Some call it Pteranodon sternbergi, others Geosternbergia sternbergi. For the purpose of this review, it makes no particular difference. What matters is that at the moment it is the closest relative of Pteranodon longiceps, the quintessential pterosaur, the one with the tube crest that too many times is called a pterodactyl by most people. It will therefore come as no surprise that excluding the skull these two animals are very similar.

Reconstruction of various skulls attributed to the genus Pteranodon, the missing parts in gray, by Matt Martyniuk

Thus, Collecta a year later the enormous P. longiceps of the Deluxe line also produces the less famous little brother, opting however for smaller dimensions. However, we are talking about respectable measures, if the wings were open they would be 44cm long, but since they are folded the model is fairly compact. Personally, I think that the chosen pose is successful and very natural. It recalls a drawing by Mark Witton which portrays a P. longiceps perched on a rock, and I must say that the model really shines if placed on an irregular base. Obviously, there are no stability problems even if, at least in my specimen, one of the feet doesn’t touch the ground. The declared scale is 1:20, but it would be more correct to speak of 1:13 or 1:14 taking as reference an adult male with a wingspan of about 6 meters. It can only be an adult male since only they had a crest like the one on the model.

At first glance, this Pteranodon gave me the impression of being the smaller version of its Deluxe counterpart. Of course, there is an apparent difference in the crest, and the head is colored differently. However, the anatomy of the body is exactly the same as its predecessor, proposing the same merits but also the same defects. Even the general livery is decidedly similar. It would have taken very little to give a completely different aesthetic, perhaps replacing gray with another predominant color. That’s not to say it’s a bad model, as already mentioned sternbergi and longiceps from the neck down are extremely similar and the 2021 Pteranodon was a good transposition of its real-life counterpart. I can’t help but think a little more creativity would have helped.

Ok, we get it, this model looks like the Deluxe, but at least the differences that exist make it identify as sternbergi? Absolutely yes! The only apparently disproportionate head is enormous and is taken evenly from the skull on which the identification of this species is based. It is right that the beak is curved, as well as the fact that the lower jaw is shorter than the maxilla. Unfortunately, the whole anterior part of the mouth is missing from the original fossil, so it is possible that in life the shape could have been slightly different. The same can be said with the crest, it faithfully follows the shape of the original but we are not able to know if in life the presence of a horny coating could significantly alter its appearance. Nostrils, eyes, and ears are carved in the right position and have the right size. The jaw is mobile and the tongue can also be seen when the mouth is open. The articulation works well and is well-integrated, not ruining the aesthetics of the model in any way. To obtain this result it was necessary to sacrifice the range of motion which is limited, but I personally think it is the right compromise. Even the decisive coloring, with very strong colors, is spot on and draws attention to this part of the body.

Filed the head, for the rest of the body you can repeat exactly the same things written in the review of the Deluxe model. The broad, muscular, and relatively short neck that was needed to support the enormous skull is fine. There is no evidence of throat pouches, but nothing prohibits their presence. The body may seem small but it is well proportioned as is the tail which in Pteranodon was longer than the average pterodactyloid. The wings have the right length and the various parts that compose them are articulated in the right way. Both hands and feet have the right number of toes, four and five respectively, although they are a bit coarse. The model would have gained a few more points if they had been sculpted thinner but then they would probably have been too delicate and the plastic could have broken easily.

From head to tail the model is covered in filaments. In fact, pterosaurs were not scaled, nor did they have only bare skin. These filamentous structures are generally called pycnofibres, but in recent years the hypothesis that they are real feathers is gaining ground. In particular, they should be called pycnofibres if this integument had appeared directly in pterosaurs, and feathers if it was already present in the common ancestor between pterosaurs and dinosaurs. Unfortunately, the filaments do not cover the wings of the model, the non-bony part of which appears to be formed by the classic bat-style skin. However, in the living animal, this skin was covered by pycnofibres/feathers fringed into several filaments, which were, therefore, more complex than those on the rest of the animal. The membrane effect looks great, moreover, if you put the model in front of a light source, the wings become slightly translucent. Furthermore, in the animal propatagium (the part of the wing in front of the arm bones), cheiropatagium (between the arm and leg), and cruropatagium (between the leg and tail) must have consisted of skin and muscles. Consequently, the wings in life were probably less thin, and the transition between the limbs and the “membrane” was much less evident than in this Pteranodon of Collecta.

To conclude, it must be reiterated that the judgment on this figure can only be positive. There are very few models of Pteranodon sternbergi. Price, size, color, and pose are definitely all strengths of this product. Even the anatomy would be excellent if we exclude the previously analyzed little problems with the wings. If you are a fan of pterosaurs, it cannot be missing from your collection.

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