#2615: Beasts of the Mesozoic – The Ceratopsian Series

ZUNICERATOPS, MONOCLONIUS CRASSUS, TRICERATOPS — SUB-ADULT, & STYRACOSAURUS

BEASTS OF THE MESOZOIC (CREATIVE BEAST)

In the year 2014, basking in the warm light of having just gotten into the groove of things with this here site, I decided I wanted to diversify what exactly I was reviewing a bit, and backed a whole bunch of action figure related Kickstarters in a rather short span of time.  As of the end of 2017, I’d gotten all that stuff I backed, and with the shifting market and what not, I sort of fell out of it.  But, apparently, 2019 me realized that 2020 me was gonna need a nice pick-me-up, so he actually went and backed another Kickstarter.  How kind of him.  But, he didn’t do it alone!  2019 Ethan had an accomplice in the form of 2019 Tim!  And so, for the purposes of the review, 2020 Ethan is going to need an assist from 2020 Tim!

If I had known that 2020 Tim was going to be an entirely separate entity, I might’ve taken the year off.  There are already too many of me running around, and let’s be real here, just one of me is a pain.  But yes, here I am, awoken from my review cryostasis, not to talk about Nerf guns, but rather, dinosaurs.  Ah, my first love.  As in, I loved dinosaurs as a kid, not anything weird, like, I don’t — You know what?  Let’s just talk about the figures.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The four figures here are all part of Wave 1 of the Ceratopsian Series of the Beasts of the Mesozoic line.  The Ceratopsian Series is the second series, following up on 2018’s Raptor Series.  Three of these four make up the base Wave 1 set, with the Monoclonius being a Kickstarter exclusive release, and the first of many “add-on” figures that would be added during the campaign.

ZUNICERATOPS

“Living nearly 10 million years earlier than most Ceratopsians, Zuniceratops (Zuni-horned face, really helpful name there) is much smaller and more primitive than its descendants.  Supporting the theory of a North American origin for Ceratopsians, Zuniceratops may be a link between protoceratopsids and ceratopsids.”

I firmly believe the best way to start a review with a joke that you, the reader, might not have heard, but Ethan certainly has, and it pains him to relive it.  So, Zuniceratops is the smallest of the series, maxing out at just 7.5 inches from beak to tail.  He was also far less successful than his competitor, the iPodosaurus, though I guess you don’t see Star Lord rocking a shuffle, so take that how you will.  He sets the standard for the rest of the line with 19 points of articulation.  He can pull some pretty nice poses off, though his mid-section joint is just a little stiff getting past his rather jutty-out hips.  I also might have liked a little bit of side-to-side movement in the hips, but unless you’re a madman like I am and trying to make your dinosaurs do Jo-jo poses, it probably won’t bother you.  I like the paint on the little dude.  He’s got a mostly earthy color scheme with pops of orange and blue around his frill, and a bit more blue on the tail.  Looking closely at him, he’s also got some really subtle silvery dry-brushing going on which gives him a faint, yet classy sheen in some angles.  We didn’t ask for it, I didn’t know I wanted it, but it’s a nice little detail.

MONOCLONIUS

“The Monoclonius (single snout) was a medium-sized ceratopid about 20ft long and was named by Edward Drinker Cope in 1876.  It had strong limbs and a heavy build with one large nose horn for defense.  Because of these attributes, Monoclonius was more likely to use the ‘fight’ rather than the ‘flight’ defense method.  Today, Monoclonius specimens are often believed to be juveniles or subadults of other genera such as Centrosaurus”

The one proper Kickstarter-exclusive item, the Monoclonius is the second smallest of the core set, after the Zuniceratops.  He’s just over 10 inches long, which is a touch short if we’re going for the proper 1/18 scale that the figure is advertised as being.  Maybe this one was just a little smaller?  Or, it could be that, as with most scale action figures, things are just a bit fudged.  It’s notably larger than a 1/18 scale human, and that’s really the main point.  He has 19 points of articulation, which is a pretty impressive selection of movement.  Despite his stockier frame, he’s still quite mobile, and you can definitely get some decent posing out of him.  I do wish the rear hip joints had a bit more range, but that’s about it.  You can even open and close his mouth!  His sculpt is a rather scaly and rough one, which I suppose is accurate.  It’s accurate to the illustration, and who’s to say that’s wrong.  Scientists?  What do they know?  In terms of paint work and color scheme, Mono is very blue.  I am okay with this, because the blue’s a good look.  They do a respectable job of varying the colors up and making him look appropriately reptilian, so that’s certainly nice.  There’s no accessories with this guy.  The Raptors got stands from what I recall, so it’s too bad we couldn’t get any of those.  Of course, these guys don’t actually need them to stand, so that’s the trade-off we’ve got going.

TRICERATOPS

“One of the best known dinosaurs of all time, Triceratops was among the largest Ceratopsians.  Often viewed as defensive weapons, its frill and horns are now more associated with species identification, courtship, and display.”

Oh boy, it’s the guy that started it all.  The Triceratops was the figure that was shown off to confirm this whole set was in the works.  And, if you know me, he’s also kind of my main man when it comes to the whole Dinosaurs thing.  He’s about 11 ½ inches long, which would make him about 17 ¼ feet long in real life.  While the bio lists them as getting to about 29 feet long, it’s also important to note that this figure is identified as being a sub-adult Triceratops, meaning the slightly smaller size makes sense.  It’s not finished growing!  There’s actually a full adult Triceratops available in the line, but it’s got a rather hefty price tag to go along with it.  This one’s sizing is just fine by me.  This figure has the same articulation scheme as Mono, so there’s no real surprises there.  When it works, it works.  Likewise, his sculpt has a very scaly appearance, as you would expect.  This one does have a little more variation in terms of texturing, since his frill is much smoother than the rest of his body, which is a nice touch.  It makes it feel like there’s a little bit more going on.  I do wish that the joints on the two upper horns weren’t quite so obvious on the final product, but I’m still generally very happy with how the sculpt turned out on this one.  The Triceratops is not as blue as Mono, but I guess that’s okay.  Not everything can be quite that blue.  He does still have a little bit of blue, so as to not totally miss out on said blue.  Wouldn’t want to miss out on the blue.  Am I talking too much about the blue?  Probably.  There’s some other colors mixed in there as well, making him a more varied figure in terms of color than Mono.  It’s all rather subdued, though.  We wouldn’t want him getting too flamboyant, would we?  No, then he would step on the toes of…

STYRACOSAURUS

“Famous for its six frill spikes, and one long nose horn, Styracosaurus is one of the most recognizable of all the Ceratopsians.  Despite its iconic look, the similarities to Centrosaurus have caused debate in the past over which specimens belonged to each species.”

Honestly, I don’t think any witty intro I could make would be any good here.  I mean just look at the thing.  Isn’t he glorious?  I feel compelled to call him Elton, not sure why.  Anyway, Sir Elton here is one of the larger additions to the series (he’s no tiny dancer), though I do believe he is the only one of them visible from orbit, like if you were some kind of… rocket man… He measures in right around 12 inches and comes dressed to party, like some kind of crocodile rocker.  You know, cuz he’s a lizard.  He’s got probably the most detailed head sculpt of any of the dinosaurs in this series.  As the description astutely points out he’s got one big old horn up front (let’s call it Bennie), and these 6 others that really jet (*ahem*) out the back of the frill, and boy do they make a statement.  As with the others, Reginald here has 19 points of articulation which do a good job allowing him to make some flashy poses.  Even posed in a run with 2 feet off the ground, he’s still standing, after all this time.  I do have a few little gripes about the paint, which is a little surprising given how paint-forward the figure is in general.  The head and face are great, with a ton of really bright color, but let’s say goodbye yellow frill paint and talk about the legs in particular.  The upper arms have a very sharp line differentiating the light green of the interior sides with the dark blue/green of the exterior.  I don’t know what process they used so I’m not sure if it’s just a fluke on mine, but I guess they could have toned down the blues.  The back legs have almost the opposite problem, where patches of them are still white as if they didn’t receive as thorough a color wash.  Yeah he’s not perfect, but it’s my favorite of the ceratopsians by far so I got nothing but love for this figure.  Can you feel it?  Tonight.  The Love.  Never mind.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I have mentioned previously, I’m only moderately a Dino guy. I like them well enough, but I don’t *have* to have them. Well, mostly, anyway. Tim backed the Raptors, and they were cool and all, but I don’t need Raptors. Then Ceratopsians were confirmed as the next set, and they had me, because that “mostly” above is all about the Triceratops. I’m all in for that guys. When the Kickstarter was coming to a close, Tim couldn’t afford to back, so I ended up backing for the Triceratops, just so we could have a spot and add more stuff via Backerkit when that went live. And now, here we are, in 2020, needing that pick me up that only 2019 could deliver, and I’ve got these two cool Dinos. I’m cool with it. Tim?

I need more dinosaurs. I will continue buying from this line as long as they keep making them. Even hadrosaurs. I’d love an Iguanadon. I’ll admit, when I first heard about this line, I wasn’t as hyped about it as I was after seeing it in person. Ceratopsians are cool and all, but the Raptor lineup really set my standards pretty high. Are they really comparable? No, but neither are the actual dinosaurs they depict. Even so, I think these are absolutely the best figures of this type that I’ve seen, so if you love dinosaurs as much as I do, or just have a soft spot for Trikes like Ethan, these are worth checking out.

#1686: Triceratops

TRICERATOPS

JURASSIC WORLD (MATTEL)

I am a child of the ‘90s.  That means I was pretty much contractually obligated to go through a period of being super into dinosaurs.  In my case, it was actually a shorter period than for most.  I mean, it’s not that I *don’t* like them, but I haven’t actually bought any proper dinosaur toys since I was like 5.  There’s a new Jurassic World movie coming out, and thus some new toys coming out, courtesy of our friends at Mattel.  Oh goody.  I’m giving them, and dinosaur toys as a whole, another try, though.  Let’s see how this goes.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Triceratops is part of the first assortment of Mattel’s Jurassic World: S.T.E.M Fossil Strikers.  The Fossil Strikers come packaged disassembled, and have to be assembled.  The slightly rubbery plastic can make getting some of the parts popped together a little difficult, but otherwise it’s a rather of painless process.  When fully assembled, the Triceratops is 3 1/2 inches tall and 6 inches long, with 35 points of articulation.  In a similar fashion to the assembly process, the articulation can be a little tricky to get working in some parts.  The joints are tight enough that if you aren’t careful, you can end up popping pieces off instead of moving the joints.  It takes some slight getting used to.  The sculpt is pretty solid, especially for the price point we’re looking at here.  The bones are all textured, and look fairly realistic.  There’s some slight tweaking to a few of them to make room for the articulation, and some of the assembly points are still visible after assembly.  Compared to your average collector-oriented figure, it’s pretty solid work, and it’s especially nice coming from Mattel, whose sculpts can sometimes be a little bit too soft.  The Triceratops has no paint, being just a consistent bone white.  Given the whole “assemble it yourself” concept, this isn’t terribly surprising, and it looks decent enough.  I suppose a wash or something would help to bring out the details some more, but it’s not essential.  The Triceratops includes  his special “DNA Key” which unlocks his “striker” action.  In his case, it swaps out for the neck piece and uses a spring-loaded function to swing his head up or down, depending on how the piece is oriented.  Nothing terribly impressive, and mine won’t be keeping it for display purposes, but they tried to do something more exciting, I guess.  The Triceratops also includes a display stand (made to look like a wood-grain base from a museum or something), and a stanchion with a little card detailing all of his features.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I just sort of stumbled upon this guy at a Target, while out and about with Tim.  That other dinosaur toy I mentioned getting back when I was 5?  A rubber triceratops, picked up from a supermarket trip with my Nana.  Since then, I’ve always had a soft spot for these guys.  This guy was $10, and that was low enough to get me to bite.  This isn’t a revolutionary toy or anything, but it’s still pretty cool, and definitely worth what I paid for it.  If you’re into cool dino toys, this line’s definitely worth checking out.