Review and photos by Prehistory Resurrection, edited by Suspsy
Back in 1994, Schleich released its now-discontinued Replica-Saurus line of dinosaur figures, which included perhaps the goofiest, ugliest, and most hideous dinosaur figure ever manufactured, their first Ceratosaurus sculpt, in a quadrupedal stance. It was finally retired in 2005. For 2021, Schleich released a new and much improved version which is the subject of this review. Their dinosaur figures are often a hit or miss, and I think this one is neither. It could be better due to some nitpicks and the pose, but is otherwise one of Schleich’s best efforts in my opinion. The initial prototype images turned me off from this figure, but it looks much nicer in person.
There are three type species of Ceratosaurus: C. dentisulcatus, C. magnicornis, and C. nasicornis. I am not an expert, but in C. dentisulcatus restorations, the nasal horn and the two crests in front of the eyes are larger, more prominent and flamboyant than in C. nasicornis restorations. Hence this, along with the shape of the head, leads me to conclude that this figure is based on the type species C. dentisulcatus (correct me if I’m wrong). In terms of length, the figure measures a little over 8 inches or 20 cm and in terms of height, it measures about 4.25 inches or about 11 cm.
Let’s come to the main appeal of this figure: the colour scheme. One thing that I do like with Schleich is the lively colour schemes and patterns that they use for their dinosaur figures, although sometimes they appear to be copied from something else such as the 2021 Baryonyx having the same colour scheme as the Suchomimus from the official Jurassic World website or the 2022 Majungasaurus having the same colour scheme as the one from Dinosaur King. But here the colour scheme appears to be original (correct me if I’m wrong) and very gorgeous and eye-catching indeed. The consensus now is that the signature nasal horn of the animal was used to attract mates, intimidate rivals, or to identify members of its own species, similar to how many modern birds and reptiles use colourful for such purposes. This seemed to be understood by Schleich as they went for a scarlet red for the horn and the two crests. The same is for the areas around the eyes and the spikes running down the course of the body. The eyes are yellow with black pupils. The teeth are white and the inside of the mouth and the skin tissue that connects the upper jaw and the lower jaw are light pink. However, I do not know why the tongue is painted bright red and not the same colour as the inside of the mouth. To me, this immediately breaks the realism of the figure.
The top half of the body is orange which merges into a light tan for the lower half, a smooth transition which works nicely. There are rows of black spots running over the body and converging on the hips and thighs. The black spots remind me of a modern spotted hyena. If Allosaurus was the lion of the Jurassic, then Ceratosaurus would have been the hyena. Being smaller than Allosaurus, it may have scavenged on kills made by the former. I do not know if this is the reason Schleich put black spots on this figure but either way, it is a well-chosen colour scheme. A dark brown wash has been applied on the body which helps make the scale skin texture and the musculature pop out really nicely. Finally, the claws are dark brown. Overall, the paint job is well-applied with no sloppiness (but I do not know if this is only the case for my copy) and it is a very well-chosen colour scheme.
The lower jaw of the Ceratosaurus is articulated. There is a seam on the back of the neck which breaks the realism of the figure, but it is not that distracting. The nostrils and ear holes are sculpted. The teeth are blunt and rounded, which is a downside, but this is normal for Schleich and is probably for child safety. There is a dewlap on the neck which reminds me of modern lizards, which is a nice touch. There are rows of sculpted osteoderms running down the course of the body which the animal is known to have had in life. It is sculpted in a striding pose with the body leaning leftward, the right leg stretching far back, and the curved tail touching the ground. The feet are slightly oversized, but not that obvious. As for the details, there are some cracks sculpted on the horn and the crests which look really nice.
Small, finely sculpted scales cover the entire body. There are creases at the base of the neck and folds in the stomach region that appear to stretch due to the right foot being about to lift off the ground. The feet sport nicely sculpted, bird-like scutes that are highlighted by dark brown wash. And moving on to the tail, you can see the skin folds again stretching at the base of the tail. All in all, a very refined detail work.
Now for the accuracies and inaccuracies, starting with the former. The iconic nasal horn and pre-orbital crests are present and correctly shaped, the shape of the head is correct, the front limbs have the correct number of digits for Ceratosaurus, and finally, there is a row of spikes running down the course of the body and rows of osteoderms on the body, which the animal is known to have possessed. As for inaccuracies, the head is shrink-wrapped first of all. The arms are obviously way too large and the wrists are pronated. The feet are slightly oversized, maybe for stability, but not that obvious. Also, Ceratosaurus had a slender and muscular build, but this figure portrays it as a big, lumbering horned lizard. And the most glaring inaccuracy and disliked feature of this figure is the pose. It is in a tripod position with its tail touching the ground. I do not understand why Schleich gave the figure oversized feet but still chose a tripod position. At least the pose isn’t exaggerated and as much of an eyesore as with other figures such as Papo’s Giganotosaurus.
So how does this Ceratosaurus fare? One of Schleich’s better efforts according to me, but nitpicks concerning the sculpt and accuracy mentioned above and the pose may turn off those searching for realistic and accurate offerings. It’s true that there are much better Ceratosaurus models available such as CollectA’s perfect model and Papo’s quite ”awesomebro” but still accurate rendition, so why get this one? Well, if you are a completist or have a liking for Schleich’s offerings, then this one’s for you. It should be available wherever Schleich’s figures are sold or through online shops like Amazon or eBay.
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