Review and images by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
Way back in the early 1980s, when I was just a wee little boy, my father very kindly recorded a National Geographic TV special on our Betamax VCR for me. It was titled “Reptiles and Amphibians” (original air date: 1968) and contained just about everything that I loved: stop-motion dinosaurs, crocodiles catching fish, a rattlesnake killing and swallowing a gopher, chameleons and frogs catching insects with their tongues, giant tortoises battling for dominance, marine iguanas grazing on seaweed, sea snakes menacing divers, and newts engaged in a mating dance to the tune of ballroom music. And then there were the Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis), which I had never seen or heard of before. Huge, ferocious-looking lizards ravenously tearing apart the carcass of a freshly killed goat. What fun! What excitement! How many times I watched that video, I have no idea, but I sure wish I still had a copy.
The Komodo dragon has remained one of my favourite extant predators ever since, and as an educator, I know for a fact that its popularity with children continues to be strong. This is also evidenced by the fact that there are more toys of this species than any other lizard. And now it is my privilege to review the new 2020 Komodo dragon from CollectA; this is another figure CollectA sent me to review ahead of product release. It is sculpted in a dynamic pose with its tail curled around on the right side, its limbs planted, and its mouth open wide with the forked tongue hanging out.
From the tip of its tongue to the curve in its tail, this dragon measures 12 cm long, making it big enough to be impressive while still scaling well with many of CollectA’s other animal figures. The usual weight for a mature adult dragon is around 70 kg (150 lbs), but there have been instances where they have grown even bigger. At least one individual was found to weigh a staggering 166 kg (366 lbs), which makes the Komodo dragon possibly the heaviest of all squamates, even edging out the green anaconda.
The main colour on this toy is dull beige with a dark grey wash to bring out all the scales, pale sandy yellow for the underbelly, and dark grey for the claws. The black eyes are surrounded by light brown, and the mouth is medium pink with white teeth and dull light pink for the tongue. Precisely what you’d expect to see on an adult dragon, although some individuals have gold colouration on their bodies.
The dragon’s skin is covered in countless pebbled scales, along with some thick wrinkles on the neck and along the flanks and an indentation down the belly. The ear holes are visible on either side of the head, the limbs are thick and muscular, and the curved claws are nasty-looking. The soles of the feet are covered in scales as well. But the most impressive part on this dragon is the inside of its mouth. Not only are the palate and tongue nicely sculpted, but the tips of the teeth can be seen protruding from the gums. Komodo dragons prey on goats, deer, wild boar, water buffalo, and whatever else they can sink those razor-sharp teeth of theirs into. Although it was concluded at one point that they possessed a venomous bite, this has since been disputed by other researchers. Instead, they argue that the Komodo dragon’s bite kills its victims by way of shock and blood loss.
The only issues I have with this dragon are that its head looks a bit too wide and its tail looks a bit too short. Neither of them seriously hurt the figure, though. The tongue is also oversized, but it probably would have been difficult to sculpt it any smaller without making it more delicate. And it does make this dragon look more fearsome.
Overall, the CollectA Komodo dragon is quite the cool-looking and well-sculpted figure, one that I certainly would have adored way back in 1984. As it stands, I’m glad my little boy gets to add this beastie to his menagerie. Thanks, CollectA!