Kids perspective by William, edited by Laticauda
My first experience with Liopleurodon came in 1999 while watching the original telecast of Walking with Dinosaurs. I remember sitting in my dorm room with a box of thin mint cookies eagerly awaiting the next episode to begin. It started with a scene showing Eustreptospondylus standing by the waters edge, looking into the shallows. Then suddenly, out of the water, the massive jaws of Liopleurodon latches on to its tail and drags it to a watery grave. I thought to myself, “That was cool, what was that?” I had never heard of this huge marine reptile before and by the end of the episode, I became a fan. It was a huge, apex predator, that made Jaws look like a guppy, what’s not to love. Years later, I discovered that the proportions were extremely exaggerated by WWD and it wasn’t close to the monstrous size that was depicted on screen. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I found out, but at 20 feet long, it is still a impressive marine reptile.
Liopleurodon was a Pliosaur that prowled the Jurassic seas. It had an elongated head, a relatively short neck, long flippers, and was relatively thick bodied. It had four paddle like limbs in which their hind flippers were larger than their front flippers. Liopleurodon had massive and powerful jaws that were filled with sharp, conical teeth.
It came as a nice surprise that in 2016, Bullyland released the fearsome Liopleurodon into its museum line. They also joined the growing list of companies that are making prehistoric toys with an articulated lower jaw. Due to its popularity, there are few other Liopleurodon models made by different companies out there. So how does this model compare to the competition?
About the toy: It is approximately 16 cm long from the tip of its snout to its tail. The head on this model is 5 cm long and since the skull of Liopleurodon was actually about one-fifth of their total body length, that would mean that the head on this toy is a little too long when compared to the rest of the body. In typical Bullyland fashion, the eyes bulge out of the head but they are located correctly on the skull. Just in front of the eyes are the nostrils. Interestingly, none of the fenestrae is visible on the skull.
The teeth in the mouth are splayed out in a classic, yet outdated fashion. In reality the teeth were held vertically inside the mouth. The teeth are in different sizes and interlock when you close the mouth. Inside the mouth, the tongue is present and has a long, smooth groove down the middle. While it is nice to be able to open and close the mouth, the seam line is very noticeable along with a gorget piece of plastic underneath.
The pose is rather interesting. The head is raised up and its front and hind flippers are in different directions, as it appears to be actively swimming. I could be wrong, but with its short and stiff neck, I am not sure it would have been able to position its head that way. The rest of the body is stiff and thick with a very short tail.
The paint job follows the Walking with Dinosaurs blueprint of colorization with black, blue, and white. The pattern of the colors are more blended than some of the other companies especially on the flippers which are blue and faded in black. The inside of the mouth is pink and the teeth are gleaming white. The skin is covered in small circular bumps and some subtle texture lines. The ends of the paddles also have straight lines etched into the skin.
Kids perspective: To give a different perspective on the figure, here is what my five year old son thinks of the toy.
It is a fun toy but it has a silly looking mouth. The teeth are big and look good when open but when the mouth is closed they look weird. The jaw is wiggly and jiggly, as it opens and closes. When you shake it, the mouth looks like it is dancing, or singing. I like how it looks real. The flippers look like they are moving, it could really be swimming. The color is ok. It is colored in black, white, and blue grey color. I really don’t like the blue grey color. You can see and feel bumps on the skin. It is OK to play with but I would recommend the Wild Safari one as it is better.
Overall: I think Bullyland missed an opportunity to break from the Walking with Dinosaur color mold that most Liopleurodon toys follow. While I do like the pattern and colors on the model, it would have been nice to see a different color pallet and pattern variation. The figure also has some scientific accuracy errors and when compared to the quality and rising standards of the other major brands, this model does fall short. That doesn’t mean this toy isn’t worthy of a space on your desk or shelf. The articulated jaw is a nice touch, even though on mine it is a little loose. The pose also looks nice and lends it to being easily displayed. I would rate it as an average figure.
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