Review and images by PhilSauria, edited by Suspsy
Over the last few years, and probably earlier, there have been multiple versions of the same species across the annual releases by the various brands. This year (well, mostly 2018), that dubious honour has gone to Baryonyx, being the recipient of figures from Favorite, Mattel, Mojo, and CollectA. I have reviewed an older CollectA Baryonyx here and in hindsight, I was far too lenient on it than I would be now, especially in light of the superior quality of some of these new arrivals – the Favorite and CollectA have really upped the bar in terms of naturalistic representations. The earlier versions from CollectA are quite the misshapen montrosities if you put them in a lineup of the versions of this animal available to us at this point in time!
But enough slagging off skeletons in the Baryonyx collecting closet (which is where mine is now!), let’s have a look at the new improved models. Well, one of them. Just before we do that, however, here are a few facts about the animal itself. From a claw discovered in a clay pit in 1983 by William Walker, more bones came to light and Baryonyx was named by researchers Charig and Milner in 1986. The holotype specimen, at almost 9 meters long, was most likely a juvenile so adults would have been even larger. Remains were initially found in England, but also Spain, Portugal, and possibly North Africa. That distinctive large claw has lead researchers to theorise that it was used to hook fish out of bodies of water as it stood on the bank, a theory given substance by the fossilised fish remains in its stomach.
Back to the plastic now. This particular figure was sculpted by Kazunari Araki and has that organic, naturalistic look that I find so appealing in his paleo-recreations, striding forward over its simple plastic base, claws at the ready. Colouration consists of a brownish orange on the back with mottled edges transitioning into a tannish colour on the underside. A colour scheme not a million miles away from the upcoming CollectA Baryonyx, just coincidentally. The claws are painted a very dark grey. Broader scales cover the back of the neck and run right down to the tail, with finer scales covering the rest of the body. The muscle definition and assortment of nicely sculpted wrinkles and folds along the body and limbs make for a very life-like figure. I was very impressed with the detail on the characteristic long, thin crocodilian-like head, with fine creases around the eyes, a carefully sculpted tongue, and fine individually sculpted teeth with a small crest on the forehead. The paint application is very neat over the finely detailed features such as the eyes, teeth, and claws.
This Baryonyx is on the larger side for Favorite figures, measuring 24 cm (9.5 inches) from nose to tail and 8.5 cm (3.5 inches) from the base to top of the head. As a rule, it will not stand unaided, though I did manage it a couple of times, but it has a hole in one foot that fits over a peg on the base. Once fitted, it is good to go safely onto your display shelf.
Packaging consists of the standard Favorite hang-sell card and blister pack with the dinosaur’s name in large English letters and the rest of the text in Japanese. Quite often, they will include the sculptor’s name, but not in this case (unless it’s in Japanese here). However, it is unmistakable as Araki’s work.
This figure was created for and sold at an exhibition in Japan, so it’s not as easy to find (or afford) as the regular releases. It has now joined the other special releases from Favorite over the years on the sellers sites, where its image will more than likely be appearing above a large price tag. So good luck in getting hold of one unless you have a contact in Japan, or if money is no object. At the moment, I consider this to be the best mass-produced Baryonyx figure available. Recommended.