Review and photos by Faelrin, edited by Suspsy
In 2016, a Kickstarter campaign was launched that would help to revolutionize the world of dinosaur toys and collectibles by bringing forth figures that were not only highly detailed and highly articulated, but also scientifically accurate for the most part. These figures are from none other than the Beasts of the Mesozoic Raptor Series. The subject of this review will be none other then what was my introduction to the BotM figures, the Velociraptor mongoliensis.
My first encounter with this campaign was on the dinosaur subreddit in March of 2016, prior to the campaign launching, when I came upon an image of the Velociraptor prototype, with the information stating it was sculpted by David Silva, whom I was familiar with slightly at the time from him being the sculptor behind the highly articulated Jurassic Park Dino Showdown Pachyrhinosaurus from Hasbro. When the campaign finally launched, the initial selection also featured Atrociraptor and Tsaagan alongside the Velociraptor, all in 1/6 scale. But as funding continued to soar, further figures and eventually accessory pack and nestling pack stretch goals were reached and funded.
Velociraptor likely needs no introduction to those who frequent the blog and the forum, and yet while it is now a household name thanks to the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World franchise, the creatures that appear in those films are largely based upon now outdated reconstructions and classification of Deinonychus. But the actual Velociraptor with the longer snout (even if inaccurate) has made its way into pop culture as well, such as featuring in Disney’s Dinosaur and Dinosaur Revolution. Velociraptor mongoliensis lived in ancient Mongolia during the Campanian stage of the Late Cretaceous, in what is now the Djadochta Formation. It lived alongside animals like Protoceratops and Citipati. In fact, one of the most spectacular fossils ever discovered thus far is none other then the “Fighting Dinosaurs,” featuring a Velociraptor and Protoceratops that died together in battle, suggesting that the former actively hunted the latter.
The BotM Velociraptor is in 1/6 scale, making it appropriately 12 inches/30+ cm long, and about 5 inches/over 12 cm tall. The figure is largely made of plastic, although it features a rubbery piece on the neck and a bendable rubber tail that can be positioned in a number of ways. It also features joints in the neck, jaw, tongue, hips, knees, ankles, toes (including the second digit containing the famous sickle shape talons), shoulders, elbows, and wrists, as well as several joints in the tail (including an alternate position for it). The coloration on the figure has been derived from the bearded vulture, otherwise known as the lammergeier. The figure also comes with a base, a posing rod with several clips, and an alternate set of toes for running. The toes can be stored underneath the base, which is rather handy. The figure also has meticulously sculpted feathers and scales, and has lips covering the teeth. The figure comes in wonderfully designed packaging featuring artwork by Jonathan Kuo, and with a background insert featuring a desert scene. Perhaps my only complaints about this Velociraptor are that the jaw does not close all the way (though this is not the only figure suffering from this issue in this line), and that it might have issues standing in certain poses at times, even with the posing rod and appropriate clip being used.
As far as accuracy goes, this figure mostly gets it right. The proportions are correct, the skull shape is correct, it is covered in extensive feathering, it is not shrink-wrapped, the wrists are not pronated, it has primary feathers attached to the second digits, and as mentioned previously, it also has lips. Perhaps the wing feathers could have been larger, and the tail feathers seem to follow the trend of having a tail fan which is due to a now outdated misunderstanding of Microraptor‘s tail feathers, and perhaps instead it have longer feathers, like on Zhenyuanlong, which Velociraptor was closely related to. The hands are also covered in scales, which is also debatable.
While the sculpts of the bases are shared among the larger raptor figures, the color scheme of this particular base is intended to resemble desert ground, which Velociraptor‘s environment would have been like. There are a few rocks sculpted onto the base, and is textured to resemble dirt or sand, and has some fallen or dead foliage upon it as well. Although it does not match the base in the Desert Environment Accessory Pack completely, it still fits well alongside it. The base itself measures about 3 inches/7.6 cm wide by about 4.25 inches/10.8 cm long.
For fans of scientifically accurate dinosaurs, and action figures, this Velociraptor is perhaps a must-have. It goes quite nicely with the Desert Environment Accessory Pack, and the Amber Nestlings as well. The newer version of this figure is now in stock in the shop on the Creative Beast Studio website, if not other retailers such as Big Bad Toy Store, Everything Dinosaur, and MiniZoo. Readers of this review might also want to take note that the next Beasts of the Mesozoic Kickstarter campaign will feature ceratopsians in 1/18th scale (such as Styracosaurus, Pachyrhinosaurus, Xenoceratops, etc), and is expected to start September 17th, 2019. One of the stretch goals will also be the Velociraptor‘s contemporary and prey, the Protoceratops (in 1/6 scale).