Despite a few issues in design due to its small size, this figurine is an impressive downscaling of the 1:6 predecessor that will display beautifully with its larger contemporaries.
While preparing for his ambitious tyrannosaur series campaign, sculptor/designer David Silva revealed a new side expansion to his highly successful Beasts of the Mesozoic toy line: a small set of 1/18-scaled figures based on select genera previously featured at larger scale in the main raptor and ceratopsian series. With a growing line of larger and larger figures, offering some of the smaller genera in a scale to match their giant counterparts would offer collectors new opportunities for display. Over the past few months following the success of the tyrannosaur campaign, Silva was able to complete work on the minifigures and begin shipping the first preorders from the Creative Beast main website.
Each 1/18 minifigure is packaged in collector-friendly casing, with a slipcard and plastic shelving to store and protect all the little pieces included. The slipcard presents the beautiful commissioned artwork which has become synonymous with the brand, as well as a shortlist of the current minifigures released. For the raptors, additional parts include an alternate pair of legs, a clear plastic display base, two toe clamps, and a two-piece display rod to enhance posing opportunities. In between the plastic shelving is a loose card label featuring the genus and species of the given figure.
One of my favorite figures from the initial deluxe raptor series was Dromaeosaurus albertensis – due to both the excellent-looking sculpt and coloration, as well as seeing some well-deserved toy representation to a genus which should be far more famous than it is. Dromaeosaurus, or “running lizard”, is of course the namesake genus of the dromaeosaurine subfamily, as well as the broader dromaeosauridae family of “raptor” dinosaurs, including Velociraptor, Deinonychus, Microraptor, Buitreraptor, and Pyroraptor, among many others. With this in mind, I was equally pleased to see Dromaeosaurus among the three raptors featured among the 1/18 minifigures. Measuring precisely 10cm (4in) long, the minifigure does indeed fit perfectly into 1/18 scale for a 6-foot individual (although for a larger 2-meter specimen it’s closer to 1/20). The package art is the same artwork by Jonathan Kuo featured for the original 1/6 figure, and just as lovely to look at as ever.
The process of shrinking down an action figure to a quarter of its original size – while retaining as much of the figure’s original quality and articulation – is a challenging task for sure, probably more so than those of us outside the industry fully realize. There are 15 points of articulation on the figurine, at most of the same points seen on the 1/6 figure. Due to the smaller scale, obscuring the seams of the toy’s design is harder without hindering the motion; the waist and neck in particular can look a little blocky from the articulation. The hinges in the jaw and the arms are secured by pins, which are painted to match the feathery coat of the figurine; however in certain lighting my figurine’s pins are still rather noticeable, as the paint doesn’t match perfectly. I’ve seen other people’s copies that had better painted pins, so this is subject to variation.
Compromises in sculpt seams aside, the articulation works pretty well overall. Dromaeosaurus can open its mouth wide and shut it tight again (or almost tight; mine doesn’t seal quite correctly on the right side). There are two joints in the neck, allowing for a range of expression to match the very mobile arms, which are jointed/hinged at the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. My Dromaeosaurus has something of a sticky left elbow, but otherwise the figurine is extremely flexible in the arms. A joint in the torso offers additional flexibility to pose the animal rearing up, bending over, or twisting to side in motion. Only two joints are present in the legs – a ball/socket at the hip, and a hinge at the knee – but the lower legs can swapped out between standing and running poses for extra range of action. Finally, the tail is a single piece of plastic, but the ball/socket joint at the base allows for roughly 40 degrees of motion in all directions. I should stress again that this is a very small figure to feature so much articulation, and it should be handled with care; my figurine’s head likes to pop off, and several joints could easily break out of the package if one isn’t careful when loosening them up initially (a little hair dryer treatment and a lot of tender love).
Anatomy and fine details are also commendable on the figurine. Although Dromaeosaurus is more fragmentary than some of its famous relatives, the figurine lines up well with the information we do have. The skull is shorter and blunter than what is known of Velociraptor, and the figurine captures this well. The head appears a little large, as a side effect of shared parts from the original deluxe figures; however this is partly an illusion due to how the articulation cuts the neck, making the head “piece” look much longer in back than it really is. The legs of Dromaeosaurus are usually depicted as very long, even for dromaeosaurs; so the figurine’s legs could arguably afford to be slightly longer. Otherwise, proportions of the figure match current skeletals extremely closely, even accounting for how the articulation joints disrupt the sculpt.
Despite its small size, an incredible amount of texturing has survived from the original 12-inch sculpt. The dinosaur is depicted with a full coat of feathers, from the muzzle all the way down to the toes and tail. Different bodily regions feature different types of feathers, with a thick mane along the neck and back, and finer feathers across the flanks and legs. The forearms display a full set of primaries, from the elbow to the second digit; and in certain spots you can even see individual branches of each primary feather. A rounded fan extends from the tail, with several layered rows of feathers and defined texture that adds to the tactile enjoyment of handling the figurine. Even the mouth features absolutely tiny rows of teeth, just barely visible without the paint highlights.
The original 1/6 figure’s color scheme was based on the colors of the modern Finnish goshawk, and the 1/18 version recaptures the look without fail. Sharp orange eyes pop from the brown and white facial markings, which continue in general countershaded pattern along the rest of the body. Chocolate-brown strokes accentuate the sculpt along the dark regions, and the dirty white undersides are broken up by stripes down the chest and legs. Despite the figurine’s small size, I can hardly see any signs of paint slop; great subtlety and neatness has been given to the application of all colors. The claws are all glossy black, and the inner mouth is a purplish shade with gray highlights to the tooth rows, with a glossy wet finish to the whole mouth.
There are certain quirks and issues to the final design of this figurine – or at least my copy – but the 1/18 Dromaeosaurus is an overall great little collectors’ item that is sure to please enthusiasts, especially once it’s ready to pose alongside their 1/18 giant Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus. Currently all 1/18 minifigures are available for preorder exclusively through the Creative Beast website shop, and I do recommend ordering while they’re discounted from full retail price.