Vault tales 59 Play Visions Elasmosaurus

Who makes it? Play Visions, as part of their classic Prehistoric Marine Reptiles series. The elasmosaur is number 6 if you’re curious.

When did it come out? The figure is stamped 1998 so…1998?

The Play Visions Elasmosaurus, just swanning around…yes, it is based on older imagery.

Still available? As with other excellent marine reptile sets, this one is discontinued. It has been for some time now. It has been for some time now–and is still highly sought after.

Where can it be found in my displays? On a shelf full of small bin figures, mainly Play Visions ones.

For a small figure, they spared no effort in the paint job. There’s two base tones along the back and sides, plus the spotting.

How does it fit in the collection? A small prehistoric marine reptile? Of course. At the time, however, I was big into Play Visions series. That said, they were somewhat easier to find in the early 2000s–most of the best sets were discontinued around 2002, and ones like this marine reptile set have become very hard to find, and harder to afford.

Any story behind it? Not really. I lucked out in my frenzied ebay buying in 2000-2002. It was relatively inexpensive, and came with the even better prehistoric amphibians set. 6 years later, that amphibian set sold for over $800 in an auction. Don’t pay that much.

A close up of the head. The detail isn’t even really visible in-hand, but in a zoomed photo it’s possible to see some sculpting of teeth. I think the eye is too far forward though.

Notable remarks about this figure (a review that isn’t really a review): First things first, the pose is old-school. Current understanding is that plesiosaurs probably couldn’t raise their heads like this. But at the time it was considered plausible–and the sculpt is based on artwork that was common in dino encyclopedias from the 80s, so that would explain it further. The figure itself, at maybe 10cm long, is about 1:110. Despite the small size, a lot of care has gone into it. The mouth has been sculpted down to the trace of teeth, while the eye sockets are also picked out. They’re a little far forward, and the skull is a little too high; the whole head should be lower and more slender. The model is sculpted entirely smooth, right down to the flippers, which might be a little short. The paint job is really nice, kind of sea lion-like, which mare sense for a marine predator. And it is a very clean paint job.

The diver is way too big. But it does look like fun. The figure is about 1:110, the diver 1:70

Would I recommend it? I would love to tell people to get it.And the whole set (it is, after all the source of one of only two good Henodus figures). But of course, like many nice things, it is not available anymore. Or, if it is, there are a lot of people trying to get it. Fortunately, there are a lot of other elasmosaur figures…so it isn’t too hard to get a good small plesiosaur into a collection (or toy bin, but given the rarity of this one, it’s not really a toy anymore). For small figures, Safari makes a decent one in their Carnivorous Dinos toob (yeah, not a dino), and the CollectA Prehistoric Reptiles mini set has a good one too. So maybe track those down instead.