Posts Tagged 'toys'

Ages 3 and up

Just a bit of fun really, but I’ve just finished off an absolute mass of teaching and have finally come out the other side more-or-less intact. There’s catching up to do on various things and serious blogging will have to wait. Most of the teaching was a huge first year biology class (big in terms of student numbers and the length of the course) which has been challenging but an enormous amount of fun, and I’ve been delighted to get some very positive feedback from both staff and students on my handling of it all.

At the end of my last lecture, I was collared by a group of them who had kindly signed a Christmas card with their thoughts and best wishes, and had clubbed together to shell out for this (obviously very expensive) set of dinosaur toys. I could hardly leave them on the shelf un-blogged, so here they are in all their technicolour ‘glory’.

Obviously identifications are not the easiest, but my best guesses would be Pachycephalosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Ankylosaurus and Triceratops. They also came with a couple of plastic cacti and a couple of black blobs which I was forced to conclude were rocks (toy rocks! no expense spared, clearly). Anyway, my thanks to them and my best wishes for the rest of the uni careers. I’ve had a lot of fun, and glad I got through the angiosperms.

More fun with toys

A couple of weeks back I posted about the little Zhuchengtyrannus model from Japan I got through the post. I managed to get in touch with the company responsible and asked if I couldn’t buy a few more copies from them for my colleagues. Instead they were kind enough to send me a complete set of the model series to which ZT belongs and I thought I’d share them.

They are (top to bottom and left to right): Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Allosaurus, Yutyrannus and Sinoceratops. Sadly it seems though my little tyrannosaur has the least consistent paint job going as the rest all seem to be a little better done, and the colours etc. are a bit more consistent. I really like their T. rex, though the green mohawk looks very out of place, and bizarrely the Yutyrannus model has the eyes painted in the antorbital fenestra, but overall they are still a nice set. One really cool thing is that the Allosaurus comes with a replacement tail that also attaches to the Stegosaurus and the bases also interlock so you can create an alternate tableau:


This photo was sent to me by an old friend who found it among her son’s collection of plastic dinosaurs. She asked me what kind of dinosaur had a head like a kangeroo on a theropod-like body. My answer was ‘none’ and then the picture turned up. I can see why she was confused!

I’m no stranger to dodgy dinosaur toys but this really is a marvel. Taking the head alone it’s hard not to consider it mammalian – the shape of the muzzle, position of the nostrils, the apparent jaw muscles and of course the ears all mark it out as more mammal than reptile. However the body does look dinosaurian, the sculpting of the surface hardly looks like fur, the tail would still be too fat for a kangeroo and certainly for any other mammal, and the feet especially are tridactyl and with big claws. In short it’s hard to consider this anything other than a dinosaur-mammal chimera. Wow. Cheaply made and badly sculpted toys are one thing, but you really wonder quite what they were looking at / taking when this was made.

My thanks to Kath for this unique ‘treasure’, for those interested, her blog is here.


Unlike some of my fellow bloggers, I’m not buried in dinosaur toys and models, though I do have a few cluttering up my desk and office. To be honest I don’t know many people who don’t have at least a few going around. I generally take a look at the selections going in a museum gift shop or the occasional toy store, especially when I’m abroad and might see something new or different.

When in Japan, this can rapidly become very time consuming. Models of various kinds are very popular there and dinosaurs are major sellers. Even small stores can have a huge range of things from the very small and cheap to massive skull replicas and high-quality 1/10th scale tyrannosaur life reconstructions. Here’s just one side of a display in a Tokyo toy store – it’s got more models of more kinds and different brands than anywhere I’d seen before and this wasn’t the only place with this kind of selection. I can think of a couple of people who might go broke if allowed more than 10 minutes in a few of these places.

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