What is this? Some figures that get picked are not really much to talk about…so I’ll speak to them as a group. In this case, it’s a group of pewter prehistoric animals from a company called Arizona Silver. I don’t know a tonne about them, but I do have a story behind them.
I first became aware of the models when I was managing the dino museum (which I know I’ve mentioned before). A local resident who had come into this large assortment of metal dinosaur figures wanted to sell them to us, to resell in our store. We decided why not? They weren’t expensive. Not really sure how he came to have them…strange guy, apparently worked as a Cirque de Soleil clown at some point, now living in a small prairie town (and since moved on). Probably best I don’t know…anyway. We got them from him and the first thing I can think of is…they’re shiny. And clearly kind of old school–all tail draggers and bent necks (on the plesiosaur), that kind of thing. Also…there was a Tyrannosaurus pin, but no figure. A little disappointing for a place that was literally named after T. rex but it wasn’t a big deal (we had pins from the same company!).
They were cheap, and people liked having the little things. I didn’t really take to them (although I do have a number of small metal models) but my son decided that he needed one of each. So, I let him save up. Then, we discovered that the same guy had sold more of them to a local heritage museum…and they had a Dimetrodon that we hadn’t seen! So, yeah, picked that up to.
So what can be said about the models? First off, they aren’t marked or labelled, so sometimes I had to guess at the intended dinos. In this first picture, we see the stegosaur, ankylosaur and ceratopsian. The Stegosaurus is pretty obvious, the ankylosaur is probably Ankylosaurus, and the ceratopsian…I think might be a cross between a Pentaceratops, Torosaurus and Triceratops. Again, given the age and style, it’s probably meant to be Triceratops, but the frill seems off somehow. As I said, these figures have a markedly old-fashioned look about them–I’m pretty sure there are terrible cheap-market ankylosaurus that still look like that.
The next group is the sauropod + bipeds. The sauropod is a pretty classic generic one, so it was most likely Brontosaurus before that name was invalidated and then revived, but not sure how this one fits in. The hadrosaur at least is obviously Parasaurolophus. It is in the classic tail-dragging kangaroo pose, and tends to tip forward. Like it knows it should be on all fours. Finally, the small theropod. I am leaning to thinking it is meant to be something like Coelophysis. It’s a genus found in Arizona, so it could make sense. Again, it’s a tail-dragger, and featherless, and doesn’t have much in the way of details–no large foot claws or crests to distinguish it. But it at least looks like an active animal.
And finally the not-dinosaurs. These are probably the most appealing to me. Again, they’re both a little generic, and kind of older-styled. The plesiosaur (probably Plesiosaurus) originally had the bent swan neck, but the metal is pliable so I straightened it to try to make it look more correct. The Dimetrodon has that usual look of a hefty lizard with a sail, lacking the more boxy skull and with what looks like a Ruffles chip for a sail. The Pteranodon is interesting and active, with a heavy base that allows for a vertical pose while it swoops out of the water–with a tiny fish in its mouth!
So, are these worth finding? I’m going to say no. If you were to find them somewhere, maybe they’d be a nice curiosity, or a good souvenir if the animal is appropriate. More likely, I am pretty sure these are still recast and reused as figures glued on rocks and geodes and such. Although you’d be more likely to find the dinosaur ones than, say, the plesiosaur or pterosaur. Which is too bad, since they’re the best ones. I guess you could also use them as classic table-top miniatures? Just like the old metal RPG figures–they’d fit right in too (of course, there were and are dinosaurs made for just such a thing many times, by many companies). In conclusion? I’d say the set overall can be skipped unless you are a really into metal dinosaurs.