Giganotosaurus (Soft Model by Favorite Co. ltd)

4 (19 votes)

Although we aren’t short on good-quality Giganotosaurus toys these days, Favorite’s new take is a worthwhile rendition with a few unique traits of its own.

Giganotosaurus (Giant Southern Lizard) might not stand within the most famous ring of dinosaur genera, but I’d say it’s hardly obscure by this point in history. Since the time its discovery first took headlines as Tyrannosaurus’s first real challenger to the title of biggest killer dinosaur (a claim which, admittedly, has since been disputed and probably refuted), Giganotosaurus has had a fair share of appearances in literature and media, not the least of which being the most recent “Jurassic” film, Jurassic World: Dominion. Naturally, there have been a variety of toys and models of the dinosaur produced over the last couple of decades as well; one of the newest, arriving at the crossroads from the end of the year 2021 to the new year 2022, hails from Japan under the toy line Favorite Co. ltd. Although selective and somewhat mainstream in their inclusions, Favorite co. seems to have deemed Giganotosaurus a worthy addition to their Soft Model line.

The Favorite Soft Model Giganotosaurus comes in the company’s standard collector-friendly slip packaging, although mine doesn’t like to fit quite as snugly in the casing as it’s meant to be. Indeed, Giganotosaurus is appropriately a sizable figure compared to its Soft Model counterparts, measuring 24 cm (9.5 in) in length to fit squarely into 1:50 scale for a 12-meter live individual. The animal is posed in a typically dramatic (but not exaggerated) manner, with body and tail slightly raised and toothy mouth wide in a display of intimidation. Although the figure is potentially capable of standing on its own two feet, it’s advisable to use the sandy brown base with a peg to display the figure with proper stability.

Giganotosaurus is known from relatively complete remains for a large theropod, but there are still plenty of unknowns about the animal’s full appearance; as a result, reconstructions of the animal have undergone some changes over time, depending on new studies and new discoveries. The soft model figure, overseen by Favorite’s lead dinosaur Kazunari Araki, appears to be designed based on more recent skeletal reconstructions; but such results can vary depending on one’s sources. The figure’s skull – perhaps the most distinctive feature of the genus – is depicted with a shorter, slightly deeper snout than is traditionally portrayed, which is keeping in line with newer skeletals. The post-orbital fenestra looks a little more rounded than usual, and the bridge of the snout is higher than I’m used to seeing as well; however it does bear a close resemblance to a very recent skeletal by Dan Folkes (as well as to some skull reconstructions of the close relative Mapusaurus), so your mileage may vary. The distinctive squared-off chin of the lower jaw is also thankfully present, although I personally think it still could be a little more pronounced on the figure. One detail to the skull’s shape that seems more in line with older reconstructions is the width: the jawline is noticeably broader than the orbital and bridge region when viewed head on, resulting in a vaguely triangular visage. More recent reconstructions tend to favor a more consistent width from top to bottom of the skull.

Not the prettiest portrait – but I’M not about to tell him that if you aren’t!

The rest of the figure’s body appears largely accurate to what is known of Giganotosaurus and related large theropods, with a little creative license. Proportions on the torso, limbs, neck and tail look good. There is a slight arch in the vertebrae just above the shoulders, matching what is known from the fossils. The belly is possibly a little shallow; the presence of the gastralia bones would likely deepen and round out the underneath of the animal a little more. One curious choice made is in the position of the figure’s hands, which are correctly not pronated but instead angled like a bird’s or dromaeosaur’s wing, with the fingers also spread. Kazunari Araki mentions in a short interview on Favorite’s product page that this was a deliberate choice to emphasize the model’s “intimidation display”, without exaggerating the posture too much. While some studies indicate carnosaurs like Giganotosaurus did have flexible hands, to my knowledge this particular wrist motion was not possible for these dinosaurs. I do appreciate the unusual decision, however, in the aims of presenting a dynamic, yet naturalistic appearance.

Finer details are also nicely presented overall; the splayed fingers are tipped with frightfully curved, sharp claws, which are honestly pointy enough to warrant a little extra caution when handling. The toe claws are much blunter and less defined, but the legs are long and muscular. The torso is generally robust, and the tail appears well-muscled too. Araki’s dinosaurs have a reputation for appearing rather gaunt and bony; but to my pleasant surprise Giganotosaurus has largely evaded the shrink-wrap treatment, with the regrettable exception of the skull and its distinctly outlined fenestrae. Rows of pebbly scales are interspersed with wrinkles and folds in the skin correlating to the animal’s posture and action, as captured in this splinter of a moment by the soft model. A few subtle rows of larger raised scales add to the texture of the figure (like those also found on the Tarbosaurus released in 2020), as does the rugosity of the lacrimal ridges along the skull, and the semi-individually sculpted rows of teeth.

For coloration of Giganotosaurus, Araki mentions in Favorite’s interview how he wanted to provide the figure with a selection distinct from the line’s other figures, as well as drawing special attention to the animal’s characteristic giant skull. On both of these accounts, I think Araki and his team succeeded; the model’s berry-red & off-white coloration, with additional spotted black patterns, stands out well among the other soft model dinosaurs (it bears a startling resemblance to the Terra repaint of Battat’s Ceratosaurus, though). The lacrimal ridges, as highlighted by Araki, feature extra red and orange apps for display, and the eyes are a beady yellow with black shadow. The skull also features large off-white spots for further distinction – which is a nice effect, but one that would look better if it weren’t directly marking the already-too-visible fenestrae in the skull. Skeletal outlines should be kept to a minimum on living, fleshy vertebrates! Otherwise, paint apps are all very good, besides a little dark grey slop around the hand claws. The mouth is also a rough plum purple, for those daring enough to inspect the inside of a carcharodontosaur’s mouth.

Favorite co. has a more limited output of releases than large international companies like Safari ltd. or Schleich; but as a general rule I’ve found their figures to be among the better choices in the market. I’m pleased to report that the Soft Model Giganotosaurus, also, is likely one of the better dinosaurs in Favorite’s current lineup. We’re not exactly wanting for above-average Giganotosaurus toys right now (and I won’t complain about that!); but besides a few small quirks in design, Favorite’s take on T. rex’s South American “rival” is overall a very solid and mostly up-to-date option for interested collectors, especially those looking for a smaller-scale representative than the 1:35 giants from the more mainstream international brands. It’s too bad Favorite hasn’t set up more sellers on the international scene; acquiring this figure may prove difficult to Western collectors. Your best bet to acquire one of these fine figures is through Amazon Japan or eBay, or any 3rd-party services you might be fortuitous to be in contact with. Here’s to hunting the hunter; the southern giant is out there!

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Comments 4

  • un giganotosaurus vivant mesururait 13 m de long donc il est a l’échelle 1: 54

    • Size estimates vary for the genus, so I went with an example with a “cleaner” scale range for reference. It depends on how big of a specimen you want the figure to represent, ultimately.

  • Magnificent figure together with the baryonyx of the same brand perhaps one of the best theropods made to date by Favorite, the sculptural precision with respect to the current scientific knowledge of the giganotosaurus is totally great and combined with those touches of painting makes the figure is unique. Above all the most accurate is the skull.

    • The skull was a real surprise to me. Ever since the initial teasers by the company I thought it looked weird for a Giga, to the point I almost thought it looked more like an abelisaur; but sure enough, there really are reconstructions now which depict a much more rounded skull. Bravo to Araki and his team for being on top of the science that closely, by design or by accident.

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