise with the soft tissue, though. While the animal’s body is appropriately deep, it’s also rather narrow, giving the whole thing a slightly flattened look. The base of the tail, which should be home to some bulky muscles, is pretty thin. Perhaps most distractingly, like many CollectA dinosaurs, this poor beast has weedy, lizardlike calf muscles where hefty drumsticks should be. It’s otherwise not truly “shrink-wrapped” as such—no protruding ribs or vertebrae—although the orbits do look faintly gaunt to me.
Ultimately, there are a lot of options for the Allosaurus aficionados of the world to choose from, and while this one is by no means the best of the lot, it does have a certain charm that doesn’t seem to shine through in photos alone. It’s an affordable piece, and doesn’t take up much room, so I can fully recommend it to collectors with less space or smaller budgets. Also, since it’s unambiguously A. jimmadseni, it also makes a nice counterpart to the various A. fragilis figures out there. If it appeals to you at all, I personally doubt you’ll regret adding it to your collection.