Mosasaurus (Deluxe Prehistoric Collection by CollectA)

4.6 (52 votes)

Before we begin the review, I would like to thank Happy Hen Toys for supplying this figure for review. Happy Hen Toys is a U.S. distributor of animal figurines and a member and supporter of the Dinosaur Toy Blog and Forum. Of particular note is that they’re one of the few U.S. distributors that stocks CollectA figurines. Check out their wares and support them today!

I probably don’t need to tell you this but… dinosaurs are not lizards, despite the name “dinosaur” being Greek for terrible lizard. Pterosaurs aren’t lizards either, and neither are plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, or pelycosaurs. Despite this, the word saurus has been attached to the scientific names of countless prehistoric animal groups and genera. The truth is all those aforementioned groups actually pre-date true lizards in the fossil record. True lizards are a group of reptiles belonging to Lepidosauria and they first appeared during the mid-Jurassic, 168 million years ago. But one group of popular prehistoric reptiles were indeed true bonafide lizards, the mosasaurs, a group of Mesozoic marine reptiles nestled comfortably within Squamata. Their exact placement within Squamata has been the subject of debate and they tend to flop back and forth between being allied either with snakes or monitor lizards and their kin (Anguimorpha), but their lizard pedigree has never been questioned. Currently they appear to be a sister clade to snakes and yes, snakes are lizards too.

Mosasaurus is the most well-known genus of mosasaur, and the type genus for the group. It lived 82-66 million years ago during the late Cretaceous. Mosasaurus fossils have been discovered in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Antarctica which means it ranged throughout the Atlantic in a variety of climates. Several species of Mosasaurus have been described but at an estimated 49-59’ (15-18 meters) the type species M. hoffmannii is the largest and one of the largest marine reptiles known to science. Unlike Tyrannosaurus, Mosasaurus was a true lizard king, and the apex predator of the Cretaceous seas.

With an extant relative, Rita the Pueblan milk snake.

Mosasaurus has always been popular but since the release of Jurassic World it has experienced a surge in popularity that has led to several new models in short succession, with very few of them being to my own liking. Most Mosasaurus toys don’t capture the look of the animal in a way that I find convincing, with my preference being for a marine lizard that looks less like a crocodile and more like a whale. Past Mosasaurus figures either had shrink wrapped skulls and flippers, saggy skin, odd proportions, too many bodily adornments, or all the above combined with some inaccuracy or other. That is until CollectA released their Deluxe model for 2023, now I finally have the Mosasaurus I’ve been waiting for.

My small but diverse assortment of Mosasaurus figures. CollectA’s, with others by Mattel and Carnegie.

The CollectA Deluxe Mosasaurus measures 16” (40.64 cm) and is advertised as being 1/40 in scale. To achieve that scale, it would have to be scaled down from a 54’ (16 meters) Mosasaurus. The figure is positioned in a mostly static pose, propped up on its flippers, and with a gentle rightward bend in the body and a leftward bend in the tail.

The head is a marked improvement over CollectA’s standard sized Mosasaurus, with its weird shrink-wrapped temporal fenestra visually similar to a frog’s tympanum. The head on this figure is nicely fleshed out and streamlined with openings for the nostrils and ears. The jaw is articulated too, and the articulation works well. CollectA has come a long way with jaw articulation.

On each side of the upper jaw there are 15 teeth and there are 14 on each side of the lower jaw. This is within the correct range for a Mosasaurus tooth count. On the roof of the mouth are the pterygoid teeth, although I won’t bother trying to count those! A bifurcated (forked) tongue is sculpted on the lower jaw and while we don’t know what the tongue would have looked like this is a safe bet given the animal’s relationship to snakes and monitor lizards. The head might appear small in ratio to the body, but this is correct, a lot of Mosasaurus reconstructions make the head too large.

The body is beautifully ergonomic and the most convincingly lifelike Mosasaurus I’ve ever seen molded in plastic. Many toy companies like to add extra little bits and bobs to their marine reptiles but what I look for in my figures is the sleek, no-frills, efficient body plan we see in extant marine predators like sharks, cetaceans, and tunas. There’s not a lot extra going on here, and that’s a good thing!

The body itself is also appropriately robust and smooth without a lot of extra saggy skin that would also reduce drag. Some skin folds and wrinkles are sculpted where appropriate, like around the neck and base of the flippers. The entirety of the figure has a fine covering of scales, and a cloaca is sculpted on the underside. There are a few random notches and gouges on the body, flippers, and tail that look like battle scars. They’re minor details that add a touch of personality.

The flippers are wide and robust, as they should be, with no real indication that there are digits hidden within them. Figures by Papo, PNSO, and Favorite have shrink-wrapped this bit of anatomy but like modern cetaceans or sea turtles, the distinct digits probably should not be visible and would only create additional drag if they were. On the underside of the figure there’s some nicely sculpted musculature around the pectoral fins. There is no dorsal fin and while some reconstructions include them there is no evidence that mosasaurs had them.

The tail has two lobes with the bottom lobe being longer than the upper. In life the tail vertebrae would have extended into the lower lobe, unlike in sharks where the vertebrae extend into the upper lobe. Many past reconstructions have given Mosasaurus a single lobe, creating an eel-like tail, but there’s skeletal evidence for an upper lobe and the mosasaur genus Prognathodon has the soft tissue of the upper lobe preserved. This means that Mosasaurus would have primarily propelled itself with the rear-half of its body and tail, like salmon, versus with its whole body, like an eel. The bend in the tail nicely illustrates this form of locomotion.

The paintjob is conservative, and some may say boring, but appropriate for a large aquatic predator. The figure is dark greenish gray dorsally with a yellowish white belly, exhibiting the countershading employed by many modern aquatic predators. Faint dark gray bands run down the length of the body but that’s the only hint of patterning. I like it, as it seems like it would help the animal blend in with rippling waves. The inside of the mouth is dull purple with a pink tongue and white teeth. Even the pterygoid teeth are painted, and the application is not perfect but acceptable on such small details. The eyes are black.

If you prefer the Prehistoric Planet Mosasaurus over the Jurassic World Mosasaurus then this is the figure for you. It is as far as I can tell, a flawless figure, and the most accurate Mosasaurus available. Up until now I’ve gone without a decent Mosasaurus in my collection and I’m happy to have that gap filled by the CollectA Deluxe Mosasaurus. I don’t think I’ll ever need to buy another Mosasaurus again. This figure is currently in production and if you’re in the United States you can get one at Happy Hen Toys, here.

With the Safari Kronosaurus and Elasmosaurus, and PNSO Eurhinosaurus.

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Comments 20

  • It’s ridiculous that three people gave this great toy one star. They’re either trolling or they utterly lack taste.

  • Just DAMN. I’m not a sea reptile afficionado – (I do not have any in my collection at this time but am being sorely tempted here) – because this has to be the most eye-pleasing, as well as accurate Mosasaur I’ve seen outside of expensive resin models.

    Yes, the “Prehistoric Planet” vibe is strong with this one, and the proportions seem … “just right” (which, accuracy aside, is not the case with the expensive PNSO Tylosaurus f which just … doesn’t … “FLOW” … when viewed with an aesthetic eye).

    Of course, the sharp teeth of the PNSO Tylosaurus are missing here (the better to protect the little fingers that will play with this one from accidental harm), but even that is rendered irrelevant by the superb “closed mouth” look that the animal would have carried 99% of the time it was swimming around.

    As a collector, I would simply insert an angled metal rod coming out of a wooden base into his belly, and in this way could display him at basically almost any swimming or diving angle without any awkwardness resulting. You can call this one as having a “neutral pose”, but in this case that is a pose that actually works to its advantage in my view because it would look good from almost any angle. Its accuracy is great, but a reasonable pose that doesn’t appear unnatural or strained is the other half of the display equation, and this one has that too.

    A 5-Star Mosasaur figure from Collecta, and an EXCELLENT review, Gwangi! Thank you! :>)

    • Thank you! It’s great to see other collectors as enamored with it as I am. My own marine reptile collection is rather small but it would never be complete without THIS Mosasaurus.

    • The PNSO Tylosaurus is fine. You might not like it, and that’s fine too. Having owned this CollectA Mosasaurus I can say its teeth are actually quite pointed. So it does that well.

  • Ez az ábra már ijesztően hasonlít az új Attenborugh sorozat első évadának első részében látott öreg Mosasaurus példányra.Emiatt szerintem ez a legjobb amit valaha készítettek.

  • I have the older 2014 version. Wanted to know how the newer version is more accurate.; how does it compare to the newer version? Thanks. Regards.

    • The older figure has a more shrink-wrapped skull and flippers, which I don’t find realistic and don’t aesthetically like. I don’t have it but I believe it is also completely smooth? Mosasaurus would have had scales. It also has a wider shape to it that comes across as less streamlined. Other than those minor things, which really come down to personal preference, it is still a solid figure and one of the better Mosasaurus available. If I had that one I probably wouldn’t have bothered with the deluxe.

  • Funny thing is I wanted to review this initially, but I dropped it once the Koolasuchus was revealed. Glad to see someone still gave it proper attention. Excellent review, and the size comparison, especially with the Mattel one, does a great job at showing how large this figure is. I really need to pick this beauty up at some point. It’s really the Mosasaurus figure I’ve been wanting for years now, accurate, and big.

    • That is funny, because I wanted to review the Koolasuchus! But I’m looking forward to reading your review of it. I’m usually just as happy to read one of my comrades reviews of something as I am writing it myself. Thanks for the comment!

  • Yeah, that Mosasaurus is magnificent, I still have to get it. May I ask, are those PNSO stands borrowed from other figures, or did you somehow get additional ones? If that’s the case, I would love to learn how you got them. I find those to be very useful and they would come handy to use for other non-PNSO figures too. 🙂

    • The stands are borrowed from other figures, I don’t have extra ones. I just use them when photographing figures for review. I would love to buy a bulk bag of them though!

  • It’s a great model. I bought one months ago, but ended up giving it to a young child as I wasn’t satisfied with it. What bothered me about this figure is that despite being a lizard, when the mouth is closed teeth are still visible, even interlocking together. I don’t know of any extant lizard that has such a feature, and to me it just looks very odd.

    • You could just leave the mouth open, or do some mental gymnastics and convince yourself it’s partially open even when closed. Anyway, if I was that picky I fear I would never have a Mosasaurus in my collection. Hopefully someone ends up making a Mosasaurus that adheres to your strict specifications and is worthy of your shelf. I fear the wait might be a long one though.

  • This is a truly magnificent-looking model. It’s always eye-opening to see when a figure gets everything RIGHT for the first time, and puts everything before it in a new light.

  • Easily the best Mosasaurus toy yet. I don’t see myself ever needing to buy another one again.

  • Wonderful! I have it, too. I am glad I held out for it, instead of buying the PNSO or older CollectA version.

    We’ve come a long way since the Carnegie days 🙂

    • There’s always a certain sense of satisfaction when you’re waiting for a figure you actually like instead of compromising. Patience paid off with this one!

      That Carnegie model was rough even when it was released. I like it for its historical value though. A Mosasaurus depiction doesn’t get more vintage than that.

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