Author Archives: Laticauda

Tyrannosaurus Rex w/articulated jaw (Prehistoric & Extinct by Mojö)

Ever since Tyrannosaurus rex was described back in 1905, this amazing animal has captured our imaginations.   Its not hard to see why. It was one of the largest land carnivores of all time and it had a huge skull with bone crushing jaws.  It is so recognizable that toy makers just can’t help themselves on trying to capitalize on their popularity by making as many as they can.  For 2017 Mojo released three new Tyrannosaur Rex toys and they are a vast improvement over their previous releases, which were tail dragging, piano playing monstrosities. Overall Mojo has improved their range of products.  By no means have they caught up with Safari or CollectA but they have taken a step in the right direction.

About the toy:  Of the three tyrannosaur’s that Mojo released for 2017, the articulated jaw T. rex is the smallest.   It is 7.5 in (19.05 cm) long and 3 in (7.62 cm) high.    It terms of size and pose the sculpt is similar (just a little smaller) to the striding Wild Safari 2011 sculpt.   It legs are not spread out as far as the striding Wild Safari version, instead they are closer together in a fashion that makes it look like it is creeping up on its prey.  Combine that with scientific inaccuracy, exaggerated rugosity on the skull,  a softer rubbery plastic feel that you would expect from a Schleich WOH toy, and suddenly this toy looks like the Schleich T. rex met the 2011 Safari and they had a baby.

Red Schleich T. rex side by side with 2017 Mojo T.rex

The pose is dynamic enough to make the toy look like it is on the hunt or it is just curious about what is on the other side of a river.   The figure is very steady on its feet without any assistance and this is due to the exaggerated size of both feet.  Unfortunately it does detract from the toy but I guess that’s the price for stability without a base.  Unless some new information has come out that I am unaware of, there is another error that plagues this T. rex, and that is the position of the arms.  The arms are pronated, with the claws facing down, which is inaccurate and every toy maker that wants to be taken seriously should know by now to have the claws facing inward.  I guess old habits die hard.

One of the most important features on a Tyrannosaurs rex is the impressive head.  One of the important things to look for is the position of the eyes.  The orbits are set in a way for the eyes to face foreword.  The back of the head should be expanded so that is in the shape of a T, with the snout being thin and long.  When we look at the head on this figure, it has those characteristics.  There is a clear antorbital fenestrae on the sides of the face in front of the orbit.   Also present on this figure is rough rugged bumps on the nasals that spread backwards and spouts a little flaring horn above the eyes.  This line of bumps continues going back on this toy until both sides meet at a point on the back of the skull. The seam for the head is visible despite attempts to blend it in along with skin folds on the neck.

Inside the mouth there are over thirty five teeth present.  That’s double than what you would normally find inside a T. rex mouth.  The teeth are individually sculpted and despite appearances, when you look closely you will notice they are different sizes.  Inside the mouth is a sculpted tongue.

As for the rest of the body on this figure it appears to be on the thin side.  There should be a little more heft to the toy.  On its back you can see a small bump from the dorsal vertebrae and at the hips you can see the ilium sticking out.  Above the arms you can see a bulge of muscle over the scapula.  There are similar muscle bulges on the legs.  There are some small skin folds connecting the torso and the legs.  The overall texture on the sculpt are lines of wrinkles running horizontal and vertically across the figure.  There are some scales on the antorbital fenestrae and on top of the head.

The colors are safe.  The head, torso, arms, legs, and tail are green.  The underside is in cream. There is some black wash in the skin folds that make them stand out a little.  Along the back all the way to the tip of the tail are dark blue triangle stripes.

If you are wondering were the feathers are, sorry but this is a scaly version.   Not trying to pick a fight but feathers are still speculative.  Yes it is highly likely that Tyrannosaurus rex had a liberal coating of feathers, it is also not impossible that it had a considerable coverage of scales on it as well.   Maybe feathers could have only been on youngsters.  The reality is we do not fully know yet, though there are some good ideas on what it could have looked like.   If you are interested in great feathered Tyrannosaurus rex toys both Safari (Hardbit)* and CollectA (Firestreak)* have made great versions with feathers, but lets take it easy on this figure as you can’t really take points off this toy for the lack of a feathery down.

Playability:  It is durable and has a moveable jaw.  Those are two important qualities for a dinosaur toy.  It is safe to use as they are no sharp edges and the material is bendy.  The toy is stable so it can be used on different surfaces with an increased chance of standing wherever it is being played.  The only problem is the size.  When you have a Tyrannosaurus rex toy, you want it to inspire awe and fear, unfortunately this is a smaller toy.  I guess it could be a juvenile that would accompany a parent on the hunt.

Overall:  Mojo has stepped foreword and released an improved product compared to their previous tyrannosaur releases.  It checks a few positive boxes but it does fail in other areas.  If you are looking for a gift for a child, well look no further as it is a really good toy for kids under eight years old.  For collectors it is not a must have,  as it is average at best when compared to all the other tyrannosaur toys that are available.  For educators , you should pass on this figure as it has too many scientific inaccuracies.  There is one more positive thing about this toy.  The cost.  It is an inexpensive figure.    As always, if you like it go for it, and happy hunting.

 

*Disclaimer: Both the 2017 Tyrannosaurus rex by Safari Ltd and Feathered Deluxe T. rex by CollectA do not go officially by the names Hardbit and Firestreak, those are names that were given to the toys by the reviewer Suspsy and used in this review as a reference to the reviews done for those figures.

 

Ankylosaurus (Playskool Heroes Jurassic World, by Hasbro)

When you think of the toys made for Jurassic World by Hasbro, there are  probably a lot of colorful adjectives that pop into your head .  I warn you not utter them out loud as there are preschool toys present.  One word I did not hear many people say about the toy line was “fun”.  Well today I am going to present a fun toy from the Jurassic World line.  Yes that’s right, I said fun!  You might be wearing a look of disbelief but I assure you sometimes the simplest things can be the most fun.

I present the Playskool Heroes Ankylosaurus.  The Jurassic World line of Playskool Heroes are designed with smaller kids in mind as the toys are stylized with bigger feet, simple articulation, and with cute expressions.  You might ask if the dinosaurs in this line are scientifically accurate?   Of course not!  Its a kids toy inspired by a movie.  Maybe your thinking, is the toy at least accurate to the dinosaurs in the movie?  Not even close, though some people might say that’s a good thing.

About the toy:  It is quite the diminutive figure at 4 in (10 cm) long and just barely 2 in (5cm) high at the center.  The toy is made from a hard plastic and has some articulation, more on that later.  The head is very cute with overly large eyes.  Interestingly, the one feature that is normally correctly on an Ankylosaur toy is completely wrong.  There should be two horns pointing backwards from the back of the head and two horns below them that pointed down and to the back.  On the toy the two lower horns are were you expect them to be, but the other two are not.  They can be found on the top middle of the skull.  Looks kind of strange in my opinion.

Side by side with the Jurassic World Bashers and Biters Ankylosaurus.

On its armored back there are outlines of plates with a huge spike coming out of the middle of each one.  The tail is curved and ends in a club.  The legs are short and also have a few small bumps on them.  It is painted in a light blue with a dark yellow for the spikes and club.  The upper beak is painted in purple and a small red tongue is visible inside the mouth.

The toy does come with some articulation and an action feature.  The legs can move forwards and back.  If you wanted to pose it like a flying superman, you can.   Also the tail can rotate 360 degrees which is really useful with its action feature.   On top of its back, the center six spikes all form a push button.  When you press down, the tail will swing to its left, and the head will move to the right.   It is a simple gimmick for sure but a very fun one. What kid (or adult) can resist pushing the button and watch its tail swing.   It is actually a durable and well made little figure.  The paint will wear on the tips of the spikes on the action button, but let’s not be too harsh as that’s to be expected.

Overall:  It is a adorable, durable, fun toy for children.  Ok. ok, it is also fun for adults who are still kids at heart.  I could easily see a child grab this toy and use it during play.  Maybe they would use it for an epic dinosaur battle royale, or in a sweeping adventure were this little Ankylosaur is looking for the lost valley while avoiding a murderous Sharp tooth.   Even in a gentler style of play, I could see this Ankylosaur being the life of a tea party, swapping stories, sipping tea, and eating macaroons.  What fun!

Is it worth getting? It all depends on what you are looking for.  If you want scientific accuracy, than no.  What about the collectability?  For people who like Jurassic Park and Ankylosaurus, than maybe.   As a gift for a child, definitely go for it!  It is really affordable as it can be found at a low price, but they are disappearing from regular and online stores.    By 2018, I would expect Ebay will be the main location to find one.

 

 

Ankylosaurus (2011 Imaginext by, Fisher Price)

Warning:  If you are a serious collector and only interested in dinosaur toys that are prime examples of their species with impeccable accuracy, amazing detail, colors, and are brilliant works of paleo art, you may want to skip this review, as this figure is lacking in those key areas. For all of you who are going to stick around and want to find out more about this toy, sit back, grab a beverage of your choice, and let me entertain you  with stories and facts about 2011 Fisher Price Imaginext Ankylosaurus.

I found this prehistoric door knocker while at a block sale with my kids. While looking around I notice a box on the ground at the end of one of the tables. It was marked that everything in the box was one dollar. I curiously walked over to the box even though I did not expect to find anything interesting in it.  I figured it was just full of broken toys.  Laying on top of all the toys in the box was this Ankylosaurus.  As a animal toy designed for little kids it is a figure that I would normally pass on due to it being so cute and inaccurate.  Yet in that moment a strange, unexpected, and extraordinary thing happened.   I was standing there looking down at this poor little toy, that was slightly buried with only its head and front legs being able to be seen above the rest of the worn toys in the box.   It seemed so vulnerable and there was a certain  innocence to it.  We shared this incredible eye contact.  I could almost hear it calling out in a soft voice, “come, come here and save me”.  How could I resist.  I reached into the box and pulled it out and noticed that it was in great condition.  A moment later and one dollar lighter, I walked away with this Ankylosaurus.

About the toy:  This toy was designed for kids 3-8 years old.  Obviously the Ankylosaur can be played with as a regular dinosaur, but since the dinosaur toy also features armor and other high tech futuristic gear that snaps on, the dinosaur can gear up for different types of adventures.  The one that I found did not have any of the accessories.   A brand new one still in the packaging  will feature high tech futuristic armor with movable pickaxe arms  and a helmet.  It also comes with a figure that has a drill tool.

This figure is generically styled so do not expect scientific accuracy on this toy.  Both the skull and body are wide and are connected by a short neck.  The body is squat and low to the ground.  On the back there are alternating rows of spines with a row of scute armor down the middle.   The legs are short and muscular and have some articulation as they are able to move forward and backward..  The short tail ends in a smooth club.  The top half of the body is a dark green, with rows of spines that are cream in color.  The bottom half of the body is a light brown that is speckled with tiny dark brown spots.  The figure does have an interesting  action feature.  The tail is spring loaded and when you pull it up and then let go, it will hammer and smash whatever is beneath the club. The toy is made from a durable hard plastic.

Overall:  This is a kids toy that was well designed to be played with.  It is durable, has simple digging accessories that can be removed, a spring loaded tail, and a cute expressive face.  For younger kids what’s not to love.  They will have countless hours of fun playing with this toy.  For older kids, educators, and collectors it will lose some appeal as it is not an accurate toy and has a cutesy childish look.  If it calls out to you as it did for me, it has been out of circulation for awhile so E-bay or thrift stores are probably your best bet.