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 Wave 1. While we’ve looked at the Psittacosaurus from this line, this review will take a look at four of the other figures from the line – the Styracosaurus albertensis, the Chasmosaurus belli, the Diabloceratops eatoni, and the Kickstarter Exclusive Monoclonius crassus.
The main figures are packaged in sturdy cardboard with a plastic window. There’s a cardboard slip around the main box, featuring artwork for the species, with factoids about the animal on the back.
The artwork for the Styracosaurus was done by Jax Jocson and Carlo Arellano, with that of Chasmosaurus being done by Shannon Beaumont, and Raul Ramos handled the artwork for the Diabloceratops.
Within the packaging, the figures are housed in a half shell of plastic, secured by cuttable ties. Because these ties are single use, putting the figures back into the packaging means being careful of how you orient the boxes, to prevent the figures from pushing against the plastic window. While the plastic is strong enough to keep the figures in their boxes, the figures will jostle around in there a little more than the Raptor Series figures did.
Behind the plastic shell of each figure is a unique, removable diorama background. The Chasmosaurus features a wooded swamp, the Styracosaurus features a cliff face, and the Diabloceratops has a moody marsh.
Each of these backgrounds is visible behind the figure when inside the packaging, and lines up well with the artwork of the animal. Each figure also comes with a collectible card with the artwork and dinosaur facts printed on either side.
The packaging for the Kickstarter Exclusive Monoclonius is different. Designed to look like the ’80s Dino-Riders toyline by Tyco, the artwork sleeve covers the entire box. The art is done by Ezra Tucker, one of the artists for the original Dino-Riders line, and even the font harkens back to that era (and the parentheticals on the box correctly identify the animal as a juvenile Centrosaurus, with Monoclonius having long been a dubious genus).
While the main cardboard box and plastic half-shell are the same, the box contains a bit of nostalgia for those who were old enough to experience the Dino-Riders. From the “Museum Quality Replica” to the proof of purchase tab, Tucker and Silva have made a really nice collectible.
The one “downside” here is that the removable background is not environmental, but instead a soft pink. It’s one solid color, so while it fits with the nostalgia theme, it doesn’t lend itself to diorama building in nearly the same way.
Sculpt and paint
Each of these figures is beautifully sculpted, with varying scale patterns across the body. The heads, in particular, are stunning, and the horns on all the figures have nice weathering lines that add some realism. The horns aren’t particularly sharp, but they are sturdy, so I imagine they could chip or break if the figure took a fall.
Though these figures are all well-sculpted, the larger size of the Styracosaurus means its sculpt has even more detail. The scale patterns on the smaller figures are mostly even, with the scales getting uniformly from the thigh down to the foot. The Styracosaurus leg has more variation in the scale size and shape, and the scales are sculpted into the pads on the feet, whereas the feet of the smaller figures are smooth.
The figures all come in vibrant color schemes, which (with the exception of the Kickstarter Exclusive Monoclonius) take inspiration from real animals. The Styracosaurus is based on the common green forest lizard (Calotes calotes), the Diabloceratops is based on the Peninsular rock agama (Psammophilus dorsalis), and the Chasmosaurus is based on the green mantella frog (Mantella viridis). The Monoclonius is based on the original Dino-Riders figure by Tyco.
While the Kickstarter Exclusive version of the Monoclonius will only be available secondhand, David Silva is selling a different version of the sculpt in a brown color scheme that takes after the animal’s appearance in the stop-motion short film “Prehistoric Beast,” by Phil Tippett.
The quality of the paintjobs on all the figures is top notch, and while there are some minor errors, there’s not much slop or missed marks, which is amazing given how intricate some of the designs are. The most noticeable error I found on my figures was the Diabloceratops’ left eye, where the pupil has bled a little bit into the rest of the eyeball. While it’s a miss, I quite like the way it ended up, and none of the other errors are dealbreakers for the figures.
Each of these figures appears brush-painted, although the pattern on the frill of the Diabloceratops shows signs of machine-painting when examined up close. It’s not distracting, as one has to get right up on the patterns to even notice the halftone circles, but it is an odd choice, especially because the patterns on the frill of the Styracosaurus (which are just as complex) don’t show these markers.
The Diabloceratops and Monoclonius share a body size and measure about 24 cm long, the Chasmosaurus is slightly longer at 26 cm, and the Styracosaurus measures 30 cm. These “Ceratopsians Series” figures are in the 1:18 scale, meaning they’ll fit well with Star Wars Vintage Collection figures (such as Din Djarin, pictured below), Mattel’s Jurassic World line, and the 3¾” Marvel Legends figures.
This does mean, though, that they don’t scale with either the “Raptor Series” figures or the Psittacosaurus and Protoceratops figures from this wave, all of which are in 1:6 scale. It’s an understand change, as ceratopsians were much larger animals than their dromaeosaur counterparts. Even a smaller animal like the Diabloceratops would be ~81 cm long and 30 cm tall at the hips in 1:6 scale. That might work for a high-priced statue, but it would be unwieldly to shelve and too pricey for most of the audience these figures were made for.
However, these figures do look spectacular with the environmental accessory packs created for the Raptor Series. Even though they’re sculpted in 1:6 scale, most of the environmental pieces also work at the 1:18 scale, especially the trees. Combined with the background dioramas provided in the “Ceratopsian Series” packaging, you can get some great shots of the figures, with nice depth.
Each of the figures has 19 points of articulation. The forelimbs have joints at the shoulder, elbow, and wrist, while the hindlimbs are articulated at the hip, knee, ankle and foot. The tail is inserted on a dumbbell joint (more on that in a moment), there are ball joints at both the base of the neck and where the head attaches to the neck, and the jaws are on a hinge joint. The larger Styacosaurus has an additional point of articulation: the tongue is on a ball joint.
This articulation means that a variety of poses can be achieved, and the smaller figures can even be put into a pose on their hindlegs, though the Styracosaurus seems a little too front heavy to achieve this. You can even get the animals into some decently convincing resting poses, which is something that isn’t usually possible with dinosaur figures.
While the instructions on the packaging advise the owner to heat up the tail before attaching it to the figure, I recommend testing all the joints. These figures were incredibly stiff out of the packaging, and I had to apply mild heat to a few of the joints to get them to articulate. It’s something to be mindful of, as an overtightened joint can snap and break. The stiffness is appreciated though, as many of the joints are smaller, meaning they will eventually wear over time.
The figures are also quite heavy. Even having had the Psittacosaurus and figures from the Raptor Series, I was quite surprised by the weight. This may increase wear on the joints, and while I’ve had my ceratopsians out while doing this review, I’m going to store them in their boxes like I do the raptors when I’m not actively using them, to help increase longevity.
Another oddity is that the jaws can open past the sculpted cheeks, giving the figures a split jaw look. This is true of all the figures, and while the jaw can be posed open without the gap visible, I found it odd given that none of the jaws can close completely without leaving a gap between the upper and lower parts of the beak.
Is it good?
Even with just the meticulously detailed sculpts and vibrant, complex paintjobs, the Beasts of the Mesozoic Ceratopsian Series figures would have still been some of the top dinosaur figures in the market. But what truly sets them apart is their articulation. Each figure can be posed in a variety of ways that makes it a joy to play with.
While the weight of the figures and the joint stiffness do create some concern for long-term stability, any collector of dinosaur figures will want to have them. These are collectibles recommended for ages 15 and up, and parents of younger children will want to take into account the weight of the figures and the horns before purchasing.
The Chasmosaurus and Diabloceratops retail at $49.99, while the Styracosaurus goes for $69.99.
The main figures of Ceratopsian Series wave 1 are available at David Silva’s Creative Beast Studio website, Dan’s Dinosaurs, Big Bad Toy Store, and Everything Dinosaur. The upcoming Ceratopsian Series wave 2 and wave 3 figures can still be pre-ordered here.
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