Mapusaurus (Prehistoric Animal Models by PNSO)

4.4 (70 votes)

My sincere thanks to Happy Hen Toys for furnishing this review sample.

Several other companies have made Mapusaurus figures before, including Bandai, Playmates, and CollectA. So far, however, we’ve only reviewed CollectA’s four (!!!) versions on the blog. A brief re-introduction might be useful, then: Mapusaurus hails from the Huincul Formation (English approximation: “ween-COOL”) in Argentina, just like its recently described relative Meraxes and the famous Argentinosaurus. That places it in the Turonian stage of the Late Cretaceous, close to the end of the carcharodontosaurid lineage. It would have been one of the largest carnivores in its environment.

PNSO Mapusaurus

This figure is PNSO’s third release for 2023, number 68 in its Prehistoric Animal Models line. Its base color is a pale gray, with irregular dark streaks along the back and the lower flank. On the upper flanks a rusty-colored band grades into the dark dorsal stripe. The stripe breaks up into blotchy vertical bands along the tail. It’s a harmonious palette, and on my copy it’s cleanly applied. It did arrive with some minor scuffs on the left thigh where the skin folds were abraded at some point during packaging or shipping. This appears to be pretty common; others have reported that the paint flakes off readily.

PNSO Mapusaurus in three quarter view

The pose is a variation on the ‘striding forward menacingly’ motif, slightly slouched with the head lowered. Maybe it’s after some low-slung prey, or it’s signaling to a friend or rival. It manages to look graceful and powerful at the same time. The proportions are good, to the extent that they can be appraised–Mapusaurus is known from most of the skeleton, but split among quite a few individuals. The long, deep head, the very small arms, the powerful hindlimbs. All in all, it looks very theropod-y.

PNSO Mapusaurus tail

The scale detail is wonderfully subtle.

head of PNSO Mapusaurus

The head looks like that of a member of the Giganotosaurini. There is a bit of paint slop on the teeth, which is par for the course. If that sort of thing bothers you they wouldn’t be terribly hard to touch up. Large individuals of Mapusaurus have highly sculptured maxillae and lacrimals, which are shown pretty conservatively here. PNSO could have gotten away with a somewhat gnarlier head. Like nearly all of PNSO’s theropods, there is no soft tissue to cover the teeth at rest. Dinosaurs wouldn’t have been able to blow raspberries, but if we take a broad view of sauropsid evolution, the permanently bare teeth are pretty unlikely. There’s always going to be a wisp of a chance that the fanboys who think they just look cooler that way are right. However, I view the exposed teeth as a demerit, and I think they look silly with the mouth closed. Keep the mouth open and it looks a little less goofy.

PNSO Mapusaurus with CollectA Mapusaurus
PNSO Mapusaurus with CollectA Mapusaurus

The last few years has seen a glut of carcharodontosaurids, and of large predatory theropods more broadly. The third release from PNSO this year was also their third carcharodontosaurid of the year. After Lucas the Giganotosaurus (version 2.0) and Mungo the Meraxes came Mila the Mapusaurus. While the figures themselves are perfectly good, it’s a little hard to get excited for three nearly identical animals in a row. (And yes, to head off the carcharodontosaur stans who memorize specimen numbers, each of these taxa has its own autapomorphies. They’re still animals you’d have a hard time distinguishing between if you met them in real life armed only with current knowledge.)

PNSO Mapusaurus with Haolonggood Carcharodontosaurus

If you are the sort of collector who thinks the only ecological niche that matters is apex predator, then this will be right up your alley. If you like a little more variety or novelty, the extremely minor variation on the mega-theropod theme you see here will not do much for you. I myself would probably not have spent my own money on this, because doing so just encourages PNSO to make more of the same.

PNSO Mapusaurus with Lego figure for scale

That said, it’s a mighty fine figure. PNSO has only improved their sculpting, even if they have recently grown a bit stale in how they’re using their talents.

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Comments 12

  • I did get this figure (and the other 2 as well) and I have to say I really like them all. The sculpting and artistic level has definitely gone up.
    While huge theropods are not my favorite group, I find the trio very much exciting and they display so beautifully together. Similar absolutely, but at the same time one can really appreciate the differences no matter how subtle they are.
    Great review!

  • This is a GREAT figure and right up there with Fergus….a real shame the review was more focused on PNSO’s theropod extravaganza and could not get past that to do a fair review

    • I didn’t want to dismiss this comment out of hand, so I re-read what I wrote, and I don’t even mention the broader context of the theropod fire hose until the last three paragraphs. I don’t feel responsible for your having gotten nothing else out of it.

  • It’s a beautiful figure that I cannot muster any real enthusiasm for. Good to see a review from you though!

  • I really should get a shelf for PNSO figures. I mean, you can move their jaw, so technically that makes it an action figure (???)

  • I must admit I am instantly tempted by this critter;

    First off, GREAT pose;

    Secondly, its an excellent take on an underrepresented Macropredator (hey, did you know that I can remember seeing a headline in the newspaper, through the glass of the newspaper selling machine located outside the Lackland AFB Base Exchange in San Antonio in 1997, heralding the discovery of a “super-predator” BIGGER than Giganotosaurus?) That was the first public announcement of the then ongoing excavation of Mapusaurus! 😮

    For the last reason alone I know I will eventually get this excellent figure.

    My only complaint is – you got it – lack of tooth covering. Looks like its face was disfigured in a fire. 😉

    However, I have recently started sculpting tooth coverings onto some larger scale theropod figures with good success. So by the time I get this fellow I will be ready to do it on a smaller scale with him.

    All in all, something to look forward to – from a hobbyists perspective! 🙂

    Now get with the science PNSO – and quit this “crocodile mouth” business for non-aquatic animals! 😉

  • “If you are the sort of collector who thinks the only ecological niche that matters is apex predator, then this will be right up your alley”.

    Okay, that part made me laugh haha.

    Great review, brilliant figure, skipable taxon. I think Meraxes really is the only worthwhile one out of the recent streak of carcharodontosaurids from them, using fossil completeness as a basis. They’re similar animals indeed, though I think Meraxes is ”special” for being more recognizeable by the enlarged toe claw and the dip along the hip.

    • Heh, glad that got a laugh out of you. I am a little biased with respect to Meraxes, but I agree that its relative completeness and its very slightly different proportions make it the most interesting of the trio.

  • This does look like a splendid figurine; I sympathize with those weary of the glut of new mega-theropod figures, but I’m glad this one exists. Collecta’s versions were nice, but “Mila” is on another level.

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