Today I’ll be taking a look at an unusual addition to the Dinosaur Toy Blog: Skeleflex. Released by a company called Wild Planet back in 2007, the line was described in its press release as “a creative ball-and-socket building system that puts kids in control. Its interchangeable bone-shaped pieces can be combined to make aliens, dinosaurs, and other fantastical creatures that move in a lifelike manner.” Sounds interesting, no? Now, everyone knows full well that you just can’t have a dinosaur toyline without a Tyrannosaurus rex, and Wild Planet made sure to include two of them. The first set included an electronic display stand that allowed one to make the skeleton thrash about. The second was a miniature version which is the subject of this review.
The mini T. rex is made up of twelve olive green pieces. The piece consisting of the cervical and dorsal vertebrae and the pelvis is made of rubberised plastic, but the others are hard plastic. With the exception of the tail tip, which simply pegs on, all these pieces snap together by way of ball and socket joints. Once assembled, the skeleton measures 19 cm long and stands just over 6 cm tall at the hip.
The T. rex is articulated at the head, lower jaw, shoulders, hips, phalanges, and tail, allowing for a good variety of active poses. The flexible spine also allows you to turn the upper body from side to side during play. The pieces hold together very firmly and the toy can withstand rough play and falls.
Being a skeleton, this is also a rather scary-looking toy. The mouth is full of sharp teeth and the claws on the feet are long and curved. While it is immediately recognizable as a T. rex due to its large head, small arms, and two fingered hands, to call it a flawed depiction would be an understatement. The head is V-shaped instead of T-shaped and the fenestrae and orbits are all wrong. The arms are too big and the phalanges are too long. There are too few vertebrae in the spinal column and too few ribs. And the pubis and the ischium are too small to boot. Keep in mind, however, that Skeleflex was always meant to be a fantasy line (hence the inclusion of aliens and monsters), not a paleontological one.
The main selling point of this toy is that the pieces are interchangeable with those from other sets. Much like Hasbro’s Hero Mashers line, this allows you to build all sorts of weird and frightful beasts. Needless to say, this has the potential to be a great deal of creative fun—provided you bought enough of the sets. I only own two of them myself.
Overall, I like the Skeleflex Mini T. rex. It’s not for every dinosaur collector, but I believe anyone can agree that this little building set would be entertaining for youngsters or fans of the slightly-to-supremely-macabre. The line was discontinued a long time ago, but you may still be able to find this toy on Amazon or eBay. Good luck!