How the Tapejara ever became a toy in the Jurassic Park toy line is puzzling when you look back at the turbulent time before Jurassic Park III was released. Hasbro downsized after the failure of the JP Chaos Effect toys, and the lower than expected sales from Star Wars Phantom Menace toys. Hasbro decided to close Kenner and fire the entire Jurassic Park design team. Instead of treating the Jurassic Park trademark as a top toy line, it was given to the Star Wars design team. They made the JP line to match the style of the Attack of the Clones toys. It turned into a completely new line, with new sculpts, style, gimmicks, with no repaints of former sculpts.
The entire line up of dinosaur toys for JP III, had been present in at least one of the movies. The lone exception was the Tapejara. It was definitely an interesting choice for Hasbro to make a relatively obscure animal for their lineup. This hard plastic toy had the interesting dino- damage that Jurassic Park toys were known for and also featured an electronic “Re-Ak A-Tak” sound.
Jurassic Park toys have never strived for accuracy, and this is surely not scientific accurate toy. In many ways the sculpt does work. Let’s see how, and take a closer look.
About the Toy: It is certainly a big toy; it is approx 18 in (45.7 cm) from wing tip to wing tip, and 7.5 in (19cm) from its foot claw to the tip of its beak. It does have the large crest above its skull, though the rest of the head looks a little like a generic Pteranodon head. You can see that the beak is long, and ends with a sharp point. They seemed to have combined the backward-projecting crest from a Pteranodon with the crest from Tupandactylus. This makes it a strange, but oddly appealing head. The bony crest arises from its snout, (which would be comprised of the premaxillary bones) and extends along and behind the skull. This toy also looks to haves a descent nasoantorbital fenestra, and small eyes. I am not sure why I mention this, as it is non-scientific accurate head. There is a clear circular joint for the jaw to open and close.
There is a visible open neck line were the body and neck meet. This is part of the biting action, which the jaws open by pressing the head forward. On the top of its back, behind the neck is the Dino damage. In the middle of the wound is a small piece of bone which doubles as the button to activate the electronic sound, which sounds like a scream. The wings attach to the body with an omni directional ball joint. The wings can twist and turn in almost any direction. There are three fingers on each wing. The legs attach to end of the body, and end in 5 toes and claws (or 4 claws and 1 dew claw, take your pick). The legs can rotate a good distance forward or back.
The texture is rather simple on this figure. On the wing membranes there are subtle long skin lines and veins. There are plenty of small texture lines on the crest and body, with bigger skin fold on the neck.
The base paint job on this toy is a dark green. The underside of the Tapejara is white, and this color extends from the middle of the neck all the way to the legs. The upper legs and a third of the under part of the wings is also white. The rest of the wings are done in a yellow green and dark green. The head is a combo of dark green, cream, and yellow. There is a yellow stripe the runs down the neck on either side of the head. Then there is a second yellow stripe around both eyes. The tongue is pink inside the mouth. The eyes are black and the fingers and toes are a dark graphite color. Underneath the left wing is the black JP III logo. The Dino Damage color is red for the muscle and white for the bone.
Playability: This is toy is packed with endless options for fun. There are so many ways to use and play with this toy. The omni-directional wings give the user many options whether they want it flying, walking, or surfing, it is a great feature. The option to push its head to open the mouth is annoying and cumbersome, but it does work. Also the head and neck only move forward in one direction, which again can take away from play option, but only slightly. The legs have giant claws, and the legs can be moved in different directions, also enhances the toy uses during play. It robustness is ok, but since it is an electronic toy, kids do need to be a little bit careful.
Overall appraisal: In my opinion, this is one of the best toys from the JP III line. I am normally let down by the Jurassic Park toy line, but this is one of the few JP toys that completely surprised me by actually being good, and useful. The paint job is pleasing, with a nice overall sculpt, with definite posing or playing options.
Is this JP III Tapejara for you? 1. Do you like functional toys, which have personality and playability? 2. Do you enjoy flashy paint jobs, and interesting sculpts for your collection? 3. Are you looking for scientifically accurate toys that fit a particular scale? If you answered yes to question 1 and 2, you might want to venture a closer look at this toy. If you answered yes to question 3, you want to stay away from this model.