Review and photos by Bokisaurus, edited by Suspsy
The Battat line of 1:40 scale dinosaurs is so famous that it needs little introduction. Rightly so, as these figures are some of the best representation of dinosaurs in toy form. In fact, even after 20+ years, the line is still is considered one of the best. Today, we will take a look at two sets of figures that are often omitted or forgotten when discussing the Battat line: the miniature figure sets. Like many collectors back in the early days before the World Wide Web was part of our daily life and any information was just a mouse click away, I was not aware that there were miniature sets. Back then, information about what was available or produced was very hard to find. We relied on paper catalogs and local retailers to stock new release figures. How I came to acquire these set is purely by luck.
Looking back, road trips and Battat figures seems to be intertwined in my journey as a collector. If you have read my Diplodocus review as well as my Collection thread in the forum, you may recall that my introduction to the Battat line involved travel. Back in the early 2000s’, I was on a road trip down the southern coast of Oregon. There, we visited this old roadside tourist attraction called Prehistoric Gardens by Hwy 101. Here, dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals were brought to life via large, almost life-size sculptures. They are old style, but super awesome. Of course, after touring the attraction, I zeroed in towards the small gift shop, hoping to find some new dinosaur figures. At first glance, the shelf were full of of cheap Chinasaurs and some Safari Carnegie figures. I was disappointed by the selection.
Then I noticed at the bottom of one of the shelves next to the clearance section were four small boxes. By then I already owned some of the Battat figures, so when I saw the box set, something about these figures looks oddly familiar. At first, I thought it must be just another knock off set, after all I’d never heard of a mini set from Battat.
When I got closer, I recognized the unmistakable packaging. Each box contained five figures apiece and were based on the first and second series of large figures. If I remember correctly, the set was released in 1998 and were sculpted by the same two artist, Dan LoRusso and Greg Wenzel, who did the large figures. The first box I grabbed was the one based on the second series. These included the Amargasaurus, Edmontonia, Gallimimus, Ouranosaurus, and Styracosaurus. Excitedly, I checked the other three boxes and found the second set, this based on the first series. It included the Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Utahraptor, Ceratosaurus, and Dilophosaurus. Turns out these were the last ones and were being cleared out. I happily paid $5 per box. My only regret was that I didn’t get the other two boxes. Of course back then, I never would have thought that one day, these figures would become so rare and skyrocket in price.
I’m not sure how widely these mini set were distributed, or how long they were in production.
Based on how rare they are and how obscure they seem to be, my guess is that they were not widely available and had a short production run. I do know that they were the final addition to the Battat line before it went extinct in 2000.
The mini figures are exact replicas of their larger counterparts, right down to the colors. The only minis that are slightly different from their large counterparts are the Ouranosaurus and Ceratosaurus. In the mini version of Ouranosaurus, the green paint is much more vivid and and darker. The difference between the Ceratosaurus is how the tail is oriented. In the small version, the tail is held in a horizontal position, while the larger version’s tail is pointed downwards on a tripod pose, no doubt done to aid its stability.
It is amazing that despite their small size, roughly around 2” inches long, these minis are as detailed as the larger figures. No skimping on detail on these guys. I’m not sure if they were meant to be babies, but they work well as young ones.
Unlike the large figures, the mini ones are not to scale with each other. Since there are almost no difference between the mini and large figures, I will skip reviewing them individually.
When I found and joined the DTF, it was only then that I realized how rare these mini Battat figures are. I searched eBay for them, a few turned up, and they always commanded top dollars especially the boxed ones. You can occasionally find loose figures at a reasonable price, and if you are lucky and have the patience, you may find them in mixed lots. This is how I managed to acquire some of my duplicates.
In closing, these figures may be small, but they are ever bit as impressive and detailed as their larger counterparts. They are the some of the rarest of the entire Battat line, being produced just a couple of years before the line went extinct. With patience, they are worth seeking out and acquiring as they would surely hold their own against their larger counterparts.
For a while there were rumors that a mini Diplodocus was produced, but there is no evidence to support this other than wishful thinking. Perhaps there was a prototype, but even this is highly unlikely. But then again, who knows? After all, there was another figure that was largely rumored to have been produced, but was hard to confirm. Then a few of these figures started showing up in online auctions, proving that the rumors about this figure’s existence was indeed true. So what is this figure? Well, it’s the one and only Tyrannosaurus rex.
Join me next time as we take a look at this elusive and often mysterious figure. Until then, hope you enjoyed the review. Bye now!