Since getting into this hobby over a decade ago I’ve had a list of my favorite ceratopsians I’ve hoped to someday have on my shelves. When I started, none of these animals had good representations available. But as the years have gone by, and this hobby has seemingly exploded in popularity, I’ve been able to gradually check them off the list. Thanks to Safari and PNSO I now have beautiful models of Einiosaurus and Centrosaurus that I can gaze upon with a sense of satisfaction. And now, thanks to Haolonggood, I have another that I can check off the list, Pentaceratops*. That just leaves Chasmosaurus and once one of those inevitably becomes available, I’ll be able kick back and relax. It will be a glorious day.
*I realize that there are many other Pentaceratops figures but none of them are to my liking.
When the day comes that a Chasmosaurus is announced I suspect that it will be from Haolonggood. Haolonggood has been listening to dinosaur collectors and taking notes, delivering many high demand genera that other companies have been ignoring. In addition to Pentaceratops this includes Edmontonia, Ouranosaurus, and most recently, Megaraptor.
The Pentaceratops came out at about the same time as the incomparable Pachyrhinosaurus and shortly after their first figure, a Nasutoceratops, another fan favorite genus. This is a massive figure, one of the largest in my ceratopsian figurine collection. It measures about 8.5” (21.59 cm) from beak-to-tail and stands 4” (10.16 cm) tall at the shoulder. The head alone measures 4.25” (10.76 cm). Honestly, it’s a bit too large, but I can live with it.
The actual Pentaceratops was a massive animal too. Estimates put it at 18-20’ (5.4-6 meters) which would mean that the figure comes out to be about 1/25- 1/28 in scale. Using just the skull length of 7.5’ you get a scale of 1/21, and the head does appear a tad too small. Using the maximum length of 22.3’ (6.8 meters) for Titanoceratops (a similar species, possibly a large Pentaceratops) you get a scale of 1/31. It is advertised as being 1/35 in scale.
Pentaceratops means five-horned face, which is a confusing name when you consider that two of the horns it was named after are the epijugals, which are common in ceratopsians. Pentaceratops lived during the late Cretaceous in North America 76-73 million years ago. Its remains are mostly known from the Kirkland Formation which means it lived alongside Parasaurolophus and Bistahieversor, a tyrannosauroid.
Ceratopsians are often said to essentially all be anatomically the same but with different frill shapes and ornamentation. Pentaceratops is an exception, with a unique build that couldn’t possibly be confused with most other ceratopsains. Pentaceratops is characterized by an absurdly elongated and rectangular frill. The torso of Pentaceratops is tall and wide with elongated spines on the dorsal vertebra. Because of this, Pentaceratops is often depicted with a humped back appearance. In life, these tall spines would have likely been attachment sites for ligaments connecting to the head, allowing the animal to balance and support its frill.
The Haolonggood model is so bulked up that its unique frame is not as apparent as it is in other figures by Papo, Mattel, Favorite, and Beasts of the Mesozoic, and the hump, while there, is barely visible. This bulked up body looks convincing, but it would have been nice if a bit more of Pentaceratops’s unusual build shined through. Digit anatomy appears correct with the forelimbs splayed slightly outward and possessing only three weight bearing clawed digits and two reduced clawless digits. Four clawed digits are present on each hindlimb.
The skull appears satisfactorily correct. The nose horn is appropriately short, and the brow horns are long with a downward curve. The frill is edged with large, triangular epoccipitals, and has a U-shaped notch at its midline. On either side of the notch there’s a downward pointing epoccipital (ep1) that’s connected to another that’s pointing upwards on either side of the notch (ep2). I’ve seen some chatter about how the the size, shape, or positioning of particular epoccipitals is inaccurate but none of that concerns me much, the midline notch is too shallow though.
Detail work is exceptional here with a variety of different scale sizes and shapes adorning different parts of the body. The head is mostly covered in small pebbly scales, but larger scales are sculpted around the edges of the various horns. Large, irregularly shaped scales are sculpted along the frill edges and some larger scales are sculpted along the midline of the skull and frill and between the squamosal and parietal bones on the frill. Striations are etched into the bases of the horns and the beak has a layered keratin-like texture. Even the back of the frill is detailed which is something lacking in some of PNSO’s ceratopsians.
Most of the rest of the body is detailed with small pebbly scales of varying size but there are some larger evenly spaced feature scales along the torso and thighs and the belly is covered in square shaped scales. Running from the back, over the hips, and down about half the tail are large crocodilian-like osteoderms that are definitely inaccurate for a ceratopsian. They remind me of some vintage restorations of Triceratops and the Invicta Triceratops in particular. I don’t know what compelled Haolonggood to add them, but they don’t bother me and in fact, I kind of like them. Finally, there are skin folds and wrinkles aplenty, mostly sagging around the torso and limb joints. There is also a sculpted cloaca.
Like all Haolonggood dinosaurs this Pentaceratops comes in two different colors, an “orange” one and the “black” one that I have. I chose this variant because of the contrast in colors but the orange one is stunningly vibrant, and you can’t go wrong with either of them. Both figures have similar patterning with only the colors being different.
The paintjob is extremely complex with many subtle variations in tone. The head is mostly dark gray and orange with vivid bright orange on the frill overlain with dark gray markings. The base of the facial horns are gray with darker gray speckling and gradually fade to off-white on the brow horns while the nasal horn fades to pale orange. Epoccipitals are edged in black and painted off-white with a slight hint of orange. The back of the frill is as vibrantly painted and intricately patterned as the front. The eyes are blue and yellow with black pupils.
The body is painted in various shades of orange and yellow with dark brown and gray splotches and darker gray speckling around the splotches. The tail is tipped in blue, and the underside has a creamsicle orange color. The paintjob is reminiscent of a cloudy sunset and absolutely stunning to behold. I adore everything about it and the paint application is exemplary.
The Haolonggood Pentaceratops is a superb model with only a few questionable design choices that are easy to overlook and vastly outweighed by the model’s positive attributes. It is easily among the year’s top 10 for me and one of my favorite ceratopsians in my collection. The best part is that it is shockingly affordable, retailing for about $31.99 but often on sale, particularly on Aliexpress. I think that I probably paid closer to $20 for mine. That puts this model, which is similar or superior to PNSO in quality, in a price bracket similar to Safari Ltd. It’s one of the must have figures of 2023.