Until the release of their Allosaurus, Papo’s prehistorics garnered attention mainly for being remarkable facsimiles of their Jurassic Park counterparts. However, even before Papo’s own Big Al hit the scene the company had released a sculpt not obviously based on a JP creature – this often-overlooked Parasaurolophus (dated 2005) at about 1:35 scale.
“Parasaurolophus! Lost World! Roundup sequence!” I hear you scream incoherently. Well, take a deep breath, calm down and let me explain myself. Honestly, you are an excitable lot.
This Parasaurolophus doesn’t have any quirks that mark it out as a JP clone, such as a corresponding paint job. Admittedly, the animal in the movies was one of the less stylised of Stan Winston Studios’ dinosaurs, but the Papo sculpt has features not obvious in the JP version, most notably the fairly tall and irregular neural spines (disbelieve? Check out this still at JPLegacy). It also has the neural spine ‘notch’ present on the Parasaurolophus walkeri type specimen, similar to Schleich’s effort. Although this was probably just damage unique to that individual, it shows that Papo were looking at fossils rather than Jurassic Park for their inspiration here.
Enough of my pet theories, however – what of the toy itself? Well, it’s a decent effort let down by a few niggling details, one of which is rather more niggling than the others, as I will explain shortly. One of the best features of this model is that – hallelujah – it is covered in largely uniform scales, just as skin impressions show, and isn‘t under the Wrinkly Curse. The head is perhaps a little large, but it’s otherwise fairly well proportioned, and there’s a certain amount of creative license with Parasaurolophus walkeri anyway.
The animal is posed rearing up on its hind legs, rather like the Carnegie effort. However, unlike the Carnegie line’s aging sculpt, Papo’s Parasaurolophus retains a fairly horizontal posture, which gives the impression of a mostly quadrupedal creature putting real effort into rearing. A disappointment here is the tail, which is used as a prop and curved at improbable angles. More quadruped hadrosaurs with straight tails please, toy makers! Other than that, the limbs have the right number of digits, although perhaps some of those on the hands should have a more clustered, weight-bearing appearance.
Hopefully you’ll remember that I was, er, niggled by one particular feature on this toy. Take a look at the head.
In profile, there appears to be nothing seriously wrong with it. In fact, it’s a pretty nice sculpt considering this isn’t meant to be a ‘museum-quality’ line of figures. Everything is in its right place; its finely sculpted beady yellow eye and open mouth give it a permanent startled expression, which might also explain why it’s rearing up (about to run away from some unseen tyrannosaur?). However, look inside the mouth and an unpleasant surprise is in store.
TEETH inside the beak! What on Earth are they doing there? Papo, you’re just creating unnecessary extra work for your factory employees with this utterly baffling idiosyncrasy. They’re only in the lower half of the beak, they’re accompanied by a nice little tongue and they’re only visible on close inspection, but they’re infuriating just because they’re so bizarre!
Still, overall a pretty good Parasaurolophus from Papo. Even if it’s not the best Parasaurolophus toy out there, it still features their renowned extraordinary level of detail and has a colour scheme that I really like – some may see it as a little dull, but I prefer to think of it as ‘subtle naturalistic camouflage’ (and the creature doesn’t always have to have a glowing red tuba on its head).
Please do comment to point out where I’ve gone wrong in this review (or even to agree with me!) as I don’t know so much about hadrosaurs. Good thing I didn’t say that at the beginning of the review, eh?
Available from Amazon.com (here)
Review & photos by Marc (‘Horridus’)