FigureFocus 292 Invicta Plastics Pliosaur (Liopleurodon) Painted

Well, today is a sort of classic figure, possibly from the first ‘museum quality’ dinosaur line out there. The line is of course the Invicta Prehistoric models made for the Natural History Museum (referred to as the British Museum of Natural History at the time). Overall, it is a line of figures, I believe mostly to 1:45 scale, of a number of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals (and a blue whale…because of course) that are overall quite notable, in particular when they first began production in the 1970s. The original models were solid plastic and monochromatic; later in the late 80s/early 90s, many of the same models were reissued in softer plastic material with varying, simple paint schemes (there’s a bit of history behind that–it had to do with the emergence of the Carnegie Collection of dinosaurs from Safari in 1988). And of course, the whole line came to an end somewhere around 2005 or so which in many ways is a shame–and the figures are still highly sought after today.

The figure itself is actually quite detailed–it may be a reissue, with a nice, understate counter shaded green -and-white scheme, but the sculpt details such as they are still pop; the model is given the smooth skin of an aquatic animal, so no scales, etc. But there are a lot of nice little wrinkles and folds around the limb joints and on the face. This model of course predates the Walking with Dinosaurs series, so unlike the vast majority of Liopleurodon figures made since then, does not really resemble them much, with a more pointed snout. The teeth sticking out of the mouth is a good touch–and they are sculpted in place, so in this instance the well-applied paint really helps them pop. This is also true of the eye, which has several colours to give the animal an alert, intelligent expression.

I picked this figure up on a day trip to the Royal Tyrrell Museum…I think about 1995. I wasn’t huge into collecting but it just looked really cool! Of course, if I’d known then I would have picked up the whole line, which was there of course. How was I supposed to know that I’d come to appreciate them more later–or that they’d become pretty desirable (and expensive) later? Anyway, Invicta was primarily available through institutional gift shops which was likely part of their marketing plan, but of course limited them when other companies started making good, then great, models. The age of the figure also explains why mine looks just a little rough–a few scuffs here and there, but it has been moving around with me for about 25 years! Overall, it has held up well.

It is a bit of a shame that the series is long discontinued. There was a lot of attention and care put into the models, and for dinosaur collectors, they are very attractive and sough after pieces. I myself have only been able to get a few of them, most in their monochrome state; I sometimes would like to see this style come back. Even better, I’d like to see the line get reissued (they’re still better than the follow up NHM figures made with Toyway, or at least that’s my opinion). In general, I would say that any time an Invicta figure is available you should pick it up; there’s lot out there (many in played with condition because, of course they are) but they still look great. The pliosaur is definitely one that will always be on my shelf!

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