Majungasaurus (Vitae)

4.2 (6 votes)

Few months ago the news about a new upcoming theropod figure by a yet unknown Chinese company stirred the DTB community. And while everybody and their moms talked about that awesome Giganotosaurus, its smaller and not very closely related compagnion went without much attention. For me it was this smaller theropod that excited me: Majungasaurus crenatissimus.

Despite being described more than 100 years ago and it being one of the best known theropods due to the rich fossil finds, Majungasaurus is not a popular species, in fact I dare say even some dino enthusiasts haven’t heard about it. A shame indeed as it is a particularly interesting species with all the weirdness a theropod of the Abelisauridae family can muster.

Majungasaurus roamed the Cretaceous of what is today’s Madagascar and despite its medium size (for a theropod) of 6 to 8 metres in total it played an apex role in its environment. Stout in build with comparably short legs and arms that would make even a T. rex cry out in laughter this theropod is thought to have preyed upon sauropods which it grapped with a powerful bite and pinned them down by force similar to modern felids before placing a fatal bite carefully. Skull and teeth show several features that sets it apart from the more popular theropods like Allosaurus, Tyrannosaurus or Giganotosaurus. The skull was short and deep, the teeth only curved on one side. Several other features strengthened the cranium for the particular stress that enabled such a hunting strategy. If you seek for further infomation, the English Wikipedia site has a very good article about the species (which may be the reason why the exact text is printed on the side of the cardboard box the figure comes in). So how fares the figure?

To bring up the resumee at once, it’s kind of a mixed bag. Off putting for some collectors may be, that this figure unlike the Vitae Giganotosaurus is made from resin rather than PVC. Personally I would have preferred PVC aswell, but that’s not a point I weigh in negatively as there’s also collectors out there that prefer resin figures over PVC. Overall and from a distance the model looks great in all its weirdness. On close inspection one finds several drawbacks. While the figure is capable of standing on two feet without support, it does not do so very stable and the base does not offer any support in form of pegs or foot imprints. The head and body detailing of the figure is nice and mostly well done, but the underside of belly and tail lacks most details and especially the feet up to the ankles are nowhere near as detailed as the upper part of the body and appear as if the sculptor ran out of time. On the good side, the underside is barely visible if you do not turn over the figure anyway, and the feet are painted dark brown with stripes which hides the lack of detail here quite well.

The head is finely sculpted but probably not as broad as it should be, the articulated jaw should be set higher or closer to the upper mandible and the set in throat-part to hold the jaw also does not sit perfectly in its spot. My biggest downer however is the paint application. I like the pattern and color and the application itself is good, however, they seem to have missed to use primer, cleaning the figure properly or just choosed the wrong paint, but this particular figure came with some serious scratches, mostly on the feet, but also on the horn up on the skull and other body parts. When considering how well the figure was packed (wrapped in a plastic bag within cut out styrofoam in a sealed box) it’s hard to explain how so many paint scraps could damage the figure, but maybe the figure got handled roughly during packaging or the paint wasn’t allowed to dry thoroughly?

The dinosaur comes with a base that seems to be intended to be a dried out river bank or such. Its finely sculpted and the paint holds tight here. The set in plants look quite cheap on close inspection but from a usual viewing distance they look rather good and they are in any way a nice touch and bestow the scene a much more naturalistic look. As said before, there are no pegs or imprints, so the figure needs to be placed carefully (maybe secure it with some blue tack) to prevent toppling over.

The figure is 26 cm long and stands 9 cm high at the head. The pose is neutral and the stubby arms are stretched out to the sides. I like the figure despite the drawbacks and find it a fair depiction of a weird and unfamiliar species but in fact I can not recommend it full heartedly because the price asked should justify a higher quality in my personal opinion. One may keep in mind though, that there is a good chance this particular figure was kind of the lemon in the production run. Images on Monster House HK state that the Majungasaurus would be a limited collector’s edition of 500 pieces, for those wondering, such is neither stated on the base, figure or packaging. If you are looking for it, Monster House HK  and offer it for around 70 $.



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