Vault Tales 187 FigureFrenzy Nasutoceratops, Uintatherium, Dunkleosteus, Smilodon

New Figure Frenzy, with a bunch of larger figures! Interestingly, we’re going to hit the three geologic eras (and the kind of fourth, based on the original breakdown into four). But I’m not going to do them in geologic order since…I just am not. Three of them are excellent models from excellent companies. One of them is a well known animal that is frequently made but can be generously described as ‘okay’, from a company that can be described as…okay but more obscure. We’ll look at the first three…and if you’re still around you can find out about that last one (seriously, it’s not that great)!

CollectA Nasutoceraops

Let’s start with what was apparently the ‘IT’ girl of 2015, a Nasutoceratops figure representing the Mesozoic. This one is a fine figure from CollectA, number 88705 from their standard dinosaur line. It is an excellent representation of the species, with the interesting, inwardly recurved brow horns and low frill. I am not sure why 2015 was it’s year, but the year this figure came out Safari also released one (in general, to greater acclaim). I like this one for it’s broader colour range and the highly decorative face and frill. As well, it bears the speculative frill of feather-like integument on the hip and upper tail (as fir seen in Psittacosaurus)–as always, CollectA is willing to take the risk in representing a bit of the speculative with their figures. And when done well, like this, it turns out a really nice model–which is fortunately still readily available.

Safari Uintatherium

Speaking of marvels from Safari Ltd, here we have a more recent prehistoric mammal from 2018, item number 100087 in their DInos&Prehistoric Life line. Uintatherium has been produced as a figure many times, and every company seems to have a different take on it. Safari has taken a very classic approach, presenting this weird Cenozoic mammal as very rhino-like lumbering animal, with smoothed ossicones and a grey, hairless skin (contrast this with the recent CollectA approach for a very different approach). It is still a masterful model, sculpted by the great Doug Watson, who does many of the models for Safari. Again, this one is still available and easy to obtain. Maybe someday someone will make one featuring the original reconstructions upon its original discoveries, complete with moose-like antlers as seen here!

Colorata Paleozoic Creatures box Dukleosteus

Now we have a favorite Palaeozoic marine animal, a Dunkleosteus made by Colorata for their Palaeozoic box. I recently presented it along with the rest of its kin when I looked at the arthrodire placoderms and their relatives in my collection. It goes without saying that this is an amazing figure, and while it is the only one from the set that I have, it is one of my favorites. Interestingly, despite being relatively recently made, it features the ‘eel-tail’ reconstruction instead of the more accepted ‘lunate’ tail that recent biomechanical studies suggest would be more likely for a large pelagic predator (my collection seems to be split on that). As always, I highly recommend Colorata models, although they aren’t especially easy to get hold of (or inexpensive if you can). But worth it.

Cornelissen Smilodon

And finally, hitting that fourth ‘era’ (back when the Quaternary was an era, instead of a period within the Cenozoic, as is recognized now), we have our Ice Age representative. This one is a Smilodon from a company called Cornelissen. As far as sabre tooth cat figures go…it’s a classic rendition in that it looks like a chubby lion with long teeth. The overall proportion seems awkward, and for a Smilodon the tail seems too long (a common error in low- to mid-level figures of the species). I have it more because it is part of a more interesting set of six prehistoric mammals; I received mine in a trade with someone in Europe (I want to say Norway…). I only got five (missed out on the mammoth but that’s fine) but the real draw was a couple of weird, less common animals (including an anthracothere of all things! And some weird carnivorans). I think the set is still around in some form–I do that the same set was released in a miniature format as an Ice Age play set with the same six models by GeoWorld, but I don’t know if it’s still available. Should you get it? Only if you can get the rest. Or need to have every sabre tooth cat out there.

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