Monday, July 27, 2015

Wind Hunter: Rebor 1:35 Scale Utahraptor Ostrommaysorum

If you are new to dinosaur figure collectibles, you may not be familiar with Rebor yet. You will be. Rebor is fast winning my heart. With a classy presentation, increasingly attractive bases and an exemplary attention to detail and fine paint applications, their figures are to dinosaur collecting what X-Plus figures are to Godzilla and similar kaiju. I’d suggest getting on board while the initial figures are still in-stock, or risk regretting it later. Much as Papo eclipses Schleich in terms of realism and hyper-detail, Rebor ups the game and usurps the Papo kings. Rebor has released 4 dinosaurs so far, with a fifth announced for August. Utahraptor Ostrommaysorum arrived today, and “Wind Hunter” promptly proceeded to blow me away.

Rebor’s dinosaurs are packaged very professionally, boxed within a classy matte black slipcase. They are protected will in a foam tray, done in a standard 1/35 scale, and come complete with an informational card. Rebor seems to be going for some pretty dynamic poses with their dinosaurs (Utahraptor is actually mid-stride, balancing on one foot), which works both for and against them (more about that later).

 Utahraptor Ostrommaysorum is a gorgeous figure. It’s one I didn’t have much interest in, and was reluctant to purchase. I knew it would be relatively small, and for a shade over $30, I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest in it. So in my initial order, I passed. But Rebor’s Tyrannosaurus Rex and Ceratosaurus figures were so spectacular that I immediately went back and ordered “Wind Hunter” right away. I’m glad to say, I’m so happy I did. “Wind Hunter” literally took my breath away upon removal from its packaging. I’ve examined, bought, sold and reluctantly passed over thousands of figures in my 20 years of toy collecting. That “breathless feeling” is fleeting. It’s reserved for the “best of the best”, and Rebor has effectively captured it.
Utahraptor Ostrommayrsorum measures about 8 & ¾” long, but most of that (just under 5”) is the tail. It stands about 2 & ¾” to the top of it’s hip, excluding the base. The base, itself, is beautiful – it presents a sandy/rocky surface with additional rocks and bones strewn about. The sculpt and paintwork are top-notch and really set the figure off nicely. There’s a short metal post that slots into a hole in the base and again into the figure’s rear foot.

The face sports a variety of textures and colors, with deeply sculpted scales and prominent brow ridges above the eyes. There’s a bit of dark grey, some lighter grey highlights and a muted yellow along the sides of the muzzle. The eyes are a striking gold with a black dot. 
Moving down the neck, the Utahraptor is covered with fine hairlike feathers and the drybrushing is so subtle that I think I pick up at least four different colors and/or shades (yellow, grey, light grey, blue, brown…etc.), none of which overpowers, and lends to a sense of shimmering. The lighter grey becomes more prominent along the tail, where stripes are clearly discernable. The arm feathers have some clearer speckling, as do the feathers at the very tip of the tail. The feet and claws (on both the hands and feet) are expertly detailed and painted, giving a sense of bone and/or razor sharp nails.

The figure is quite striking, and my only complaint is the same I’ve encountered with every Rebor dinosaur I own: there’s a balancing issue. These dinosaurs, for all of their outstanding looks, cannot stand. I’ve got two T-Rex’s, two Carnotaurus’s (review coming soon), and the Utahraptor. All of them have issues staying upright. Wind Hunter and King T-Rex are both balanced on one foot, which looks great, but causes some inherently serious balance issues. It’s frustrating, mostly because it’s so unnecessary: a small metal post in the base would do the trick for the most part. I’m tempted to drill a hole in the Rex’s rock and underneath his foot, and add a metal post of my own. For the Utahraptor, I’ve gone ahead and cut a short length of clear plexiglass rod, which (you can see in the pictures) I’ve used to prop up the ride side of the figure in an effort to avoid future drooping issues. Rebor, I absolutely love your product, but you’ve got to get the standing issues resolved. Otherwise, Utahraptor Ostrommaysorum is a fantastic figure in every respect!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

HERMIONE GRANGER - Funko Pop! Vinyl Figure Review

Today we have a guest review from a Harry Potter fanatic, my eleven year-old daughter...

Today I got 2 of the new Harry Potter  Funko POP! figures! I got Harry and Hermione and they are totally awesome! I love them! They were actually better than I thought they would be! They're also my first POP! figures. Hermione is my favorite character, so I'm going to review her first.

I think that they put a lot of detail into her considering that the size of the body in general is so small (around 4"). They put a Hogwarts crest on her robes and it is super detailed (it's also so tiny that you can't really pick out individual designs, but the colors and the intricate sections make it clear what you are looking at). The tie has red and yellow stripes, which are the colors of Gryffindor, and her shirt has tiny striped trimmings that match the tie. The skirt has indentations where ruffles are being portrayed and the robes have much larger ruffles all the way around. In addition to the ruffles, the robes also have a hood that is also ruffled and super detailed.

My favorite part, though, is Hermione's hair. I've always loved Emma Watson/Hermione's hair in the movies and Funko did a great job modeling it onto the figure. The sides and back are super wavy, and the bangs have indentations for the strands of hair. The paint job was pretty good, except for two things: the bottom of her robes on her wand arm have a tiny trimming of gray while the other side has a lot of gray, and the very end of her wand was painted the same color as her hand. Other than that, I thought the paint was done pretty well. The POP! figures are mostly statues except for the fact that the head rotates in a full, 360 degree circle. I would definitely recommend this Hermione, People! I love mine!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015


It's not often that I have the pleasure of a completely unexpected find, such as the one I had today. In my rounds out and about looking for a new Jurassic World Stomp & Strike Tyrannosaurus Rex (which was unsuccessful), I stumbled across two new Battat Terra dinosaur releases at a local Target. I haven't heard anything new about the line and had been seeing the same Pachyrhinosaurus figures on the shelf for most of the past year, until I came across what seemed like a basic re-stock. All of the original 4 releases on the shelf (one of which was marked down to clearance price), and then I noticed a couple of new figures mixed in: Amargasaurus Cazaui and Ceratosaurus Nasicornis! Better yet, they carried the new price of $5.99 each! The figures are boxed in the same manner as the earlier releases and possess nice, vibrant paint schemes to accompany their sculpts. My own kids are largely unimpressed with the Battat line, mostly because they hold them up against Rebor and Papo for detail and paint applications. I, on the other hand, appreciate them for nice sculpts and a fabulous price point! I looked into it and found out that there is a third figure in this release series, a Carnotaurus, which I will be equally thrilled to find...

Friday, July 17, 2015

GIGANOTOSAURUS - Schleich 2015 Large Size Dinosaur

Schleich's new 2015 full-sized Giganotosaurus is a gorgeous dinosaur figure. Measuring nearly 7" tall and 8 & 1/2" long, it abandons the qualities that make the earlier version so drab and really goes for an exciting and eye-catching display.

Giganotosaurus is a thick and weighty specimen. In terms of weight and proportionality, it's quite similar to Papo's standing T-Rex. The details are crisp and nicely varied across the entire animal, brought out well with a wash. I particularly like the facial details and all the various crevices, scales and folds . There's some texturing to the ridges running down the spine and the teeth are beautifully sculpted and painted.

The jaw is articulated, though on mine it seems to be pegged in on a slight angle, and the figure looks great with the mouth opened or closed. The inside of the mouth has a great protruding tongue, and the roof is sculpted with ridges similar to the earlier Giganotosaurus release.

The pose is an interesting design choice. The left foot is raised up on its toes like its about to step down, or up, though the rest of the body doesn't show any indication of movement whatsoever. The claws are thick and prominent, as are the neck, hips and tail. The tail curls nearly straight down and is used as a supporting leg of the tripod stance.

The paint is excellent, with little to no slop, the previously mentioned strategic black wash to make the details pop, and wonderful transitions between the major colors. The figure is cast in a tan plastic with Schleich's new favorite trend of painting three colors laterally down the length of the figure in the form of rough "stripes". In this case, the colors are bright: orange, light green, dark green. The eyes are gloss black, the nails and claws are matte grey, and the ridges and teeth are bone.

That about covers it. The figure is simply great, in-hand. It's heavy and solid, much like Rebor's T-Rex, nicely sized and it's striking on the shelf. There's a lot here to like, though I anticipate that there are a ton of inaccuracies to the sculpt and design. The hands are going to be an issue for some, with the left turned palm-upwards and the right pronated downwards. I'm pretty sure the skull is too wide and I'm sure there are lots of other qualms one can have. My only real issue with the figure (besides the wonky jaw) is the pose it has been sculpted in. It does a nice job of showcasing the figure (and it really does look good from nearly every angle), but it's very unnatural and just seems a bit awkward. But overall, this is a terrifically fun looking dinosaur, and I'm satisfied with the quality and effort that went into its production!

Old Giganotosaurus and New

Scaled alongside Papo's Standing T-Rex

Monday, July 13, 2015

CARNOTAURUS - Schleich "World of History" small version 2015

Schleich's new 2015 Carnotaurus is an amazing little dinosaur replica. At just about 5 & 1/4" long and 2 & 1/2" tall to the tip of its horns, it packs a tremendous level of detail into a small package. Carnotaurus sports five ridge lines running the length of its back, with raised bumps running across and between. These are highlighted by a lighter blue drybrushing. This drybrush extends to the jaw and snout portion of the head, which looks really wicked with its stunted snout and angular lines.
The Carnotaurus is flashing a wicked grin, reminiscent more of the Joker than a dinosaur, with lots of expertly painted fine teeth showing. The jaws on these small versions are not articulated, so keep that in mind.

The right arm is tucked right up against the body, so it may be hard to see in pictures, but its there. The left arm extends out a little further, and with the twist to his right, this version has lots in common with his Papo relative. That one has a tail reaching up and back, though, while Schleich's version has a tail that droops down and away, acting as the third leg in a supportive tripod. My figure came with warped legs, despite a cardboard insert, but I was able to adjust it rather easily with a hot water bath. Lest we forget, the horns look terrific (as do the eyes, perfectly painted) offset in color against the dark blue color palate that this version has. In fact, I think there are about three different shades of blue over the course of the entire dinosaur, giving it a truly striking and unusual appearance.

I really love this version of Schleich's Carnotaurus. I'm not positive if that's because it's so new, or because I just really like the way it looks as a whole package: a striking sculpt with great detail and a unique and interesting paint scheme. I'm not sure if these are going to come packaged in duo boxes like the other small ones I picked up are- I ordered this one bagged. I've got the last of the new small version dinosaurs, Giganotosaurus, on its way, as well. And frankly, I can't wait for it to get here...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

VELOCIRAPTOR - Schleich "World of History" Small Version 2015

Schleich's new Velociraptor figure is partnered with their small Tyrannosaurus Rex in a boxed two-pack (I took a look at the T. Rex earlier last week). It's pretty standard, if not a bit uninspired. It resembles the previous Schleich and Papo Velociraptors in size and pose, with a few minor exceptions. 

The sculpt and paint on the face and head are good. There's a bit of gloss added to the eyes and nostrils to give them a wet appearance, and since the jaw is not articulated on this version, there is no nasty seam line cutting across the crown of the head.

The teeth are painted fairly well, and there are some neat textures across the snout and top of the head, along with a ridge line sculpted down the center of the forehead.

The head as an awkward tilt to it, and the hands are splayed in front of the animal, wrists twisted outwards. This Velociraptor also uses its tail for support in standing.

There's a really neat, faint series of airbrushed stripes running down the length the raptor's back. They are so light that they are only visible in certain light, but they add a lot to the otherwise blue body.

Like Schleich's earlier Velociraptor, this one has feathers (sloppily painted red) lining the forearms and triceps portion of the arms. The claws are painted off-white.

The 2015 Velociraptor is roughly the same size as the previous Schleich and Papo Velociraptors, which is nice because I now have a pack

My kids pointed out that each of the new Schleich 2-packs has one really great dinosaur, and one that's a little disappointing. In this pack it's the Velociraptor. There's nothing inherently wrong with the figure, it's just unnecessary. This version doesn't do anything that previous versions haven't already done...

Friday, July 10, 2015

TYRANNOSAURUS REX - Griffon Enterprises Life Model Series Master Fossil Figure

The Griffon Enterprises Life Model Series Master Fossil T. rex Tyrannosaurus rex figure is something I had a great deal of difficulty finding out about. It was released in May 2012, and is currently still available on Amazon and ebay. However, finding pictures or detailed reviews of the figure was nearly impossible. Nevertheless, I decided to take a chance and order the model based on the production photos in the solicitations. If you've been reading the previous "Unboxing" entries, you'll know that the result has been a mixed bag...

The figure has a very nice head sculpt. It isn't as "angry" looking as other versions of T-Rex often are, and there's plenty of great scale detail all over the snout. The dark patches are carefully airbrushed into deeper recesses to add depth and realism. The brow ridges are especially prominent and the eyes are painted gold with sharp black pupils centered forward to give the impression that the animal is looking right at you when viewed head-on.

The teeth are somewhere between Schleich and Papo quality in that they are mostly individually sculpted, but the clean white paint makes them look quite "toyish".
The jaw is articulated, and looks good in both positions. The jaw can open very wide, and the thick tongue inside is hinged to allow for it to be positioned as desired. I had some initial difficulty freeing up the tongue hinge, but a half hour in the fridge allowed it to unstick successfully.

Unfortunately, there is no detail sculpted into the roof of the mouth, or on the fleshy inside portions between the upper and lower jaws on the sides. They are also very pink, making them look more like chewing gum or Silly Putty than anything else.

The model is fairly large, measuring about 20 & 1/2" long and 8 & 1/2" high to the crown of its head. The pose is just what I was looking for: a simple stride straight ahead. It's funny, but my best Tyrannosaur models are all in fairly dynamic poses, and I really wanted one that was just walking (that's actually a big reason why I finally decided to take the chance and order this version).

The level of detail across the body is good, but not jaw-dropping by any means. In fact, Papo's Running V-Rex and Rebor's King T-Rex are both more striking than Griffon's. The details are there, they just aren't as sharp as I was hoping for.

Ribs and musculature are visible, and are enhanced by either an airbrushed highlight or a light "absence" of paint (like at the ribs). The proportions are good with one exception: I don't like the way the shoulders have been sculpted. They seem very boxy to me, with a sharp line running from the armpit up and around to the spine. It looks odd from nearly every angle, and is the only part of the sculpt (outside of the way the hands are turned) that I don't care for.

Overall, I really like this Tyrannosaurus Rex model. Its best attributes are its size, the sculpt (chiefly the head), the airbrushed hightlights and its pose. In terms of negatives, the detailing is a little soft or absent in places, the base is flimsy, there are a couple of really obtrusive seam lines (one along the top and back of the head, and another at the base of the tail), and warped legs out of the package (it still can't stand without the base, despite my best attempts to remold the legs with hot water). I'm happy I got the model; it's a nice addition to my collection and displays very well. I would recommend it, but be aware that you may have to do some "adjusting" and that its details aren't quite up to what we've been seeing produced more recently by other companies...

Thursday, July 9, 2015


The inner package consists of a pair of clear plastic trays with the model sandwiched inside. The tail and all are wrapped in a plastic baggie .  The base is a simple matte black plastic with a silver nameplate faintly photo-etched with “T. rex Tyrannosaurus rex LIFE MODEL SERIES”. The etching is tiny and the font is quite thin, so seeing it from a distance will be difficult. But up really close it looks nice. I may be spoiled by Rebor’s gorgeous polystone diorama bases, but this one seems flimsy and cheap. I don’t mind the minimalist black, mind you, just the quality of the plastic. It doesn’t seem like something fitting for an expensive, artistically crafted model.

On to the main event…

The figure is beautifully rendered, but it’s got some significant issues to contend with. First, is feels a great deal more insubstantial than the Rebor Rex, or even than the Papo and Schleich Rex’s I have. It weighs the same amount as the Rebor model, despite being six inches longer and nearly 2 inches higher at the crown of the head. The details are not as sharp as Rebor’s, and the paint is not nearly as subtle and complex. But my main problems with the Griffon Rex are more basic: 1) it can’t stand on its own (the legs are warped and don’t allow for the feet to align with the peg holes on the base correctly,
2) there is no detail on the inner jaw flesh when the mouth is opened, 3) the tongue (though surprisingly articulated!) does not want to fold down and hold its position – the hinge is stuck,

and 4) the sculpt features a very boxy look at the shoulders when viewed from head-on, and 5) the wrists are twisted out and down rather than having the hands face inwards towards one another as they should.

My first fix attempt was with the legs. I need a dinosaur that can stand, at least with a stand! I heated some water in a pot and let the legs soak for a couple of minutes before attempting to pop them back on the stand. They did so with relatively little difficulty (though the front foot is still not laying flat). I then popped the entire model into the refrigerator for a quick chill. I may use the hot water method to see if I can adjust those wrists to turn inwards a bit, as well. I’m also hoping that the fridge gets the tongue joint to loosen up enough to get it to move a little more freely. All this aside, it goes without saying that one shouldn’t have to do this with an expensive product.

Tomorrow, we'll talk about how the "fixes" turned out, and take a closer look at the overall figure, itself...