I fondly remember the "old school" dinosaurs from my childhood. Back then, dinosaurs were considered to be plodding lizard-like creatures with their tails dragging the ground. Although today's depictions are more realistically animalistic, I still have a nostalgic place in my heart for the dinosaurs of my childhood.
I attended a travelling dinosaur exhibit called "Discover the Dinosaurs" this past summer. I'd recommend it if you're a dinosaur nut (especially if you have kids), but the important thing for this review was the gift shop, which had a bunch of Billy V dinosaurs. I wasn't all that impressed with them... even for old school dinosaurs, they were questionable. That is, until I saw this Allosaurus.
For dinosaur noobs, the Allosaurus was a theropod, a meat-eating dino like T-Rex. In fact, you can think of an Allosaurus as a smaller T-Rex with proportionally larger arms and a tapering snout with fin-like protrusions over the eyes. This is Allosaurus... not this:
Everything in my being says that this is an awful dinosaur model. It looks like a reissue of a vintage toy, so I guess you could say, "Hey, science has changed its ideas regarding dinosaurs over the years, so for the time period, this was accurate." You could say that, but you'd be wrong. Looking at the skeletal structure, there's no way that the real Allosaurus bones could fit inside this body. It's more like a bipedal crocodile than anything, with a flat head, thick arms, and lizard-like hands. This figure is about as scientifically inaccurate as possible, as if the sculptor had never seen an Allosaurus skeleton and just sculpted it straight out of his head.
And yet, I love the look. It's obvious somebody spent a lot of time on the sculpt: the skin texture, musculature and bone structure makes the model look surprisingly realistic. It might not look like a theropod, but it looks like some kind of prehistoric animal that might have existed. It's about as old-school as it can get; in fact, it reminds me a lot of those old movies that just plopped a couple fake horns on an iguana, filmed it at high speed to make it look huge, and called it a "dinosaur".
But the paint apps for this Allosaurus nearly wreck the look. There are some green and brown washes that bring out the skin texture, but the lack of paint detailing and cartoony blood-red eyes are just awful. I'd love to see a customizer really bring this figure alive with a great paint job.
At the gift shop, Allosaurus clocked in at 25 bucks. Clearly this is way too much, but the $16 price on the Billy V website is a bit more palpable. Regardless, the figure has a good deal of heft, with a solid plastic construction and a stature that towers over Star Wars-scaled figures.
I probably won't get any of the other dinosaur replicas from Billy V, but this Allosaurus is one that, for whatever reason, just speaks to me. The paint apps and price point need much improvement, but it's about as much fun as an old school dinosaur model gets.