We tend not to review soft toys here on the Dinosaur Toy Blog and for no good reason. Given this long-standing omission it’s about time we head into new territory and cast an eye over our first plush toy to ever feature on the blog – a Palaeoplushie. This new line of plush toys is currently designed and hand made by Rebecca Groom and depicts, according to the tagline, a variety of “extinct vertebrates in a more cuddly form”. How can we resist!?
Palaeoplushies are no ordinary plush toys. They are anatomically accurate – essentially as accurate as you can get for a soft toy, I should think. The line contains marine reptiles, pterosaurs, and dinosaurs, some more obscure than others. Such is the quality and attention to detail that you’d be hard-pushed, at first glance or from a distance, to tell this is a plush figure and not a plastic model.
This Palaeoplushies Pliosaurus is the newest addition to my collection of prehistoric marine reptiles and at 43 cm (17 inches) long it is a sizeable model. For a soft toy the attention to detail is impressive and there are no major anatomical errors to speak of. The exact proportions of Pliosaurus are unknown so speculation here is warranted. If I had to pick on some part of the anatomy to be tweaked then I’d suggest beefing up the limbs where they join the body, so as to accommodate powerful swimming muscles.
The broad undulating countershaded pattern of pale and dark blues is somewhat reminiscent of Killer Whales and certain species of dolphins and porpoises. It is adventurous but pleasingly natural-looking and adds considerably to the realism of the figure. The three-dimensional shape of the model is quite simple but the coloured fabric (smooth, not fluffy) gives the illusion of three-dimensional detail, and other details such as eyes, nostrils, jawline, and teeth. A particularly nice touch on the Pliosaurus figure is an asymmetrical distribution of scratches that seem befitting for an aged pliosaur that must have seen plenty of battle-action over many decades spent in the rough district of a Jurassic ocean.
It is early days for Palaeoplushies and so they are currently being hand made individually. For this reason it is important to note that they are not currently certified by CE regulations and therefore cannot be sold for use by children under the age of 14. Given the quality of this Pliosaurus model I should think it is only a matter of time before this is resolved – this is as good as any commercially produced toy I’ve seen and looks perfectly safe to me. Hopefully, as the line grows in popularity and once these legal boxes are ticked, Palaeoplushies will become more widely distributed.
Indeed, Palaeoplushies are currently seeking donors as part of a Kickstarter campaign to bring a mass-produced version of one figure (Velociraptor) to the market: I’m glad to see the campaign has already exceeded its target with several days remaining, so there’s still time to pledge some monies and get your hands on some of the incentives (including pins, shirts, and plush figures).
In conclusion, Palaeoplushies is an exiting newcomer to the dinosaur toy scene, they are offering something different to all of the other companies, and we will be following their progress with great interest.
Palaeoplushies are available via Etsy (This Pliosaurus cost £15). You can find out more about Palaeoplushies at their Facebook page, and also join in the discussion in the Palaeoplushies thread at the Dinosaur Toy Forum.