Closer Look: Beasts of the Mesozoic: Xenoceratops

Bytgreco

July 12, 2022

The Xenoceratops has a fascinating story. Fragments of three skulls were discovered in 1958 by Wann Langston Jr. in the Foremost Formation near Alberta Canada. The fossils found in the formation date from between 77 million and 90 million years ago. After their discovery, they were wrapped in burlap and plaster jackets, put into storage at the Canadian Museum of Nature, and forgotten about for almost 50 years.

45 years later, in 2003 David C. Evans and Michael J. Ryan decided to take a closer look at some of these forgotten specimens, and began investigating the multitude of fossils abandoned in storage. They began work on the unidentified species in 2009, and published their findings in 2012, 54 years after being excavated. Several hadrosaur and pachycephalosaur fossils had been unearthed in the Foremost Formation, but finally the region had it’s first ceratopsian. And not just any ceratopsian, but a new species: Xenoceratops foremostensis.

Approximately 78 million years ago (10 million years older than Triceratops) Xenoceratops (which means “Alien Horned Face”) roamed what is now Canada. It is described as a 20 foot long, 3000 lb. frilled dinosaur from the Cretaceous, and is presumed to be one of the earlier frilled dinosaurs with extreme ornamentation. The species most distinct feature is its spiky head, with two hooks jutting from its forehead, two massive spikes rest at the top of its head and a frilly shield adorns its neck. Because of the small number of specimens, scientists are hoping to find more complete fossils to be able to definitively place it on the ceratopsian family tree.

When Creative Beasts Studios launched their Ceratopsian line, they originally intended to do 2 separate campaigns. They ultimately were combined into a single Kickstarter campaign that launched in September of 2019. It was quickly funded, and all the stretch goals were unlocked giving the line a total of 25 different dinosaurs. The Xenoceratops was one of the stretch goals, and is considered part of wave 3 (the final wave).

Each of the paint schemes on the Beasts of the Mesozoic dinosaurs are based on real animals. The color scheme for the Xenoceratops is based on the phuket horned tree agamid.

Sculpt, Articulation, and Paint Application

The sculpts for all of the Beasts of the Mesozoic dinosaurs I own are incredible. Each is well detailed, well textured, and spot on to the reference material available. The Xenoceratops is no exception. While portions of this animal are speculative because of the small number of fossil specimens, Creative Beast Studios kept to the most plausible and appropriate information provided by the most recent reconstructions.

It has the same issue as the Styracosaurus, in that some of the joints do not have a wide range of motion, but this is by design, as it mimics the actual animals movement range.

With the Styracosaurus, I had mentioned the uneven application of some of the paint work, and how certain colors didn’t quite match across body segments. This figure has none of those issues. The paint matches seamlessly across all pieces, and the application lines up with the scales and features of the figure.

Features and Accessories

The Xenoceratops toy is 1/18 scale, and comes in at a massive 14″ long with 20 points of articulation. It’s also packaged with a trading card that shows off collectable paleoart, and an instruction sheet for attaching the tail.

It comes with no base, stand or other accessories.

Quality

The quality of this figure is absolutely top tier. The plastic is sturdy, and the joints are firm enough to hold a pose. Different plastics are used for different body parts, so the pelvis and neck are solid, while the horns on the frill, and tail have some give, but a bit less than the Styracosaurus due to their thickness.

It’s heavy, and sturdy, with good tight joints that hold the figures weight without drooping or falling. The molding is flawless, with any seam lines disappearing into the skin textures and folds. The paint is rich and applied meticulously, and several techniques are used. Nothing is off register.

Value

Worth every penny of the $89.99 price tag. Its impressive size, great paint scheme, and poseability makes it a spectacular display piece. It’s not just good toy, it’s great!

Overall Score

9.5

Recommendation

Pick it Up