Wuerhosaurus is one of those obscure names I often saw in books as a kid, but mostly just to complete an alphabet of dinosaur names. We don’t know exactly what this fragmentary stegosaur looked like, but Vitae’s model is well-detailed and adequately accurate for our current understanding.
Known only from fragmentary remains, Wuerhosaurus was one of the last-living members of the stegosaur family, hailing from the Early Cretaceous. Its most unique feature, judging from the few fossil remains, was its set of extremely short dorsal plates. However, they likely didn’t actually appear that way; the fossils have been determined to be broken and merely incomplete.
Unsurprisingly, this genus hasn’t had much attention from toy companies, but in 2018, Vitae was one of the few who stepped up to render the animal anyway. The Vitae Wuerhosaurus measures 7 inches (17 cm) long; size estimates for the animal are around 23 feet (7 m) long, placing the Vitae model close to 1:40 scale. Its features are likely inspired by traits from related genera like Dacentrurus and Stegosaurus.
The model is graceful in shape, with its head and tail held straight out and the belly raised well above the ground. It’s been speculated that Wuerhosaurus might have had a lower stance than other stegosaurs, based on the shortness of the humerus. Most reconstructions I’ve seen opt for a balance with longer lower limbs, however, and Vitae appears to do the same here. A “thagomizer”—the four spikes at the end of the tail—is featured, as well as two large shoulder spikes. A spike of some kind is known from this dinosaur, but its exact location on the body is not.
As mentioned before, examination of Wuerhosaurus fossils indicates that only the bases of the dorsal plates were preserved, and the complete plates would have been taller in life. Alas, we don’t know exactly what that shape would be, and Vitae has simply opted to sculpt their figure’s plates as short and rectangular, as with most reconstructions of this genus. It’s still a neat look, but knowing that it’s inaccurate, it might have been nice of Vitae to at least experiment with a fuller shape. The figure is made with plastic that is firm, but ever so slightly soft to the touch. Certain Schleich and CollectA figures have a similar feel.
Detail on the sculpt includes subtly wrinkled texture on the flanks and other body portions, with large, oval scales on the hips and behind the shoulder blades, plus smaller scales running down both pairs of limbs. There are actual skin samples known from some other stegosaurs, which indicate very small, fine scales that would, of course, be invisible at the scale of this model, so the larger scales depicted are very speculative. That’s not to say they’re impossible, though; not all stegosaurs may have had exactly the same integument, and it does add a nice little flourish to the figure’s appearance.
Coloration is predominantly green and red, but with a variety of shades. A grassy green covers the upper portions of the animal, with dark forest green stripes. The under-portions are a creamy white. The plates and spikes are a ruddy red, transitioning to light reddish-brown at the spike tips and outlined with dark green again on the plates. Similar red and brown highlights are applied to the beak, eyebrows (yeah, I don’t know about that one), and toes. Layers of paint application really bring out the finer texture of the figure, as best seen at the bases of the spikes and on the figure’s flanks. It’s a very naturally applied color scheme which brings to mind an animal which would probably be right at home in a deep forest.
Vitae doesn’t have a large presence on the market yet, but this Wuerhosaurus and other figures they’ve released so far show attention to detail and adequate scientific accuracy that lets their figures stand respectably along the likes of other companies like Safari Ltd. and CollectA. Sadly, Vitae figures tend to be a bit pricier due to their limited number of retailers, so if you’d like to add this fine stegosaur to your collection, snoop around on eBay or see if you can get a discount on AliExpress.