A firm from the German Democratic Republic, VEB (Volkseigener Betrieb) Plaho, released a series of highly collectable die casting plastic dinosaur figures in 1967. They were sold in the Museum of Sena in Thuringia, Germany, until the mid-1980s. The follower firm to Plaho, Marolin, re-released them in 1990. Plaho / Marolin did not only make dinosaurs but produced a complete range from wildlife animals to domestic animals, this broad span making it something like “East German Schleich”. Together with the Kleinwelkas, Plaho / Marolin dinosaurs are the relevant German dinosaur collectibles. During my research I found the homepage of the company, which is a very interesting read:
Here we have their Iguanodon, and, ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you the probably only dinosaur figure with ear auricles? Come closer and take a look at its head, and yes, it’s true: This figure features ear conches!
I don’t know what made the sculptor take this step. Did they think that dinosaurs were mammals? Was there a picture depicting dinosaurs with ears? Did they confuse an Iguanodon animal with a Megatherium? After all the sculpts uncannily resemble each other.
Let’s take a closer look at the figure. Although it is quite small, its overall appearance is quite clumsy and cumbersome, revealing how dinosaurs were seen back then. Apart from the ears, this figure is one of the typical 50s – 80s biped ornithopod depictions. Burian’s and Heinrich / Harder’s Iguanodons were the prototype Iguanodon portrayals of the time
It stands 10.5 cm tall and approx. 12 cm long. The colours in Marolin figures vary strongly, anyway I got my hands on a copy with this rather boring and dull brown tone. The sculpt itself is quite detailed, with wrinkles, folds, sheds and all, albeit it is in no way close to what the animal really looked like.
The head is a case sui generis. Not only does it reveal the aforesaid ears, but also I wonder if the animal’s overbite is the reason for it looking so sad?
To sum up, I’d like to say that figures like these are right up my alley. It is a vintage monochrome collector’s item that depicts an obsolete conception of how dinosaurs may have looked like.
I highly recommend to keep a lookout for it on ebay.
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