In 2017, Favorite Co. Ltd. surprised collectors with two new figures for their soft model collection. I reviewed the first figure, a new quadrupedal Spinosaurus, previously on this blog. Today let’s look at the second model, Archaeopteryx. Despite its legendary status as the “first bird,” (its true cladistic position has been debated several times in the past), there are surprisingly few Archaeopteryx toys on the market today, much less many that strive for good scientific accuracy. Favorite’s new model is a welcome exception.
The Favorite soft model Archaeopteryx measures 4.5 inches (12 cm) long and under 2.5 inches (6 cm) tall at the head (the tail is raised a little higher). It is posed in mid-leap, as if it is running across the group or preparing for flight, which is a more dynamic take on the stereotypical “bird with wings outstretched” pose most figures of this species get stuck with. I find this a welcome change. The figure is held in position with a small clear rod and rocky base.
The anatomical proportions on this toy look very accurate to my eyes. The toy is fully covered in plumage, with broad wings and a fanned tail, long legs with feathery “trousers,” and the hyper-extended second toe displayed. If anything, perhaps the wings should be more rounded at the ends, and the legs should be slightly longer still (Archaeopteryx had very long legs). For a bird, the quantity of feathering on the neck and body might also appear slim.
The textural detail of the feathers is impressive, featuring multiple feather types on the body, and even capturing the individual vanes on the large flight and tail feathers. I’ve tried to capture this detail in the photos, but the best way to appreciate it is to actually feel it in one’s own hand.
Archaeopteryx is presented here in alternating black-and-white(light gray) coloration, with a speculative red crest and yellow throat patch. It’s been speculated that Archaeopteryx‘s head would have actually been bare of feathers, but this has yet to be confirmed. The head aside, the color scheme seems within reason of what is known from fossils; black coloration is known from certain feathers, while the possibility of light-and-dark patterning has been speculated (if less well supported).
The Favorite soft model is, by my measure, a very nice representation of a classic (if underrepresented) dinosaur genus. If you’re looking to add one to your collection, there aren’t many international sellers offering them at this time, but you should be able to find some on eBay for reasonable prices.