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As a kid, I absolutely loved dinosaur toys. Anytime I was at Toys R Us or Walmart and I saw a little plastic dinosaur I didn’t have yet I begged my parents to by it for me. From the ages of 4 to 12 nearly every toy I owned was a dinosaur. They completely outnumbered any other kind of toy I had by at least 10 to 1. But then, came the most horrible change of my entire life.
I became a preteen.
I figured I was too old for all the toys I had, and decided I needed to get rid of them. Coincidentally, my parents were having a yard sale just around that time. I gathered up EVERY SINGLE TOY I HAD and sold them all that very day. As you can imagine, a yard sale that has toys that aren’t just being thrown away because no one wants to play with them but are actually cool and in good condition was very popular. By the end of the day, all my dinosaurs were gone. I probably had over 100 individual dinosaur toys.
I made $40.
I spent it all the next day at a mini golf/go karts/arcade entertainment place.
It’s a decision I regret to this very day.
Strangely enough, very few of those toys were actually Jurassic Park toys. One of the reasons I had so many dinosaur toys was because it’s easy to find cheap 99 cent ones. I didn’t care, I just loved the fact it was a dinosaur. However, JP toys always tended to be more on the expensive side, so I only got a hold of those on special occasions.
However, the biggest reason I didn’t have that many JP toys was simply because I wasn’t around for the first two. I am unfortunately a millennial, which means I am the mouth breathing inconsiderate everything-is-handed-to-me-and-I-will-never-appreciate-it-because-I-am-of-the most-recent-generation scum of the earth. Direct my well deserved hate in the comment section. I only saw the other two JP films after the fact, so I was really only around for the Jurassic Park 3 toys.
And they kind of sucked.
But thankfully, through the Internet I have discovered just how awesome the toys for the earlier films were. While I wallow in a pit of sadness knowing I will never be able to get my hands on these amazing figurines, I’ll go ahead an review them on my blog.
Note, if you want better, more informative reviews of dinosaur figurines, go to the Dinosaur Toy Blog.
BTW, wanna know which dinosaur toys I bought the most?
I’ll review you guys later.
OK, let’s get started.
I’m going to return to the old format I used for the earlier reviews in my blog for this. I’ll be going down a list of each of the dinosaurs represented in these toylines and look at them individually. For the most part, I’ll be going in order of production codes. So that means we begin with the first toy produced in the first Jurassic Park toyline for the first Jurassic Park movie: Dimetrodon.
Now, it might seem strange for the first Jurassic Park toy to be produced to be of a creature that didn’t even appear in the film, but you know if you’re making a dinosaur toy line you have to add Dimetrodon. You know, even though Dimetrodon didn’t live in the Mesozoic era, wasn’t a dinosaur, or even a reptile like we know them today. But like most dinosaur toy lines, they don’t care. The creature takes on an especially reptilian appearance,with the tail looking like that of a crocodile! The general scientific consensus is that the skin of a Dimetrodon would more likely look like a bald mammal’s skin as opposed to pebbly reptilian scales. But to toy manufacturers, Dimetrodon is nothing more than a lizard with a fin. But really, there is nothing truly wrong with that. The toy is pretty cool, and one I wish I owned as a kid. It definitely looks like something you would see at Jurassic Park, and I kind of wish they would put one of these in the movies. The trading card that came with the toy depicts a scene that begs to be included in a film.
Why must you tease me so?
The next dinosaur in the toy line is Dilophosaurus, a dinosaur that actually appeared in the movie. You know, despite some of the inaccuracies (such as the backwards facing palms and the oddly flat and lizard like feet) this actually isn’t a bad looking Dilophosaurus considering. In fact, it actually looks better than the dilophosaurus seen in the film. The body structure and shape of the skull is much better looking, but still not completely accurate. I notice they decided not to add the frill either, which I think was a good idea for reasons I’ll get into later. You can, however, make it spit water, which is something every kid probably wanted to do. All in all, this Dilophosaurus toy is probably the best looking one out of all the toy lines, and you’ll see why later.
Next up is Velociraptor, arguably the star of the whole franchise. Given how popular these dinosaurs were in the film, it’s only natural that these guys would have a lot of toys made for them. And when I say a lot of toys, I mean A LOT OF FREAKIN’ TOYS. There are more raptor toys than any other dinosaur in the series, and I can totally see the appeal. They’re smaller than the other dinosaurs, but still fierce and dangerous. These guys were basically made to be toys. But if you’re looking for accurate dromaeosaurs, than you should know a freakin’ lot better than to start looking in the Jurassic Park franchise.
Wait a minute. Philosoraptor, is that you?!It sure has been I can’t remember the last time
I completely forgot to write you and the rest of my characters into my posts it’s been so long since I’ve seen you. What brings you around?
You were never evil. Just misunderstood. So then, what do you think of this particular toy?
Hmm, looks like I’ll see.
Surprisingly, the next dinosaur in the line is also one that doesn’t appear in the film, or anything else JP related for that matter. We actually get Coelophysis, which I think is actually a pretty surprising choice. Of course, they’re still not very accurate. The hands have the usual problems and there aren’t enough fingers (the toy only has three when a real Coelophysis had five). However, the strangest features these toys have can be seen by their description on the box.
One of the features these toys have is that their necks and tails are made of rubber with a bendable wire running through them, so you can bend the bodies to different poses. I think that’s a really cool feature, but it seems to be insinuating that the Coelophysis use their necks and tails to constrict victims like a snake, which is beyond impossible. Still, as ridiculous as the concept is, that still seems like something they would do in the Jurassic Park movies. Coelophysis is another one of those dinosaurs I would like to see in a film, and once again the trading card reminds me why.
Stop being so awesome!
Our next creature represented in the toyline is Pteranodon, and this toy actually marks the first time this creature is depicted in the franchise. And yes, this is the same Pteranodon from the first Toy Story movie.
Unfortunately, the pteranodon has all the common trappings of pop culture depictions of pterosaurs. The leathery wings, the pebbly scaly body, and worst of all the eagle-like talons are all present. But what’s strangest of all is the fact that the Pteranodon depicted on the trading card is much more realistic.
It even has fur!
But as far as this toy goes, the pterosaurs depicted in the later toy lines look much better, even if the later ones still remain completely inaccurate.
We finally get a Tyrannosaurus figure in the line, but this one is labeled as a ‘Young T. Rex’, and is much smaller than the one that comes in later. I’m not sure why they created a ‘young’ T. rex for the toy line; maybe it’s a reference to the young Rex from the novel, or maybe it was made to justify creating a smaller, cheaper T. rex toy. In any case, this particular toy can suffice as a normal T. rex for anyone who doesn’t want to shill out the money for the much bigger one. As far as accuracy goes, it’s a fairly standard JP Rex, and there’s not a whole lot to talk about that I haven’t already said before. This particular toy comes in two color variants, one brown and one green, and they both come with another awesome trading card.
I just freaking love the artwork on these things.
Next we’ve got Stegosaurus, a dinosaur that didn’t appear in the first film but get’s a pretty major appearance in the next one. Surprisingly, the look of the creature remains pretty consistent, even in color scheme. This may not be the best Stegosaurus toy I’ve seen, but it’s miles ahead of most of them, especially for the early 90’s. The front legs aren’t sprawled out, the tail is high and off the ground, I’m actually pretty impressed.
The Triceratops on the other hand could have been much better. As it is, it’s not very movie accurate nor accurate to the dinosaur itself. Everything about it just seems wonky, from the shape of the head to it’s placement on the neck all the way down to the length of it’s legs and tail. I can say with confidence that later Triceratops toys look much better.
I think I’ll also take this moment to point out that a lot of these dinosaur toys have a feature called ‘Dino Damage’. It’s basically just a removable piece of the plastic hide that unveils red tendon and bone to simulate dinosaur battle damage. The piece is removable and can be put back on so your dinosaur doesn’t constantly look like it has a life threatening gash on it’s side. More on that later.
We finally have a proper full sized Tyrannosaurus figure in the line, and frankly I think it’s great. It’s much better proportioned than the earlier Rex (I know it was meant to be a young one but still) and it also seems to be a bit more scientifically accurate to boot. The coloration still isn’t very movie accurate, but it does bring to mind the color described in the novel, which is just fine with me.
Next up we have another Velociraptor, with this one advertised as ‘electronic’ with the ability to make screeching noises. In some ways, this guy is an improvement. The palms are actually facing each other, which is actually quite a victory for me. Other thing about it though, just look weird.
Well Philosoraptor, just be happy you’re not as ugly as the electronic Dilophosaurus.
This Dilophosaurus is certainly not as good looking as the earlier, with the streamline body looking much dopier and frog faced. One notable feature, however, is that they decided to add the neck frill. Luckily, they had the foresight to make it a removable accessory. I’ll explain why that works better in a later submission.
Next on our list of ‘prehistoric animals I never thought in a million years would be in a Jurassic Park toyline’ is Lycaenops, a therapsid (what we used to call ‘mammal-like reptile) from the Permian. Now, I understand why the Permian therapsid Dimetrodon got it’s own toy here, since that guy is almost universally (but still wrongly) associated with dinosaurs, but Lycaenops?!
Now, I’m not complaining, as I think it is an awesome addition to the franchise, but I still think it’s an unexpcted choice. Still, it is always nice to see a gorgonopsid portrayed in mainstream media (and long before Primeval I must add) and it is surely a welcomed addition to Jurassic Park.
Our next creature is just as obscure and surprising as the Lycaenops. Meet Tanystropheus, a Triassic reptile known for it’s incredibly long neck, which was longer than it’s body and tail combined. Much like the Coelophysis, the neck and tail are made of flexible rubber with a bendable wire running through it, so that you can contort the creature into any pose you would like. Once again, a pretty cool feature, even if it is sadly inaccurate. Even though Tanystropheus’ neck was incredibly long, it was composed of only a few VERY long vertebrae. Since the neck bones were so long and rigid, it is thought that Tanystropheus’ neck was very stiff, and would have only been able to move from side to side. So the snake-like movements made possible by this toy’s feature would be impossible. Speaking of snakes, this depiction of Tanystropheus seems to be very much inspired by serpents. It has fangs like that of a viper (a feature the real creature didn’t have), the box refers to it’s bendable neck feature as a ‘Constrictor Neck Attack’, and the box nicknames the creature ‘Cobra’. Maybe they used snake DNA when cloning this guy?
The next dinosaur we see is something much more traditionally Jurassic Park. Here we have Pachycephalosaurus in vibrant red and gold coloring. I really like the paint job on this guy, which I think is really detailed in all the right places. The scutes on the back are a bit strange, but this was made in the early 90’s so I can forgive them for that. The hands and feet are a bit strangely contorted, but that’s to be expected in these kinds of toys. And of course, this guy has an obligatory head butting action, par for the course in pachycephalosaur action figures.
Now we add another pterosaur to the line up with Quetzalcoatlus. At the time the only remains we had of this creature were very fragmentary, so depictions of this creature varied wildly. All we knew at the time was that it was an immense pteorsaur, bigger than any known before. So, it looks like the toy designers just took that aspect of the creature and ran with it. I would comment on how the proportions of the wings, body and head are all wrong, but it would be like beating a dead horse. No pterosaur toy gets the body structure completely right, and frankly I think it would be impossible to do so. I will comment however on the eagle-like talons, which I’ll admit it is fun to play with your pterodactyl toys and pretend you’re picking up humans or little creatures with them. Despite that, it’s still something I immediately notice when I see pterosaur depictions. There is a plastic rod in the wings that helps when folding the wings inward, but when outstretched it makes the wings look very bat-like, which is unfortunate.
Next up we’ve got another large carnivore to add to the line, Carnotaurus. At first glance, I think this is a pretty good Carnotaurus toy. The only thing that seems obviously wrong with it are the arms, which are wayyyyy too long (in reality, a Carnotaurus’ arms were basically little stumps with fingers). But the more I look at it, the less and less it looks like a dinosaur and the more it reminds me of a Japanese kaiju. Maybe it’s just the quality of the plastic, maybe it’s the dopey look in it’s eyes next to those comically oversized teeth, but can’t you just imagine this thing trampling through a city and yelling out:
It can’t just be me, can it?
Now, I have to say I’m a little confused by the inclusion of Utahraptor in this toy line, since the Velociraptors shown are basically just Utahraptors anyway. Heck, they even created a distinct, original mold for the toy! It was probably just an excuse to get a larger raptor toy in the franchise, seeing how JP created a raptor mania and everyone knows that BIGGER means BETTER. With that being said, does the toy hold up on it’s own?
It is still a pretty fun looking toy, and stands up in it’s own merit fairly well. I really like the coloration and pattern the figure is painted with, which sort of reminds me of a tiger or jaguar. But like any scaly raptor dinosaur, in modern eyes the entire body is mangled beyond belief. As far a a JP raptor goes though, it’s still a pretty cool looking toy.
The next toy down the line is actually a somewhat rare collectible. This dinosaur is a Baryonyx, and I have to say it certainly isn’t one of the better looking toys in the franchise. The tail is stubby, the legs look like they belong to a green chicken, and the famous long arms and giant hand claws are barely even there! Even the head looks wonky, it barely even looks like it belongs to this dinosaur. It is certainly one of the uglier figures in the toy line.
The final dinosaur figure in the toyline for the original Jurassic Park movie is this colorful Gallimimus. Sadly, it suffers a lot of the same problems as the Baryonyx. The whole body is awkwardly proportioned, the head barely looks like it belongs to the dinosaur represented, and all in at it just looks ugly. It doesn’t really grab me to want to play with it, which kind of makes it fail as a toy. If a toy looks fun to play with, I’ll forgive it for inaccuracies. Sad to end this particular toy line and a low note.
I’ll be back for part 2 and discuss the toys made for The Lost World: Jurassic Park.