Wild Republic (or K&M International) have collaborated with the Natural History Museum in London to release a line of small, cheap plastic dinosaur toys with the tagline “When dinosaurs ruled the earth”, which I feel could do with an exclamation mark – mainly because it reminds me of a cheesy old Hammer flick (there was also a little tribute in…that movie). The set includes the famous British spinosaur Baryonyx, which I’m looking at today.
No doubt you’ve already noticed the fish and thought to yourself “Aha – the use of a fish as a prop to lean on is highly reminiscent of the superior Invicta Baryonyx, as reviewed by Marc a few months back! I’m feeling quite hungry actually – time for a packet of crisps.” It does make one wonder if the sculptor was paying tribute to the Invicta model, as no other Baryonyx toys (most of which are hideous) come with a seafood dinner. Homage or not it’s a nice touch, and saves the toy from relying on its tail for support. The angle of the fish implies that the dinosaur is scooping it up from the ground.
As you might have already noticed, this isn’t the finest, most anatomically accurate sculpt of a Baryonyx ever produced. However, while I probably shouldn’t be excusing the flaws of a toy on the grounds that it’s cheap, this really is very cheap indeed – I bought it new from a museum gift shop for £1.50 (about 2.40 of your Ameri-ken dollerrrs). Besides, other manufacturers have produced worse, and at a higher price point. Most pleasingly neither forearm is pronated (and if you think forearm pronation in theropod dinosaurs isn’t a big deal, well, you’re very wrong and I shall ask you to leave this site immediately, sir, and not come back).
The proportions of the body aren’t bad at all for a toy at this price point. The tail’s (probably) too short of course, but the arms and legs are about the right length and the fingers are the correct length relative to each other. The famous ‘heavy claw’ is present on both hands and is being used to grip the fish. Thanks to the unconventional tripod stance of the toy the feet aren’t hugely oversized either. Overall it’s surprisingly pleasing anatomically and puts a lot of other efforts (OH MY GOD) to shame.
In fact, the only really disappointing feature of this very inexpensive toy is the head. Again, it’s not the worst ever – it’s fairly long and low and the nostrils are retracted closer to the eyes, and there’s a hint of the distinctive jaw shape. However, it’s otherwise not a great match for the real thing. In particular it seems to get rather wide at the back, there is no midline crest and the eyes point upwards so much that it almost resembles a plesiosaur from certain angles (I’m sure Dr A would take great umbrage at this, but it does to a layman/thicko like me).
Still, given the price and the pretty decent size – about 15cm long – I’d say this toy is one worth keeping an eye out for. It’s available in a boxed set with a number of other dinosaur toys from the range (which are of mixed quality) but may also be found, less commonly, on its own, so it’s worth fishing around in gift shops for (DO YOU SEE?), especially as good spinosaur toys are so bafflingly rare.