Well, this is a weird little set of prehistoric animals. Small, rubbery, and with very, very…limited styling. It’s the kind of set that doesn’t really fit with what I’d normally collect. But sometimes there are reasons. I think this’ll be a brief post!
These little figures have probably shown up in a whole lot of different sets and sources. Based on the appearances of a few of them my guess is that they are knock offs or recasts of Iwako eraser figures–I looked at the few that I have in this post. I also know that whatever the source, there have been at least a few productions–one of the figures I’ve pictured, a grey Stegosaurus, has different belly markings but is otherwise the same (a little smoother, probably a later casting). Also, these are not erasers at all, just rubber figures. Based on the broader variety of the few Iwako that I have, it’s clear that I don’t have a complete set of these models. But I still had to get some of them when I first found them…
I think I came across these in 2002 or so, on eBay (at the time, pretty much the only place to find the occasional odd figure). It was a group of prehistoric figures, all very small (around 3 – 5 cm long), in little spiky plastic eggs (the kind that are in two pieces with something inside). Given the style, definitely a bunch of figures I would have normally ignored. But I noticed something in the pictures that immediately got my attention. It of course would be the the tiny Desmatosuchus figures.
At this time, there were literally no aetosaur figures available at all (although I think the QRF Stagonolepis became available around this time). So seeing a pair of tiny Desmatosuchus figures in a lot of figures that were otherwise unremarkable meant I had to find a way. But I noticed that were a whole lot of different animals, and the purchase was for 12 assorted (again, in small opaque plastic eggs). That said, I couldn’t risk just any 12 figures, I needed to make sure the aetosaur made it in. I remember reaching out to the seller directly and asking so many questions (back when getting in direct touch with eBay sellers/buyers was much easier). In the end, I was at least able to convince her to look through them so that I’d get at least a couple of the Desmatosuchus, and she was gracious enough to do so.
So, it’s a weird little lot. They might still be available on ebay or other sources (I think they’ve shown up in soap or slime at some point), but I honestly have never paid much attention. Sometimes I’ll say something like, “they’re nice enough” but let’s be honest, they’re pretty terrible. Old fashioned without a retro charm, and the sculpts are kind of awkward and a little ugly. The Desmatosuchus is okay I suppose (it pains me to say that in some ways it’s nicer than the Safari toob one…) but in general not a series worth putting huge effort into trying to add to a collection. Given that, I’m not sure if there are any currently available aetosaur models…other than the QRF one. So if you happen to come across them, maybe it will be worth it. But I personally don’t think the rest are.