Iguanodon (Soft Model 2020 series by Favorite Co. Ltd.)

4.4 (9 votes)

This is an overall pleasing and recognizable figure of the famous dinosaur, but it does have some setbacks in design for a 2020 rendition.

Iguanodon isn’t as flashy of a dinosaur as Tyrannosaurus or Triceratops, but its place in the roots of dinosaur history keep the genus as a staple in dino iconography. As a result, numerous figures have inevitably been produced by toy companies over the years. One of the latest examples comes from Japanese-based Favorite Co. Ltd., who decided to include the classic “iguana tooth” in their 2020 additions to the select soft model line of figures. 

Favorite’s soft model Iguanodon – presumably the main recognized species I. bernissartensis – comes packaged in the standard cardboard slip and plastic cover, displaying the company and creature information. The figure measures almost exactly 20cm (8in) long and 6.5cm (2.5in) over the hip, which would place the figure pretty comfortably in the 1/50 scale for a large individual. The Iguanodon is posed casually mid-stride, mouth open slightly as if communicating with another of its kind, or breathing a little more heavily than normal. It’s a fairly neutral, but not static pose, which should make for good play or display. Although skeletal proportions look generally good, and details such as the tight toes of the forelimbs and the vertebral spines down the back and base of the tail are faithfully present, there are numerous other details which might be more suspect on a closer examination. The skull is level and rectangular, largely accurate but perhaps missing the taller, sloping shape typically reconstructed in the back of the skull. The prefrontal bone, situated over each eye, is also embellished a little, giving the impression of heavy eyebrows and adding a hint of expressiveness to the face.

Iguanodon had a reasonably long neck, but this seems to have been shortened slightly for the figure. The forelimbs, likewise, are also smaller than shown in recent reconstructions, both in length–I think as a result of how the figure’s shoulder blade is positioned–and in robustness. Even a quick glance at skeletals by artists such as Scott Hartman reveal that Iguanodon had surprisingly hefty forelimb bones. However, this figure takes an approach resembling the slender limbs of hadrosaurs. Or, perhaps more precisely, old Iguanodon reconstructions based on specimens now classified as Mantellisaurus or DollodonI. bernissartensis was a far more brawny animal.

Another detail of note is the positioning of the forehands, which appear semi-pronated. Most dinosaurs are known to have their hands fixed with palms facing inward; such was likely the same or similar for Iguanodon, but Favorite’s figure seems to adopt a halfway stance, with the hands angled somewhat. More knowledgeable eyes than mine will have to judge for themselves on this account. Having said this, I do like the detail given to both the hands and feet. The sculpt does a nice job conveying the figurative (ha) weight of the animal pressing down on its limbs as it walks, with fingers squishing and toes splaying. Subtle details like these can go a long way in making a model come to life.

Elsewhere on the figure, consistent detail of wrinkles and ridges is applied to the skin, with subtle mottling of scales evident on the flanks and the back. Larger folds and stretches are replicated around the limbs, and musculature and bones are prominent – which brings us to another, albeit familiar, problem. Sculptor Kazunari Araki likes to design his dinosaurs lean to the point of gauntness – a trend in paleoart that has been popular since the 90s, but has become more widely recognized as completely unrealistic. Dinosaurs most likely had ample muscles and other tissues to hide the skeletal frame and smooth out the body. Araki has sculpted Favorite’s Iguanodon with outlined fenestrae behind the skull, shoulder blades which jut prominently out over the body, and contours to the neck and tail which almost appear sunken. Not every dinosaur was always in the prime of life, but this individual looks like it’s been going hungry for a while. Make no mistake, Araki sculpts his models with fine details, but they’re details of the wrong sort.

The color scheme for Favorite’s Iguanodon is a mix of tan and brown shades: fluid stripes of dark brown run vertically along the back over a sandy body coat, with a creamy tone for the underbelly. It’s a conservative, but overall pleasantly applied pattern that seems appropriate for a large herbivore, which likely wouldn’t want to be drawing attention to itself most of the time. There appears to be a slight grey wash underneath it all, which does bring out the sculptural details a little more. However, the figure also has a glossy finish, common among Favorite models, which I feel distracts from those details. A slate grey is applied to the beak, toes, and spinal ridge as well as to the “eyebrows,” curiously enough. Whether this is just more artistic license or an attempt to suggest some kind of bone or keratin covering on the prefrontal, I don’t know; I’m not aware of fossil evidence supporting the latter.

Favorite’s Iguanodon is overall a pleasing and recognizable rendition of one of the most famous genera in paleontology; however, it has setbacks in design which more discerning collectors may find disappointing. Since Favorite figures seem to be growing harder to find in the Western market, collectors might be better off obtaining the splendid versions of this dinosaur from Safari Ltd. and CollectA. But for those so inclined, you can try purchasing this figure from Amazon Japan or HobbyLink Japan (where I got mine), provided they’re in stock and shipping is decent.

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Comments 3

  • It’s a well sculpted figure, but for me the weaker Favorite figure from 2021 I don’t really like the details of the head sculpture, I know it’s my appreciation but honestly any other Favorite figure from 2021 far surpasses that figure. That is not to say that it is a great figure, but I like the pachycephalosaurus, tarbosaurus, quetzalcoatlus, diplodocus and carnotaurus of the same brand better.

    Superb review. My congratulations.

    • This is my first of the new soft models, but I’m hoping to get a chance at beholding some of others in hand soon too. Honestly, when I saw this one on sale, I had forgotten there was a whole new set out!

  • just really love these figures.
    Big 10 out of 10 from me.
    Excellent written write up too.

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