Haoran is enjoying himself as always when relieving the itches along his colossal body by rubbing against the coarse bark of a far more colossal tree. Seeking to scratch both the top and the bottom of his neck at once, he squeezes it between two thick, knobbly branches and grunts with pleasure at the sensation. But when he tries to withdraw his neck . . . it is stuck. Firmly wedged between the branches, it is.
Annoyed, Haoran attempts to pull free, but the branches do not give. He pulls again. The branches do not give. He snorts angrily and pulls again, and again, and again. The branches still do not give. Annoyance begins to give way to agitation. Haoran takes a step back from the tree, straightens out his neck, and pulls even harder. Now the knobs on the branches are digging right into his skin, causing him pain, impeding his breathing. Haoran lets out a thunderous bellow of rage and desperation as he ignores the hurt and strains with every ounce of his might. At last, the lower branch snaps and Haoran is free! His skin is now torn and bleeding and his neck aches from the ordeal, but his tiny brain knows just enough to tell him it is nothing too serious. He shakes his head to clear the air, raises it high as though to regain some dignity, and begins to slowly lumber off . . .
Ruyangosaurus giganteus was an Early Cretaceous basal titanosaur from China and one of the largest known Asian dinosaurs. Like most megalithic sauropods, it is known only from fragmentary remains, so its precise size is uncertain. The Sauropods by Asier Larramendi and Ruben Molina-Perez lists it nearly 25 metres/81 feet in length and 37.5 tons in weight, however, Molina-Perez has kindly informed me of the existence of a specimen whose description was not published until after their book was. This one is estimated to have achieved 29.5 metres/97 feet long and 55 tons in weight, which would put Ruyangosaurus in the same size class as Brachiosaurus and Patagotitan!
CollectA’s 2023 Deluxe Ruyangosaurus measures 40 cm long and slightly over 29 cm tall. This makes it their biggest toy of the year and their tallest sauropod to date, although the old Deluxe Brachiosaurus is probably more massive. It certainly towers over all the other sauropods in my display case. As such, I’ve dubbed this individual Haoran, which means vast or overwhelming. He is posed in a walking stance with his head held high and facing forward, his right front leg stepping forward, his left hind leg extended back, and the tip of his tail raised. It’s a perfect pose for a giant titanosaur, one that makes it looks graceful, powerful, and majestic. I was definitely smart to rearrange the figures in my display case so that this big boy would fit properly!
Haoran’s main colour is a shade of medium grey with light grey on the underside of his neck and his belly, darker grey patches and black wash to accentuate his musculature and scales respectively, dull light brown for his claws and the many osteoderms and scutes decorating his back (more on those later), and glossy black eyes. It’s a drab ensemble to be sure, and there have been plenty of sauropod toys with brighter and bolder colours, but it’s perfectly plausible. Perhaps a more pressing concern is that it is nearly identical to the one on the CollectA Mamenchisaurus released two years earlier. A shade of brown or green instead of grey may have worked better. Fortunately, the two titans are still very easily distinguishable from one another when placed side by side.
Although no cranial material of Ruyangosaurus has yet been discovered, Haoran has been given a head with a long, sloping snout, which is a reasonable reconstruction that is very similar to the heads of Nemegtosaurus and Rapetosaurus. Each of his crescent-shaped front feet features a single curved claw on the inner toe while his more rounded hind feet have three claws each. His torso, as seen in the images above and below, is quite big and bulgy, although the known fossil material suggests that the real Ruyangosaurus may have been even bulgier.
Haoran’s entire body is completely covered in finely sculpted round scales and a single row of flat, pointed osteoderms runs down the length of his wonderfully long neck. But the most interesting features are the osteoderms all over his back. They start out as small and oval-shaped around the base of his neck and his shoulders, then eventually grow to become huge conical spikes over his hips and tail. Ruyangosaurus is known to have coexisted with fellow titanosaurs Daxiatitan, Huanghetitan, Xianshanosaurus, and Yunmenglong, but the Haoling Formation has also yielded four carcharodontosaur teeth indicating that there was at least one giant carnivore preying on all these sauropods. In which case, spiky defensive armour would have come in very handy indeed. And they certainly do make Haoran look very cool and distinctive among other big sauropod figures.
Granted, Haoran’s spikes are purely speculative at the time of this writing, but similar armour has been confirmed on other titanosaurs such as Saltasaurus, Ampelosaurus, and another towering giant: Alamosaurus. Indeed, CollectA could probably have sold this sculpt as a new version of Alamosaurus and no one would have blinked an eye.
The CollectA Deluxe Ruyangosaurus is definitely a must-have for any sauropod fan. It checks off all the crucial boxes: impressive size, lifelike pose, excellent sculpting, and, while it may not be known from many bones, its appearance is in keeping with what we know about the very largest titanosaurs. And again, those spikes are very cool indeed. This toy should start becoming available at online stores next month if not this one. My most heartfelt thanks to CollectA for this early review sample!