A couple days ago I received a package in the mail. I could start off a lot of reviews this way but inside this package was something special, an old friend I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. This package might as well have been a time capsule. I couldn’t unwrap the layers of news paper and plastic fast enough and once I had it my hands I was instantly transported back to my childhood. Nostalgia is a powerful thing.
This simple toy that I was so excited to receive was the Tyco Pteranodon from 1987. This was my absolute favorite toy pterosaur when I was growing up. This toy used to soar with beauty and grace above my bedroom, down the stairs, through the living room and everywhere in-between. Now I’m in my 30’s and it’s great to see it flying around my house again.
Alright, so clearly this is a toy that I have nostalgia for. But how does it stack up against the plethora of other Pteranodon toys put out in plastic? Given its age I would say surprisingly well. And I’m trying not to be biased here.
Unlike my previously reviewed Kenner Pteranodon this toy is not only a fun action figure but a beautiful rendition of the flying reptile. Much like the Kenner Pteranodon this toy has a flapping action that works when the button on its back is pressed. The beak also opens, and the head swivels. The wings are only hinged where they meet the body but that’s alright, this is a toy that isn’t meant to flap…it soars!
This toy is made out of a very hard and seemingly brittle plastic. I’m sure a lot of these snapped apart when dropped but my original held up for the duration of its stay with me and this one is mostly intact save for a crack along the tail. Because of that this toy might not be as child friendly as the action figures by the likes of Kenner. But for us collectors, this is a beautifully rendered toy that was ahead of its time.
When I say ahead of its time I don’t necessarily refer to the level of accuracy. What I mean is that this toy looks like a proper animal. Not a shrieking menace from the sky but a believable creature. There is nothing menacing about it and in this it’s quite modern in its depiction.
There are flaws in terms of accuracy, namely the attachment site for the wings. Modern science tells us that the wings attached at the legs but this and other restorations of the time often showed the wings attaching at the hips. So although this is an inaccurate model by today’s standards, it is in keeping with what some scientists of the day thought. The pteroid bone on the wrist is also absent, and a toe is missing on each foot. The hands are correctly sculpted with three digits, the fourth being elongated in order to support the wing membrane. Shockingly it does appear that a fuzzy covering of pycnofibres has been sculpted on the toy. This is shocking because even today pterosaurs are often depicted as scaly or naked, for 1987 this is way ahead of its time.
The color choices on this toy are quite mellow and subdued. The underside is pale green and the body a darker green and brown which blend into each other nicely. The wings are mostly green with a brown patch along the edges. The head and crest are brown and a brown streak runs down the green back. The eyes are those beautiful shiny beads that Tyco is renowned for and bring a great deal of life to the toy. There are some things that detract from its realism however. The mechanisms that allow the beak to open and head to swivel are quite noticeable and on the underside there are three visible screw holes. At least the screw holes are on the underside though.
This is a toy that I highly recommend to Pterosaur collectors, and those with an appreciation for older vintage toys. It may not measure up to more recently produced action figures in terms of fun but in beauty and simplicity it cannot be beat. The Tyco Pteranodon is still fairly easy to find and quite affordable on eBay.