Triceratops Baby (Mini)(Chap Mei)

In addition to their Standard and Electronic Deluxe figures, Chap Mei also produces miniature-sized prehistoric beasts of highly dubious accuracy. Let’s take a closer look at what is billed as a baby Triceratops.

From nose to tail tip, this toy measures about 10.5 cm long. The main colour is pinkish brown with dark grey markings on the head and back, light grey claws, beige horns with darkened tips, light green eyes, and a reddish pink tongue. As far as Chap Mei toys go, this is one of the blandest-looking ones.

The sculpting is alright, albeit nothing special. Fat wrinkles all over the main body and limbs, heavy scales on the head, a row of flat osteoderms covering the vertebrae all the way down to the tip of the tail, rows of small, round osteoderms, and grooves in the beak, horns, and claws. The almond-shaped eyes give this little ceratopsian an angry appearance, as do its firmly planted legs and the way its head is turned sharply to the left.

By now, I’m sure you’ve all noticed the most glaring flaw on this toy. This is supposed to be a baby Triceratops, but the large horns extending from its frill make it look like there’s some Styracosaurus mixed in there as well. A pretty sloppy mistake to make, although it would admittedly be cool if a real ceratopsian with such adornments was ever discovered. The other major flaw is that the feet all have three clawed toes.

The Standard-class Chap Mei figures available at Toys R Us always include a couple of mini-dinos in the package, so if you’ve been collecting them for awhile, you probably own one or more of these doubtful Triceratops figures. If not, I wouldn’t expend much energy trying to hunt one down.

Tyrannosaurus (Dor Mei)

Here’s a toy that many of you will no doubt recognize. It probably doesn’t stand on too many collectors’ shelves today but certainly helped fill a lot of toy boxes in the 80’s and 90’s. Yes, you could call this a Chinasaur but you could also call it retro, vintage, and nostalgic. For me it’s an iconic toy from my youth and now that I’ve reacquired it I’m excited to formally introduce you all to the Dor Mei Tyrannosaurus.

Even if you didn’t have this particular toy growing up roughly 30 years ago you no doubt had something produced by Dor Mei. They were responsible for a lot of the cheap dinosaur toys from the late 80’s. Dor Mei was right up there with the likes of UKRD, Imperial, and AAA. They closely resembled their contemporaries of that time and their toys stood out if for no other reason than they were large. The Tyrannosaurus in this review stands 10” tall and measures 12” from snout to tail. Dor Mei was also responsible for a lineup of Godzilla knockoffs and other large menacing plastic reptiles.

This is the kind of toy only a hopeless nostalgic could love. Superficially it resembles a Tyrannosaurus. Large toothy head? Yup! Small arms? Of course! Bipedal? You got it! But it gets just about everything wrong with the details. For starters it is of course a tail-dragger. That should be of no surprise but if you look closely at the legs and feet you’ll see that anatomically they look more human than dinosaurian. This is a model of a man in a dinosaur costume, looking like something straight out of “Unknown Island.”

The tail is short and thin, the torso laughably long. The arms are too long as well but the hands aren’t pronated. Not an intentional decision to be sure. The head is big and boxy. The mouth is filled with generic pointy “shark teeth” and two gigantic eyes resting atop the head. The toy comes off looking more like a frog than our favorite theropod. Ear and eye openings are present and surprisingly the finer details aren’t as bad as you might expect. The skin is covered with pebbly scales; the belly has scales resembling those on a crocodile. The fleshy throat dewlap is cross hatched but gives the toy a lot of its charm. Skin folds run down the torso and the crudest hint of musculature is present on the legs. No bad for what it is.

This toy can be found in at least two color schemes that I’m aware of. The most common being this reddish-brown version. The back is a lighter shade of greenish-brown with a black stripe down the spine. The eyes and nostrils are red and the claws aren’t painted. The teeth are sloppily painted white, and some don’t have paint on them at all. Another version exists that’s painted yellow with black tiger stripes coming down the flanks along the back.

The toy is hollow which as a child meant you could stuff a lot of smaller dinosaur toys in there. Or action figures. Whatever you wanted really. It was a lot of fun to play with and was the matriarch of my particular pack of Tyrannosaurus. Although hilariously outdated this is one of those toys you can’t help but love. It has a lot of personality and represents a unique approach to the Tyrant King. It’s easy enough to find to this day, on eBay in lots or singly. No doubt there are hundreds lurking around yard sales and flea markets as well. If vintage retrosaurs are your thing, check out the Dor Mei Tyrannosaurus.

Ankylosaurus (Playskool Heroes Jurassic World, by Hasbro)

When you think of the toys made for Jurassic World by Hasbro, there are  probably a lot of colorful adjectives that pop into your head .  I warn you not utter them out loud as there are preschool toys present.  One word I did not hear many people say about the toy line was “fun”.  Well today I am going to present a fun toy from the Jurassic World line.  Yes that’s right, I said fun!  You might be wearing a look of disbelief but I assure you sometimes the simplest things can be the most fun.

I present the Playskool Heroes Ankylosaurus.  The Jurassic World line of Playskool Heroes are designed with smaller kids in mind as the toys are stylized with bigger feet, simple articulation, and with cute expressions.  You might ask if the dinosaurs in this line are scientifically accurate?   Of course not!  Its a kids toy inspired by a movie.  Maybe your thinking, is the toy at least accurate to the dinosaurs in the movie?  Not even close, though some people might say that’s a good thing.

About the toy:  It is quite the diminutive figure at 4 in (10 cm) long and just barely 2 in (5cm) high at the center.  The toy is made from a hard plastic and has some articulation, more on that later.  The head is very cute with overly large eyes.  Interestingly, the one feature that is normally correctly on an Ankylosaur toy is completely wrong.  There should be two horns pointing backwards from the back of the head and two horns below them that pointed down and to the back.  On the toy the two lower horns are were you expect them to be, but the other two are not.  They can be found on the top middle of the skull.  Looks kind of strange in my opinion.

Side by side with the Jurassic World Bashers and Biters Ankylosaurus.

On its armored back there are outlines of plates with a huge spike coming out of the middle of each one.  The tail is curved and ends in a club.  The legs are short and also have a few small bumps on them.  It is painted in a light blue with a dark yellow for the spikes and club.  The upper beak is painted in purple and a small red tongue is visible inside the mouth.

The toy does come with some articulation and an action feature.  The legs can move forwards and back.  If you wanted to pose it like a flying superman, you can.   Also the tail can rotate 360 degrees which is really useful with its action feature.   On top of its back, the center six spikes all form a push button.  When you press down, the tail will swing to its left, and the head will move to the right.   It is a simple gimmick for sure but a very fun one. What kid (or adult) can resist pushing the button and watch its tail swing.   It is actually a durable and well made little figure.  The paint will wear on the tips of the spikes on the action button, but let’s not be too harsh as that’s to be expected.

Overall:  It is a adorable, durable, fun toy for children.  Ok. ok, it is also fun for adults who are still kids at heart.  I could easily see a child grab this toy and use it during play.  Maybe they would use it for an epic dinosaur battle royale, or in a sweeping adventure were this little Ankylosaur is looking for the lost valley while avoiding a murderous Sharp tooth.   Even in a gentler style of play, I could see this Ankylosaur being the life of a tea party, swapping stories, sipping tea, and eating macaroons.  What fun!

Is it worth getting? It all depends on what you are looking for.  If you want scientific accuracy, than no.  What about the collectability?  For people who like Jurassic Park and Ankylosaurus, than maybe.   As a gift for a child, definitely go for it!  It is really affordable as it can be found at a low price, but they are disappearing from regular and online stores.    By 2018, I would expect Ebay will be the main location to find one.