Chinese Water Dragon (AAA)

Today we’re looking at another splendid toy from AAA, one that’s cast from an actual specimen and startlingly lifelike in appearance and detail. But don’t be fooled, this is not an iguana despite what’s stamped on its underside; this is actually a Chinese water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus). Once again I wonder why AAA would go to such great lengths to make these fantastic toys only to attach a vague or completely wrong name to it. Well, at least it belongs to the Iguania clade…along with 1,550 other species.

More specifically the Chinese water dragon belongs to the Agamidae family, along with the well known bearded dragon. It is the only member of the Physignathus genus. Like the bearded dragon the Chinese water dragon is common in the pet trade, but rarely well kept and usually wild caught. These are respectably sized lizards, reaching about 3.3’ (1 meter) in length with most of that length being their tail. This toy measures 25” (63.5cm) which puts it at 1.1 scale for an adult sized female.

This toy appears to represent a female dragon as males have a number of prominent characteristics that aren’t seen here. Although there is a ridge running from behind the head and down the tail it is not as prominent as those seen in males. Males also have longer spikes along the crest, a larger head, pronounced jowls, and are overall more colorful.

In addition to China these lizards are also found in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. They live in forested areas near lakes and streams where they usually sunbathe on branches and drop into the water when threatened. They mostly feed on invertebrates but will also eat vertebrate prey and vegetation. Looking at this toy it’s easy to see that this is an arboreal animal, with long, clawed digits on the limbs.

Frequently these AAA reptiles look like the dead specimens they’re cast from, not so here. This lizard appears particularly lifelike. People frequently assume that mine is an actual live lizard, but that’s understandable as I also keep live lizards. The paintjob is well done here with the body being painted in various shades of blended green with some faint, darker green bands down the sides. The jowls are painted white.

Although mostly well executed the toy does have a couple of flaws. Most notably the arms tend to bend upwards unrealistically, forcing the toy to rest on its belly with its fingers up in the air. Also the eyes, they’re red with elliptical pupils when they should be more golden colored with round pupils. Overall quality in paint and sculpt also seem to vary greatly between individual toys and mine looks better than most others I’ve seen on the web.

Overall I would recommend this toy to anyone with a preference for life size toys or an attraction to taxidermy; it looks like a mounted museum specimen. There is also educational value here as well as potential use as a prop. These AAA toys won’t appeal to everyone but for those that like them I highly recommend this one in particular. It’s quite affordable on eBay, just make sure you search for it as an iguana.

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Comments 1

  • I just recovered my example of this in my Mother’s attic along with a couple other of the great AAA reptile figures I got during the mid to late 90’s. Most of them were ordered through a science toy catalog I used to get in the mail and IIRC the lizard in question was labeled a Fiji Iguana. I had a juvenile figure too that I haven’t recovered yet.

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