By Henry I. Kurtz
I am partial to any toy company that has produced realistic representations of prehistoric creatures. Among toy soldier firms, the one most deserving of recognition is the French firm of C.B.G. Mignot. In the 1920s, Mignot issued a small series of prehistoric animals, often packaged in diorama boxes with appropriate scenic backdrops.
A two-tier diorama box features a quartet of strange looking prehistoric types. On the top tier we have an iguanodon that appears to be squaring off with a triceratops, who already has his dukes up. Perhaps these two big boys will repair to the nearest pub and settle their dispute over a pint of beer.
On the bottom tier we see two distinctive chaps from the Mesozoic Era – a bit before my time. On the left is a plesiosaur, a large reptile whose physical characteristics include a small head, a snakelike long neck and four paddlelike flappers. Opposite, in a menacing pose, is pterodactyl, a flying reptile, with wings of skin that can stretch out along the body at takeoff. Both look like they are itching for a fight. Or maybe they just want munching rights on those mushroom-like plants on the left.