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Monoclonius crassus

Beasts of the Mesozoic
by yo go re

In 2016, David Silva introduced his Beasts of the Mesozoic dinosaur action figure line via Kickstarter. Last year, he Kickstarted the second series, based entirely on ceratopsians - you know, triceratops and all their weird-headed cousins. Despite the challeneges of the pandemic and a few shifts in the production plans, the first figures have shipped only about two months after their estimated delivery date.

The Monoclonius (single sprout) was a medium-sized ceratopsid about 20ft. long and was named by Edward Drinker Cope in 1876. It had strong limbs and a heavy build with one large nose horn for defense. Because of those attributes, Monoclonius was more like to use the "fight" rather than the "flight" defense method. Today, Monoclonius specimens are often believed to be juveniles or subadults of other genera such as Centrosaurus.

As much as I would have loved to get a normal trike, the adult didn't get unlocked until the Backerkit stage and I wasn't really feeling the colors on the sub-adult (at least, not $55 worth), so I took my own advice and got the Kickstarter exclusive - which just so happened to be a throwback figure in a different way.

I guess I wasn't much of a "dinosaur" kid - like, I know all the major ones (anything that got turned into Dinobots, basically), but when it came to all the specialized variations included in this series, I hadn't heard of any of them. Monoclonius? Centrosaurus? Those are things? Apparently so! For those who are clueless like me, a monoclonius looks like a triceratops without the forehead horns - just the nose horn, like the bio said. There are ridges of bumps creating "eyebrows," with a similar lining on the neck-frill that leades up to two drooping horn-like dealies in the middle at the top.

When he's not Creatively Beasting the Mesozoic or whatever, David Silva works for NECA, and has also worked for McFarlane Toys and Hasbro - the man's got toy nerd cred, no doubt. And looking at the monoclonius, it's easy to see why he's everyone's go-to-guy when it comes to making scaly creatures. This is as scientifically accurate a dinosaur as is currently possible given today's paleontological knowledge. It's got the correct sort of bow-legged "push ups" pose, the rights kinds of muscles beneath the skin, and, of course, an amazing texture covering the entire thing.

The articulation is reminiscent of Boss Fight Studio's Mighty Steeds: lots of balljoints and swivel/hinges. Like, Lockjaw was a decent action figure, with his seven points of articulation, but Mono has much much more. We start witha balljointed tail (which is packaged separately because that was the only way to fit everything in the package), balljointed hips, swivel/hinge knees, swivel/hinge hock, swivel/hinge foot, double-balljointed waist, balljointed shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, balljoints at the top and bottom of the neck, and a hinged neck. The official description says 19 POA, but that's a low count - we do each swivel and each hinge separately, so we say 32. However you count, it's super playable, able to get whatever sort of natural poses you'd want.

In need of colors for the dinosaurs, most of the Ceratopsian Series releases turn to modern lizards for inspiration. The Monoclonius has a different origin, but it still looks awesome. It's mainly teal and green, lighter on the belly and darker on the top, with some bright stripes running horizontally back along the body. The beak, horn, and the bumpy ridges on the head are a muddy grey color, while the toenails are brighter. This may be based on a toy, but it manages to look... if not "natural," then at least "organic." Or maybe that's the other way around? There's a tan variant available as well, but it's not exclusive.

The Monoclonius doesn't have any accessories (unless you count his tail), but the set does include a card with a few biographical facts and a clean version of Ezra Tucker's package art. The other figures get full-color backdrops behind them, but Mono doesn't; there was already enough going on with the packaging.

Creative Beast's Beasts of the Mesozoic Ceratopsian Series is done in a 1:18 scale - so, GI Joe or (more on topic) those Jurassic Park figures from a couple years ago. The Monoclonius (and everything that shares this body mold) is more than 10" long, and its back is about 4" high - clearly the different heads will create different overal heights. The figures are, no doubt, very expensive: this Kickstarter exclusive was the $50 reward, and that's one of the lower prices! That means I couldn't get as many of the dinos as I wanted, but picking this one worked out well. So if you see one whose colors and head-horns you like, you'll find a highly impressive dinosaur toy.

-- 12/23/20


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