Spring 2021 saw the arrival of the second wave of ceratopsians from the Beasts of the Mesozoic series. Fans of Dave Silva’s crowdfunded line of articulated figures will already be familiar with the basic elements that define this series. These strikingly colorful figures have a tremendous range of poseability thanks to their intricately engineered design (which may have the added benefit of making them more difficult for bootleggers to imitate). Even when mass manufacturers churn out cheap articulated toys, the Beasts of the Mesozoic stand apart because they are designed with a more thoughtful eye on scientific accuracy. These are serious, paleontologically-based figures geared toward adult collectors. It should come as no surprise this has earned the series a certain respect here on the DTB.
As a well known species with more frequent appearances in recent pop-culture, the series’ Pachyrhinosaurus has been hotly anticipated. This is the showiest of the genus, the classic P. lakustai with its recognizable ornamental horns. While most figures in this series hover around 1:18 scale, the appropriately beefy Canadian ceratopsian stands out from the crowd at an imposing 15 inches long, with 20 points of articulation. Some of the figure’s popularity might be a consequence of its attractive coloration, which is based on the red iguana (I. rhinolopha). It possesses a naturalistic color set, probably more so than the other figures in the series. The body is primarily red clay-colored, and unexpectedly complemented with an almost mint-green ventral surface that snakes up the flanks, and even highlights the facial contours. There is more undulation in the stock prototype’s striping, but the difference is not especially dramatic.
The brand has been further bolstered by its visual honesty, providing figures that actually look as good as their original stock photos. Studying the intricate sculpting detail and precisely applied paint, it’s clear that David worked hard to ensure production standards were met. It may interest new readers to know this is not the first rendition of the species this artist has worked on. Years ago, David worked on a different Pachyrhinosaurus figure for Hasbro’s Jurassic Park “Dino Showdown” series. Comparing the Hasbro toy to this outstanding figure seems laughable, but it does serve as an important reminder of what can be achieved when quality control is managed by the artist, instead of a massive corporation.
Some collectors have concerns about the visibility of joints in figures like these, which could make them seem more like toys than premium replicas. However, I would ask any serious collector to consider the extremely high quality of every other facet of these figures before rushing to judgement. Instead of focusing on the joints, why not contemplate the wide range of possibilities this design offers? Sure, many people are tempted to place these types of figures in extreme or comedic poses. However, there is quite a lot of satisfaction to be had with the inherent variability, even if you don’t entirely “get” the concept of play. Instead of simply rotating a figure that you’ve been staring at on a shelf for an extended time, you can invent an entirely new stance for said critter, and make it seem new again. Many people have also informed me they find these figures invaluable visual references for their own reconstructions, both in 2D and 3D design, just as those articulated wooden human mannequins become so useful in many artists’ studios. If James Gurney could bring Bix to life using a single Tyco Protoceratops, just imagine what these more advanced figures could do for an artist.
With a total boxed weight of about 2 pounds 9 ounces, collectors may wish to give some serious thought to the display arrangements for this hefty figure. If you’ve been using those thin glass shelves to display your tinier vinyl figures, be especially cautious about how much weight they can safely hold. Longtime followers of this brand know that this is only the start of the big boys, and since even bigger figures are on the way in Wave 3, planning ahead is certainly advised. The weight also means this could be a slightly riskier one to share with your tots (it is recommended for no child under 4, but I can’t imagine many people putting something like this in the hands of a slobbering infant).
Perhaps because of their articulation and scale, collectors often display these Beasts of the Mesozoic figures alongside their cheaper counterparts, which further amplifies the quality difference. Based on the aesthetic standards however, I would suggest these figures stand up nicely alongside high-end collectibles such as Nanmu or perhaps even Sideshow Dinosauria. They are easily among the finest in their class, and they arguably stand in a class of their own.
Photos by Greg Accetta
Available to order at Dan’s Dinosaurs here.