Monoclonius (Tyco)

Review and photos by Griffin

Monoclonius was always known as a sort of “little brother” to Triceratops, characterized by its short frill and singular nose horn.  Sadly for it, like several other dinosaurs I remember growing up with like Trachodon and Brontosaurus, it’s no longer believed to be a valid genus of dinosaur.  The remains which used to be referred to as those of Monoclaunius are now believed to be juvenile forms of other ceratopsians such as Centrosaurus, Styracosaurus and Einiosaurus.  Today I have for you a review of a toy modeled after this once proud dinosaur that is very dear to my heart.

One thing that really sets Tyco apart from other dinosaur toy companies is the fact that its products can actually be considered a kind of action figure and not just a model.  In other words, they do stuff.  The action figure dinosaur concept was later snapped up and perfected by Jurassic Park companies (normative statement on my part) but for a while Tyco’s dinosaurs reigned supreme in that department.  They started with the “Dino Riders” series which usually came with some crazy battle armor and a humanoid figure but there was also a line of just the dinosaurs themselves released with relation to the Smithsonian Museum.  The toy I will be reviewing is from that lineage.

This little guy truly embodies the retro ceratopsian look.  It’s very squat and robust, with its legs attached somewhat to the sides of the body and its head and tail held low to the ground. The overall detail is pretty good.  It’s covered in pebbly scales that become wider towards the belly and another row of wide, almost rectangular scales running down the spine.  The eyes, like all of Tyco’s dinosaur eyes (at least that I have seen) are not part of the sculpt but have been added in almost like the glass eyes of a stuffed animal.  As far as scientific accuracy is concerned, don’t expect too much out of this guy (Seriously, it’s an invalid genus, come on.)  Let me just say that for its hay day in the 80s this was considered spot on.  Looking at it really reminds me of the old dinosaur films before the days of CGI.

For the colors this dinosaur is a very pretty combination turquoise and navy blue.  I think the model pulls of the scheme very nicely.  After a while I can only take so much of the typical browns, grays and brownish/grayish greens on dinosaurs.  The action feature is simple, but cute. When the tail is manually wagged from side to side, the head will also wag in the alternate direction.  The combination of these two body parts moving in such a fashion sort of reminds me of that of a lizard’s locomotion.  The four limbs can also move.

All in all, this is a cool little dinosaur toy.  If you like old style retro dinosaurs this is a definite winner for you.  A Styracosaurus was also made by Tyco that is exactly the same as this toy except for its spiky frill and different color scheme.  If you are looking to add one of these guys to your collection my best advice to you would be to check ebay.

13 Responses to Monoclonius (Tyco)

  1. Pingback: Styracosaurus (Tyco) | Dinosaur Toy Blog

  2. Pingback: Protoceratops (Tyco) « The Dinosaur Toy Blog

  3. Maybe you should include a photo with the dino-rider armor, It just may be of interest to readers plus the majority of these figures sold were as dino-riders and included the riders, guns and armor.

  4. wouldn’t waste money on this crap

  5. “Looking at it really reminds me of the old dinosaur films before the days of CGI.”

    This made me think of the old Christopher Reeve-narrated dino documentary “Dinosaur!”, which used stop-motion techniques to try to portray dinosaur movements accurately to the current (1985) enderstanding. From the Wikipedia article:

    “Before becoming a full length television documentary Dinosaur! was a 1983 twelve minutes long experimental sequence. Entirely conceived and created by Phil Tippett the sequence was titled Prehistoric Beast and tried to improve stop motion animation special effects techniques. The story of the short was simple : the chase and predation of a Monoclonius by a Tyrannosaurus.”

    • I remember that show. Good stuff. The scene that really stuck with me I think was the Dromaeosaurs hunting the ornithomimid though.

    • My favorite dinosaur documentary. Phil Tippett is The Man. His work holds up very well, even today.

  6. Hey Johnnykaje, if you look on the forum, go to “dinosaur toys” and then “identification thread” I posted up a big picture of the Tyco dimetrodon because someone asked to identify it if you want to be sure. Glad I could help though!

  7. Marc (Horridus)

    I had this toy back in the day, along with the Deinonychus and Pteranodon. Real classics – I’d like to get hold of them again for the nostalgia value.

  8. OMG. I have this Dimetrodon toy that I’ve been trying to identify for the longest time. I got it when I was little, and the only thing I remember was I had trouble choosing which one I want my mom to buy. I knew it was a series, but I couldn’t find any clues on the Internet.

    Now I’m certain it’s the Tyco Smithsonian Line Dimetrodon. Thanks for helping solve the mystery!

  9. I had that toy, as well as a number of other Dinorider figures. My favorite, even though it didn’t move much, was the Struthiomimus. It was surprisingly accurate and progressive for the time.

    • Funny you say that. I’m in the process of putting up the Struthiomimus review right now. It was one of my favorites from the line as well along with the protoceratops.

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