Brachiosaurus (Dor Mei)

2.1 (8 votes)

Review and photographs by Stolpergeist, edited by Suspsy

Some of those who are interested in dinosaurs may have kept some as pets at one point. In my case, it was budgerigars which lived at my grandparents’ house when I was a small child. They liked to sit in front of a mirror, inspecting their reflections on a small table that was set up by my grandmother with various soft toys they liked to play with. In the middle of the table were two brachiosaur figures that she placed there after she noticed that the tiny theropods liked to perch on them. Mostly on the heads, which were touching the mirror with their snout tips. One of these was the massive Bullyland Museum line Brachiosaurus from the 90s, while the other was a bit taller but less delicately sculpted, a hollow plastic toy which was at the time of unknown origin to me. Knowing now where this toy came from I would have never allowed this to happen, but the internet was something I didn’t use until I was a teenager.

The toy in question is the Dor Mei Brachiosaurus, which contains a high amount of lead in its paint that can cause lead poisoning. In addition to that, antimony and cadmium are found in this toy, which are known to cause cancer in case of excessive exposure. As a matter of fact, one of my parakeets, the one who preferred to sit on the Dor Mei version over the Bullyland one, died from liver cancer and while it lived beyond the minimum age of budgerigars in the wilderness of Australia, it was a family tragedy nonetheless. That being said, vintage toys by companies such as Dor Mei or Imperial should not be anywhere near pets nor children; they aren’t toys, they are time bombs and it is important to be aware of their danger. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling them and vintage collectors are advised to keep them locked away in a glass cabinet at best.

Now that all this has been addressed, let’s get to the figure’s appearance. The plastic titan is tall, with the head held at a height of 25 cm and the length from tail tip to front claw being 26 cm. The pose is a light stride of the hind legs while the front limbs are parallel to each other. The tail is facing down as seen in many vintage depictions, slightly above the ground but still almost dragging, an orientation that would break some vertebrae near the pelvis of a real Brachiosaurus. The skin is sculpted as simple wrinkles that wrap around the body in thin grooves. They cover the entire model save for the head, which is smooth and almost cetacean in appearance. There is even a fleshy balloon around the large nose, which resembles a beluga’s melon. The nostrils are surprisingly not on top of the head as one would expect from most brachiosaur figures and sauropod figures in general, but instead at the snout tip, which is more in line with modern reconstructions. Under thick brows, the almost angry-looking eyes are settled. Below them, a disgruntled expression may be seen on the closed mouth.

Running down the neck, we reach the front feet. As we know, sauropods have five digits on each front foot, or hand rather, with only the thumb being clawed, or not at all in some derived titanosaurs. This toxic toy features four digits on each hand, all of which are clawed, creating a paw-like appearance. Moving to the hind limbs, we get to the same arrangement, while in real sauropods, we would be met by five digits with the first three bearing claws.

Looking on the underside of this toy, I can see a small stamp between the hind limbs which says “1999 BRACHIOSAURUS MADE IN CHINA” at a spot that seems to have been installed during the production of this hollow figure similar to the stamp sections on RECUR toys. This tells me that this is a later reissue. The original is from 1986 after all and has different stamps on the underside. I know of a version that states “BRACHIOSAURUS U.K.R.D. NO. 1038998” at that spot, indicating that U.K.R.D. co-distributed Dor Mei’s figures or that they were produced at the same factory. Another stamp that is between the front limbs, which is empty on mine, says “1986 DOR MEI MADE IN CHINA CE.” The “CE” here, which means Conformité Européenne and claims that the product is within the safety standards of the European Union, is not to be trusted. While the stamping may differ, the colouration is relatively the same. Most samples of this figure are made of a bright blue plastic with the lead-contaminated paint sprayed over it, creating a countershading with a slightly darker grey on top. On each flank is a large spot of eggshell yellow airbrushed on and the same colour is used for the feet and hands, although the underside of these remains unpainted. The eyes have black pupils painted on with a white spot to indicate light reflection. The nostrils are filled with a simple red. Other less common variants of this toy include red painted ones as well as combinations with either blue or yellow base material. These are, however, painted with less effort, lacking the differently coloured “paws” and lateral spots.

What I can say in the end is that the Dor Mei Brachiosaurus or any vintage toys by Dor Mei, Imperial, or similar companies are completely unsuitable as toys due to containing various poisonous chemicals that can harm children. They are only suitable for vintage collectors who keep them responsibly with safety precautions. Do not let children anywhere near these toys. It still makes a chill run down my spine every time I see the toddler in Jurassic Park 3 play with the Dor Mei Triceratops. If you see parents pick these toys up at flea markets, please inform them and talk them out of it. If you intend to sell one of them on eBay, write a disclaimer to inform your buyer. And as a collector, tell your fellow dinosaur toy hunters to keep them safe.

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Comments 5

  • The site with the most interesting content I have ever seen! Thank u 🙂

  • @Stolpergeist It is commendable what you are doing warning children (especially children) not to have this figure as a toy and adults (collectors) to take these precautions, because said figure contains chemical elements that cause diseases such as cancer. That says a lot in your favor.

    Honestly, you have to be careful with dinosaur figures from toy companies, especially from slightly unknown brands that do not meet quality standards.

    By the way, this figure is associated with UKRD. Does that mean that UKRD can present the same problems as Dor Mei? I need to know since as you know I am a person at risk when it comes to contracting cancer due to my family history.

    • I’d want to know too but I couldn’t find any sources regarding the safety of the more regular U.K.R.D. figures yet.
      I hope someone finds out soon.
      I think a sample figure could be sent to Lead Safe Mama ( to check if it contains lead.

      • Basszus nekem van ilyen egy,csakhogy e Dor Mei Diplodocus egyik ritkább forma és színvariánsa.
        Bár majdnem tíz éve “háznál”van,valőszínúleg azért mert e figura fizikális érintkezése után mindig mostam/mosok kezét,illetve ne nyúlkáljak számba,mint az ólomtartalmú reklámújságok.Ennek ellenére imádom a Dor Mei-t.

  • This is the dark, chilling underbelly of the hobby. No good old days here. No wonder brachy looks “disgruntled.” Bravo for the caveats to prospective purchasers and present owners.

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