Vault Tales 143 ToyTrio Tawa, Coelophysis, Tyrannosaurus

So today’s trio is going to be a variety of dinosaur figures, all relatively recent releases! As it works out…it kind of acts as a very basic family lineage of the theropod (meat-eating) dinosaurs. If I arrange them in the right order…which I did. It’s also why it felt more right to put them together in a ‘trio’ instead of looking at each one separately.

Schleich ‘Conquering the Earth’ Tawa

Our first figure is the recent…and recently departed..Schleich Tawa. Item number 15005 in their ‘Conquering the Earth’ series (a line name that seems kind of bombastic), this one was released in 2018, only to be discontinued this year. That is honestly what prompted me to pick it up (well, order it)–I wasn’t totally sold on it based on the sculpt, but it’s a unique taxon as a figure, and I like to try to have a wide breadth of taxonomic diversity. So why not, while I could still get it?

It’s interesting that they gave it a slight crest of feathers on the head and tail, since Schleich dinosaurs are not always notable for ‘forward thinking’ sculpts; but they otherwise managed to keep it looking skinny and shrinkwrapped. To me, the most interesting thing about the figure is how it fits in the theropod family tree, somewhere right at the beginning of it. I think it’s great when obscure species get made, and for those of us that like phylogenetics and cladograms (right, like who doesn’t?) these types of figures are great. Also, like your typical modern Schleich, the material is a super soft PVC, so it’s clearly meant to be toy friendly. Not a super dinosaur figure, but an interesting one. I’d highly recommend finding one while they are still mostly available.

Safari Ltd Coelophysis

Next up, we have the fairly recent Coelophysis from Safari Ltd for their WS Dinos & Prehistoric Life series (a far more logical name, if a little long…). It is item number 304529, release in 2017. This is one of many sculpts by the rightfully renowned Doug Wastson, who has sculpted many prehistoric and living animals for Safari. The advance is sculpt and interpretation quality is miles ahead of the Tawa; it actually feels like an animal with some heft, and is carefully detailed over the entire body, with a covering of fuzz. There is also a bird like quality to the colour scheme that is probably familiar to someone that knows more birds than I do…fitting, given the place of Coelophysis in the grand scheme of the theropod dinosaur lineage (which is of course represented today by…birds).

If the Tawa is at the very base of the theropods…Coelophysis and it’s kin are apparent the sister group to…well, most of the rest of them! I think I’ve mentioned my database before…and one thing I try to do is keep things organized phylogenetically. But I let that get away from me, so I’ve been trying to sort all of that recently. It amused me that these two dinosaurs were picked by the RNG (not right together, but I decided to be thematic about it). Anyway, it goes without saying that I seriously recommend this figure, which is still widely and readily available.

Colorata Dino Cretaceous Volume 1 Tyrannosaurus

Finally, working our way up the theropod family tree (and skipping over soooo many nodes and clades) we reach a Tyrannosaurus rex to represent for the coelurosaurs–oddly, the first T. rex that I’ve ever discussed here. I don’t know how one hasn’t come up individually before, they aren’t exactly uncommon figures. This one was released by Colorata in their dinosaur sets wave, as part of Dino Cretaceous Volume 1, from which we’ve seen a figure before (there’s also Volume 2 and Jurassic 1…why not Triassic!?). Like that earlier Velociraptor, this Tyrannosaurus still has some older styling in the sculpting choices. This is especially true in the skin texture, in that there is no hint of feathers at all. Given the mid-2000s release of the box set, this seems strange, but of course that all depends on production lead times and also what the sculptor and company want…

Regardless of the choices of integument, overall this figure nicely demonstrates why Colorata models are so awesome. The use of bases allows a more dynamic, realistic pose and proportion, with no need for balancing tails (better yet, no rods, just foot pegs). It is also sculpted as a fairly thick, muscular animal with lots of tissue around the base of the tail and on the legs. As always, I will highly recommend Colorata figures, even though they aren’t cheap, and aren’t always easy to find. And if you need it (and the Velociraptor) to have feathers, they have a deluxe box for feathered dinos–which is even more expensive! Honestly, I don’t even have that one…

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