Bizarre Wings on the New Schleich Quetzalcoatlus

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been taking a look at the new models that are due to be released by the German based model and figure manufacturer, Schleich next year.  There had been a lot of rumours circulating regarding the changes being made by this company and a number of prehistoric animal models have been retired.  Sadly, the last of the prehistoric mammals, the two Woolly Mammoth models and the Smilodon are no more.  The “Saurus” range and the not to scale dinosaurs have been reduced, but there are a number of colour variants and new models being introduced.

Perhaps, the most controversial of all the new introductions is the replica of the Azhdarchid Pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus.  This is a new sculpt (model reference Schleich 14518) but it is not the model itself that will drive debate, it is the choice of wing pattern that the artists at Schleich have decided to add to the back of this flying reptile’s wings.  It certainly makes for an interesting Quetzalcoatlus flying reptile model from Schleich.

The New Quetzalcoatlus Flying Reptile Model from Schleich

Wings of a Butterfly?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Schleich

In what we think is a first for a mainstream prehistoric animal manufacturer, the designers at Schleich have given the wings of the new Quetzalcoatlus model, a patterned effect.  In fact the wings look very similar to the patterns seen on butterflies.  The wings of Pterosaurs consisted of a membrane of skin.  No preserved traces of a membrane have been found associated with Azhdarchid Pterosaurs, so the exact colouration, if any, cannot be determined, but most flying reptile models are shown with rather plain wings – certainly when compared to this new model.

The “Saurus” Quetzalcoatlus Replica

A more conventional Pterosaur Model

Picture Credit: Schleich

The “Saurus” Quetzalcoatlus will still be available in 2012, it reflects more of the conventional view of Pterosaurs. Covering the wings of butterflies, they have four wings, technically the same number as Pterosaurs as there is a smaller membrane – the fore-wing at the front of the arm on Pterosaurs, are thousands of scales made of chitin.  The wings of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) can be patterned and very colourful, the new Pterosaur model’s wings remind us of the pattern seen in the wings of many butterflies and moths.  Such patterning on a model is highly unusual, and we at Everything Dinosaur, doubt whether Pterosaur wings were coloured in this way.  The wings can’t be used for visual display as only the back surface of the wing is patterned.

This is certainly striking, but we are not sure about these markings.  Schleich also make a number of fairy and fantasy figures, perhaps the artists responsible for the new Pterosaur wings have been influenced by the designers of these other models.  We wait to see what other specialists make of this move by Schleich.

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