The spinosaur Baryonyx was big news when it was unearthed in England in the 1980s, so it’s understandable that Invicta would have wanted to produce their own model of ‘Claws’. This 1989 plain-coloured toy is (sadly) still one of the best spinosaur toys yet produced, in spite of its outdated posture.
Back in the day Baryonyx was noted for its robust forelimbs, leading some to speculate that it might have been an occasional quadruped. This is now regarded as at best highly unlikely, and at worst impossible (wrist rotation and all that). Still, a few manufacturers have produced quadrupedal Baryonyx models over the years (Safari, Schleich et al), none of which have been anywhere near as good as this fishing beauty of a beasty. Unlike in the case of the weirdo Schleich model, it could be argued that this guy is just leaning on a hand while fishing, which may well be physically impossible (not that CollectA have realised it yet – they seem to have a few hand-leaning theropods coming out this year) but at least looks a little better.
In terms of anatomical proportions it’s difficult to think of a Baryonyx toy that’s topped this one. The Carnegie wasn’t bad, but was a little skinny and comparatively crude in appearance; efforts from other manufacturers have tended to be lumpen monstrosities (I did mention the Collecta here, but it’s come to my attention that the Schleich is much, much worse. Obviously I’d erased it from my memory to prevent further trauma). It’s superior when it comes down to the fine details, too – the head is near spot-on, with a lone crest rising from the skull and the characteristic spinosaur ‘fish trap’ jaws. The animal has its mouth closed, but the teeth are just visible. Elsewhere, the animal has been given a covering of scales, with bulging musculature and not a single unsightly unnecessary skin fold, which is very pleasing to see.
Noteworthy for Invicta dinosaur collectors is that this is the only model given a prop (unless you count the Troodon‘s base), in this case a fish that acts as the fourth point to lean on. The fish is just as finely detailed as the dinosaur, with a covering of scales and puncture marks where the Baryonyx has grabbed it. Unfortunately it doesn’t detach, which limits this toy’s use as, er, a toy, but it displays nicely. Also, some refinements in the production process are noticeable here – unlike its theropod forebears in the Invicta line, Baryonyx has separated digits on its hands and feet.
Ultimately, and in spite of the pose looking dubious to modern eyes, this is probably still the best Baryonyx toy yet produced, and even one of the best spinosaur toys, comparing favourably with the modern Carnegie Spinosaurus. It’s slightly too large for the Invicta line’s standard 1:45 scale (it’s more like 1:40), but don’t let that put you off. If you’re a fan of theropod dinosaurs in general this is definitely a figure you’ll enjoy – it’s well-sculpted and even the mono version looks great sitting among other models. You’ll have to go on eBay of course, but it can be bought relatively cheaply when it pops up and is well worth the effort.