Review and photos by James Burnside, edited by Suspsy
When CollectA announced its line of deluxe figures for 2018, the Ceratosaurus jumped out as a must-buy for me for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that it is a dinosaur species I am very fond of. This is partly because, despite being a large theropod from the Jurassic era, it often gets eclipsed by other dinosaurs, notably the more popular Allosaurus, and a figurine with an emphasis on realistic detailing was hard to pass up. So how does the 2018 Collecta Ceratosaurus hold up?
First and most striking is the colour design of the creature. Allosaurus is often touted as the ‘Lion of the Jurassic’ and so it seems to me that, either consciously or unconsciously, CollectA operated on that mindset when designing their Ceratosaurus. Ceratosaurus lived at the same time as Allosaurus, and in the same regions in a lot of cases. It was also much smaller on average, so if Allosaurus was indeed the ‘lion,’ then it would appear to the people at CollectA that Ceratosaurus would be the ‘hyena.’ From the dark orange skin with black spots to the arched back with a slender frame, this Ceratosaurus is very reminiscent of the great African carnivore. It’s an interesting choice for a colour scheme, and instantly gives the Ceratosaurus a kind of identity of its own. The dull orange contrasts nicely with the white underbelly, creating a visually striking image, although the white seems to awkwardly vanish at the base of the tail and it looks uncannily like the painter simply ran out of paint.
One thing that I adore about CollectA over other companies is their love of bright, vibrant colours over the usual dark browns or greens that dominate a lot of dinosaur toys. Most notably, of course, their ‘war paint’ approach to face designs. The Ceratosaurus seems to have been designed with a kind of harlequin-style colour scheme with strong black, red, and white all mixed together. While there are some issues of paint running, at least on my own figure, overall the three colours are balanced nicely. By far my favourite part of the creature’s head is none other than the iconic horn that made Ceratosaurus so bizarrely noteworthy in the first place. Long believed to be some savage killing weapon, paleontologists now believe the horn was more likely used as a display feature to attract mates or signal to rivals, not unlike the colourful crests of certain birds and lizard species. With that in mind, CollectA went for a bright yellow colour for the horn, which ends up being the most visually striking colour contrast on the dinosaur’s entire head.
Usually, I find Ceratosaurus toys make the animal look bulky and lumbering and muscular, like the “ABSOLUTE UNIT” of Papo fame. Perhaps this is done to contrast with the usually lean build of Allosaurus. But CollectA recreates their Ceratosaurus as not only slender and lean, but even dare I say dainty and delicate. It has a graceful body, covered in prickly skin and osteoderms, tiny, four-fingered hands, thin legs, and very bird-like feet. While it is far from shrink-wrapped, as there is still plenty of muscle mass and solid structure to be found, it also looks a lot less like a lumbering horned lizard and more like a fast-moving and active predator, one that is very easy to imagine existing. I find myself impressed with the structure of the dinosaur’s body, even though CollectA connoisseurs will notice the similarities between it and another Jurassic predator, Torvosaurus, also manufactured by CollectA.
Given that Ceratosaurus was known to live in swampy marshy environments, I do find the base the figure stands on with its odd muddy texture to be quite appealing. I also like the dynamic pose of the creature looking up, as though it was about to roar. That, combined with the figure’s moveable jaw, would make it an entertaining toy for children old enough to take care of it. While it is perhaps not as poseable or dynamic as other dinosaurs, I do find I like the simple subtlety of its half-raised pose. I personally like to imagine this Ceratosaurus as a young male who has either carved out a piece of territory and is signalling to rivals to back off, or is perhaps showing off his fancy nose bling in an attempt to attract a mate. In any event, I find he looks great on my bookshelf.
While the CollectA Ceratosaurus does have a few minor issues with paint and perhaps slightly shares some of the same mould of the Torvosaurus, it still has enough identity of its own to stand out and is a worthy addition to any CollectA fan, or just a dinosaur enthusiast in general. I personally look forward to the day when the mighty Allosaurus finally gets to join in the Deluxe club with the other Jurassic killers, but for now, this Ceratosaurus is a worthy addition.
Does anyone know what species it is?
It’s Ceratosaurus nasicornis,based specifically on the type skeleton that was on display in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History before all the dinosaurs were taken down in 2014 for the 5 year renovation of the fossil halls,which are due to reopen next June.
Wonderful review! I really like the figure and the bold colors, it really makes the figure stands out and different from the other Ceratosaurus out there.
Hope you do more reviews in the future.
Looks almost like it’s wearing Kabuki make-up.
Arguably the best of CollectA’s 2018 assortment.
My personal favorite for the year is the Iguanodon, followed by the Estemmenosuchus.
My favorite Collecta dinosaurs this year are ceratosaurus, iguanodon, estemmenosuchus, mantetillisaurus, feathered tyrannosaurus rex and dunkleosteus. This year has been a great year for Collecta.
Hence why I said “arguably.” I too am hopeful for more Paleozoic beasties next year!
The Collecta ceratosaurus for me is the best that has been made its considerable size and its modeling and details are precious, the only thing that perhaps spoils a little is his face painting or “war painting”. Honestly you can rub elbows on equal terms with the ceratosaurus of Safari or Battat.
For me it is a legendary figure that Collecta ceratosaurus. It has been a great year for Collecta and in general the rest of dinosaur toy brands and other figures of prehistoric animals.