The well known and abundant late Jurassic sauropod, Camarasaurus, is seldom counted as a favorite among dinosaur enthusiasts. True, it’s not the largest or most elegant example of the group. In fact, looking at the skeletal elements and the skull especially, it might be tempting to call this dinosaur ugly. For whatever reason I’ve long been a fan of the genus, largely in part due to that distinctive boxy head, which was famously once mounted on the skeleton of Brontosaurus.
Unfortunately few toys and models exist of this animal. Those that do are all becoming increasingly hard to find. This is a shame because we do have a lot of material for the genus. I should think it would take preference over the many fragmentary dinosaurs that have been repeatedly reconstructed but such as it is.
Enter Kaiyodo and their outstanding Dinoland range of models. Shinobu Matsumura sculpted a Camarasaurus for the line to put all others to shame, one that I grew up staring at on the cover of the book “Dinopix” by Teruhisa Tajima. Sadly I don’t have that one to review, but what I do have is the Camarasaurus by Waiphoon and yeah, it’s a knockoff.
For those just now hearing about Waiphoon, they’re a Chinese company that directly copies the models of various other companies. Not just Kaiyodo but the ROM, Battat, Walking with Dinosaurs, and apparently Jurassic Park as well. Oddly enough these toys are no longer easy to come by; some are probably rarer than the toys they rip off. For that reason they’re considered collectible by some.
Most of them are at least faithful knockoffs, so they’re somewhat deceptive and a lot of them are of seemingly decent quality. And that’s how I would describe this Camarasaurus. It’s cheaply produced, hollow, and made of soft pliable plastic. It has many obvious seams along the legs and one that wraps around the belly, but aside from that it’s not bad.
Identical to the Kaiyodo model this Camarasaurus is presented mid-stride with a low slung tail and the head looking leftward. Saggy skin folds hang down along the sides of its wrinkled hide. A lot of smaller details from the original are lost in this simplified version. For example, visible claws and teeth present on the original are hard to discern on this copy.
The Kaiyodo model and this version both suffer from many of the accuracy problems that plagued dinosaur reconstructions from the 1990’s. Too many clawed digits, shrink-wrapped skin, a thin poorly muscled tail, etc. All things considered it’s reasonably accurate, well sculpted, and dynamic. Especially the original.
Despite its aesthetic quality this toy has a truly horrendous paint job. It’s green and yellow with large green splotches randomly placed about. The eyes are white globs on the head with black pupils. Smaller details like the nostrils, nails, and mouth are ignored. I believe other paint jobs of the same toy exist but I’m not certain, either way this toy would benefit greatly from some customization. You certainly couldn’t make it look any worse.
So I guess this is the point where I either recommend the model or don’t. That’s hard with this one, I don’t typically support blatant bootlegs but in this case we have a toy no-longer in production, one that you can only get second-hand and is quite rare too. If you’re a Camarasaurus fan then go ahead and get one if you can find it. Then re-paint it, and hope that someday you’ll find the superior model it’s based on.