When it comes to dinosaurs, I believe there are essentially two attributes that attract us. They are either fearsome, or fancy. The fearsome ones are easy enough to spot, bearing a great deal of menace and lethality. Others may seem less terrifying, but fall into the “fancy” category. Exotic spiked frills, elaborate head crests, and armored plating all make for a visually interesting subject in a model or figure.
When Therizinosaurus came along, it was not immediately clear which of these categories it might fit into. It is a theropod, yet herbivorous. It carries huge claws, but probably used them for more than simple combat. It could probably hold its own in a fight, but it looked portly and just… well, quite weird.
A few companies, including Carnegie and CollectA, have taken a chance on therizinosaur figures in the past. Given their feathery coats, they present a unique challenge in mass production, and we must remember that feathered dinosaur figures are still quite rare today. Strangely, there were few efforts to craft a replica of the prototypical big-clawed dinosaur until this piece arrived from CollectA in 2012.
A certain BBC documentary likely deserves some credit in helping to popularize this bizarre creature, pitting it against Tarbosaurus in a violent confrontation. However, I believe much of CollectA’s success is owed to Anthony Beeson, whose work has allowed the manufacturer to quickly to rise to the top tiers of prehistoric figure quality.
At a very modest six inches in length, the fretting and worrying over feathery details is somewhat reduced. The texture is simple, but adequate to convey the unique body covering. It is attractively painted in autumnal hues of gold, mahogany, and sienna. There is a small tuft of feathers on the back, as well as each of the forearms. A subtle blue highlights the crest over the head. The signature claws are slightly blunted and just a tad pliable, for child safety concerns.
No skull has actually been discovered for this species, so they’ve obviously consulted other therizinosaurids for the reconstruction. The company’s stamp ID is somewhat obtrusively placed on the belly, but only if you’re staring straight at the figure from the front. This is actually an interesting angle, because it shows just how broadly built the animal was. Perhaps my favorite aspect is the pose. While some therizinosaur figures feature the animal’s arms in two separate positions (as though swinging or waving “hello”), this creature has both of its arms swung nearly completely outward, like the warning gesture of a bird. To nobody’s great surprise, this has been one of CollectA’s biggest hits of 2012, which will hopefully encourage other companies to pay homage to the scissor-handed freak of the Mesozoic.