Time to look at another one of the Walking with Dinosaurs the Movie 3D action figures, this time, Troodon. Previously we have reviewed the standard sized Gorgon and standard sized Patchi. Some of these standard-sized action figures are available in multi packs, but the Troodon figure is only available separately. According to the blurb on the box, “Troodon is a mischievous mid-sized predator. He is obsessed with food and mainly preys on baby Pachyrhinosaurs who are too young to defend themselves”. So, ‘Troodon’ is the name of the character, I think. One can only suppose that Troodon does, indeed, also belong to the genus Troodon. Who knows why this character didn’t get a proper name as did all the other creatures in this series (Troody, surely. Or Truman!?).
Troodon (the genus, not the character) is a 2m long theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of North America that belongs to the family Troodontidae – the sister group to birds. Troodon possessed an enlarged claw on its second digit, much like its close relatives, the dromaeosaurids. Troodon has been depicted as scaly in the past (see this wonderful but outdated Invicta model), but was actually more birdlike than reptilian, and was covered in feathers. Troodon even entered palaeo-pop culture in the 1990s as the inspiration for the dinosauroid – a thought experiment to envision what dinosaurs may have looked like if they had survived to the present day.
The 21 cm long WWD3D Troodon model is a far cry from its scaly precursors. Its whole body is sculpted with a thin covering of feathers. These are well rendered in plastic. The arms are adorned in large feathers, the head sports a yellow quiff, and the upwards curving tail bears large ornamental feathers. The feet are featherless so the hind limbs look like they are wrapped in leg warmers. Palaeontolgist and artist Mark Witton, who provided input into the design of this particular character, has lamented this omission, which may have been intentional on the part of the designers to make the creature easier to animate. Despite this, it is wonderful to see a truly feathered dinosaur hit the mainstream in this way.
Given Witton’s influence, there are no major anatomical flaws to speak of. The upper arm is a little bare, but this is obviously necessary to allow the joint to function. The eyes are depicted with very heavy lids that make the creature look rather sleepy.
The colours are quite subdued for the most part. The body in mainly dark grey, with the tips of the feathers highlighted in orange/yellow. There are blue patches around the sleepy red eyes. The electronic sounds are impressive and variable, from a rattling caw to a birdy squark. One even sounds like a big belly belch to my ear. The button to activate the sounds is large but subtle, and is hardly visible from even a short distance.
In terms of articulation points, Troodon is not as versatile as the Gorgon or Patchi figures. There are only six points of articulation in total, one in the jaw, one in the neck, and one at the base of each limb. The shoulder joint can be rotated in all directions whereas the hip joint only moves forwards and backwards. The figure doesn’t stand on two feet without the support of the arms (or tail), but as the arm feathers are long, this actually looks rather good.
Overall, this is a nice medium-sized figure and a real step in the right direction when it comes to depicting dinosaurs popularly with realistic feathers. Available from Amazon.co.uk here for £10, and from Ebay.com here.