Triceratops (AAA)

While most of the toys produced by AAA could be regarded as mid-way between quality museum models and cheaply produced “Chinasaurs” there are quite a few that tread into that cheap Chinasaur territory. AAA toys span several years and I don’t know when production first began but some of the toys certainly seem a good deal older than some of their later products.

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One of their older, cheaper quality toys would have to be this Triceratops. It is really only a caricature of the actual Triceratops and certainly a toy, in the truest sense of the word. There is no point looking at the anatomical accuracy of this thing because the laundry list would be too long, and who really cares anyway? This toy is from before a time of museum quality scale models. When toys were for children.

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That said, this is an interesting looking little figure, and will certainly be appealing to the retro, vintage toy crowd. There are some things to be admired here, principally the bumpy skin texture and the folds of skin present along the flanks. I quite like the exaggerated, rounded frill and the overall head sculpt on this toy. The toy is painted entirely in shades of brown and measures 4” in length.

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For Triceratops collectors or fans of retro and oddball toys I think this is an interesting enough toy to be worth seeking out and certainly better than the previously reviewed AAA Ankylosaurus. As of this writing there is one going on eBay for $10 but you might also chance across it in a lot of toys like I did.

Ankylosaurus (AAA)

Every dinosaur obsessed child of the 80’s and 90’s no doubt had a few AAA toy dinosaurs in their collection. Although poorly represented on the DTB the toy company AAA produced a large assortment of dinosaur and other animal toys but the quality on them was always a little hit or miss. Although not as high quality as the Carnegie Collection, Battat, or Invicta at the time they were generally (but not always) better than the cheaper dinosaurs you find in Dollar Stores today.

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Among some of the cruder toys produced by AAA are the three dinosaurs I’ll be reviewing next, starting off with this Ankylosaurus. Well, I think it’s an Ankylosaurus. There is no way to really know. It’s certainly an ankylosaur and given the popularity of the genus it’s probably meant to represent Ankylosaurus.

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What we have here is a very basic and generic ankylosaur toy. No part of its anatomy suggests it’s anything specific. It has a superficial ankylosaur appearance of course but with its squat legs and strange head it almost looks like a turtle/mammal hybrid.

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Indeed, the head is quite peculiar. The eyes are forward facing, and although they’re probably supposed to be bits of armor on the head it looks very much like this toy has a set of pointy ears. Overall the head is very dog-like. The toy measures about 4” in length and is painted entirely brown. The underside is lighter than the top of the toy and the eyes are brown with black pupils.

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This is one of those toys that will be of little interest to most collectors outside of vintage toy and oddball circles. I suppose there are also those that might see nostalgic value in it. It’s certainly good enough for its original intended purpose, as a child’s toy. This little AAA model is an older toy and no longer in production but probably easy to find on eBay, particularly in lots.

Megalosaurus (Invicta)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

When I first discovered the Dinosaur Toy Blog back in 2010, I was amazed at the number of different dinosaur toy lines that have been made over the decades which I never heard of until that point. The most noteworthy of these lines were Papo and CollectA. Before I found the DTB, I was only aware of Safari Ltd’s dinosaurs and Schleich’s now-defunct Replicasaurus line, which I never had the chance to collect in its entirety. However, one of the lines I learned about thanks to this very blog was a collection of monochrome dinosaurs that look exactly like the ones that my old elementary schoolteacher gave to me sometime back in the very early 2000s. These models turned out to have been made by Invicta, and it was not until recently that I took an interest in acquiring the entire collection of these models.

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The one I am reviewing today was not among the handful of models that my teacher gave to me. Instead, it was one of the more recent additions to my collection. At first, I was not planning on reviewing it, because it is listed on the Invicta page on this blog. But I noticed that the review was not very long and not up to the standards of the ones written today. So with that in mind, I decided to give this fellow a proper review in order to do it more justice.

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Contrary to popular belief, the Invicta Megalosaurus might technically not be the first mass-produced model of this species. Way back in 1854, when the first life-sized dinosaurs were made in Crystal Palace Park, a set of miniature replicas based on the famous sculptures were made for purchase to the general public for teaching in schools and other educational outlets. Among these replicas were only two of the three dinosaurs featured in the park, and one of them is the Megalosaurus.

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Of course, the odds of you ever obtaining one of the original Crystal Palace miniatures would be pretty much impossible, so we are left with the more common Invicta model instead. This Megalosaurus is perhaps still the best model of the species ever made, despite being hopelessly outdated. When I say its the best, I don’t mean in terms of accuracy, but of detail and aesthetics. As far as I know, there are only two Megalosaurus model being sold in stores today (CollectA and Toyway), and neither of them are on par with this model. Like most of the Invicta theropods, the Megalosaurus is sculpted in a tail-dragging pose, but unlike a majority of the toys that populated store shelves back in the days it was released, it actually looks like a living creature instead of a primordial monster that walked right out of a cheap B-movie with men in rubber dinosaur suits.

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The entire back and underside of the model is adorned with various large, overlapping scales that are not dissimilar to those found on crocodilians. Wherever these scales are not sculpted on the figure, they are replaced with wrinkles. Perhaps my favorite part of the entire figure is got to be the face. It looks so reptilian and realistic. Now not very much was known about Megalosaurus back in the days that this model was made, so I assume that the head was a work of speculation. The head looks like that of a giant lizard with its teeth sticking out on the sides. It may not be accurate in this day and age, but for a model coming from 1974, I can’t help but see this as a Papo-level masterpiece of its time.

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IF there is one thing I have to point out with this figure then it would be the lack of dew claws on its legs. Now as far as I know, the Tyrannosaurus rex could be missing one two and since they were likely made by the same sculptor, I will let this pass for this model.

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Overall, I’m glad I posted a thread on the forum asking for more of these historical models to be added to my collection. This Megalosaurus was one of five models I acquired from Emperor Dinobot, who has an eBay shop that specializes in Jurassic Park toys and other dinosaur merchandise. If you want an Invicta Megalosaurus of your own, he currently has one for sale on his store for a pretty fair price.