Did the lack of feathers on the raptors in Jurassic World make you die a little inside? Whenever you see a grey or tan dinosaur does your eye twitch? Do you have an ornithological reference guide loaded on your phone just in case someone muses out loud about how they can’t imagine what feathered dinosaurs would look like? Have you been thrown out of your local Target because you were found lecturing children and parents at length about how the toys offered don’t reflect current paleontological discoveries?
The Beasts of the Mesozoic Kickstarter feels your pain and wants to make sure you have plenty of gorgeous murder birds on hand to terrorize your action figures.
Sculpted by David Silva, whose work has been featured in awesome toylines like NECA’s Pacific Rim, Beasts offers backers a chance to own hyper-detailed, scientifically-accurate raptors, feathers and all, with breathtaking decos inspired by modern ornithology.
I asked David, with all the fantastical creatures he’s sculpted, what drew him to create feathered dinosaur figures and where he drew the inspiration from for the feather and coloration details?
I’ve noticed a big gap in the dinosaur toy market for accurate and articulated dinosaur toys. From what I’ve seen, you either get one or the other, but never both in one action figure. For the colors and patterns, I’ve looked to modern birds that occupy the same type of habitat as the extinct raptors. I think this gives them a more ‘real world’ quality.
Looking at the Kickstarter page, the intricacy of the sculpt is striking. Having backed a few action figure Kickstarters before, I know that finding a factory to mass produce gorgeous resin prototypes can be a challenge (see our Kickstarter primer). So how confident is David that a factory will be able to faithfully reproduce his amazing sculpt and insanely detailed paint apps?
The factory that will be producing these figures is the same one we’ve used at NECA for the deluxe Pacific Rim kaiju action figures (which I also sculpted). Since they already have some experience in dealing with my creature sculpts, I feel pretty confident that they can pull this off.
Each raptor comes with a base, interchangeable toes and a support arm so that the dinos can be posed dynamically. At $35 per figure, they’re for serious dinosaur fans. When asked, David said that he “tried to strike a balance between an cost efficient amount of reused and unique parts.” And that is one of the things that I like the most about Beasts of the Mesozoic. It would have been simple to take one sculpt and redeco it a dozen times, but the unique head, tail, and wing sculpts scattered among the various figures makes a huge difference in the overall diversity of the line.
Originally there were 10 raptors being teased. After the runaway popularity of the campaign, David is now planning up to twelve raptors, with accessories and a possible backer-participation raptor depending on how many stretch goals get blown through. Once all the dinos have been revealed, he plans on offering an “all-in” option so that backers can get a discount for buying one of each of the raptors in the campaign.
And if the current campaign isn’t enough, Silvas has eyes on future campaigns, with a frilled dinosaur teased at the bottom of the current campaign page. I wondered if he had a whole universe of various dinos in mind?
Yes I do- I keep thinking about all of the possibilities. Not just limited to dinosaurs (which is extensive enough) but this style could work well for any type of animal action figure, extinct or living. Or even, dare I say, dragons…
I grew up loving dinosaurs and I still harbor a wee paleontologist in the back of my brain that flips out whenever new dinosaur toys pop onto the scene. “Play science,” if you will, has lagged far behind “real science” when it comes to dinosaurs for way too long. I suppose that there’s a toy executive somewhere, glowering behind a desk, complaining that feathers on dinosaurs don’t look “cool” or “tough” enough. Whereas I think David Silva’s sculpts prove that, at least with raptors, they can look even more terrifying. If you’re a dinosaur fan, you know that dinosaur art and toys have been slow to embrace feathers, even as overwhelming evidence mounts that feathers were an integral part of their physiology. Beasts of the Mesozoic is finally giving fans what they want, and David Silva looks to be poised to provide much more where these came from. Raptors start at $35 and are well worth the investment. If you’re on the fence, head over to the Kickstarter page between now and May 27th and chip in $1 to start getting updates. After a week of amazing dinosaur concept art, you’ll be ready to bring home a murder bird of your own!