Futabasaurus (Happinet)

4 (5 votes)

Review and images by PhilSauria, edited by Suspsy

While paleoart has shaped the public perception of dinosaurs and other prehistoric fauna over the years, it has also created certain images that have been hard to shake once our understanding of these animals improved. Images like the tripod stance of theropods, tail-dragging dinosaurs of all sorts, and elasmosaurines with their swan-like necks raised out of the water. The creators of this particular figure, the Happinet Futabasaurus, certainly didn’t get the memo on that one going by the out-of-date pose that we have here.

I could not really find any info on the animal itself in most of the books that I have on prehistoric animals, even the ones dedicated to marine fauna (maybe I just need some more up-to-date books!) so what info I did find came via online research. Whatever did we do before Google?! Futabasaurus was the first elasmosaurid to be discovered in Japan, specifically by Tadashi Suzuki, who was a high school student at the time. It was officially described and named in 2006. Futabasaurus has a length of 7 meters and an estimated weight of about 3-4 tons. There is also a dinosaur with this name but that designation had not been made official, so this guy has the proper right to the name.

Size-wise, this figure measures 23 cm/9 inches long from nose to tail and 12.5 cm/5 inches tall from its stomach to the top of its implausibly raised head. The sculpt itself, improbable pose aside, is quite naturalistic with plenty of wrinkles and creases (but no scales) and some ridges running down the flippers out to the tips. The tail is short and round with no flukes or fins and the head is pleasingly plesiosaur-like: long and low with eyes set forward and rows of long, pointed fish-catching teeth in plain sight. Too often, these animals end up with some sort of generic boxy, sauropod-style noggin.

Colouration consists of an orange-ish brown base with a darker reddish brown airbrushed onto the back and the underside, where strictly speaking, the laws of countershading that most extent marine fauna seem to adhere to would dictate a pale underside. Then there’s those black eyes and that’s about your lot, so overall, not what you’d call the most naturalistic treatment. The plastic is quite firm but the figure itself is hollow (anyone seeing ideal bath toy here, at least in terms of flotation properties?). And here’s something that you get with Happinet figures: articulation, limited though it is. The neck and front flippers can be rotated 360 degrees, but unfortunately, the neck cannot be bent forward to fix that pose.

The three other figures from this company are made of the same plastic, also hollow, and with limited, but not very practical articulation. I was not aware of this company until fairly recently and I could not find much information about them or their figures online. It has the date 2000 stamped on the underside with a copyright symbol and other words I could not quite make out.

I think I picked this one up on eBay, but don’t quote me on that. And while I have seen it listed there from time to time, it has not been very often, so I’m not sure how easy it is to come by should my review have piqued your interest. I have a fondness for marine reptiles, and especially the long-necked ones, so I didn’t hesitate to buy this Futabasaurus given the price that it was going for at the time.

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Comments 2

  • I love this figure.
    This is an Araki sculpt if I’m not mistaken and it looks suspiciously similar to a prototype he made for the large Kaiyodo Dinoland except for the head and tail fluke!
    The body definitely looks similar if not the same.
    Good review, we need more Happinet figure review.

  • I expected a picture with the Invicta Plesiosaurus and lone and behold, there is one 😀

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