It is quite refreshing to finally review a 1/18 scale dinosaur from Beasts of the Mesozoic that is not a ceratopsian. It is also refreshing to not have to write a review of a Mattel dinosaur or a pterosaur either. The BOTM Tyrannosaur series has arrived, and I, Emperor Dinobot, am excited beyond belief.
The acquisition of this figure was not all that easy for me, so bear with me, as I tell you the story of little Wuckie (pronounced Wookie), and how it made it into my life.
The box it came in was very small, which is not surprising for a 8 inch long figure. I apologize for the bad quality of the photographs, but I have yet to learn how to use my new phone’s camera properly. The front of the box reveals the figure through a see-through plastic window, and artwork depicting Guanlong eating a smaller animal, painted by Shannon Beaumont (the front of the collector card also has the same painting, but you already knew that!). I think one of the best things about Creative Beast Studios’ figures are the paintings on the front of the box and on the collector cards. It supports and showcases beautiful artwork done by some excellent paleoartists, and it is a treat to look at time and time again.
The back of the box features an image of the figure, its description (also included on the collector card), a list of features and parts, and a list of currently available tyrannosaurs belonging to wave one of the tyrannosaur series, now available at the Creative Beast Studio website, and other stores that distribute these great figures.
Included are the collector card, and instructions for Guanlong specifically. I learned that the toes with two segments are always positioned towards the animal’s body. The joints are fragile, and mine needed heat. I pulled out the arms from their shoulder sockets to clean the figure, and re-attaching them was problematic. Applying heat helped tremendously, and it loosened some of the figure’s 19 points of articulation, which were very tight.
Length: up to 3m (10ft) long
Location: Shishugou Formation, Xinjiang Formation, China
Time Period: Late Jurassic, 160 m.y.a.
Discovered: Xu Xing, et. al., 2006
Guanlong was one of the earliest known tyrannosaurs, living 92 million years before T.rex. Known for its distinctive head crest for which it was named, Guanlong probably used this structure solely for display as it was too fragile for any other purpose. This also lends to speculation about the vibrant colors of the crest which may have been used to attract mates.
I suppose that this is the picture that betrays whether my figure came complete, or whether I lost one of the toe parts, which is how this story really begins.
When the tyrannosaurs came out for public consumption, I signed up early to review Guanlong. I purchased it as soon as I had the funds, and it arrived roughly 5 days afterwards since I live on the West Coast. Once it was in my hands, I disinfected the box, put it on the brick surface, and began opening it. For those who own this figure, you will have noticed that the parts come in three trays; the bottom and bigger tray containing the figure, the base and the card, the middle tray containing the small parts, and the upper tray, which covers them all. I had a tough time dislodging them together, and does anyone remember that table top game called “Perfection”, where you had to put in the shapes into the slots before time ran out, causing the game to pop upwards, making all the parts jump from the box scattering them all over the place? The game is known as “Destreza” in Spanish, which translates to “skill” and not “perfection”. I never really understood why the game was called Perfection afterwards, as it requires mostly skill, rather than perfect eye-hand motor co-ordination, which I guess can be a skill… either way, the middle tray popped and the small parts flew everywhere. The toe parts and the carpet share the exact same color (In the USA, a lot, if not most houses have brown carpeting, which is meant to insulate the house, but in reality it just attracts pet dander, bugs, dust bunnies, allergens, whatever caauses warts, staphylococcus and brown toy parts), and this all happened at night, in a low light environment. My eyesight is really bad since I am chronically online, and suffer from GVHD, which affects all of my parts. I looked everywhere for the next two days during daylight hours, and the inevitable conclusions from this search and rescue operation were that my toy hoarding has become a very grave threat, and that the carpet had eaten the part.
This brings me to a point I may have discussed before. I collect lots of action figures, I enjoy all of their accessories, but for some reason, I could never get into the different sets of hands, and in this case, different sets of feet. Why? I tend to lose them too quickly. I mean, nothing ever gets lost here in my collection, except for one of Wuckie’s feet, but I always seem to misplace the raptor toes, hands belonging to some of my Batman figures, etc. They are too small, and I cannot see very well. The good thing about the raptors was that you could put the extra pairs of toes under the base, albeit with some difficulty, and that was a safe place for them. Guanlong does not offer this, and it comes with 4 sets of feet, not just two extra sets of toes like with the raptors. I found it a bit silly to include all of those feet since…
…the figure can balance on its own! Still, it does need help once in a while, which is why it comes with a base, and rod parts to help it stand.
I would like to take a moment to thank David Silva for providing me with an extra foot, free of charge once I explained the situation. I took these pictures about a month ago, a month and a half after I purchased Wuckie, and I STILL have not found the missing foot. It was eaten by the carpet for sure.
This very detailed figure’s color is based on the Northern Cassowary, which is kind of an obvious choice for this particular animal. It has 19 points of articulation: Jaw, head, neck, waist, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, tarsals, metatarsals where you can change toes to closed or running toes, and tail, which has a wire running through its length making it a bendy tail, just as all BOTM figures should have. One of my recurring criticisms of the ceratopsians is that they do not have wired bendy tails, and why should they, anyways? It is still refreshing to see a BOTM figure with a bendy tail, which is made from a softer, yet rigid plastic that will not deteriorate or rip over time. Oh, and what a colorful tail it is. Mattel should write down notes on this.
Speaking of color, and I know the images do not reflect them well, the body’s plumage is colored in a dark brown, almost black tone, with the stripes at the end of the tail alternating between black and grey. The feathers tip off into a lighter brown, The bottom of the tail, inner thighs, arms, belly and chest are light cream brown. The metatarsals and feet are light brown, and tipped with claws painted black. The ankles and the hands are blue. The hands also have black claws. Also blue is the horny sheath covering the jaws, the crest, and it is shinier than the rest of the body. The sclera of the eyes are yellow. Running on the sides of the neck starting at the eyes are these light cream brown streaks, with two additional dark brown streaks running on each side of the torso. The neck is reddish orange.
The base or stand seems to depict some kind of beach-y rocky outcrop, and is colored accordingly.
Guanlong, which was found in a joint expedition between George Washington University and the IVPP (Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology), is known from some very good remains, including a partial adult, which serves as the holotype, and a younger individual, which is mostly complete. Guanlong is in the family proceratosauridae, along with Proceratosaurus, which will have a BOTM figure later this year that I cannot wait to get, as well as a few Mattel figures, CollectA and more. Also in the family are Kileskus, and Sinotyranus, which has been done by Mattel, review coming soon.
At 3-3.5 meters long, Wuckie scales perfectly with other 1/18th scale figures, such as Kyle Katarn from Power of the Force.
And we are now at an end of yet another Emperor Dinobot review. As with all BOTM figures, I highly recommend it. They are some of my current obsessions. Guanlong is available at the Creative Beast Studio website, retailing at $39.99