Review and images by PhilSauria, edited by Suspsy
As if we didn’t know, PNSO is back! So too are the BIG figures that they made their name with and had collectors sitting up and taking notice. Of the five new figures available to buy since they’ve sorted out their behind-the-scenes issues and returned to retail, two are in the upper size range and the rest in the middle range of their releases. Many of these have been seen before in images from various exhibitions in China – we just couldn’t get our hands on them until now! The Ophthalmosaurus (or it may have been some other species of ichthyosaur at that stage) had a mottled green colour scheme when first shown in photos from the said exhibitions and workshops, but the final release has a more iconic look, suggestive of the large marine predators we know today such as great white sharks or humpback whales.
Jumping ahead a bit here though, as I just want to first add some info about the animal itself. Ophthalmosaurus was named by Harry Govier Seeley in 1874, with specimens up to 6 meters long having been found so far in locations such as England, France, Greenland, Mexico, and Wyoming. These animals really got around in search of their diet of fish and squid! Plenty of fossils of various ages have been found, resulting in this being one of the best known ichthyosaur species. This reptile gets its name from its large eyes, the largest in proportion to its body of any known sea creature of the Late Jurassic. The prevailing theory is that it used them to see on deep dives into the darkness while hunting squid and other prey.
Back to the reason that we are here: the model. This would make quite an impression due to its size alone, measuring 47 cm (18.5 inches) from the tip of its long narrow snout to the end of its fluked tail, and 16cm (6.5 inches) from belly to the top of the dorsal fin. As mentioned above, the colour scheme mirrors that of many current marine predators, countershaded with dark colour above and pale below. There are hints of a purple wash through the dark colour that covers most of the figure. The underside is basically white and a ragged edge delineates the end of the dark upper section. The large eyes are quite detailed with a naturalistic and subtle application of tones and a fine pale line around the pupils. Some of the banding on the snout and washes of tones seen on the prototype unfortunately did not make it onto the production release. This is probably the most basic paint app that I have seen on one of these large figures, and I was initially slightly disappointed by that, but I have grown to appreciate it for what it is.
The plastic is of a different kind to the initial wave of big figures as well, slightly glossy compared to the matte finish of those first ones and slightly bendable at the tail extremities. But fear not, we don’t have a squishy Recur model here! The plastic is still very firm despite being hollow. The seams on these large PNSO figures were a cause for concern to some on the earlier releases and while they are present on this one, they are hardly noticeable. They would, er, seem to be an unavoidable part of the production of such large figures. We get the usual terrific art on the box and the poster is still part of the deal.
Having no legs to stand on, the Ophthalmosaurus comes with a simple geometric base moulded in grey plastic with a couple of clear plastic support rods to hold it up, fore and aft, and create that high-end presentation vibe. You certainly didn’t buy this at Walmart! We have a mosasaur in the new range too, but I’d love to get hold of a commercial release version of the needle-toothed plesiosaur that featured in one of the PNSO exhibitions!
In conclusion, this Ophthalmosaurus has quite a presence on the shelf and I recommend this both to prehistoric marine reptile collectors and those who have the space to display it once it arrives.