With Colorata’s new Paleozoic collection out in 2018, I think I’m overdue on this look at one of their earlier prehistoric sets: Volume 3 of their dinosaur series. Although this set has its share of flaws, Colorata’s 3rd dinosaur volume – and first focused on Jurassic fauna – still offers plenty for dino fans to appreciate. While the first two focused on species from the Cretaceous period, this volume is focused on Jurassic fauna. Like other sets, the figures are packaged in a lunchbox-like container, with an informational guidebook featuring each species, and a set of plastic stand pieces that can be trimmed for ideal display of the figures.
Dinosaur #1 in this set is Allosaurus fragilis, the largest carnivore included, at roughly 5″ long and 2.75″ tall on its base. Sculpt detail is generally good, depicting a muscular animal with creases and folds in the skin. But the extremities suffer a little, with the arms and feet looking flimsy and ill-defined. There is also some slight shrink-wrapping to the head, which is otherwise well detailed, albeit maybe a little squished in shape. A. fragilis is painted a very lush, deep blue in color, with a light cream underbelly, black and green mottling across the back, and highlights to the hornlets on the face. It’s a very appealing color scheme, although I don’t know how plausible it might be. There is, regrettably, some red slop around the gums which can give the appearance of lipstick.
Dinosaur #2 is the iconic Stegosaurus stenops, posed splendidly as an alert and fit (albeit slightly slim) animal. The overall proportions appear accurate to contemporary reconstructions, with just the tail spikes being angled upwards instead of out to the sides, as is often the case in toys. The dorsal plates are embellished somewhat to appear especially large and dramatic. The paint scheme features pleasant three-tone green striping for the body, with white-spotted flanks and red-brown patterns for the plates. Overall, I think this might be one of the nicest figures in the set.
Dinosaur #3 is Yangchuanosaurus shangyouensis, a rarer genus in the toy world. Regrettably, quality control seems to have slipped on this sculpt. The skull seems generally accurate in size and shape, with pronounced brow ridges, but it is also badly shrink-wrapped, giving the dinosaur a gaunt, sickly appearance. The shrink-wrapping doesn’t stop there either: both the backbone and shoulder blades seem abnormally prominent, and the torso/stomach region is excessively tight. I’m not sure if the legs are overly long, or if they just look that way due to the torso. The tail is starkly shortened as well. There is some decent texturing to the skin, and the figure is painted in pleasantly earthy red/brown hues with yellow striping along the back (reminiscent of modern-day lizards); but overall this theropod is one of Colorata’s weakest efforts.
Complimenting the carnivorous Yangchuanosaurus is Dinosaur #4, Tuojiangosaurus multispinus (you know what, that’s a very satisfying name to pronounce). Despite being a smaller, daintier figure than most in this set, at merely 3.5″ long, this Tuojiangosaurus is strikingly adorned in bright yellows and greens, guaranteeing proper attention is given by collectors. Proportions seem generally accurate, but the figure does lack the third set of tail spikes known from remains, whereas I don’t think the shoulder spikes presented here are known from this species at all (edit: many skeletal mounts lack shoulder spikes, but illustrations of the animal often include them).
Dinosaur #5, Dilophosaurus wetherilli, might be my favorite of this set – although I admit to being biased towards this particular species. The proportions of this figure are actually very off, sacrificing the animal’s long, slender build for a more compact form. For some reason, this figure’s hands are pronated, even though the other theropods in this set lack such an inaccurate feature. Despite this, there is still good detail in the creases and folds of the animal’s skin, and the overall shape of the figure successfully depicts a sleek, graceful predator. The color pattern is very nice, too: a complex striped pattern of black, grey, and orange atop a brown and grey body, with extra highlights to the ornamental frills. In spite of some major inaccuracies, I’m tempted to say this is one of the more aesthetically pleasing Dilophosaurus toys currently on the market.
Dinosaur #6 is Archaeopteryx lithographica, portrayed here perched on a broken branch base. The iconic “first bird” is adorned in bright red and white plumage, with some brown, gray, and black highlights. Although it’s believed Archaeopteryx would have been prominently black in color, I believe this figure predates those findings, however, and it’s quite a pleasant color scheme besides. Besides coloration, there are a few anatomical issues present I can notice; the hind legs are possibly undersized, and both the extended “killing claw” and and feather “trousers” on the legs are absent. Details on the plumage are otherwise good, and seem close to what is known of the animal’s feather alignment. Considering this figure is easily the smallest in the set, I think the results are pretty good.
Last but not least as dinosaur #8 is the biggest figure in the set – not a theropod, but the sauropod Brachiosaurus altithorax, standing over 3″ tall and 7″ long. Despite its impressive size, the figure has its own share of issues as well as highlights. The backbone is shaped more rounded instead of sloped, as most skeletal restorations I’ve seen depict. All toes are visible on the figure, whereas I believe most toes on the front feet are believed to have been obscured in real life. The figure’s haunches still appear a little gaunt, and although it’s hard to see, I’m pretty sure the nostrils have been sculpted into the top of the head, rather than on the front of the snout. The figure is still nicely detailed in the skin and musculature, and the blue/gray color scheme appears befitting for such a large creature, without looking totally drab.
While this set has its share of flaws on a figure-by-figure basis, collectors should find plenty to appreciate in Colorata’s 3rd dinosaur volume, and I foresee younger audiences having a blast with these too. If you can’t purchase it from Colorata’s own website. you should be able to find it on Amazon.com or eBay.com for between $30-$40.
Dropping in from 2021 to note that my comments about the Dilophosaurus’ proportions are a bit ironic in hindsight – this genus turned out to be a little more robust than we thought!
I really like that Archaeopteryx!
Even with the usual suspects: pronated paws, shrink wrapped skulls, missing tail spikes, dubious toe nail placement, missing large claws, overlarge stegosaurus head, etc. etc., they are a very nifty batch, thanks to the stunning pallets employed.
Thanks for reviewing this set. I considered buying it a few times, but frankly, most figures of the set unfortunately do not appeal to me. Personally I find the Stegosaurus and Archaeopteryx the best figures of the set. While I appreciate the addition of bases, I really do not like the pegs being molded to the figures rather than the base.
Yeah, pegs on the figures isn’t my preference, either – although, in the case of the theropods, I doubt they could stand without the bases anyway.