Following in the footsteps of Safari Ltd and Papo, CollectA burst into the world of miniatures in late 2015. Today we’ll be looking at Prehistoric Tube A, which contains no less than ten figures of some of the most popular dinosaurs and other extinct animals. The tube itself measures 27 cm long, is made of transparent hard plastic, opens like a chest, and fastens shut securely with a clasp. This makes it easier to remove or put away your toys than with the Safari Ltd Toobs. Also keeps your toys safer.
First up in the assortment is that unmistakeable piscivore from the UK, Baryonyx. This shrimpy spinosaur measures 8 cm long and is coloured brownish-green with grey stripes, black airbrushing on the hands and feet, black eyes, and a pink mouth. The toy is sculpted in a typical “Grrrr, I’m a big, scary dinosaur!” pose. The skin is wrinkly with thick folds of skin on either flank. While the head looks nice, the hands are pronated and the hips are too wide. It appears that this toy was copied straight from the Deluxe Baryonyx, and it’s a shame that the sculptor didn’t think to fix these errors. As it stands, this is the weakest toy in the lot.
Next up is a dinky Diplodocus standing a good 7.5 cm tall and measuring about 9 cm long. Its main colour is dull green with a pale yellow underbelly, dark brown stripes, dark green feet, and black eyes. Like its larger version, it is rearing up on its hind limbs, seeing off a carnosaur or reaching for the most succulent vegetation. The skin has a pebbled texture and a row of triangular osteoderms runs down nearly the entire length of the spine. The muscles around the chest region are bulging like a powerlifter’s, but the neck looks too thin when viewed from the front. A decent little sauropod overall.
Here’s a cute little Kentrosaurus. From snout to spike tips it measures only 6.5 cm long. It’s rather bland in colour, pine green with darkened feet, back, and underbelly and black eyes. The skin is pebbled and the plates and spikes are smooth. Despite the lack of bright colours, this is quite an impressive miniature, quite unmistakeable as Kentrosaurus. It would work well as a baby for the Standard version, although I suppose the plates and spikes look too mature.
And now here’s a minute Mosasaurus. Actually, this one is the largest of the lot at 12 cm long. It is coloured dark grey with a pale yellow underbelly, white stripes on the body and spots on the tail, black eyes, a pink mouth, and white teeth. The body is smooth save for groves on the head and flippers and thick wrinkles around the neck and flanks. Still no forked tongue, but the pterygoid teeth are present in the upper jaw. Again, while the proportions are no doubt off, this wonderful toy looks positively adorable alongside its Deluxe momma!
Next is a petite Pachycephalosaurus mounted on a muddy brown base. It measures 5.5 cm long and is coloured dull green with yellow airbrushing on the head and underbelly, dark red stripes, dark green hands and feet, and black eyes. The sculpting on this toy is particularly impressive. The hands have the correct number of fingers and the head is adorned with plenty of spiky knobs. The domed cranium is pitted and scarred and the skin is pebbled. A pleasing little toy that could be construed as a baby alongside the Standard version. That is, unless you support the Pachycephalosaurus/Dracorex hypothesis.
Behold, a puny Parasaurolophus, always the “go-to” hadrosaur for any toyline (which, given the wonderful diversity of hadrosaurs, is quite lamentable). It measures 9 cm longe and is orange with a darkened bill, back, hands, and feet, black stripes and eyes, and a red crest. The skin is mostly pebbled with some thick wrinkles along the sides, muscular limbs, and grooves in the crest and the bill. Not nearly as imposing as the massive Deluxe version, of course, but a very nice miniature.
And here’s a pint-sized Pteranodon, another “go-to” prehistoric animal (although the variety among toy pterosaurs is better than with hadrosaurs!). It measures slightly under 5 cm long with a wingspan of 8 cm. The toy is translucent grey with black for the body, arms, and eyes and light orange for the head, hands, and feet. It’s a pretty cool look. The head looks good enough, and I reckon we can forgive the lack of preaxial carpals at this scale, but the wings look too wide for a proper Pteranodon. Still, it’s good enough for a miniature.
Now take a look at this stunted Stegosaurus. It measures 7.5 cm long and is blue-grey with light and medium brown plates and spikes, black eyes, and dark patches on its sides and feet. It is sculpted in a modern pose with its head turned slightly to the right and its formidable tail raised high. The skin has a rough texture with wrinkles on the underside, the head is appropriately small, and the feet have the correct number of toes. As you can see, however, some of the grooved plates are weirdly shaped. At least they don’t have weird patterns like the Standard’s.
Gangway for the teeny Triceratops! Measuring slightly under 7 cm long, it is coloured rather plain: medium grey with black airbrushing, muddy green epoccipitals, horns, and beak, and black eyes. The skin texture is pebbled and there is a row of trademark CollectA quills running atop the hips, although they’re less noticeable due to the colour scheme. The muscles are well-defined, the feet have the proper number of toes, and the head is well-sculpted, although the beak looks slightly off. The alert pose suggests that the Triceratops has just been startled by something. Perhaps by . . .
. . . a tiny Tyrannosaurus rex! Rounding out the set is this fearsome apex predator that measures 9 cm long. The colour scheme is virtually identical to that of Firestreak’s: light brown and pine green plumage with an airbrushed white underbelly, red crest, black eyes, pink mouth, white teeth, darkened fingers and toes, and a medium brown earthen base. The animal is sculpted in a menacing attack pose with its tail twitching, its left leg forward, its head turned to the left, and its jaws wide open. It appears to be based on this year’s Hunting Tyrannosaurus figure. The musculature and plumage are well-sculpted, the hips are the proper width, and the eyes are correctly aligned. This teensy-weensy tyrant is a winner!
If miniatures are your cup of tea, then CollectA’s Prehistoric Tube A is right up your alley! Some of the little toys do have flaws, but overall, I think they’re on par with Safari Ltd’s and definitely superior to Papo’s. Their small size and durable carrying case make them ideal travel toys for children (or for certain adults!). I hope these sets become a mainstay of CollectA’s annual assortment from now on. A prehistoric mammal tube would be especially sweet!