Saltasaurus (Replica Saurus by Schleich)

3 (4 votes)

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In 1980 José Fernando Bonaparte discovered one of the first sauropods from Argentina, Saltasaurus. Unlike most other Argentinian dinosaurs, Saltasaurus was not discovered in the province of Chubut in the Patagonian centre of Argentina, but as its name suggests in the northwest province of Salta (travellers know the capital Salta as starting point for the colorful landscape of Jujuy).

Saltasaurus counts to the titanosaurids but nevertheless is a comparably small sauropod species with an estimated total lenght of under 13 metres. The most notable feature of Saltasaurus are its osteoderms, it is the first sauropod species that was found with such. Saltasaurus’ specific name loricatus means “armored by small plates”, a quit fitting description though the true purpose of those osteoderms is still under debate. Known from only fragmentary remains fossil material still allows for some confidence in reconstructing the animal as bone fragments of varying body parts have been found, including skull parts. Those let suggest that Saltasaurus had a head similar to those of diplodocid sauropods. In addition, fossilized eggs with embryos are known. The pattern of osteoderms found on these embryos resembles that of Saltasaurus.

In the world of toys, Saltasaurus is a rare encounter. Most popular is probably the one Safari released for the Carnegie line, Geoworld offered one and so did Schleich. Released in 2006 it was discontinued in 2010 and probably never sold in big numbers. In terms of style the figure fits right into the Replica Saurus 1:40 line of Schleich. Fortunately, unlike many of the figures released in this line (cough, cough, Baryonyx,…. cough, Albertosaurus…) , the Saltasaurus fares a lot better than its kin. That does not mean it comes without certain inaccuracies. Most notably are the claws on the front feet which is a standard issue with Schleich’s sauropod until very recently. The head’s sculpt is very simple, the nose openings are high on top and the ear openings behind the skull are way too big and prominent. The skin has a cracked look to it, but overall the surface texture “works”, especially with the aligned and highlighted osteoderms. Thick, powerful legs give the stout figure a firm stand. The tail base could be a bit beefier, but overall I dare say this rendition of Saltasaurus is the nicest of the three I know of. Schleich’s Saltasaurus stands 11 cm high and measures 24 cm from the tip of the nose to the curve of the tail, approx. 30 cm along the spine. It is comparably small for a sauropod toy figure, but that should be expected for a scale model as is the case in this line.

As with all Schleich figures, this one is made from plastic that can withstand some serious play and with an interesting surface texture this would certainly serve as a nice sauropod toy. If you are interested in this figure, ebay Germany is your first source. Prices vary greatly from around 8 to 40 €.

PS: Thanks to PhilSauria for letting me to review that figure and confirming the measurements.



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Comments 6

  • Great review!! It is actually rather nice animal and toy, it deserves a little more love then it has probably received over the years.

  • I didn’t include the Saltasaurus on my list on the DTF of Schleich dinos waiting for a review, since there was an older entry, though it’s only a stub. Thanks for the full-sized review.

  • Another very comprehensive and informative review! – I learnt more about the actual animal here than I knew before reading. Is that a home-made tree in some of the shots?, I don’t recognize it. PS; not a problem.

    • Yes it’s custom, made it several months ago while bored, it is ment to be some sort of Sigillaria, but I slacked in making the leaves, using a very simple technique to make small paper palm fronds (hence the edgy tips of the leaves :D)

  • It makes a very good pair with Carnegie’s saltasaurus. As mentioned, it is a pity that he is so underrepresented in the world of the toy dinosaur. He is a great figure and in my case like all the Schleich figures I still have his identification tag and his comparative figure nicknamed “Hans”.

  • Good review. Saltasaurus doesn’t get much attention anymore, probably because we now know that its armour wasn’t so unique after all. But I’d still enjoy a new version.

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