Anomalocaris (CollectA)

4.7 (125 votes)

Review and images by bmathison1972; edited by Suspsy

In 2023, CollectA added Anomalocaris canadensis to its growing collection of Paleozoic invertebrates, following fellow arthropod Redlichia and mollusks Passaloteuthis, Pleuroceras, Orthoceras, Cooperoceras, and Pravitoceras (not to mention an extant nautilus and horseshoe crab). At this point A. canadensis probably doesn’t need much of an introduction on the Blog (I myself have reviewed it three times previously). In brief review, A. canadensis is a Cambrian animal that belongs to the Dinocaridida, a sister group to, or more likely nestled within, Arthropoda. They are believed to have been predators on trilobites and other benthic invertebrates on the sea floor.

When this figure was first announced, it was met with mixed reviews. Casual collectors (or non-collectors) of prehistoric invertebrates praised it, but those of us who specialize in this group quickly saw it as a nearly decade out-of-date reconstruction (more on that in just a sec). The body length (excluding flaps and appendages) is approximately 11.0 cm for a scale of 1:3.5 for a large specimen.

The texture is nice, and the paint job is subtle enough to as not be too flashy or too plain; various shades of red are common for reconstructions of Anomalocaris in both plastic and two-dimensional artwork. The underside and dorsal median stripe are a yellow-green and the eyes are blue and yellow with evidence of a pseudopupil (a lighting artifact that reveals which ommatidia in a compound eye are aligned with the axis along which the animal is viewing).

I previously mentioned that this 2023 model is essentially a decade old in its depiction. Before we look at what it got wrong, let’s look at what it got right. The undulating body shape is probably accurate for how the animal moved. The eyes are faceted as they should be, and the oral cone is triradiate. There are three pairs of tail flaps.

Now, what did it get wrong? The frontal area is missing an ovoid sclerite and the frontal appendages don’t have enough segments. The neck has only two pairs of flaps (should be three), and the main trunk has 11 pairs of flaps (should be at least 13, but it’s hard to say how many there were in total as they get smaller towards the tail and harder to decipher in fossils). Also, the shape of the tail flaps is incorrect (terminally, they should be angulate and not bluntly rounded).

Here is a table comparing the features of A. canadensis (as the time of this writing), with today’s CollectA model and two more recent versions, those by Takara Tomy A.R.T.S (Great Old Sea, 2020) and F-toys (Moveable Ancient Creatures, 2022):

FeatureA. canadensisCollectA (2023)F-toys (2022)Takara (2020)
Frontal scleritePresentAbsentPresentpresent
Compound eyesFacetedFacetedSmooth1Smooth1
Number of pairs of neck flaps3223
Number of pairs of trunk flaps> 13111211
Oral coneTriradiateTriradiateTriradiate2Triradiate
Number of segments in frontal appendage14111314
Number of pairs of tail flaps3333
Shape of tail flapsAngulateBroadly roundedMixed (two pairs angulate)Angulate

1Difficult feature to capture on smaller figures

2Difficult to interpret on this figure

As a ‘neocompletist’ when it comes to arthropod figures, I decided to get this figure. I also want to encourage companies like CollectA to make more invertebrates. However, if you are a synoptic collector who is looking for accuracy, I would not recommend this piece. My first choice would be the Takara figure, followed by the F-toys figure. A third choice, albeit also not very accurate, would be 2015 Kaiyodo Great Leaps Forward figure. The Takara and F-toys figures require assembly and are articulated, and the Kaiyodo figure has minimal assembly. If you favor solid-piece figures, this CollectA version might be just be the one for you after all. Also, since the CollectA figure wasn’t produced by a Japanese company, it might be more readily available on a worldwide basis and cheaper (eventually, it only release earlier this month).

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Comments 5

  • Funny to observe the 4.8 star rating here. A dinosaur toy with this many inaccuracies would be lucky to get 2-3 stars.

  • The inaccuracies on this figure are unfortunate. I probably wouldn’t buy a newer dinosaur figure with this many inaccuracies but I think I have to make an exception here. This figure is a solid piece figure that will be more affordable than its alternatives, and I like collecting CollectA’s extinct inverts. I don’t know yet, I might also just look for a Kaiyodo one for a decent price. Great review!

  • I really appreciate the table of features alongside those other two Anomalocaris figures, and the comparison as well. Would like to see that expanded to include some of the other Anomalocaris figures out there, such as Kaiyodo and Favorite’s (mini or large), assuming there is interest in doing so.

    I think this is also the first Anomalocaris figure with eyes painted to have a psuedopupil?

  • This is one case where I frankly don’t give a damn about accuracy. I’m perfectly happy with the toy and I simply consider it vintage.

    • that’s a great way of looking at it. I have several figures in my collection that are not the most accurate, but they have a ‘charm’ about them that makes me like them more than the more accurate versions. This model also falls into that category.

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