Closer Look: Beasts of the Mesozoic: Styracosaurus

Bytgreco

June 8, 2022

As a lifelong dinosaur enthusiast, I’ve been alive long enough to see our interpretation of dinosaurs change radically. Sauropods no longer live in swamps, dinosaurs in general are no longer cold-blooded and slow, and they no longer stand upright, using their tails to prop them up.

For the majority of my dinosaur enthusiasm, dinosaur toys have been bottom of the barrel. Terrible or wildly inaccurate sculpts, sometimes so bad you couldn’t tell what animal they were supposed to be unless the name was molded into the belly of the figure. They also suffered from little or no articulation, and everything was either green, brown, grey or a tacky neon color.

Jurassic Park arrived in theaters, followed by a flood of merchandise arriving in stores. While the action-figures were better, they still had a lot of the same issues as their predecessors. Dilophosaurus wasn’t small, frilled, or spit poison. Velociraptor wasn’t scaly. Tyrannosaurs wasn’t svelt. They weren’t accurate representations of now extinct animals, they were movie monsters.

In 2016 Beasts of the Mesozoic launched their Kickstarter for the Raptor Collection. They promised scientific accuracy, detailed sculpts, incredible articulation, and vibrant but realistic color schemes. The Kickstarter and reception were so successful that they followed it up with the gargantuan 1/18 scale Ceratopsian Collection. Ceratopsians are the giant horned and frilled group of dinosaurs that included the Triceratops, the Chasmosaurus, and one of my all time favorite dinosaurs the Styracosaurus.

 

Sculpt, Articulation, and Paint Application

The sculpt is spectacular. Every scale and wrinkle is defined. The horns have texture. There are no shortcuts taken. What’s more impressive is you can tell they looked at actual ceratopsian skin impressions.

The proportions are correct to the fossil specimens. The eyes are not moved down, the beak is the correct thickness, the skull is the correct width, where most toys tend to make the skull much wider and shallower than it should be.

One of the many correct details, that dinosaur geeks will love about these figures are the hands and feet. Most toy companies would give a ceratopsian an elephant-like foot, but the fossils are nothing like that. And Beasts of the Mesozoic not only have the digits arranged correctly, the correct number of nails, but also correctly show the way a Styracosaurus carried it’s weight on those limbs.

Why is this important? A defining characteristic of dinosaurs is not only their pelvis which gives them their legs under-the-body posture (unlike the sprawled posture of lizards or a crocodiles), but dinosaurs had a very specific type of ankle joint, and most dinosaurs walked with their forelimbs digigrade (on their fingers) not plantigrade like humans (where the heel touches the ground when they walk).

Features and Accessories

This toy has size, and weight. At 1/18th scale Styracosaurus albertensis action figure, this figure is 12″ long. It has 20 points of articulation. It comes with no base or stand or other accessories.

Quality

The plastic is sturdy, and the joints are firm enough to hold a pose. Different plastics are used for different body parts, so the main body is firm, while the horns on the frill and tail have some give.

Some may take exception with some of the joints not having a wide range of motion. It limits how posable the figure is, but keeps the figure stable when it’s on display.

The only criticism I have of this toy is the inconsistent colors from part to part. it’s most obvious on the body, where the chest meets the abdomen. I’m pretty sure this is where the wash was applied more heavily on the chest, than on the lower body. It doesn’t take away from the figure, but it is something you may notice on close inspection.

This is not made to be a shelf piece. It’s built to be played with, and safe for young ones.

Value

A bargain at $69.99 for a figure that is big, detailed, articulated, and is in scale to all the other ceratopsians in the line. The color scheme is wonderful, even if the paint application (at least on mine) is a little uneven. For this size and quality of figure, Styracosaurus is a great addition to your collection.

https://creative-beast.com/product/1-18th-styracosaurus-action-figure/

Overall Score

8.5

Recommendation

Pick it Up