Ophthalmosaurus is one of the more recognizable ichthyosaurs thanks to its enormous eyes, which, at approximately 23 cm in diameter, rivalled those of the much larger Temnodontosaurus. Such peepers would have ideal for hunting squid in the depths of the Jurassic seas, or spotting dangerous predators such as Liopleurodon.
Despite featuring prominently in an episode of the BBC’s famous Walking With Dinosaurs series, Ophthalmosaurus has not really caught on with toy companies. There’s the version from Toyway made in conjunction with WWD and then there’s this little critter that comes courtesy of Chap Mei. Measuring 12.5 cm long, it’s sculpted in a swimming pose with its tail angled down and swaying to the left. It balances nicely on the tips of its mandible, right pectoral fin, and caudal fin.
The main colours are a dull brick red and beige with black for the stripes and eyes and white teeth. Detailing is fairly good for a marine reptile. The skin is covered in faint crisscrossing marks, just like on a grey whale. Large circles around the bulging eyes indicate the sclerotic rings beneath the skin. The edges of the pectoral and caudal fins have a slightly frayed appearance to them.
In terms of accuracy, this Ophthalmosaurus is one of Chap Mei’s least offenders. Granted, the body is a little too compact and the head is too large, and I wish the fins had smooth edges, but there are no completely ridiculous or grossly exaggerated features on this toy like there are on so many of its brethren.
Overall then, the Chap Mei Ophthalmosaurus is one of the few toys in the line that can lay claim to being genuinely good, if not superb. Recommended.