Vault Tales 175 Run the Set Kaiyodo DinoExpo 2002

Today will be another set, this one featuring a fine set from Kaiyodo–their models made as souvenirs for DinoExpo 2002! This was when the figures were still part of the Chocola Saurs brand, partnered within the UHA lines. Except, for the DinoExpo sets, they would pull out a few stops. In later years, the models would get larger and made of more fragile resin; the early sets often featured repaints of existing figures. In this instance, there were also a couple of new models, making this set (and especially those figures) especially sought after. The figures also came in a collector box, rather than as blind box figures–so you always knew what you’d get! I did have the box originally, but don’t appear to anymore.

Some of the DinoExpo series (and, likely, the expos themselves) appear to have had themes (often some kind of region or focus animals) but this set is not giving much suggestion for that…although all of the animals are North American? Being that the events are (were?) an annual event in Japan, they must have worked with palaeontology resources from all over the world; I suppose the early ones were more North American-focused for some internal reason. Either way, the use of their models as souvenirs is wonderful for us collectors (as long as you aren’t too late to the party).

I would like to say that there is more to the DinoExpo 2002 than ‘North American’ but it doesn’t seem to have any other links; two of the 5 figures are from the Series 3 releases, one is from Series 2, and two are unique (guess which are the most sought after now!?) In every case of re-releases, the paint jobs were completely reworked, but the figures themselves did not change, which is probably easier for Kaiyodo! There is also no particular age linking them…most are Jurassic, but two are Cretaceous (so also, not from a single locale). Maybe they all just had something unique about them?

The most unique figure in the set is of course the two “Seismosaurus” figures (properly Diplodocus, but they are labelled as Seismosaurus). These are fittingly big figures, even for a Dinotales model that can be put together. Of course, not being to-scale with each other, this makes the figure seem small compared, say, to the Deinonychus figure or the contemporaneous Stegosaurus, but I’m pretty sure that it is longer than any other Dinotales model. The lack of scale also means that, as size estimated change, there’s no ‘corrections’ to be made as they all stand on their own anyway. The life-reconstruction has an interesting, swaying pose; with a correctly-sized theropod figure (wrong age and size for the Acrocanthosaurus), it might look to be swinging at a predator. It also makes it hard to get a photo from one angle…The skeleton is more straightforward, but actually longer than the reconstruction, and keeps to the high standard Kaiyodo set for it’s skulls and skeletons.

Overall, the DinoExpo sets are among the most collectable of the Dinotales models, as they were even more limited in distribution and duration. The 2002 set is often sought after because of the unique Seismosaurus model (or, fine, Diplodocus–Kaiyodo never otherwise released that genus anyway) and especially the skeleton. The Seismosaurus was actually released three more times after this set–always in a different colour, and some with altered sculpts (the later ones have tiny spikes across the back, and yes I have one of those too of course!). In an odd inverse, the 3 re-released figures in this set are the harder to find ones now; this red Seismosaurus is probably the easiest to find (the other versions were often one-off or small run giveaways with magazines or other events). The skeleton is the hardest to get though–being the most delicate (as fossil skeletons would be!) they are also the most likely to be broken. A set that is very worthwhile to track down, and they seem to be available, but it will come with a price…not that there’s much like these anywhere else! I would recommend holding out for a box set, even if you don’t keep the box (why did I get rid of that? I honestly don’t know…)

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