Corythosaurus (Caroline) (Prehistoric Animal Models by PNSO)

4.1 (38 votes)

While many of us debate over which of the spectacular Tyrannosaurus toys released over the last couple decades are the best and most definitive, we can all pretty much agree on what the best Corythosaurus toy is or was. And while the 1993 Carnegie Collection Corythosaurus was the unquestionably best figure of that genus it is alarming to think that that particular toy had remained the definitive version of that genus for the last 27 years. That’s not to say it was the only Corythosaurus, others existed as well. Schleich, CollectA, and Toyway all produced their own, but they all fell short in one way or another. The neglect that ornithopods receive is in no way shocking to our community. Another example, the Invicta Lambeosaurus, remained the best of its genus since 1993 as well, with only a couple somewhat serious attempts at it by CollectA and Bullyland. I’m not going to get into why this is the case because I think we all know and accept it, but I can still lament it. And that is why when PNSO announced their revamped Wilson the T. rex model I couldn’t muster up any real excitement for it, I was still too captivated by their Lambeosaurus and Corythosaurus, after 27 years these dinosaurs have finally gotten their due.

For me personally, I knew that both of these ornithopods would be my favorite figures of 2020, no contest, except for which one of the two I liked better. Initially I thought I preferred the Lambeosaurus but having them both in hand I’ve decided that the Corythosaurus edges it out. So now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the PNSO Corythosaurus, my pick for the best dinosaur figure of 2020 and a worthy successor to its Carnegie counterpart.

The PNSO Corythosaurus was released in 2020 as part of PNSO’s mid-sized range of toys in their Prehistoric Animal Models line. Like all PNSO’s toys she has been named, appropriately, Caroline. Although part of the mid-sized line she is a remarkably large figure, dwarfing her Lambeosaurus pal despite the two genera being similarly sized.

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Caroline measures about 10.5” in length and stands about 4” tall. If it weren’t for the curve of her neck and tail, she would stretch to about 12” in length. Corythosaurus is estimated to have reached about 30’ long so that puts Caroline at about 1/30 in scale. Once again, that estimate factors in the curve of her body.

Although her large size might put off scale conscious collectors it is one reason why I prefer this model to the Lambeosaurus. Her size makes her that much more magnificent. In a shelf dominated by large theropods and sauropods it is nice to have an ornithopod that commands so much attention. Her paintjob is striking yet believable, and her form is elegant and efficient in the same way that it is in modern ungulates like deer and antelope.

Caroline is posed striding forward and leftward, with both her tail and head leaning in that direction. Promotional images suggest that the figure has an oversized head, but I believe this is an optical illusion brought on by her posture. The head still looks too large, but not dramatically so once in hand. Caroline’s head is looking downward, perhaps foraging or calculating her next step, and her right leg is pushing forward with only the toe tips touching the ground. The only downside to this posture is that while mostly stable the model does easily fall over on its right side if even slightly jostled.

Caroline’s base color is a green-yellow, almost chartreuse color, with a pale underside. Blended chocolate brown and burnt orange stripes and spots decorate her body and splashes of peach coloration run down her neck, chest, torso, and inner thighs. The crest is painted a beautiful combination of orange and turquoise with the two colors blending well with each other. A shiny finish is painted over the beak and crest, suggesting a covering of keratin, perhaps.

The top of the snout is a reddish color, and dark bands are painted across the yellow eyes. The beak is black, and the hands and feet dark gray with light gray nails. I’m absolutely in love with this color scheme and its execution. For an animal that likely lived in swamps and woodlands it is a convincing palate, one that would function well for both display and camouflage. The colors are cleanly applied and blend well together.

The detail work on Caroline is appropriately conservative. Unlike a few of PNSO’s theropods the detail does not overtake the rest of the sculpt. Viewed from afar it appears as though the toy is covered by smooth, featureless skin, but this is how it would appear on the real animal as well. Skin impressions show that Corythosaurus was covered in small polygonal scales but each individual scale would have been miniscule. Scaled down on a toy like this the scaly hide should indeed, appear smooth. Upon closer inspection there is a nicely detailed, yet subtle, scale covering on Caroline and it looks very much like the actual skin impressions we have for Corythosaurus.

In addition to the mostly uniform sized pebbly scales there are a few larger scales interspersed here and there. Larger oval shaped scales are sculpted along the sides of the belly, hips, and tail. These larger scales are also shown in skin impressions of the genus. Individually sculpted scutes run down the back and most of the tail. They sit atop a ridge along the back where the neural spines are slightly visible under the skin. The scutes start off small on the neck, increase in size down the back, and then decrease in size down the tail.

Many folds and creases are present along Caroline’s neck, torso, and legs. They don’t give her skin a saggy appearance, instead appearing taught and conforming to the contours of her body. These, in addition to the well sculpted musculature, convey an animal in its prime. Although the hips and neural spines are slightly visible under the skin the model does not have a shrink wrapped appearance.

Caroline’s torso is nicely rounded, her hips wide, and her legs nicely muscled. She could perhaps use a bit more thickness in her tail, and her forelimbs might be a tad too spindly, but I can’t make those criticisms with much confidence. Caroline appears well proportioned mostly, save for the oversized head.

Dinosaurs, and certain dinosaur groups in particular, appeal to people for a variety of reasons. We’re left awe struck by the frightening predatory power of theropods, sauropods astonish us with their unfathomable size, and others like the ceratopsians, stegosaurs, and ankylosaurus impress us with their bizarre armament. Ornithopods don’t seem to offer as much, so they frequently get side-lined. But for me the big appeal with dinosaurs is their overall form and function, just how evolutionarily economical their physiology is. In that regard, dinosaurs represent the pinnacle of tetrapod evolution and ornithopods, with their no-frills body plan, are among the best at displaying the inherent grace and efficiency of dinosaurs as a group. The PNSO Corythosaurus captures that grace and efficiency like few dinosaur toys have and for that I consider it an absolute masterpiece.

Caroline with the Safari Gryposaurus, Battat Parasaurolophus, and Carnegie Corythosaurus.

Caroline the Corythosaurus is widely available online between $30-40 USD but I found that Aliexpress, with its option to forgo the packaging, was the most affordable choice for me.

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Comments 15

  • Sweet Caroline! Great review of this magnificent model! It’s one of the most beautiful hadrosaur model ever produced.

  • Magnificent review, it is by far the best corythosaurus made to date but without a doubt the best lambeosaurine hadrosaurid made to date by PNSO is the current parasaurolophus and that is the one I am missing in my collection.

    Without a doubt, the PNSO hadrosaurids are each the best of their genus, lambeosaurus, corythosaurus and parasaurolophus the best of each of these species, only the tsintaosaurus and hypacrosaurus are missing from that company to be represented. All the classic lambeosaurine models although I have to admit that the tsintaosaurus and hypacrosaurus differ little from the corythosaurus although PNSO could make an excellent “retro” tsintaosaurus like those of yesteryear and as it was represented from the 90s until very recently.

    Corythosaurus from PNSO, excellent sculpture, painting, scientific details although perhaps what hurts it is its huge head that I call allometry and it occurs above all in both animals and people when the individual is younger when younger or younger, To say a greater newborn is allometry although it also occurs in adults and that can sometimes be due to pathological issues that is what I do not like about corythosaurus, however its parasaurolophus counterpart does not even have that defect and that does not leave yet to corroborate that the PNSO corythosaurus is by far the best done so far.

  • Many things to like about this figure. PNSO has shown a tendency to make their figures with oversized heads, like some other manufacturers, and this figure is no exception. I’m not a fan of oversized heads but they are difficult to avoid sometimes.

    I do wonder about the tail of this figure. Should it not be stiffer and straighter to reflect the ossified tendons?

    • You might be right about the tail, but at least it’s not bent in a dramatic way. I’m not sure what the range of motion should be.

  • Wonderful review, wonderful figure.

    One exception to the review, however:

    ” Another example, the Invicta Lambeosaurus, remained the best of its genus since 1993 as well, with only one other semi-serious attempt at it by CollectA.”

    Actually, Bullyland made a very decent model a few years past. See:


    • You’re right, and I knew about that one (almost bought it) but forgot about it while writing the review. Thanks, I’ll edit that info into the review.

  • Great review of a great figure! Thanks for the detailed overview, clear pics, and comparisons. I am tempted to pick this up myself now.

    One note – multiple recently unearthed well-preserved hadrosaur “mummies” have shown that relatively prominent claws/hooves on the manus similar to this sculpt are likely to be correct. The fingers would still be mostly encased in a fleshy glove, but some of the past reconstructions of totally clawless hadrosaur hands appear to be based on a historical misinterpretation of the AMNH Edmontosaurus mummy, in which the soft tissue around the hands is not as completely preserved, and also appears to be somewhat sagged.

    • I recall the issues about the manus being brought up when Safari released their Edmontosaurus but as far as I know that information hasn’t been formally published yet. I’ll have to look into it further.

  • Great review; great figure. One of my favorites from PNSO’s recent crop.

  • She’s beautiful!! I remember reading a comment somewhere about ornithopods being sort of like the dinosaur equivalent to a horse (in aesthetics) and that’s exactly the kind of grace and beauty I get from this figure. I agree about the front legs looking too skinny, but I don’t know enough about the anatomy to say if it’s accurate or not. Anyway, thanks for sharing

    • Yup, horses absolutely come to mind. Or deer, antelope, etc. Antelope in particular for me since they each have their own unique headgear. Similar niches, convergent evolution and all that, it’s not just coincidence. This figure nails that ungulate vibe that ornithopods give off.

  • Great review of this fabulous model! Truly a work of art that would be very hard to top!

  • Great review. It’ll be extremely hard for any company to top Caroline. Shame how bloody expensive she is, though.

    • Yup, the price hurt a little. But without the packaging on Aliexpress she was $30 which is not entirely unreasonable. There aren’t too many figures I shell out for but I had to have Caroline.

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