Vault Tales 229 Bullyland Batrachotomus

It’s been a while, but this week is going to be a couple of Figure Focus posts! No particular reason, it just worked out that way. But they are link in interesting ways–large, carnivorous beasts that predate dinosaurs…figures that represent animals not often seen. Figures that weren’t especially easy to get, and are way harder to get now…enough about that. The first figure…was name in the title, so not a surprise! The Bullyland Batrachotomus.

The Bullyland Batrachotomus figure is one of those ones that kind of snuck out in the mid-2000s, before there was even a forum to share information about it–and when it came to Bullyland, it was already hard enough to find information. I had gotten pretty good at knowing where to look and when, and even so, I learned of it (and their also awesome Paratypothorax) by accident while reaching out to people about something unrelated! I wasn’t even aware of the animal’s existence at the time–I just knew that ‘batracho‘ somehow referred to frogs. So it was a fantastic opportunity to learn that a new rauisuchid (not really, but close) was being made as a figure.

The figure released in 2006, and for those who knew about it, was an immediate must have. It was number 61463 in the Bullyland Museum Line, a series that had gained a small following among collectors of prehistoric animals for their willingness to try different and unusual species (in particular, ones found in or near Germany). Although apparently there was quite a rivalry between them and Schleich, Bullyland was never quite able to make inroads in the broad market the same way, which was a shame as they took more interesting risks. They were (and are…they’re still around in some fashion) notable for being made entirely in Germany from a different kind of PVC. And also notable for never quite getting a handle on paint applications that don’t rub off.

The figure itself is sculpted in a very active, curving pose, with the body held erect on long, somewhat gracile legs. There is a fair amount of wrinkling on the skin, although no particular folds around the joints as might be expected. The osteoderm plates on the back, as well as smaller osteoderms on the sides, are sculpted and clearly marked, although painted to blend with the body. The overall body has a base brown colour , with a grey wash over the back and tail. The heterodont teeth are sort of sculpted; at the very least they are variable in size and shape, and all are painted fairly cleanly in an ivory-white. The open mouth has a pink tongue, but otherwise is the same brown base colour. The eye is a menacing gold with black pupil; this was before Bullyland got in the habit of painting white googly eyes on their prehistoric reptiles…which is a plus for the figure.

In general, this figure is a real treasure from the last years of Bullyland’s truly great prehistoric models; within a few years they would be purchased by someone else, then revamp into a different type of focus, then rerelease earlier models briefly, and I think were purchased again in there. I lost track. The long and short is that, like the lineage that Batrachtomus was part of, the figures of this line had a relatively brief tenure (with only a few remnants of what was still around today–am I referring to the paracrocodylomorphs, or the Bully figures? Yes), being discontinued in 2010. And, as I mentioned, they were never easily accessible before that either (although there were some retailers that were bringing them in, but it was not always certain). It’s a great model, and especially great as a figure of a Triassic reptile, a group not often seen as toys. Highly recommended of course, but it will take luck (and probably scouring German eBay)–and don’t be surprised by a few paint scuffs, it’s just character!

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