Outside of what was available in museum gift shops, I wasn’t too savvy on dinosaur model collecting, nor of all the amazing products that were becoming available. Things would change after I started following some amazing YouTubers out there who took the time to share their input on products from the top dinosaur model companies; most notably Papo, Schleich, Wild Safari Ltd, and CollectA. With adult dinosaur fans demanding more accurate models, as well as depictions of rarer and newer discoveries, the competition between them would result in a now golden age of animal representations. Many are so detailed they make my ’90s Carnegie dinosaurs (considered cream of the crop back then) look downright childish. Now I find myself stalking their websites in anticipation of new releases, not unlike when I was growing up in the ‘70s and the department store Christmas catalogs would start coming out. Seeing these new dinosaurs online are great but (this blog notwithstanding) there’s really no comparison to holding them in your hands and seeing them with your own eyes. Needless to say, I had a bit of skepticism when I ordered my 2016 Papo Kaprosuchus, for surely it could not be as good as it looked on YouTube. Boy was I wrong!
First, let’s address the obvious question…what the heck is a Kaprosuchus? Derived from the Greek word Kapros (Boar) and souchus (crocodile), this ancient relative of modern day crocs lived in Africa back in the Cretaceous period. The “Boar” moniker is based on the only complete skull ever discovered, notable for its protruding, tusk-like teeth.
After I took the Papo figure out of the package I must have ogled that thing for like 15 minutes. I’d honestly never seen a dinosaur (or, in this case, a prehistoric reptile) model with such incredible detail.
At first glance, most folks would probably assume this model is just a long-legged, modern crocodile. One of the things that sets Kaprosuchus apart from its modern-day cousins is that it did have longer limbs. This leads scientists to speculate whether Kaprosuchus was more suitable for land and hunted plant-eating dinosaurs on the Cretaceous African plains. At approximately twenty feet long, it definitely would have been an effective terrestrial killer.
The main complaint I have regarding this model concerns the snout which probably should have been more bulbous. Just like sharks, there’s been very little evolutionary changes to the successful Crocodylia family design so, by not highlighting this variation, it seems like a missed opportunity.
The jaw articulation is extremely well done with the upper jaw, as opposed to the more commonly used lower one, being movable. The fold behind its neck makes this action appear flawless.
In my opinion, it’s the highly detailed osteoderms (bony plates) that really put this model over the top. Not only are there scales of all different sizes, but subtle color differences give it an even broader sense of realism.
Another anatomical touch often ignored by toy/model companies was the presence of a cloaca. Reptiles do not have external sex organs and all urinary, fecal, and reproductive discharge is done via a single opening. This feature is visible on Papo’s Kaprosuchus.
I should mention that this is not the only, nor first, rendering of Kaprosuchus. Wild Safari Ltd beat all the other companies to the punch about five years earlier and not long after the animal’s initial discovery. Although it’s nowhere near as detailed nor striking as Papo’s, its bulbous snout is likely more scientifically accurate.
So to summarize this model, here are the stats…
GENERAL APPEARANCE: Absolutely stunning! Great details!
SIZE: Larger than I expected at about 22 CM (8 Inches)…
SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY: This Kaprosuchus could benefit from a little less “Croc” and a little more “Boar.”
ARTICULATION: Mouth opens (top jaw articulation)
DISPLAY/DIORAMA WORTHY: Absolutely, and proudly sitting on my own dresser!
BEST IN SHOW? Of the two Kaprosuchus figures, Papo’s is by far the best and most display worthy. It isn’t as affordable as Wild Safari’s but, in this case, you get what you pay for.