3 (2 votes)

More and more species of dinosaurs are discovered almost weekly and that pace easily outruns the capacity for toy companies to release new figures. That’s however not the only reason why some species probably will never find their way into kid’s rooms or even collectors’ shelves. Some if not most of them are simply not as awe inspiring or mighty as others. Luckily there are people out there, that allow collectors access to the ever growing family of “obscure” species, people that model those figures themselves and cast a few or some dozens of them to sell them to the thankful community of dinosaur enthusiasts. This review is dedicated to such a model.

Remains of Mononykus were discovered in 1987 by a Soviet-Mongolian expedition in Bugin-Tsav, a locality in the Nemegt Basin, South Mongolia. 1993 those remains were described by A. Perle, L.M. Chiappe, R. Barsbold, J.M. Clark and M. Norrell as Mononychus but shortly after renamed to Mononykus as the former was already given to a genus of beetle. Characteristics of Mononykus are stubby forearms with a single strong claw and possibly large eyes. Several remains of the later named Shuvuuia were formerly assigned to Mononykus, so a lot of reconstructions of this species are actually based on Shuvuuia.

Mononykus grew up to ca. 90 cm and belonged to the Alvarezsauridae. It most likely was decked in a coat of downy feathers or similar integument. The weird forelimbs have been interpreted as a specialised feature to break into termite mounds, similar to today’s ant-eaters. Personally I find that interpretation not very convincing. Comparing how massively build recent ant-eating animals are in the arms, shoulders and chest, the comparably delicate bones of Mononykus seem rather unfitting for such a strenuous endeavour. Also, with the very short arms but long legs and neck, the animal would have had to maintain a very awkward stance when trying to break in any kind of mound. In my opinion that particular feature probably evolved for some kind of intraspecific behaviour, maybe (ritual) fighting for mates in the breeding season.

MIXVS MINIMAX’s model seems to suggest the “classic” interpretation as the small dinosaur comes with a base with some termite mounds on it. The figure is small and I mean really small. It probably is the smallest in the whole collection MIXVS MINIMAX offers. All of them are in 1:72 scale which is nice for scale enthusiasts, on the other hand, even an animal with a formidable length of two or three metres in life comes down to a mere few centimetres that hardly can be handled when the model is a scrawny theropod. The models are defintely nothing to fool around with. That being said, they are quite worth to be added to a collection. The attention to detail is fabulous and the casting of high quality. All the models I yet purchased (seven in total) come in small cardboard boxes that are decked in printed pictures and descriptions, giving the whole package a professional appearance. Inside one finds the several parts for the assembly of the figure, a short summary of natural history of the animal and building instructions in German (where forum member MIXVS MINIMAX lives) and English. In case of the Mononykus assembly required cleaning the figure from casting seams and sprues with a sharp knife, glueing and painting. Other figures of the line may require some more assembly and fitting digits or claws on a 1:72 model can be a very tricky task for the untrained model builder.

The model itself is like a tiny diorama. The round base measures 2.5 cm in diameter and like 1.9 cm in total height. The Mononykus itself is 1.6 cm long and 1 cm high, but despite this almost microscopic level the figure has sculpted eyes, nose openings, the short but strong claws, three toed feet and a downy coat. On such a tiny scale accuracy is hard to determine. If there’s something to moan then it may be the comparable short neck, but given the fragmentary remains it is uncertain how long the neck would be, so I guess that really can’t count against it.

My intention is to review other models of the line for the blog, but those interested can  also check out the thread by MIXVS MINIMAX. I highly recommend his models to any collector that does not shy away from the assembly. It’s a great experience to work on that tiny level and the sculpt of the figures and bases is top notch. Contact forum member MIXVS MINIMAX via PM if you are interested in his models.

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