Review and photographs by Indohyus, edited by Suspsy
When it comes to makers of model sets, the Japanese company Tamiya should be familiar to most. From planes to light infantry, they have created a wide range of products. One of those lines, however, consists of dinosaur models. The first set of these models were mostly famous ones like Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus, and Stegosaurus. Around 1994, however, they brought out a new 1:35 scale line which featured more accurate models and environments for them to be placed on. This review will focus on the smallest set for this line: the Mesozoic creatures.
The set features six animals, all attached to two sprues, as seen below. They come off fairly easily, though you may want nail clippers and a nail file in order to take the small bits of plastic off and thereby ensure a smooth finish. You will also need plastic wield, paint brushes, and paints. You may also require poly filler in order to fill in any gaps in the figures. Now, on to the animals!
The first is the oddball of the set: a crocodile. Not a marine crocodile, not even Deinosuchus or Sarcosuchus, just a crocodile. The Tamiya sets from the 1:35 scale line often have animals from the era, be it fish, lizards, or amphibians, along with the main dino of the set. I assume this is in a similar vein, but it seems a bizarre choice, even if the Mesozoic did see the rise of crocodilians. Regardless, it is completely accurate (little to get wrong here) and has quite a dynamic pose, as if it is facing off against another predator. At 3.9” long and 1” high, it works well for scale and could fit in with other dinosaur lines, as well as with the adult set Tamiya produced.
Now for the proper dinosaurs. First, the big gun: Tyrannosaurus rex! At least, an infant one, as these are smaller figures. It is certainly a great rendition of an infant tyrannosaur, with few inaccuracies to speak of. It does lack feathers, which an infant should probably have, but this is a set that is over 20 years old, so it is forgivable. Also, it does avoid having pronated hands, which is great since the box art would suggest otherwise. It features a rock to stand on, as given that this one has correctly proportioned feet, it wouldn’t stand up on its own. At 4” long and 1.8” high, it’s a good size for a youngster, and features a nice pose. Not the most dynamic, but it works.
Next is the tiniest member of the set. At 0.4” high and 1.2” wide, this Archaeopteryx is tiny, yet really well detailed. The feathers are very accurate all over, though the head is less detailed, but given the age of the set and size of the area, it’s understandable. It features a flat piece of plastic for it to stand on as, much like the T. rex, it would struggle to stand on its own.
The other infant of the set is Parasaurolophus. At 4.3” long and 1.8” high, it is again well-sized with the adult set. The pose is fairly docile, not that exciting. As it is in a quadrupedal stance, it has no rock to stand on. It does need a flat surface, however, as it doesn’t balance brilliantly.
Next is Oviraptor. This is an accurately slim animal, though it does suffer from inaccuracies. It lacks feathers, which likely due to the age of the set. The hands are pronated, which is annoying, as the rest of the figure is pretty good. The pose is extremely dynamic, as if it is in full flight from a predator. This does mean a rock base is necessary to keep it upright. It is a good size too: 2.7” long and 1.4” high. Works well overall.
The final figure is Hypsilophodon, the most well-produced of the small ornithopods. The pose here is rather dull, like it’s on sentry duty. It is one of the smallest figures of this set, only 2.4” long and 1.1” high with the rock to keep it upright, as the small feet wouldn’t support the animal. No inaccuracies to speak of. It looks really good.
The major pull for sets like this is that once you have assembled the models, you can paint them however you like. Below are my ideas, mostly based on various colouring based on pop culture and recent findings. The infants are based off the chibi forms of Terry and Paris in Dinosaur King, the Oviraptor is loosely based off its appearance in Planet Dinosaur, the Hypsilophodon is based off the Othnelia in Walking with Dinosaurs, the Archaeopteryx is loosely based off recent pigment analysis, and the crocodile is based on . . . a crocodile.
Ultimately, while this isn’t really a set for young children due to the small pieces involved, older children and collectors alike will no doubt enjoy it, especially as it allows them to put their own stamp on these figures. This set can still be found in hobby shops and online for a reasonable price, and I recommend it if you can find it. It won’t disappoint.