Zhenyuanlong (Beasts of the Mesozoic: Raptor Series by Creative Beast Studio)

4.8 (48 votes)

Review and photos by EmperorDinobot, edited by Suspsy

Dinosaur figure collectors! The future is now thanks to science! The super articulated, somehow scientifically accurate dinosaur figures are now a reality! Super articulated dinosaur figures have existed in the past, such as the Carnage figures by ReSaurus that are so dear to me, but that was twenty years ago! In the mean time, not very many have been made. Luckily for us, Creative Beast Studios has come to the rescue! I’d love to do an introductory paragraph on them and their successful Kickstarter campaign for the creation of their Beasts of the Mesozoic Raptor series, but I feel everyone is already quite familiar with the story, so let us get on with the review! Today, we will look at the Zhenyuanlong suni figures, both the regular release and the Fans’ Choice repaint!

I got these two as well as several other BOTM figures in a very lucky hand of poker. I got them for basically half off. Every figure is between $35-50 dollars US, but I would pay full price for them given the opportunity. The colors are exquisite, and that has been one of my main draws to this amazing line.

I really like the packaging on these figures. They’re quite ergonomic, despite the large quantities of plastic used on them (bubble inserts are not shown, but I did not throw them away). They’ll fit anywhere, and they’re full of art and are well-detailed. I am a loose collector, but sometimes I keep the packages, and these I will definitely keep.

The Fans’ Choice’s box is different than the regular version’s package. The card is different, as is the back part. The Fans’ Choice version shows other Fans’ Choice raptors, whereas the regular version showcases the regular releases, with a checkbox next to each one. The regular figure’s art is done by Jonathan Kuo, while the Fans’ Choice figure’s art was done by Sara Richard.

Now on to the raptors themselves. Prepare yourself to a barrage of pictures! But first, if you cannot zoom on the back of the card, I will give you the specs on the Zhenyuanlong. The flavor text on both packages is identical:

Meaning: Zhenyuan’s Dragon
Length: 5.4 ft long (6.6 ft w/ tail feathers)
Location: China
Time Period: 125 million years ago
Habitat: Woodlands of Asia
Distinguishing characteristics: Noteworthy for its long arm and tail feathers, Zhenyuanlong was a dinosaur that closely resembled a bird. Despite this, its short arms would not have allowed it to fly and it remains a mystery as to what it used its large feathers for.

Here they are with the cardboard inserts, which feature “the woodlands of Asia,” or just the kind of forest Zhenyuanlong lived in. I think they look great displayed next to the inserts, especially if you’re displaying them sideways. Sadly, I don’t have the luxury of displaying them this way, and they’ll end up being next to each other once I get my shelf ready for them.

Each raptor comes with a base (all of them use the same mold), a pair of toes for different poses, a ball-jointed clear rod, and two ball-jointed clear holders. They help support the figure’s weight and allow for all manner of dynamic poses, though I never use the smaller holder (or cuff?) piece.

I only just discovered that you can place an extra pair of toes under the base for storage. Apparently, it’s in the instructions, which are under the box’s sleeve.

One of my biggest draws to this line is the exquisite, meticulous paint job that each raptor has. Every color scheme is inspired by real life birds. The regular Zhenyuanlong is based on the red-billed blue magpie, which is a bird I have never seen in real life.

The Fans’ Choice one is based on the helmeted hornbill. I cannot stress it enough: I love these paint jobs. The more of these figures I get, the more impressed I get. So far I’ve got Velociraptor osmolskae (blue), V. mongoliensis (brown), Balaur, Adasaurus, Atrociraptor, Acheroraptor, and Tsaagan. I have yet to open the last four, but I just get slightly hypnotized when I look at their colors.

Having 20+ points of articulation, every figure is capable of a huge range of dynamic poses, such as sitting, preening, running, attacking, flapping, etc. The world is yours!

And there you have it. Of course, these figures are not without some criticism. I often wonder why they made figures like Balaur, Adasaurus, and certain others known for very little fossil remains, rather than sticking to raptors with complete remains. Also, some of the figures have strange proportions, and this goes especially for Zhenyuanlong, whose head needs to be smaller, arms need to be shorter, and legs need to be longer. Every raptor uses roughly the same pieces, with some changes depending on the species. They also use the same exact body plan and all have the same exact proportions, even though we know not all raptors have such identical proportions. Also, the articulation can be hit or miss. Zhenyuanlong‘s wings are so heavy they make the elbow articulation rather loose, and this is especially true for my regular release version. My Fans’ Choice figure also has some issues, those being that the jaws won’t shut completely like on its regular counterpart, and the tail comes off very easily, which is
not a problem I’ve had with the other opened raptors I have.

I’m willing to overlook these issues because I never though I would own figures of this species, and I am a junkie for having tons of different dinosaur species in my collection. I HIGHLY recommend this line, and I also recommend that you, the reader, keep watching Creative Beasts Studios for all of their future plans. These raptors tend to be a bit expensive, but they are well worth it.

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