Teratophoneus (Beasts of the Mesozoic by Creative Beast Studio)

4.4 (63 votes)

Today marks a milestone in the life of young Sealgair. For years, he observed his father and mother as they tracked, pursued, and killed one prey animal after another, never giving up until he and his siblings had filled their bellies with meat. Those lessons have served him well once he set out into the world on his own. Many a smaller theropod, mammal, lizard, bird, and even a couple of crocodiles have met death in his jaws. But now he seeks to take down his biggest prey yet: a juvenile Utahceratops grazing placidly on ferns just a few yards away from where he has concealed himself. It’s a bit heavier than him, but still has yet to sprout any sharp bits on its skull. And as the youngster lowers its head to take another mouthful of greens, Sealgair explodes out of the brush and decisively chomps down on the back of its neck!

But instead of collapsing, the young ceratopsian brays loudly in pain and fright, wrenches its way free of Sealgair’s jaws, and hightails for its life. And before he can even begin to pursue, an even louder, angrier bray rumbles across the field. Two fully grown adult Utahceratops have heard the cry for help and are plowing through the ferns to the rescue. One herds the bleeding youngster away while the other charges straight at Sealgair, who rears to his full height, opens his mouth wide, and bellows his loudest. No such luck. The Utahceratops keeps right on coming and now it’s Sealgair’s turn to hightail it. He flees for the trees as fast as his feet can carry him and quickly manages to lose his pursuer in the thick foliage. This hunt has been a decisive failure. Still, that youngster’s wounds will now make it easier to sniff out and once night falls, there may be another, better opportunity to strike . . .

Original concept artwork by David Silva.

Back in the fall of 2021, I pledged towards three figures in Creative Beast Studio’s Beasts of the Mesozoic Tyrannosaur Series (would have liked to have pledged for more, but those dratted demons known as funding and space got in the way as usual). The first one was, of course, the Kickstarter Exclusive 1/18 scale Tyrannosaurus rex, or Marbhtach as I call him. And for my second pick, I went with Teratophoneus curriei, the “monstrous murderer,” a denizen of southern Utah during the Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous some 77 or 76 million years ago.

The packaging this time around is much, much smaller than Marbhtach’s: 26 cm long x 18 tall x 7.5 cm wide. The front features a marvellous closeup rendition of a Teratophoneus hunting for prey in a dark forest, courtesy of Raul Ramos.

The back of the box includes a description and stats for the animal, a list of the figure’s features, an image of the figure, and headshots of all the other tyrannosaurs from Wave 2. Finally, the diorama insert depicts a dark and shadowy forest.

The collectible card features the same artwork and photograph as the packaging. The length and weight provided are for a six metre long, half-ton juvenile, which is fitting given that the holotype specimen of Teratophoneus is thought to be just that. Adults probably achieved around nine metres in length, which is close to the same size as the other known North American tyrannosaurids, save for one painfully obvious exception.

And here is the Teratophoneus itself! I decided to continue the trend I started with Marbhtach by giving this young up-and-comer yet another Scottish Gaelic name, Sealgair (shall-IG-are-UH). He measures about 33 cm long from the tip of his snout to the end of his tail and stands a little under 12 cm at the hip when posed in a neutral horizontal stance. He can also achieve a maximum height of 21.5 cm with his legs straightened out as much as possible, his tail acting as a third support, and his head reared back, as seen in one of the images to come.

Like most BotM figures, Sealgair’s colour scheme was inspired by an extant animal, namely the critically endangered painted terrapin of Southeast Asia. His main colours are black and a very pale, slightly pinkish beige. Dark brown, medium brown, and dull pink markings adorn his neck, torso, and tail, plus there’s a row of muddy brown patches on top of his tail closer to the tip. His feet are dark brown with reddish brown scutes and his claws are glossy black.

Sealgair’s head is coloured the same as the rest of his body, along with muddy brown on his snout, dirty light brown for his nasal ridge, preorbital hornlets, and postorbital bosses, and light brown eyes. Finally, the inside of his mouth is glossy pink with off white teeth. It’s quite a solid colour scheme overall, one that is striking, distinctive, and plausible.

With his narrow torso, elongated legs, and overall graceful build in addition to his relatively small size, there can be no mistaking Sealgair for anything other than a youngster. That may be something of a disappointment to those who were hoping for a fully grown adult Teratophoneus. But like any good tyrannosaur figure, he still has a definite air of strength and menace to him. On that note, another reason for not making him an adult was to save on costs; he shares the exact same body as the Qianzhousaurus and the juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex (or Nanotyrannus, if you’re still holding out on that notion). And on that note, it’s time for the obligatory comparison shots. We begin with Sealgair standing proudly in the presence of the massive Marbhtach.

And here is Sealgair with all the other North American tyrannosaurids. All of these genera are slated for release in the BotM series, and possibly in Cyberzoic as well.

Gorgosaurus, Lythronax, Bistahieversor, Albertosaurus, and Daspletosaurus. Someone needs to make a Dynamoterror someday.

This being a BotM figure, the sculpting detail is nothing short of excellent. The skin texture consists of fine rounded scales all over, along with overlapping scutes covering the feet and toes. There are also some thick folds of skin on the bottom of the neck, along the flanks, and around the hip region, but Sealgair is overall a great deal less wrinkly than the massive Marbhtach. The claws on his fingers are curved and rather pointy, while the ones on his toes are thicker and blunter. The ridges on top of his skull are rough and bumpy. Finally, the inside of his mouth is mostly smooth and the teeth, while small, are fairly sharp. As I mentioned before, his skull is based directly on the restoration of that of the holotype specimen, and it appears, to myself at least, rather snoutfair indeed. As with all the BotM tyrannosaurids, there are no feathers visible on this one.

And now we come to Sealgair’s extensive articulation. His mouth opens to about 30 degrees and his tiny tongue is on a ball joint, although it’s so small that it can be difficult to move it. When closed, his teeth are completely concealed, which is nice. His head can turn from side to side, raise and lower slightly, and cock slightly to either side as well. The base of his neck is ball-jointed and can rotate a full 360 degrees as well as turn in multiple directions. His shoulders are ball-jointed and his elbows and wrists have universal joints. His torso is ball-jointed in front of the waist, allowing it to swing from side to side. It can also rotate a little, but it really doesn’t look right that way. His legs have ball joints at the hips and feet and universal joints at the knees and ankles. Finally, the base of his tail is on a ball joint (hope you remembered to heat up the plastic before trying to attach it!) and the tail itself is bendable just like those of the BotM raptors.

As you’ve seen from the images thus far, Sealgair can indeed stand up on his own two legs reasonably well, and even achieve some decent poses, although it doesn’t take much applied force for him to topple over. Being one of the smaller BotM tyrannosaurs means that he’s less likely to suffer serious damage from a fall, but I wouldn’t recommend tempting fate. I’ll probably be keeping him in a sitting pose in my increasingly crowded display cabinet.

Sealgair’s base measures 11 cm long and 8 cm wide and is sculpted to resemble dull and dark brown rock surrounded by forest green moss. Two stout pegs jutting up from the surface can accommodate the holes in the soles of Sealgair’s feet.

There are two sets of alternative feet, one with the toes bent and the other with the toes held closely together. As always, it is best to heat these pieces up first before attempting to swap them out. In addition, there are two clear curved clips just like the ones that came with the BotM raptors. But now there are two support rods of different length, and a curved piece that connects a rod to a clip. This allows for a greater variety of fluid active poses than one could achieve with the raptors, although a good bit of precision fiddling is still required, of course.

While I admittedly would have preferred a mature Teratophoneus instead of a juvenile, I’m very pleased with Sealgair nonetheless. His small size and lightness make much easier to handle and play around with than Marbhtach (although the big guy will always be my favourite BotM figure by far). He’s beautifully sculpted, he’s got a great colour scheme, and he still comes off as a ferocious predator in spite of his youth. Strongly recommended overall, he is.

This has been my last Creative Beast review until sometime next year. Now let’s bid a fond adieu to Sealgair. See, there he is in hot pursuit of some of the herbivores that coexisted with him back in the day!

“This time I’m going to succeed! Nothing can stop me now!”

“Oh no, not you again! It’s not fair!”

“Ten thousand thundering typhoons!”
“Wowsa! Thanks so much, Marbhtach! How can I ever repay you?”
“Don’t sweat it, kid. Us tyrants gotta stick together. Now let’s munch!”

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Comments 2

  • Nice. I was unfamiliar with this genus. Living in Utah at the moment, I am becoming more fascinated with the dinosaurs found here. I’ll wait for a non-articulated version that doesn’t require assembly, however, before I add one to my Museum 🙂

  • I can’t wait to add it to my collection!

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