After the success of the “Raptor Series” line of dinosaur action figures, David Silva and his Creative Beast Studio return with the Beasts of the Mesozoic “Ceratopsians Series.” Focusing on the charismatic horned dinosaurs like Triceratops, this line brings new life to the ancient beasts.
But just as with the Raptors, the Ceratopsians Series highlights some of the less famous members of the dinosaur family tree, too. Today we’ll be looking at the figure for the basal ceratopsian, Psittacosaurus mongoliensis.
Psittacosaurus (the name means “parrot lizard”) is a bit of an oddity — one of the most well-known dinosaur genera in paleontology, but it’s barely represented in popular media. In fact, when looking for other figurines of this genus, I only found a half-dozen others, all but one of them static figures (the one that is articulated is a 1980s figure from Playskool).
In short, this is the only articulated figure of this animal that exists on the marketplace.
The Psittacosaurus comes in a nice cardboard box with a plastic window, with a label identifying it as figure 09 in Wave 1 of the “Ceratopsian” series. The artwork on the sleeve is done by Jax Jocson and Carlo Arellano, and the “Beasts of the Meszoic” branding has a nice, red holofoil border.
The figure is contained within a plastic half shell, secured by plastic ties. I used a small knife to cut these ties, so parents buying this for younger children may want to do this part themselves.
The roof of the package labels this as an adult collectible for ages 15 and up, and given the small parts (and high quality), it definitely isn’t made for the youngest of tots. Indeed, the figure itself is quite hefty, and I might caution against buying this for children who might be tempted to wield it as a bludgeon.
There is also a removable background in the box, which reflects a semi-arid environment. This makes for a great diorama piece, and you’ll see it in the background of my pictures here. There’s also a collectible card featuring the artwork on the exterior sleeve.
Sculpt and paint
The sculpt here is magnificent, with scales running all over the animal, even on the pads of the feet. The scales are individually sculpted, giving it a very lifelike look.
The skull is important here, as it helps distinguish the animal specifically as Psittacosaurus mongoliensis. Unlike many dinosaur genera, Psittacosaurus is not monospecific – there isn’t only one species assigned to the genus Psittacosaurus. In fact, in the case of Psittacosaurus, there are twelve species described so far, all of which hail from various rock formations in Asia. As one might be able to guess from the species name, Psittacosaurus mongoliensis is from Mongolia.
The size and shape of the skull and jugal horns help identify the different species within the genus. When opening the mouth, you see the tongue is sculpted and painted within the jaw. Silva used a mix of colored and translucent plastic for the quills along the tail, with the translucent plastic helping to keep the quills erect on the figure. The quills themselves have a nice bend to them, which helps sell them as a natural part of an animal.
The paint design is equally stunning, with a complex pattern of ruddy brown on the back, with a pale underbelly. What’s wonderful about this color pattern is that it’s based on what we know about the real-life color of Psittacosaurus!
A study done in 2016 revealed this countershading camouflage pattern in an exceptionally well-preserved specimen of Psittacosaurus. While that specimen has not been referred to a particular species within Psittacosaurus, it’s nice to see that knowledge implemented in the figure.
The paint doesn’t skimp on details, either, with the fingernails and toenails painted black – a detail that’s often left out of other action figures. And even within the jaw, the teeth behind the beak are painted in. It’s a nice touch, given that you aren’t likely to even notice until you give the figure a close look.
The paint application is also beautiful. Throughout the whole figure, my Psittacosaurus only has one place where the paint seemingly missed its mark, and it’s a single scale that appears to have gotten a dash of the wrong color. The quality control here is fantastic, with no slop or colors running together in ways they shouldn’t. Together, the sculpt and paint create an incredibly lifelike figure that looks gorgeous on display.
Though representing a small animal, in terms of size and scale, this figure is just under 12 inches in length, putting it firmly in the same 1:6 scale as the “Raptor Series” figures. This means that the Psittacosaurus will scale well with your 12” Marvel Legends and Hot Toys figures. And if scale isn’t a concern, it looks equally great with smaller figures.
Since there have been virtually no figures of Psittacosaurus with articulated joints, the Beasts of the Mesozoic figure stands apart from anything else on the market, with 21 points of articulation. The jaw is a hinge joint, allowing the figure to be displayed with an open or closed mouth. The head is on a ball joint at the back of the skull, and the neck also plugs into the body cavity on a ball joint, giving a wide range of motion for the figure to be posed, surveying its environment.
The torso is split into a front and back section, giving further movement in the animal’s mid-section. The animal’s forelimbs have joints at the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fingers, while the hindlimbs are articulated at the hips, knees, ankles, and feet. Finally, the tail plugs into the body on a dumbbell joint.
On my figure, all of these joints were sturdy and required a touch of effort to get to move, but they weren’t so stiff that I felt they were going to break. While I was able to attach the tail without heating it, the instructions with the figure do advise heating it either with hot water or a hairdryer to make attaching it to the body easier. I definitely recommend that route if your figure offers any solid resistance as the quills on the back of the tail make it a little difficult to get a firm grip while inserting it.
The Psittacosaurus figure can be posed in a quadrupedal stance without any support. However the hand and wrist joints are understandably smaller, so I would not leave the figure in this stance for long, to avoid potentially wearing those joints out. Initially this figure was designed to stand on its two hind legs, but due to something occurring in the production, the figures will not do so for long (I’ve been able to get mine to stand for about a couple seconds before it begins to tip over).
Due to this, Silva has included a base with a posing rod with the figures. The base and rod come in a small plastic bag inside the shipping box, not the figure box, so make sure to grab it before tossing the shipping box.
With the base and rod, you can achieve a number of different poses, and the rod is sturdy enough that it even supports the full weight of the Psittacosaurus and an attacking dinosaur. I’m using the Zhenyuanlong figure from the “Raptor Series” in the photo below. While Zhenyuanlong suni didn’t live alongside Psittacosaurus mongoliensis, it did live with the species Psittacosaurus lujiatunensis, so I think this combination makes for an exciting approximation of an ancient environment.
Is it good?
For dinosaur lovers, this figure is a must-have. Not only is it one of the few Psittacosaurus toys on the market, it is the definitive figure of the animal. There simply isn’t anything quite like it. The figure carries a heavy price tag at $49.99, but given the quality of the craftsmanship and the size of the figure, it is well worth it for the collector.
I’ve had a blast posing it for this review. If you’re looking to acquire one for yourself, you can get it online from David Silva’s website, Dan’s Dinosaurs, Big Bad Toy Store, Everything Dinosaur, and more.
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