Vault tales #18 Shapeways Odonotochelys

Who makes it? It is a 3D printed model from Shapeways, the creator goes by the name Prehistoric Creatures Shop. It’s a very fitting name.

When did it come out? I received it 2011. But I believe the file went up earlier than that.

Here it is…stark white against a reef background.

Still available? As long as the file is available, and there are 3D printers, yes

Where can it be found in my displays? I have a shelf full of 3D printed models, in the 3BESTA cabinet. On the whole, that cabinet is pretty random!

How does it fit in the collection? Well, I have mentioned before that I am intrigued by models of unusual prehistoric reptiles, and Odontochelys certainly fits that bill. There was a short burst of 3D figures that helped build the diversity in my collection, and this is just one. I also appreciate monochromatic models, which helps–and is part of the reason it remains unpainted (the other part is that I’m not great at painting…eventually some of my efforts will show up here I’m sure).

A view of the belly, which hopefully shows a bit of the texture of the plastron. It is also possible to see the long fingers and toes

Any story behind it? The creator of this and many unusual prehistoric models posted on the Dino Toy Blog Forum (not sure if the thread is still there, but lots to see on the forum!) that he was working on these. Back at this time, there were not a lot of 3D creators, and Shapeways was pretty new. So it felt like I could be supportive and add to my collection. Eventually I would end up with quite a few models from just this creator, as well as several others.

Notable remarks about this figure (a review that isn’t really a review): First off, I am not super familiar with the Triassic turtle ancestors, so I can’t be completely certain if it is accurate or not. It has the long fingers and clearly present plastron (chest ‘shell’) so there’s that, but at this size the teeth wouldn’t be visible. Plus, the mouth is closed. The carapace (upper shell) is smoothed across the whole back, instead of being an obvious shell (given that there is apparently some disagreement over that). It also has the long limbs and neck seen in the fossils. Overall, it looks like a sea turtle that isn’t quite there, which is fitting. There could be details that would be more obvious with even a cursory painting but so far mine just stays in its white plastic form!

So it turns out that Odontochelys was not a very large animal, but this figure scales pretty close to correct with The Doctor here (around 1:5). It’s like the Triassic version of looking for turtles in a pond. Except the upper shell wouldn’t be the same, and if it bit you there would be teeth in it’s mouth!

Would I recommend it? I am personally a fan of the 3D printing revolution that is slowly working its way into the world. Rather than mass producing figures, obscure animal models like this Odontochelys (and so many others) that might not be considered ‘commercial’ can at least be available. That said, these models are not meant as toys as they are too breakable; and they seem to have increased in price over the years to the point that it can be harder to justify. Plus there have been a few toy models of Odontochelys since I got mine that don’t even need painting!

All of this is my roundabout way of saying that I like having it, and if you’re a fan of unusual figures and figure media, it might be worth checking out what is available in 3D printing. And if you are, there is a weird stem-turtle figure you might enjoy!