Since I reviewed both Jurassic Park Dilophosaurus figures (the electronic one here and the other one here) it seems only right that I take a gander at the standard JP Velociraptor now that I’ve got my sweaty mits on one. I’ve already embarked on a mini-rant over the JP raptor’s odious influence over people’s perceptions of dromaeosaurs when I reviewed the electronic version, so this time I’ll just get on with it like.
As I said last time, the Kenner Velociraptor action figures never captured the look of the movie creatures particularly well. Out of the two, however, I actually prefer this one in many respects; it’s leaner and the ramrod-straight, tapering tail and better-proportioned legs give it a sleeker, more dynamic look. Until you get up to the head it’s a really rather decent take on the movie creatures, but unfortunately it’s there where things fall apart a bit. The action feature – squeezing the legs to make the jaws open and head strike forward – makes the toy great for playing with when you’re a kid but it does result in a rather ugly-looking hinged head, with oversized goofy teeth and shocking pink gums. The eyes are a little poorly done, too, with a simple black bar painted down through the lime-green iris. Not too nice to look at.
Elsewhere things aren’t so bad in terms of detailing. Scales are represented by crosshatching, making it inferior to the Dilophosaurus toys, but all the claws are painted (except the two missing ones on the feet, which are missing) and there’s some quite bulging musculature, particularly on the legs. The colour scheme is nice in a subtle sort of way; brown with darker brown stripes that make it look suitably predatory, and a white underbelly. This toy would go on to be repainted and re-released for other JP toylines, notably the Lost World line, which rendered it more orange and tiger-like – a colour scheme that’s probably better simply for being more interesting, but this one’s closer to the look of the creatures in the first movie.
Adult collectors searching for a JP-looking ‘raptor’ could do worse than this one, although the rather hideous head does detract somewhat from its more positive aesthetic qualities. For kids, though, this is a great toy – as I can testify having played with it for many hours as a child. It stands up on its own two feet with its tail in the air and can adopt a variety of poses to suit attacking puny humans, attacking a Tyrannosaurus, being helplessly chomped by Tyrannosaurus etc. In terms of playability its neutral pose and moving parts make it one of the best figures in the JP toy line. In the end, does that not make it a success? [You’re fired – Ed]
If you would like to get your own clammy claws on one of these, then you’ll have to take a deep breath and prepare your wallet for eBay and vintage toy stores. However, they aren’t rare and therefore you’ll be able to spare an expense (see what I did there? It nearly worked, too). Otherwise I’d recommend the Papo Velociraptor, a facsimile of the JP theme park monster, or this if you fancy something a little more on the more modern, accurate, feathery side.