TOY FAIR 2012: In the land of dinosaurs and horses

Arabian stallion from Collecta — Photo courtesy of Collecta

At Toy Fair 2012, which wrapped up a couple weeks ago in midtown Manhattan, there were many game and toy offerings that focused on technology and 21st century trends. All of this was well and good, but sometimes a lover of toys just wants mindless fun with not too many boundaries or rules.

Collecta fulfills that need to throw back the years and enjoy the simplicity of our youth. This is not to say that the realistic renderings of dinosaurs, horses and other animals by the toy company are any less complex than the other options at Toy Fair. They look like replicas that can either stand there or stand here, but upon closer inspection one can see they are meticulously crafted to look like the real deal. This is some of the finest (and most accurate) artistry around.

In particular, their galloping Arabian stallion features flowing hair, vivid colors and even stretched muscles. Their dinosaur line is also impressive. A T-Rex with prey features the hunched-over carnivore with a helpless (and bleeding) dinosaur stuck within the clutches of its teeth.

As a boy who often had dinosaurs beat up modern-day mammals, there was much to appreciate in Collecta’s 2012 collection.

T-Rex with prey — Photo courtesy of Collecta

The company sells almost every animal in the kingdom. There are geese, ducklings, African buffalo, okapi and flamingos. They even have two forms of the lovable meerkats: one standing, one walking. Their insects, including an impressively detailed praying mantis, are exquisite. If you took their Mexican red knee tarantula and placed it on a pillow, expect to hear some screams. These things, although small in proportion, look like the real animals.

Collecta’s mythical figures are fairly neat as well, including a crazed-looking Cerebus and ascendant griffin.

Purists will purchase the company’s products and display them on bookshelves and hearths with the utmost care (these are the same  people who keep their action figures in their unopened packaging). Meanwhile, the younger crowd will bang them together in violent boxing matches. No matter what end of the spectrum you fall on, it’s hard not to fall in love with these realistic models.

By John Soltes / Publisher /

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John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at, among other publications. E-mail him at

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