Dromaeosaurs, known as “raptors” to the general public ever since Jurassic Park, are one of the most popular group of dinosaurs. But prior to David Silva’s Beasts of the Mesozoic Kickstarter, you’d have been hardpressed to find accurate representations of them in the toy market. After a lengthy production process, the deluxe raptors are here. Are they good?
Beasts of the Mesozoic – Deluxe Raptors
Earlier this year, I took a look at some of the accessories in the line, but now I’ll be looking at the main draw to the series, the adult raptor figures. (Note: This review covers multiple adult raptors, with any notable differences in quality design noted.)
Each of the raptors comes nicely packaged in a cardboard box. The art label is actually a sleeve that slides off the box, revealing instructions on the backside on how to assemble and pose the raptor.
To be clear, there isn’t much assembly to be done, simply a matter of removing the tail (pulling it through the back of the clamshell) and attaching it at the ball joint.
The packaging is nice – cardboard inside protects the plastic clamshell and also provides a scenic backdrop for your raptor, reflecting its environment.
One drawback to the packaging is that the tail is bent. The tails for the raptors are bendy-wires, providing potential for posing the tail in dynamic positions, but the fact that the tip of the tail is packaged bent makes me concerned that the wires might stiffen and break over time if they aren’t removed from the packaging. No problem if you’re like me and opened them as soon as you got them, but if you’re thinking about storing them, it might be best to find a better position for the tail.
Each raptor comes with a base, a posing rod, a cradle, a posing clamp, and a pair of alternate toes.
Sculpts and Paint
The bases for each raptor are all uniform in design, but their paint job is different depending on the environment of the raptor. The bases are designed to fit next to one another and flush against the Environmental Accessory pack bases (see below), allowing for dynamic dioramas to be created.
The main draw of course is the raptors themselves. These guys are beautiful, with sculpted feathers covering their entire body. The raptors are in 1/6 scale and measure about 12 inches long from snout to tail. There are subtle differences in each raptor species, highlighting their distinct real-life traits. For example, the Dromaeosaurus albertensis has a boxier skull and shorter toe claws in comparison to the other raptors. With the necessities of manufacturing and molding toys, it’s nice to see that these types of details don’t get lost.
The paint jobs are equally wonderful, with each raptor sporting a design modeled after real birds, highlighting the relationship between dromaeosaurs and birds. For such large figures with elaborate paint jobs, there is surprisingly little paint slop. Across my five figures, I could only find one example of paint slop where a fleck of paint made it onto the snout of my Linheraptor.
In terms of scale, these are slender but lengthy figures. Each raptor stands about 4-5 inches high, depending on how they’re posed, and measure about 12 inches long. You’ll have to clear some shelf space for them, but at the same time, they don’t hog as much room as some other figures.
Despite what Jurassic Park might have taught us about raptors, Dromaeosaurs were quite small animals, measuring only about six feet in length. The Beasts of the Mesozoic line captures their size in 1/6 scale, which makes them quite versatile, depending on what your intent is.
Seen above, the Dromaeosaurus albertensis works well in its intended scale with the Hasbro 12″ Marvel Legends Black Panther, but also makes for a good substitute “JP” raptor with the 6″ Marvel Legends counterpart. And finally, for some good fun, you can see the 3 and 3/4″ inch (1/18 scale) Black Panther riding his dinosaur into battle.
One of the amazing things about the Beasts of the Mesozoic Line is how well-articulated the figures are. Most dinosaur toys are solid blocks of plastic – the most prominent exception being the Jurassic Park figure lines which often featured 4-7 points of articulation. In the Beasts of the Mesozoic Line, each raptor features 26 points of articulation, including a hinged jaw, ball joint tongue, ball joint head, swivel-hinge shoulders, swivel elbows and wrists, ball joint hips, swivel hinge knees, swivel ankles, a swivel foot, a rotating joint for the famous sickle-claw, and ball joints at the tail.
The articulation is fairly intuitive, but there are some nice surprises. For one, the toes are removable and can be replaced with running versions, which are curled. This provides a subtle but noticeable improvement when putting the raptors in running poses. The extra sets of toes can also be stored via pegs that rest on the underside of the base in the hollow created by the large rock, allowing you to keep the toes on hand without having to go through the packaging each time you want to switch them out.
The ball joint that connects the base of the tail to the body actually has two insert options, giving even more posing possibilities by essentially reversing the way the tail can extend outward from the hips of the animals (see below).
One of the big elephants in the room when it comes to designing toys for dinosaurs is that – especially in the case of the carnivores – their body plan isn’t particularly conducive for making toys that stand on their own. Beasts of the Mesozoic tackles the issue directly by accepting that there’s no good way to make a high-quality raptor that doesn’t either need to tripod on its tail (reducing posability) or making the toy hollow so that in can balance (increasing breakability).
What creator David Silva has opted to do is use bases with posing rods and cradles. Each raptor comes with a single posing rod, a broad cradle meant for the raptor to rest on, and an alternate “clamp” that affixes to the underside of the raptor that can hold it in more dynamic poses. This however is where sets pose another potential issue.
For raptors like the Atrociraptor (pictured above), the clamp fits firmly onto the front side of the pubis. However in some of the more heavily feathered raptors, such as the Dromaeosaurus, that area has been given an additional layer of feathers (see below) that prevents the clamp from fitting on properly.
It may be possible to fit the clamp elsewhere on the body, but I’ve yet to get it to fit without feeling like I was going to scrape the paint or break the clamp. While the cradle allows for dynamic poses on its own, if you’re only picking up one raptor, this is something to be aware of.
Is It Good?
That hiccup aside, these dinosaurs are absolutely gorgeous and a blast to display. There’s frankly nothing like this on the market, so it’s hard to even properly assess their value. While the articulation and smaller pieces rule out this product for smaller kids (the packaging itself advises it for ages 15 and up), dinosaur enthusiasts should absolutely pick up at least one of these for their home or office.
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