For all the dozens and dozens of Velociraptor toys & models which swarm the market, there are criminally few which attempt to depict the famous “swift plunderer” as something even remotely resembling what we know of the real-life animal. When sculptor and toy designer David Silva announced his articulated Beasts of the Mesozoic line in 2015, beginning with a series of 1:6 scale, scientifically accurate dromaeosaurs, collectors were understandably very excited at the prospect. The Deluxe Raptor Series released to great success through Kickstarter and Silva’s Creative Beasts Studios website, and Silva began preparing the “Beasts” line for expansion, with even bigger ceratopsian and tyrannosaur action figures next on the horizon. While developing and releasing these extensive new series, Silva also returned to the raptors with a trio of downsized, 1:18 versions of the deluxe figures (alongside three resized ceratopsians as well), designed to scale appropriately with the newer, bigger dinosaur series. Naturally, number 1 of this new mini-series was Velociraptor mongoliensis.
All of the Beasts of the Mesozoic figurines in the new 1:18 mini-series come packaged in a collector-friendly plastic shell package, with a removable cardboard insert featuring the product information and facts about the dinosaur. Artwork from the Deluxe Raptor series – produced by Jonathan Kuo in Velociraptor’s case – is featured on the front of the insert. Inside the shell, the raptor is housed with a second pair of legs, a transparent base, and display pieces to secure the raptor to the base (rod, grip, toe clamp). Instructions are also included for equipping the accessories. All pieces should, naturally, be handled with care; this is a small model, and individual pieces may risk breaking or warping with overuse or excessive force.
Velociraptor measures just over 10cm (4in) long, technically putting the figurine closer to 1:20 scale than 1:18 for a 2-meter live specimen. Despite its small size, the action figurine does excellent work capturing the details originally present in the 1:6 Deluxe version. Velociraptor is presented as a much more gracile, birdlike predator than the robust reptile general audiences are used to envisioning. The body is coated in sleek, feathery plumage, and the hands are correctly positioned palms-inward. The skull is long and slender, and the teeth are protected in lipped jaws – all fundamental traits of the animal firmly rooted in current scientific understanding (or at least reasonably argued for, in the case of the lips). Velociraptor is known from very good remains, so the figurine is able to follow a completely accurate outline with care given to every body part and proportion. Any slight discrepancies are likely due merely to the challenge of maintaining both the sculpt and articulation on such a small frame.
Articulation is pretty extensive for such a small action figure; a total of 15 articulation points are featured, retaining the majority of poseability from the Deluxe figure. Two joints in the neck allow the raptor to look in all directions, though not to any extremes (the “sleeve” piece in the middle of the neck might have been better sculpted loose, or not as a separate piece at all). The jaw opens wide and closes snugly. The tail can also wag in most directions, although it remains rigid in pose with no wire for flexibility. The arms can swivel from the shoulders, elbows, and wrists; they can’t tuck flush to the body, but they can “flap” and outstretch for combat and display. The legs are jointed in the hips and the knees; the lower legs can be exchanged between standing and running poses for more dynamic shots. One last joint in the torso allows for a little extra range in posture, whether the little raptor be on the run, leaping through the air, or just resting for a moment between action sequences.
Handling so many joints on a small figure mandates caution, of course; even a high-quality item is not immune to breakage. My raptor has not sustained any damage, thankfully, but different joints require different care. The arms on my figurine tend to be rather loose, and easily flop around if jostled; the knees, in contrast, are so sturdy I’m sometimes afraid of snapping the pegs from the force they need to bend. The rest of the articulation functions with the sculpt without much issue. Pins in the arms and jaw are visible on the figure, but are mostly camoflagued by the paint scheme to avoid distraction to the design.
For coloration of Velociraptor, David Silva referenced the bearded vulture (or lammergeier), a large living “raptor” from the Himalayan region. Several other variants have been released since the first Deluxe raptor, but the 1/18 figurine retains the original color scheme faithfully and effectively. Complexity of the patterns is understandably reduced, but the figurine is still striking with its yellow and rufous-red colors, punctuated by dark brown/grey limbs and racing stripes on the face. Dry-brushing along the back and tail bring out the excellent fine detailing of the plumage, as well as to the primary feathers on the arms. Collectors who enjoy textile qualities in their models will appreciate how pleasantly rough the surface of this figurine is, in addition to all the other traits already to its credit.
David Silva and his collaborators have been hard at work over the past few years with the Beasts of the Mesozoic series, striving to produce some of the finest dinosaur action figures on the market. While the final products aren’t cheap, the results seen in the likes of this 1/18 Velociraptor speak for themselves with their level of quality. The little raptor isn’t a perfect model, but it’s very, very good for what it is, and hopefully this set sells well enough for more little 1/18 dinosaurs to be on the horizon. Creative Beast’s 1/18 Velociraptor comes recommended.