The closure of Kenner by parent company Hasbro in 2000 meant that an entirely different team would design the toys for Jurassic Park 3. Many dinosaur collectors, including myself, feel that the quality of the line took a major nosedive as a result. As proof, I give you the “Alpha” Velociraptor.
The Alpha first appeared on shelves in 2001, then went on to be recoloured several times. This version is from the 2005 JP: Dinosaurs line. The main colours are bright green and dark green with a cream underbelly, black claws, pinkish mouth interior, white teeth, and yellow eyes and quills. The white JP logo is on the right thigh. There is also a rather ugly permanent wound at the base of the tail: exposed cream white vertebrae and dark red muscle tissue.
The Alpha measures about 19 cm long. Like all JP raptors, it has a naked, wrinkled hide, but it also has a small crest of quills on the back of its head. This was JP3’s token nod to the revelation that Velociraptor, like many theropods, possessed feathers. Not exactly a huge effort on the filmmakers’ part, but at least they made the attempt (unlike a certain upcoming film). Aside from that, this is probably the worst JP raptor in terms of accuracy. Not only does it have an overly wide skull, pronated wrists, and oversized hind limbs, but it also has a curled, lizardy tail and a couple of dilophosaur-like crests on its snout. What’s that all about?
The Alpha’s arms and legs are articulated and it has two “Re-Ak-A-Tak” action features. Pushing the small green lever on its back causes its arms to wave in an attacking or dancing motion and activates the classic JP raptor shriek. Pushing one of the exposed vertebrae activates a low hissing sound.
What I dislike most about this toy is its lack of stability. For some inexplicable reason, the Hasbro sculptor decided that the Alpha’s legs should be spread extremely wide apart. As a result, the toy can barely stand on its own. You have to pose it either standing near-erect, or crouched down with the forelimbs for support.
This is one of the few dinosaur toys that I regret purchasing. From its inability to stand to the ugly permanent wound and to the glaring anatomical inaccuracies, this is a very poor representation of a maniraptor, plain and simple. Not even those quills can redeem it.