Tanystropheus (Starlux)

4.1 (7 votes)

Somehow, not a single Starlux figure has ever been reviewed on the Dinosaur Toy Blog! I don’t know how we omitted such an influential line all this time but it’s time to finally change that. The delightful line of prehistoric animals produced by French company Starlux, mainly during the 1960s and 70s, is highly collectible today. The interesting and diverse array of species in the collection, together with their pre-“dinosaur renaissance” appearance and small size, makes them especially desirable. In terms of collectability the old Starlux line could be compared with the Kaiyodo miniatures or CollectA lines today. The Starlux figures are produced in a brittle material, which makes finding intact pieces rare. This is especially true for the more delicate figures such as the narrow-necked Tanystropheus reviewed here.

Tanystropheus Starlux

The weird and wonderful Tanysropheus is an intriguing reptile from the Triassic of Italy, best known for its ridiculously long neck. Starlux created two versions of Tanystopheus and I think the version featured here is the first, although I’m not sure. Tanystropheus was frequently portrayed in historical paleoart as lurking on rocky shores, using its long neck as a fishing rod. Similarly, the Starlux Tanystropheus looks ready to take its place on the shoreline with its narrow arching neck ready to strike. There were very few bones in the neck so flexibility was limited in life, and the actual function of the long neck in Tanystropheus remains controversial.

Tanystropheus Starlux

This Starlux figure is about 13 cm long but very light. The legs are splayed out in a rather lifeless arrangement and they lift the body entirely off the ground. There are nice details all over the figure: a ridge runs along the back, there are wrinkles where the legs meet the body, and the toes are individually sculpted. The attention to detail and accuracy in such a small figure is impressive, particularly since it was produced over 40 years ago. There are no markings on the body to indicate the company, date, or name of the animal. This seems to be the case for all of the Starlux figures I’ve encountered.

Tanystropheus Starlux

There is a small circle on the back indicating the point of injection for the plastic during the production process. The colour is deep green with paler green below and black claws. Some crude splodges of paint on the face are intended to pick out the eyes and mouth, but make it look more like a clown than a reptile. For me, these minor flaws add to the charm of the figure. Despite being such an obscure creature, Tanystropheus has since been reproduced as a toy by Safari Ltd, Kenner (for Jurassic Park), and Kaiyodo, presumably due to its irregular appearance. But keep in mind – it was Starlux that led the way.

Starlux figures have been out of production for many years, but often crop up on eBay here Beware though, some figures can command high prices.

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