Spinosaurus (Papo Limited Edition)

4.4 (33 votes)

Review and photos by Bokisaurus

Well, after the long wait, and after all of the hype that surrounded it since its announcement, the new Papo Spinosaurus based on the latest reconstruction is finally available to the masses.
Surely this figures ranks as one of the most anticipated figure of all time and would probably go  down in history as one of the most polarizing figure.

Since it was announced early last year that the final figure for 2019 is going to be a limited edition Spinosaurus, there was great excitement within the collector community. There was a lot of lively discussions and speculations as to what this figure would look like.
Originally slated for an early summer release, many retail outlets put out a reserved list since no one really knew how many of this limited edition figure will be produced and for how long. Unfortunately, fans would have to wait for month before setting their eyes on the figure. For reasons unknown, the figure suffered multiple delays and by the end of the summer, it was looking as if it may not even be out in time before the year ends. 

But now that this figure is finally out, what is the verdict? Well, the answer is not as simple as one would like, and depends entirely on ones personal taste, opinion, expectations, as well as how you choose to look at the figure.

For me, this is the most impressive of all the new Spinosaurus figure. It really is a work of art and best viewed with an open mind.

Since the announcement of the new Spinosaurus reconstruction, figure of this new look slowly treakled. CollectA was the first one to release a figure while the rest of the major brands waited for the debate to settle before releasing their own interpretation.
A few years later, this reconstruction is pretty much the consensus, at least for now, and those companies that waited were finally ready to join in the Spino craze.
Well, for some reason, the majority of them decided that 2019 would be the year, so we got treated to not just one, but four new Spinosaurus figures, making 2019 the year of the Spino! That is a lot of figure for one species in a year, not even the king Tyrannosaurus rex have seen that many figures released in one year!

With its fellow 2019 graduate from Safari and Schleich. Although released in early 2019, the PNSO sculpt is really earlier, possibly 2017, but got delayed due to problems at that time.

With these many new figure, the challenge for any toy makers is how to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack, after all Spinosaurus fatigue is quickly setting in.
What made the Papo Spino so different from all the others is how the tail is interpreted.
When CollectA released their version way back in 2016, it was clear that they drew inspiration from crocodiles. This crocodilian look was appropriate for a large predatory and semi-aquatic animal, so it had became the default standard since then.

Although each of these figures had their own style, all of the figure that were based on this new reconstruction have the same crocodile-inspired look to them. This uniformity started to be boring, at least for me personally. If I am to add yet another Spinosaurus figure to the collection, I was hoping for one that had something different and unique to offer.

As you can see, all of the new Spinosoaurus’s tail were inspired heavily by crocodiles. The difference in tail interpretation is what truly set the Papo figure apart.

Papo, perhaps anticipating stiff competition with their Spinosaurus figure, knew they had to make theirs as different and unique as possible to stand out as well as warrant the limited edition status.
I personally think they have succeeded in this respect; their version is truly one of the most impressive and really caught many people off guard in how they depicted the tail, the most unique feature of the figure, one that will surely catch your eyes first.

The figure is huge and for a change really muscular. We often see Spinosaurus as being too skinny or slender.

Instead of the standard and safe crocodile-inspired look, Papo looked somewhere else for inspiration for the tail: Fish, more specifically eels and lungfish. That’s right, fish, something I was not expecting.
This idea of giving a dinosaur a fish-like tail is so out there that it takes some time to get over the initial shock.
But once you get over that, you really start to appreciate how cleaver this really is. So let’s take a look at this controversial feature first.

Eyeing a possible meal as it swims over the reef. No doubt Spinosaurus used its tail to help propel it underwater. What unique adaptation or tail modifications to accomplish this, if there are any, is not known due to poor fossil representation.

No doubt that Spinosaurus used its tail to propel itself in water and it may have evolved unique features to give it the maximum power it needs to move its heavy body.
The figure’s tail is flattened and wide, but also very muscular and ends with a rounded tip instead of the typical pointed one we see.
The base is thick and from here, just after the sail you see the start of the fleshy lobes or fin-like structures that runs along the entire top length of the tail until it reaches the tip where it forms a round point. The lobes below the tail transition much later, only after about halfway after the tail base, and only on the last quarter that you see the full lobes appear and goes all the way to the tip where it joins the upper lobes. Having the lower lobes smaller and start later makes sense as having it all the way would have rubbed on rough surfaces. By having the lower lobes only towards the end keeps this unique feature from damage as the animal moves around on dry land. 

The most distinctive and unique feature of the figure is its tail. Unlike the majority of figures that were inspired by crocodiles, Papo look elsewhere, in this case the fish. The eel-like design is unique and unexpected. As you can see, the tail is packed w with so many details and suggest that despite the design, its not as fragile as it looks.

On the upper half of the tail, you see three rows of osteoderms; the first row is a short one and is part of the sail as it transitions towards the tail. The second one is longer and runs along the middle part of the flashy lobes and ends halfway into the tail. The last row of osteoderms are the largest and outlines the base of the tail separating it from the fleshy lobes and ends as it reaches the last quarter length of the tail.
There are three torn areas on the fleshy lobes as well, one above, on the tip, and a small one below. These little imperfection really adds a whole new layer to the figure as it give us a little glimpse of its lifestyle.

When seen side-by-side with the Papo, all the other figures, with the exception of PNSO, really don’ have that much details on them and often looks, well, a toy.

What I really love about the tail beside thinking out of the box is the amount of details. The lobes have distinctive fin rays that radiates upwards. Covering these are small diamond shaped scales. The shapes and size of the scales varies and on the main tail, these scales are more rounded creating a sharp contrasting textures to the lobes, and they start off larger at the base and grow smaller as it moves down the tail. 
The presence of these scales suggest that these lobes are not as soft as a fish’s, but more sturdy due to the protective scales.
On the bottom of the tail, these scales are larger and more square in shape, something you would see on a crocodile and implies a harder, stronger scales that would protect the animals underside from abrasion.

So with this tail interpretation, the big question is does it make it inaccurate? That depends on how you choose to view it.
For an animal with poor and fragmented fossil representation, who knows? It could very well be that it may have evolved a tail that is unlike any other dinosaur tail we know of. To me, that unknown is where artistic license really comes into play.
So personally, I don’t view this tail interpretation as inaccurate. I choose to see it as yet another possible alternative to the standard crocodile-like we have become accustomed to, at least until we have a full sample of the tail.

With the PNSO figure. The PNSO is much longer mostly due to the tail length. Both show a very different and unique interpretation of the tail as well. Both figures are rich in detail and rival each other in terms of quality and high production.

The second thing that will get your attention upon seeing the figure is its size. this figure is massive, not in a long way like the PNSO figure which is longer, but more bulkier and muscular than any other Spinosaurus figures out there.
Often we see Spinosaurus figures as slender especially on the legs and arms which makes you wonder how on earth would it moved its great bulk.
But Papo addressed that by giving their version strong muscular legs and arms that can support such weight even on land.

The back legs  are posed as if the animal is pushing itself forward with one leg planted firmly on the ground and the other pulled up forward with toes curled.
This pose really gives the figure a great sense of movement and when you look at all the musculature on the legs, you can almost feel the strain put on them. The tension on the legs and muscles is simply amazing and really captures movement like I have never seen in any toy figure before.

Moving ashore to enjoy its meal. This is the standard horizontal pose for the figure.

The scales, skin folds, muscles, they all are sculpted in a way that really shows which direction the animal is moving.
In both the legs and arms, the scales varies in shapes and size and show various concentration all over the area and looks natural. Often we figures where the scales are done in uniformity that looks very artificial. 
And if you look under, the feet and hands all have webbing which makes sense for a semi-aquatic animal. And there are even very delicate details on the palm and foot pads as well.

The whole body measures a good 17”inches long from snout tip to tail tip, of all the new figures, only the PNSO version is longer. It is 6” tall at the highest point which is one of the dorsal spine.
The main body is covered in small scales that are mostly square in shapes and varies in sizes depending on where they are located in the body with those on the arms and lower part being the largest.
There are three main rows of large osteoderms on the back that runs from the base of the neck all the way down to the tail. These osteoderms also vary in sizes wit those on the center being the larges. There is also a small row just above the shoulder.

With the first versions of the new reconstruction from CollectA.

Thick veins covered in very delicate scales bulge out on its sides just around the stomach area. When you get to the belly, the scales are larger than in any other parts of the body and square in shape, very much like a crocodile. This detail makes sense since scales on this part have to be bigger and stronger to protect the underside as the animal moves around on hard and often rough surfaces.

The sail is huge! You can see the shapes of the bones just under the skin in rows. The shape is typical of what you see in Spinosaurus with the center crescent dip prominent between the two tallest neural spines. The tips end in little pointy spikes covered in what looks like keratin.
I really love the shape of the sail and how it was sculpted in an S-shape fashion that really shows movement and follows the way the body is posed. This undulating pose also suggest that the sail is more flexible and not as rigid.

The articulation of the jaw allows many options on how you want it to look.

Moving on towards the head, the neck is huge and powerful. On the back of the neck is where you will find the biggest concentration of scutes and osteoderms, tightly packed creating an impressive armor that protects this vulnerable part.
Again, the osteoderms vary in sizes with the largest on the top sticking out like spikes. You see these trend in pretty much all of the newer Spinosaurus versions.
Along the sides of the neck are thick skin fold as well as wrinkles, some even have small and very delicately sculpted spikes!

A loose skin that almost looks like a dewlap can be seen on the throat area which suggest flexibility to better able to swallow larger chunks of food or whole prey, very much like a pelican. The edges of this skin flap is also covered in very small scales and some spikes especially the center one where it runs along all the way up the lower jaw.

The teeth are all beautifully and individually sculpted. When the mouth is closed they all interlock perfectly w with each other. On my figure, the paint application is also very clean with no signs of bleeding. Although the teeth may be slightly exaggerated in size, I don’t find it out of the possibility and don’t count it as inaccurate.

The head is beautifully sculpted and unmistakably Spinosaurus. The prominent crest above the head just between the eyes are small and appropriate in size.
There are ridges that lines the brow above the eyes and if you look very closely you will see that they are full of small details.
The eyes are small and set far back and colored yellow with a black pupil. The eyes, at least own my figure, is painted perfectly with no messy edges.
Very small scales cover the head creating a nice mosaic of patterns and you can see the nostrils blended nicely with the scale and may even look like there is some fleshy outlines that may suggest it could open and close it.

The jaws are long and narrow as it should be and the distinctive notch is visible only when the mouth is opened.
The jaws are articulated perfectly and the joints beautifully and cleverly obscured by skin folds that you can’t really tell it’s articulated.
The joints open and close smoothly and hold its place at various stages with no sign of it being loose. The tip of the snout is rounded and is covered in many pits and scales, very much crocodilian.

The beautifully sculpted head showing all the little and delicate details. Notice the little spikes on the tip of the loose skin on the throat as well as the nostrils that suggest it could close it when submerged.

The teeth are large and perfectly sculpted individually, and when you close the mouth they interlock into a perfect tight fit.
Others may find the teeth to be too big and inaccurate, but I think it perfectly fits and is appropriate for this size figure.
Even if it is slightly exaggerated in size, in my opinion, it still is within the realm of possibility, after all just because a person have a bucktooth doesn’t mean that that person is not accurate, right? At last that’s how I view it in this case.
The teeth are also perfectly painted with no signs of bleeding, at least on my figure, even when you look inside.The big tongue dominates when the mouth is open and is sculpted nicely with lots of delicate details.

Now the colors. Many people were disappointed by the final mass produced colors as it didn’t closely match the prototype, especially on the sail.
Yes, it would  have been cooler if they were able to replicate the prototype design, but the end result is still really nice, in fact it is the nicest and most natural looking one out of all the Spinosaurus figures in my opinion.

The various earth tones create an amazing tapestry of colors that compliment all the details seen on the body.

The dominant color is a rusty brown and dark browns all across the body.
But in addition, there are so many different values and tones of these dominant colors mixed in with red, yellow, black, white, gray, ochre that creates a rich and visually appealing tapestry of earth tones that is hard to describe.
The blending and application is beautifully done that there are no areas of sloppy paint application on the figure, at least the one I got. The white translucent wash and highlight over the sail, tail and other parts of the body adds a nice touch that adds brightness to the figure.
The colors chosen and used all compliment each other and creates one harmonious visual feast for the eye, one that keeps on offering something new to notice the more you look at it.

The figure is sculpted in a pose that allows flexibility on how you want to display it and still looks natural and not contrived.

Lastly, I want to mention the pose. At first glance, it looks like a typical quadruped pose, but there is more to this pose than meets the eye. What struck me when I got the figure is just how flexible this pose really is.
All the Spinosaurus in this new reconstruction so far have poses that are too contrived, be in the swimming, walking, or simply standing, leaving me with little engagement as to how to display them that looks natural or to make up my own story. It’s all already done for you.
But this one is sculpted in such a way that offers you various ways on how you wan to pose it and still looks natural, and most importantly, it allows you to come up with your own story.

When I first committed to reviewing this figure, I was not sure how to tackle it. Often we see Papo figures criticized for their accuracy or being merely a JP inspired lot. This focus on accuracy overlook what really makes Papo figures unique: their sheer visual artistic quality.
When seen through this lenses, one can truly appreciate what amazing figures they really are, one that is unmatched pre- PNSO by any other brands.

A more vertical head up option as if the animal is striking upwards from the bottom to catch its prey.

The amount of details, small and larger, put into the majority of Papo figures are simply stunning. These and giving them exaggerated and often dramatic poses is what makes many of Papo’s figure seems alive when compared to other brands.
There is a unique quality in Papo sculpt that manages to capture and translate life into the majority of their models ( Don’t worry, I still have not forgiven them for what they did to poor Amargasaurus!) that you don’t see in other brands no matter how accurate they may be.
So when I wrote this review, I have chosen to focus on the artistic quality of the figure instead of being caught up on its minor flaws.
I hope that I was able to successfully do what I have set out to do.

A head shot to show the many details on the mouth, even the large tongue is packed with little delicate details.

In closing, I found this figure to be the most impressive of all the new Spinosaurus models out there and currently ranks as one of my favorites. To truly appreciate what an amazing figure this is, one have to view it with an open mind and not be too caught up on what little inaccuracies there are.
It is an imposing figure that will surely be catch peoples eye in every collection.
The limited edition status is surely a marketing gimmick that helps build up excitement about the figure, but I hope that it really is limited and not be released as a  regular one in a few years.
Doing so will not diminish the quality of the figure, but will damage fans trust in Papo if they chose to continue producing so called “limited edition figures.”

The often exaggerated and dramatic poses that Papo gives their figures is exactly what makes them look so alive. In my opinion, no other brands, no matter how accurate they are, can capture movement and life like some of the best from Papo.

In the end, despite it’s high price, I found that it is worth it for all the reason I mentioned.
I apologize for not having a photo of the box it came in. I opted to  have it shipped without the box due to the high cost associated, it would have doubled the shipping cost. Unless you intend to keep it in a box, which I don’t, I find it not necessary to have.

Parting Shot: Fishing for Dinosaurs.

Well, there you go. I know it was a long review, but I thank you all for reading and I hope that you have found the review enjoyable and informative.
Until the next one, take care and a belated happy new year! Cheers!

Epilogue 6/12/2020

Well, 5 months after I posted my review of this figure, another new and exciting study/discovery that would forever change the way Spinosaurus looks has just been published. Although I now have done 3 Spino review, this new finding impact this very specific review.

With new discovery, another new look for this enigmatic dinosaur!

You may recall that the most “controversial” part of this figure is its tail. Remember all the criticism and jokes about this figure just a few month ago?Instead of editing the original review, I am instead just going to add an epilogue and leave it fully intact. This way anyone who reads the review can see the full commentary about this figure before the new discovery.

The same team of scientist who discovered the first fossils that would forever change how Spinosaurus would look, went back to the same site a few years later and did more digging as well as study of the entire ecosystem of that site. The second expedition proved even more exciting than the first!The team would excavate a nearly complete tail of the Spinosaurus, something that had eluded scientist for decades and would give us for the very first time a clear picture of what the tail of this enigmatic animal really looks like.

As it turned out, Spinosaurus is more weirder that previously thought.

The tail proved to be beyond what everyone expected and more unique. Spinosaurus is such an odd dinosaur to start with, but the tail is truly something else.The new tail is very much like that of a fish, something never seen in a dinosaur before. The tall spines on the tail formed a flattened look that in some way mirror that of the sail.This tail design also confirms that Spinosaurus is, without a doubt, a dinosaur that evolved to be a mostly aquatic.

At home! The new tail help explain how the animal navigated in the water.

As it turned out and as wild as the tail on Papo’s Limited Edition Spinosaurus was, it is closer to what the actual tail looked like! I have no reason to believe that Papo had an “inside” knowledge of this new find when they set out sculpting the figure (usually month or years in advance).I think it was a lucky guess on the sculptor/designer’s part, and one have to give them credit for the out of box creativity they produced. It just shows that when it came to Spinosaurus, nothing is too weird!

The new tail find proves and makes Spinosaurus the first aquatic dinosaur!

Now the Papo came very close, but considering this was designed before the new find, they pretty much nailed it, and this makes this figure closer to what Spinosaurs look like especially when compared to all of the new figures that got released within the last four years.That being said, the figure is of course not 100% accurate, it just came the closest to being one when it came to the tail.

A dinosaur trying to be a fish! A closer look at the figures tail.

The tail is still designed very much like that of a fish or amphibian and does not show the tall spines that we now know it had on the tail. In fact, the “spines” on the figures tail are small, short, and delicate when compared to the new fossil evidence. But despite these, the tail on the fire very much capture this new look; a dinosaur trying to look like a fish!So, in short, this figure received some vindication and hopefully some respect as it is truly one of the best Spinosaurus figures ever produced in toy form.

A quick gulp of air before resuming the hunt. Spinosaurus has proven that nothing is too outrageous when it comes to its appearance.

Hope you are all staying safe and healthy. I hope you also all enjoyed the added new photos of the figure out in the wild! Cheers!

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Comments 10

  • Cool! He’s neat; I have one myself. Captain D has the coolest head

  • Hello everyone! I just added a quick update to reflect the new tail find.
    I left the original review intact and just added an epilogue as well as new photos. Enjoy!

  • They just published that they found a spinosaurus tail – and it’s not unlike this tail. So Papo either knew that these bones had been found or it was a really good educated guess.

    • Probably a coincidence, otherwise it would be even closer to the actual remains.

      • Yeah, I also think it’s a coincidence. The Papo figure’s tail is clearly not built from elongated neural spines, but from pterygiophores and lepidotrichia, like that of a an eel. Moreover, the figure has the finlike structure top and bottom, while Spinosaurus’s tail doesn’t have unusually enlarged hemal spines compared to other theropods. This figure only really resembles the new material in silhouette, underneath it’s fundamentally different.

  • I couldn’t agree more with you. Papo really enhances his unique designs and his poses although sometimes exaggerated give a touch of life that no brand does.

  • The colours reminded me of the National Geographic Spinosaurus. Did anyone else see that too?

  • Good review. I’ll be honest, I’m not enamoured by this figure, mostly due to the eel tail. I just don’t buy the notion that a Spinosaurus would evolve such a feature unless it became fully aquatic like a metriorhynchid or a mosasaur. Crocodiles and alligators certainly don’t possess such tails. Indeed, I much prefer the croc-inspired tails of the Safari and CollectA toys over this one. And if I had to pick just one over all others, it would probably be Essien from PNSO.

    I also don’t agree with Papo’s decision to make this toy a limited edition, but that’s irrelevant with regard to its quality.

  • Long and detailed review of Papo spinosaurus 2019 limited edition. I sincerely congratulate you Bokisaurus is a fair critic for a figure that goes out of the ordinary. I will never regret buying it.

  • Amazing figure! Can imagine the price will soar over time.

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