Zhejiangopterus (Vitae)

4.9 (9 votes)

When we think of the group of pterosaur knows as azhdarchid, the first thing that comes to mind are the large species such as Quetzalcoatlus and Hatzegopteryx for good reason. These two famous species are the largest of the pterosaurs and hold the record as the largest animal that have ever taken to the air. But like all family, there are small to medium size members that are not the center of attention.Our subject today is one of them.

Zhejiangopterus lived in what we know today as China during the later Cretaceous and is known from one species. For a pterosaur, a large group notorious for having fragile bones that don’t fossilize very well, it is one of the most complete with several well-preserved fossils that even include juvenile skull impressions. Despite this fossil throve, the species is still obscure and not well known especially when compared to its larger and more famous relatives.

The five piece set featuring Chinese dinosaurs that it came with. A nice assortment of unique species worthy of adding to any collection.

Vitae released a five-figure set that focused on species unique to China that included Zhejiangopterus, the subject of our review. It was the only pterosaur included in the set and happens to be the very first toy figure of this fascinating species. Zhejiangopterus was a medium size pterosaur (when compared to its giant relatives) with a wingspan estimate of around 11.5′ feet and weighing in at around 17 pounds. With these estimates, it is easier to imagine the animal in flight.

I wish that if pterosaurs are posed in flight that they should come with a stand to display them. If not, they just end up looking like roadkill. I used a stand from another figure.

Like other members of azhdarchids, it has a large skull that was long, however, it lacks a crest. It has a long, thin, and sharply pointed beak and lacked teeth. These features are represented in the figure well; the beak is thin, long, and pointy as it should be and has no teeth. There is a slight keel on the upper beak.

The head is nicely painted with stripes that gives it a tiger look.

The eyes are small and painted black, hard to tell if they are just painted on or if sculpted. You can see the large antorbital fenestra on the upper beak which takes up a good portion of it; this feature is an adaptation to greatly reduces the weight of the head.

I’m not a fan of flight pose since they are so difficult to display.

The figure is in the predictable flying pose, which I am not really a big fan of. Sure, pterosaurs are flyers, but this flying pose is hard to display and makes the figure looks like a flattened roadkill. The prototype shows the neck held stretched out straight out front with the head held straight. 

The plastic is soft and without much protection during shipping, it could lead to warping of the beak and other soft parts. As you can see, mine was severely warped on the neck and back during shipping and it won’t go back to the original pose no matter what I tried to do.

Note: due to this pose; the head is easily flattened sideways during shipping. Mine arrived this way so I had to warm it and reposition it, the beak is also very prone to warping during transit, and like the neck, mine also had its lower jaw/beak bent in a very bad way.Unfortunately the fix is temporary and it eventually reverted back to the warped position.

A medium size pterosaur. Figures are scaled to 1:35.

Zheijangopterus may be medium size, close to a full-grown human adult, but it weighs less than most small dogs. This is due to the bones being lightweight despite their size. The wings are relatively short when compared to other pterosaurs especially in proportion to the body, but they are robustly built. The figure’s body has good proportions but since it’s in a flying pose it is rather boring and straight-forward with not much interesting to report about it.

With flight pose, the figure is best viewed from above.

The wings are outstretched with both legs pull high close to the body. It has long legs like many in the family suggesting a high-walking stance while on the ground perhaps very similar to what we see in storks and cranes today, they may even have hunted in similar fashion as some studies seem to suggest.The body, especially the long neck and shoulders are covered in hair-like filaments or pycynofibers as pterosaurs are known to have. Other than that, the figure is pretty simple with not a whole lot of detailing, this is understandable due the size; any details would have to be so small to be in the correct scale.

Some details can be seen on the arms and neck, as well as a few veins on the wing. The colors are rather uninspired in these value-pack versions.

Before we talk about the colors, I would like to mention that this figure is part of the later release, or for lack of better term, the “economy” version. When Vitae first release their figures, they were (and still are) difficult to acquire. So, I didn’t really buy any back then. After the initial run, it seems like Vitae hit a snag and went silent for a long time before releasing these “cheaper” versions. I don’t know exactly what the story is behind all of this, but to keep it short, these new economy figures are not the same quality as the first/original releases. I believe these set were meant to be cheap alternative (although not advertised as such so it could be deceiving, but I’m not sure). 

With a much larger member of its group.

The paint job is where the figures suffered the worst. There are hardly any colors variations of designs/patterns on the majority of the figures. I regretted not getting the initial release, but I wasn’t willing to pay $25 dollars per figure at this point (especially with the new PNSO figures going for the same price).

The “economy” six pack set I got that included the much larger Giganotosaurus. The colors are drab and not even close to the original and much more expensive versions.

Then I saw the six-pack set being sold for $60 recently, after a long debate, I ended up getting them since I do like the unique species choice and especially like how they are all Chinese dinosaur with the exception of the 6th figure which is the Giganotosaurus. This figure is part of that set. Fortunately, the Zhejiangopterus didn’t suffer as much as the others in the paint department. With that out of the way, we can move on to the colors.

The brown colors, as boring as they are, still works nicely for pterosaur.

The figure is given a brown body color with a slightly lighter shade on the underpart and darker on the neck, arm/wings, and back area, other than that, it’s pretty unremarkable. Fortunately, the head retained some of the stripes seen in the original. Although not as complex or detailed, these stripes create a nice pattern on an otherwise boring color scheme. The stripes are darker brown in color and gives a tiger-look to the figure. The small black eyes are almost lost in this jungle of stripes. There is also a reddish-brown splash of colors in the throat area.

The figure is in flight so there is not much action on the rest of the body.

Zheijiangopterus was originally classified as a member of the Nyctosauridae when first discovered, but with more understanding of Azhdarchidae in later years, it was determined that it is more closely related to these flying giants.

Dwarfed by a much larger beast.

Despite the economy version being of lesser quality in terms of its color, it is still a nice figure that is worth adding to any collection especially if you are a pterosaur fan. New species of pterosaurs in toy form are hard to come by from major brands (besides CollectA), so this is a worthy and welcome addition to the flock.

Parting shot: Close encounter with death.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this review of this unique pterosaur with a tongue- twister of a name, thanks for reading. Until we meet again, stay safe and healthy! Cheers!

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Comments 5

  • Bokisaurus, that is not the first ever Zhejiangopterus figure, there was one made all the way in 2010 based on the one from Dinosaur Train. Regardless, I would like to pick this up. I might try to get the first version since Halichoeres has that one and I’m using him as a basis for my collection (although with several differences), but I have the newer PNSO Sinosauropteryx and Tim has the older one, but they are the same sculpt and the one I have is superior in my opinion. But anyways, your reviews are greatly detailed and thanks Bokisaurus for this wonderful review.

  • Magnificent review of the zhejiangopterus as always Bokisaurus your articles are very complete. Thanks! Figure highly recommended for my part, but on the other hand it is too small for the price that is offered for the figure. However well sculpted and painted figure.

    My five stars for this figure.

  • Magnífica revisión del zhejiangopterus como siempre Bokisaurus tus artículos son completísimos. ¡Gracias! Figura altamente recomendable por mi parte, pero por otra parte es demasiado pequeña para el precio que se oferta por la figura. Figura sin embargo bien esculpida y pintada.

    Mis cinco estrellas para esta figura.

  • Check out the somewhat dismal story, as related by the Rebor rep, regarding the initial collapse of Vitae, prior to its current revival. It’s in the Vitae thread of theDTF.

  • Good review. Shame about the warping.

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