Happy Hen Toys has generously provided me with my first ever Haolonggood review subject: Dacentrurus. The very first stegosaur to be formally described and named in 1875 (the original name was Omosaurus until someone realized in 1902 that it was already taken), Dacentrurus is estimated to have been up to nine metres in length and five metric tons in weight, making it presently the second largest known member of its family after Stegosaurus. The type specimen was found in 1874 in the Kimmeridge Clay of England, which is of Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous age. Dacentrurus’ contemporaries appear to have included the iguanodontian Cumnoria, the sauropods Cetiosaurus and Duriatitan, and the theropods Juratyrant and Torvosaurus, the latter of which may have been the pointy-tailed plant eater’s chief predator.
Haolonggood’s modus operandi is to release two of the same mould in different colour schemes, which is something I wouldn’t mind other companies taking up. This one here is the “Lingzhen” scheme with the other being “Xuning.” The main colours on its body are brownish-orange and beige with plenty of dark brown stripes, grey claws, and brown and beige shoulder spikes. The head is more of a medium orange with light green eyes and airbrushed medium brown on the snout. The plates and spikes running down the neck, back, and tail are dark brown with fiery orange tips. And finally, there’s an odd white wash on the top of the head, back, and tail, which I rather wish hadn’t been applied. Other than that, this looks quite good. It’s admittedly similar to the PNSO Miragaia‘s colour scheme, but not identical. One could easily conceive of Lingzhen here as a male and the duller-coloured Xuning as a female.
Lingzhen is a good-sized stegosaur toy at 22 cm long and 8 cm tall at the tips of his plates. He is sculpted in a placid walking stance with his head held high and turned slightly to the left. His left front leg is raised in mid-step and his stupendously spiny tail is also swaying to the left. He looks calm and regal this way, but also very alert and gimlet-eyed, ready to defend himself if needs be.
Upon removing Lingzhen from his packaging, one of the first things I noticed was that a number of his plates and spikes are warped, bending to one side or the other. I can look past this, but I do hope that this is a case of random bad luck as opposed to a frequent occurrence. It’s also worth noting that the tips of the plates and spikes are quite sharp. Clearly, this is a figure aimed primarily at older collectors; it is not an all-ages product like the ones sold by CollectA, Safari, and Schleich. I certainly wouldn’t feel safe letting my little ones play with it.
The detail on Lingzhen is most impressive. His skin is covered in tiny rounded scales with larger osteoderms adorning his sides and multiple but subtle wrinkles lining his belly, thighs, and tail. His front feet end in four digits with claws on three of them, while his hind feet have three clawed digits. His throat is protected by fine gular armour and his closed mouth does not feature cheeks, unlike many previous stegosaur figures. Also, there are particularly large and bumpy scales at the very tip of his thagomizer, almost like a sheathe of armour to help reinforce it during combat.
Assessing the accuracy of this figure is somewhat difficult due to the fact that Dacentrurus, like so many other dinosaurs, is not known from complete remains. Nevertheless, we do know that it possessed much smaller plates than Stegosaurus and multiple spikes on its tail. Lingzhen features ten pairs of thin plates on his back, followed by seven pairs of spikes on his tail. He also has spikes jutting out from his shoulders just like on Kentrosaurus. These are purely speculative at the present time, but perfectly plausible, and they certainly do add to Lingzhen’s intimidating appearance.
Lingzhen’s torso, however, may be his biggest inaccuracy. You see, one of the more interesting features of Dacentrurus is that it possessed an extremely wide pelvis. I’ve seen the holotype specimen up close and personal at the Natural History Museum in London, England, and it truly is massive. Lingzhen is far from skinny, I grant you, but his girth isn’t as great as that of the Wild Safari Stegosaurus or the PNSO Tuojiangosaurus. Haolonggood might have been able to do better in this regard.
On the whole, though, I think this is a splendid stegosaur figure. Indeed, the best Dacentrurus to date, surpassing both the CollectA and Battat versions. Not only does its sculpting and overall appearance easily rival that of PNSO’s stegosaurs, but it is also a good deal more affordable (and I really do hope that Haolonggood keeps their products that way in future). Both versions are currently available on Happy Hen Toys’ website. Thanks again go out to them for the sample!
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