“I don’t like it.” This statement was said in a matter in fact voice by my three-year old who loves all dinosaur/prehistoric toys. We were on the CollectA website just browsing the current crop of prehistoric creatures, with my son repeating the words “I like it, and “let’s get it,” as we scroll from dinosaur to dinosaur. I pulled up the picture of Olorotitan and he uttered the previously mentioned phrase. I happened to have just ordered the Olorotitan a few days previously and was shocked by his response. A few days later when the Olorotitan came in the mail, I pulled out a few different dinosaurs from my collection and slipped in the Olorotitan, and brought them down for him to look at. He was having fun naming the different dinosaur toys, and asking what the names were for the ones he didn’t recognize, then he came to the Olorotian. He turned to me and said,” I don’t like this one.” It made me wonder, could the elegant Giant Swan Lambeosaurine (Olorotitan means Giant Swan) figure be nothing more than another fail by CollectA and I was blinded by some sort of magical mist that made me think this was a nice figure? Why does my son not like this toy? Let’s find out.
History: Olorotitan arharensis was a Lambeosaurine from the late Cretaceous that was formally named and described in 2003 and was found in the Amur region of Russia. The hadrosaur was approximately 26 feet long and had the typical body type, but it is the cranial ornament, like its cousins, that make it stand out. It is distinct from other crested duck-bills due to its unusual crest that points backward and in most skeletal reconstructions takes on a hatchet or fan-like shape. The skull is supported by the graceful, elongated neck (which gives it its name), with 18 vertebrae instead of the usual 15 in other hadrosauids.
Figure: The figure has all four legs on the ground in a casual walking pose with its head turned slightly to the left and staring straight ahead as if it has just heard a noise and is waiting to see if it friend or foe. Can’t you just picture it? The Olorotian hears a noise and visually scans the area, but sees nothing and goes back to its vegetarian meal. Meanwhile the carnivore is staring at its prey, hiding down wind, saliva dripping from its maw, eyes fixed on its target, muscles taut, just waiting to close in and take down an unwary Olorotitan. Sorry, I digressed for a moment, back to the figure! The skull slopes slightly till it gets to the crest, then it fans backward like a hatchet. The crest separates slightly and looks like a side ward clam if viewed from behind. The neck is thin and makes a U-shaped curve to the shoulder scapular region. The spine is a series of small vertebral bumps that extend the entire length of the hadrosaurid. The tail ends slightly higher than the head and is straight and stiff. The hind legs are bulky and muscular, while the front limbs are small and rather frail looking. There are three toes on the front limbs and three on the back feet. Its mid section is thin and with slight musculature. There are wrinkles all along the body and neck. There are some small lines radiating from the hatchet-like crest going backward.
The color pattern is a line of reddish-brown starting at the nasal all the way along the crest. As well as in a line along the spine, over a coat of dark brown. The rest of the body is covered in light brown and white. The claws are all painted as well.
Scientific accuracy: I am not going to spend too much time on this as this model looks and feels fairly accurate even though its neck is very thin. The only odd thing to me was the crest itself. When I look at skeletal reconstructions, the crest as it goes back is all one piece. In the model it splits into a ‘V’. I am not sure why this is done. Either I have missed some skeleton/skull data, or it is some fun artistic licenses by the artist who sculpted the model.
Playability: I think this is where this toy fails. It doesn’t look or feel like a good toy to pick up and play with in a child’s dinosaur adventures. It lacks all the fun qualities of carnivores, the armor protection of an ankylosaurid, or the grandiose feel of sauropods. Even compared to Iguanodon and Parasaurolophus, with the thumb spikes and long crest, it is a very stiff figure, that the few times I have observed kids playing with it, it ends up being meat for the carnivores.
Overall Appraisal: In my opinion it reminds me of a porcelain dinosaur figure. I think people look at this toy and say wow that’s a pretty or gorgeous dinosaur. It just has a dainty feel to it. That means that you will either like how this dinosaur looks or you won’t. I don’t think this toy has a middle ground of likability. If you are building a diorama for school, or home use, I think this toy offers some interesting possibilities. It you want it on your shelf or desk, if you like it, I say go for it. If you want it as a toy for your child, I would get their stamp of approval before buying it since I think many will prefer a different dinosaur toy. As for me, I still like this figure, which might mean I am still shrouded in a mind-numbing magical mist, as for my son, he still doesn’t like it.
Available from Amazon.com here.