Review and photographs by Paleona
Back in the late 80’s / early 90’s, pre-Jurassic Park, the Tyco dinosaurs were among the first dinosaur action figures. Tyco first released their dinosaur toys as a Dino-Riders toy line, but the Smithsonian Institution later hired Tyco to release a museum quality line of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals under their name. Among these toys released, my favorite is the Kentrosaurus. As a kid, I was only familiar with Stegosaurus, so having a toy of a different stegosaur family member was really cool. This guy has a very striking appearance and can be dangerous to feet if left lying unattended on the floor!
The color scheme is pretty neutral, but it works. The main color is a sandy brown, airbrushed with a darker dusty brown. Some teal can be seen on the plates, and the eyes are orange. The eyes have always been one of my favorite features of this toy line; they’re beads, instead of painted, giving these dinosaurs a more “realistic” look.
At just about a foot long (30cm), this is a big figure! The body and legs are a hard plastic, while the tail and plates are more rubbery. His shoulder spikes are still pretty pointy; all the better for fending off theropod toys, yes? He is also sculpted with many scales and wrinkles, and all of the legs are articulated. I really like the tiny wattle by his throat and the beaky mouth. He’s pretty hefty, too, not looking “shrink-wrapped” at all.
For a toy that is almost 30 years old, the anatomy has some good aspects. The head is nice and tiny, as you’d expect for a stegosaur, and his tail is happily not dragging on the ground. The limbs seem to be the correct length and the back feet correctly have three toes. However, the front feet also have three toes, where there should be five. Perhaps the extra toes have formed a pad, as there is a fleshy space where they should be. As far as I am aware, the plates should be in pairs, rather than staggered like in Stegosaurus–a couple pairs of the spikes near the base of the tail seem far too long, as well. More spikes should start near the hips, instead of the smaller plates seen here. His shoulder spikes are forward facing; this is speculative. I have actually never seen another Kentrosaurus reconstruction with them facing forward, so in that respect this guy is pretty unique.
Being so decorated and so large, this Kentrosaurus was a lot of fun to play with as a kid and is still very visually interesting. If you’re looking for one to display on your bookshelf, or to have explore your backyard, they can be found on eBay pretty easily.