Review and photographs by “Loon”, edited by Plesiosauria
“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.” – Elvis Presley.
Cryolophosaurus was an early Jurassic theropod that hailed from the Hanson Formation around 194-188 mya in what is now Antarctica. Weighing in at over 1,000 lbs, and reaching over 20 feet long, Cryolophosaurus was one of the largest theropods of its time and the top predator of its ecosystem. The only known fossil is the holotype, FMNH PR1821, which belonged to a juvenile, meaning an encounter with a fully grown Cryolphosaurus would be truly astounding and terrifying. Though, like its cousin, Dilophosaurus, a juvenile could still most likely take down a fully grown Wayne Knight.
This figure is one of several debuted in 2017. Papo models are usually very high quality, and this Cryolophosaurus is no exception. Unlike several recent Papo figures, the sculpting on the figure comes across as much more consistent. The scales that adorn the body are very similar to the scales found on the bellies of modern crocodilians, and appear to be very defined and unique, almost as if they were individually sculpted. This is different to several recent Papo figures, where the postcranial scales appear to be little more than the result of horizontal and vertical cuts in the sculpt. The muscles are all very well-defined, and appear to be covered in a decent amount of fat and skin, giving this animal a very “alive” look. The figure features rows of osteoderms that turn into spikes on the top of the spine, they flow from the top of the neck to the base of the tail; while speculative, these features are an interesting addition.
Paint-wise, this figure is among, if not the, best Papo has ever produced. The paint makes it one of Papo’s most vibrant; which, I mean, isn’t saying much given their usual ‘go to’ selection of the ever-exciting brown and grey. These colors, while beautiful, are one of the figures more debatable aspects, Papo has a history of copying both design aspects and paint schemes from Sideshow Collectibles Dinosauria statues, such as almost the entirety of their Apatosaurus, Dilophosaurus, and Carnotaurus, and unfortunately, this figure is no exception. While ‘Dinosauria’ has never produced a Cryolophosaurus statue, the color scheme of this figure is nigh identical to the color scheme of the ‘Dinosauria’ Ceratosaurus. However, in defense of what may be viewed as Geoworld levels of thievery, the color scheme is appropriate. While we don’t know the exact color of Cryolophosaurus, it did live in a forested environment so these colors do seem suitable for a large predator trying to sneak through the woods in search of a meal.
The figure features the ever-necessary articulated jaw, which opens to reveal a highly detailed interior. The jaws are appropriately crocodilian, with a good amount of detail extending into the roof and back of the mouth, as well as to the tongue and gums.
The shape of the skull is quite accurate; we can tell this because it is quite visible. Overall, it’s not the worst case of shrink-wrapping, it does feature a decent amount of muscle in the fenestrae, and the oft-forgotten pterygoideus posterior muscle is thankfully featured on the lower jaw. The biggest point of inaccuracy in the head is that the skull does seem to be missing the “notch” in the premaxilla at the front.
The definitive feature of Cryoloposaurus is the crest which it is named for; Cryolophosaurus is the greek for “Frozen Crest Lizard.” The crest is well detailed, featuring a keratinous covering which extends to the front of the nasal. The current understanding is that the crest was probably used for intra-species recognition, as well as being functional in social behavior with other Cryolophosarus. Given this understanding, it would have been appropriate to give the crest a more colorful paint scheme. As is, unfortunately, it tends to blend in with the rest of the figure, unless, of course, this is a female animal.
Accuracy hasn’t always been Papo’s strong spot, however, 2017 seems to be a step in the right direction. While not all 100% accurate, most of their offerings for 2017 are definitely some of the most accurate figures they’ve ever made. This Cryolophosaurus is probably the second most accurate after their Ceratosaurus. The sculpt seems to adhere to the current reconstructions of the animal, albeit warping some parts to an unrealistic extent (we’ll get to that, don’t you worry). There are no known skin impressions of Cryolophosaurus However, the scales as well as the osteoderms/spikes, are known from its close relatives, the ceratosaurs. So, the aforementioned lack of a notch in the front of the upper jaw is the biggest issue in terms of accur…
…the tail, yeah, it’s…interesting, by which I mean impossible. Cryolophosaurus is thought to be the most basal member of tetanurae, a group of theropods classified for several features, including their stiff tails. This pose would have been simply impossible for a Cryolophosaurus to achieve without breaking its tail; it brings to mind the old practice of museum workers breaking dinosaur skeletons to achieve the outdated “kangaroo” tripod look. Perhaps, given the stance of the animal, it is frightened by something, and lunging away out of fear – it is so afraid that it broke its own tail in the process!
Overall, a solid figure, one of Papo’s best and most accurate. Despite its flaws, it is still highly recommended, you can pick it up on Amazon here.