Cryolophosaurus is famous for its handsome crest and for being the largest known theropod from Antarctica, and the largest known one from the Early Jurassic period for that matter. Its classification has long been something of a puzzlement, but a 2020 study concluded that it was a derived neotheropod related to the famous Dilophosaurus.
Here we have Loader the Cryolophosaurus from PNSO. Mounted on a rocky base, he is crouching down with his right leg bent and his left one extended all the way back. His tail is raised high and swinging to the right while his head is turned sharply to look at something on the ground before him. Perhaps he’s just caught sight of some potential prey. Or maybe he’s standing at the edge of a tall cliff and looking down upon his Antarctic kingdom. Although Cryolophosaurus‘ name means “frozen crested lizard,” it didn’t encounter very much snow and ice, if any at all. Instead, it would have lived in a temperate environment that was probably similar to present day New Zealand, and its main prey would have been the sauropodomorph Glacialisaurus.
Loader’s main colour is dark green with a pea green underbelly, black stripes, light brown on his feet, forearms, and head, and yellow eyes. Unlike most other Cryolophosaurus toys, Loader’s crest is not painted in a bright colour at all. Perhaps it only becomes vivid during the mating season, that’s always a possibility. Overall, this is a simple but satisfactory colour scheme, and certainly in keeping what we’ve all come to expect from PNSO. Oh, and it should come as no surprise that the Cryolophosaurus in the accompanying pamphlet is painted entirely different. It looks good in black.
While Loader’s crest may not be colourful, it certainly is the correct size and shape, and makes him immediately recognizable as a Cryolophosaurus. He also features a long, sloping, triangular snout, relatively large arms, and a sleek but powerful build. His skull suffers from the common affliction of shrink-wrapping: the fenestrae and orbits are clearly visible beneath the skin, although they’re thankfully not too sunken. He measures about 8 cm long and 4 cm high at the arch of his tail.
Like most miniature PNSO theropods, Loader’s mouth is firmly shut, but his sharp upper teeth are clearly visible. His beady eyes somehow seem particularly alert. His body is covered in crisscrossing wrinkles and the musculature in his limbs is well-defined. He also features a small row of osteoderms along his tail and a shaggy mane of feathers on the back of his neck.
On the whole, I find that Loader the Cryolophosaurus is a pretty cool toy, indeed one of the best of PNSO’s miniatures. I can’t stress enough how much I want more of these endearing little animals, far more so than anything at the 1:35 scale. I continue to keep my fingers crossed that PNSO eventually provides.