Nothosaurus (Imperial)

1.3 (37 votes)

Review and photographs by Funk, edited by Suspsy

Nothosaurus was a widely distributed Triassic marine reptile with about a gazillion assigned species. Though it lends its name to the wider group Nothosauridae, it is probably fair to say the genus is obscure to most people. I can’t say I know much about it myself, but I happened to have this figure from since I was a kid, which I thought looked like Nothosaurus. I wasn’t sure, however, so of course I posted a photo of it in the identification thread at the DinoToyForum, and was immediately told it was the Imperial Nothosaurus! It was part of a collector’s set around the 1980s called “Prehistoric World of Dinosaurs,” which included a few other genera that have rarely been represented in toy form (such as Podokesaurus and Scolosaurus).

The toy is somewhat accurate and recognisable for what it’s supposed to be compared to the other Imperial figures; many of the herbivorous species in the line have huge, sharp teeth, and the Allosaurus has a strange, Monolophosaurus-like crest on top of the head that is hard to explain. Perhaps this one is less atrocious because there weren’t that many other bad depictions of Nothosaurus available to base the figure on, unlike most of the other species?

While there is a current paleoart trend in hiding the teeth of most extinct animals, some pterosaurs, plesiosaurs, and others, had such long, horizontally projecting and interlocking teeth that it would almost seem impossible. That’s also the case when one looks at Nothosaurus skulls, where the teeth seem to point in all directions. This figure instead makes the jaws look almost beak-like, with no teeth poking out, which seems an odd choice considering that the Imperial Stegosaurus and ankylosaurs have long teeth jutting out of their open mouths. The plesiosaur of the line also has a fully sealed mouth with no teeth, so there is certainly some inconsistency.

The head should also have been flatter, with the eyes placed on top rather than on the sides, and placed closer towards the snout. The rest of the body doesn’t look too bad, with the neck, body and tail shape (there is a nice tail fin) seemingly matching the fossils. But the limbs seem a bit too long and erect, whereas they seem more stubby in fossils. The skin has some nice wrinkles and creases, and while it may have been smoother in life, I don’t believe this is known.

The figure is made of orange-yellow rubber, and has darker brown paint across the back and upper parts. The eyes are bright red, which looks a little bit unnatural compared to the otherwise kind of believable colour scheme. It is certainly one of the better-looking of the Imperial figures. It is about 13 cm long and made of very bendable rubber. This made it fun to play with, as the neck, tail and legs could be moved easily.

Overall, it’s a pretty cool figure, not entirely accurate, but makes up for it by the overall realism of the sculpt and paint job, and for depicting a genus that is pretty rare in toy form. In fact, only two other Nothosaurus figures are currently reviewed on the DinoToyBlog. While this figure can therefore be recommended, it is a bit harder to say something positive about a few of the other Imperial toys, but I’ll probably return to those once I dig them up . . .

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