It’s rare for me to audibly gasp from surprise, but that was exactly how I reacted in 2019 when I rounded the corner to the Chicago Field Museum’s “Evolving Planet” exhibit, and came face-to-face with the colossus now standing guard outside the exhibit entrance. When preparation began for installing Maximo the Patagotitan in the Field’s main hall, while Sue the T.
For almost every Tyrannosaurus toy on the market, there’s a Triceratops toy to face off with – as it should be, considering the rich history of fossils and iconic paleo media depicting these legendary Cretaceous contemporaries. Triceratops was more than just a prime steak to fill a theropod’s belly, of course; this colossal herbivore would have been a spectacular animal in its own right, and a powerful presence roaming the forests and hills of Western North America.
Hello, who’s this?
Takara Tomy is a prolific toy manufacturer which has produced a number of dinosaur-related toys in the past. Most of these toys have been released under the ANIA (sometimes “Animal Adventure”) line, but some have received more unique lines of their own. One such line, short-lived as it appears to have been, was the Dinosaur Colosseum, which first released in 2015 as a set of three blind-boxed figurines (almost blind – each box has a unique numbering for identification).
Sauropods are typically famous for their immense size and shape; genera like Mamenchisaurus, Brachiosaurus, and Patagotitan were among the very longest, most massive animals ever to walk the Earth. Every rule has its exception, though. One group of sauropods, the dicraeosaurids, have garnered attention from scientists for being almost the exact opposite of their more famous relatives.
Protoceratops is a staple of classic dinosaur multimedia. What the “first horned face” lacks in size and ornamentation when compared to later ceratopsian relatives, it makes up for with excellent preservation in the fossil record, its discovery dating back to the Central Asiatic Expeditions of the early 1900s.
To start, I want to extend my thanks to Happy Hen Toys for generously offering this review sample for the Blog. Happy Hen Toys has rapidly been establishing themselves as one of the most reliable shops for prehistoric animal collectibles in the United States, and I encourage readers to check out their website for purchasing this and other related items.
Fukuiraptor isn’t a dinosaur name one hears too often – at least outside of Japan. First discovered in the 1990s, the “thief of Fukui Prefecture” is only known from fragmentary remains between a few specimens, consisting mostly of arm and leg bones. Like its relative Megaraptor from South America, Fukuiraptor was initially described as a dromaeosaur, only for later studies to reveal that the large fossil claw discovered among the remains belonged on the predator’s thumb, not its toe.
Japan has a prolific industry for collectibles and merchandise, although it is a fairly insular market that western collectors might find tricky to break into. There are always new surprises to uncover from riches of new releases each year. One such item which caught my attention in 2022 was a set of minifigures produced by The Access, a company dedicated to planning, manufacturing, and wholesaling a variety of in-house products for multiple age ranges.
“If MPC Ran the Zoo”…
Macrauchenia looked like it could have inspired some of the creatures in a Dr. Seuss book, if its history of paleoart is anything to go by. First described in 1838, the “long-necked llama” hasn’t achieved the same level of fame as some of its mammalian contemporaries from the Miocene and Pleistocene; however, its lanky legs, long neck, and peculiar trunk make for a very distinct image, and have earned the genus at least a few toys over the decades.
For all the dozens and dozens of Velociraptor toys & models which swarm the market, there are criminally few which attempt to depict the famous “swift plunderer” as something even remotely resembling what we know of the real-life animal. When sculptor and toy designer David Silva announced his articulated Beasts of the Mesozoic line in 2015, beginning with a series of 1:6 scale, scientifically accurate dromaeosaurs, collectors were understandably very excited at the prospect.
PNSO delivered one last surprise for collectors at the very end of 2022, delivering their 67th entry into the Prehistoric Animal lineup with a highly anticipated, superb new rendition of the most complete spinosaurid to date.
The 1990s and 2000s were a boon for paleontology in the southern hemisphere.
MPC’s fifth group of prehistoric animals included one truly original mold in the form of Diatryma (ie Gastornis), one of the earliest plastic representations of this icon from the post-Mesozoic age.
During the 1950s and 1960s, interest in paleontology was starting its climb back to mainstream interest, and companies like Marx took the initiative to start producing dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures in small plastic fashion for the first time, encouraging kids to create prehistoric worlds in their own homes.
This derivative dinosaur toy draws its inspiration from a surprisingly modern and good-quality source; but like all knockoffs, the nature of that “inspiration” might leave a bad taste in one’s mouth.
Knockoffs are an ever-present element of the toy industry, and a persistent quandary for collectors. A knockoff is a product which imitates another, original product, usually without copying it precisely in order to slyly evade copyright infringement.
A truly rare genus in the hobby to this day, MPC’s vintage figurine marks a bold move from a company most famous for its imitations – although the toy is perhaps showing its age with some design choices.
MPC (Multiple Products Corporation) is a well-known brand among experienced dinosaur collectors; their prehistoric line from 1961 and 1962 was widely sold through stores and catalogs for decades.