Saurolophus was a genus of late Cretaceous hadrosaur that had a large distribution, occurring in both North America and Asia. Despite its wide range, and thus the large assortment of material we have for it, Saurolophus has never been a popular dinosaur. With only a few exceptions the hadrosaurs aren’t terribly popular as it is and those that are popular have some kind of outstanding feature that draws the public’s attention, like the crest on Parasaurolophus. While Saurolophus did have a crest, it was a modest crest, just a little spike on the back of the skull. Naturally it gets overshadowed by its larger or more glamorous cousins.
Only a few toys or mass produced figures of the genus exist, and as far as I know they’re all museum exclusive models from Asia and hard to find for a reasonable price. But then there is this one we’re looking at today, the Tyco Saurolophus. An odd animal to include in a toy line of militarized dinosaurs but it exists all the same and we’re thankful for this cool little toy.
Measuring about 8” from snout to tail this is a dynamic toy with an interesting action feature. When the tail is pulled up and down the legs kick back and forth, and the head lifts up and down. It gives us the impression that the animal is running and is a lot of fun to play with, it’s almost addicting. Because the legs and arms are movable it means you can display this animal as a biped or quadruped, just like the real Saurolophus.
This toy is very much a toy, and quite cartoony in appearance. That’s not a bad thing though; it’s actually an adorable looking creature. It’s a close match for the actual genus but heavily simplified and stylized of course. It has powerful hind-limbs supported by three blunt toes and four-fingered hands on its dainty forelimbs. The muzzle is beak-like and toothless, and of course that small crest on the back of the skull is there as well.
One of my favorite details on this toy is the complete covering of pebbly scales over the entire body. And there are different kinds of scales on different parts too with larger scales on the legs and narrow, plate-like scales on the underside. Since we have skin impressions for Saurolophus we know that the pebbly skin on this toy is reasonably accurate, and texturally this is a fun toy to hold and play with.
The paint job on this toy is one of the best in the entire Tyco line. The body is black with dark red blotches and a peach colored underbelly. It’s an interesting choice of colors and patterns that really make the toy pop, even on a cluttered shelf such as my own. It’s also a believable color scheme that’s eye catching without being too gaudy. The eyes are orange, with dark orange pupils. These eyes in conjunction with the open mouth lead to a blank, vacant looking stare. Simultaneously the rounded features of the head, wide muzzle and shiny eyes make this toy positively adorable. I love this little guy!
The Tyco Saurolophus was produced in 1989 and despite its age has held up well both as an action figure and as a fairly modern depiction of a hadrosaur. It’s not the museum quality model of a Saurolophus that some of us may want but it’s a quirky, endearing little toy of an obscure genus. It’s high level of detail, interesting paint scheme and cute expression all make this a must own for vintage toy collectors and hadrosaur lovers. Although long out of production you can still find this toy for a reasonable price on eBay.