Author Archives: Laticauda

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.

 

 

Brachiosaurus 1993 ( Replica-Saurus, by Schleich)

To help set the mood, lets take a moment and imagine ourselves walking among the fern covered floodplains in the late Jurassic.  A muddy stream meanders and snakes across the landscape. There are green spreading fronds of tree ferns, along with cycads and gingkoes. There are numerous tall conifers.  Out in the fields and along the stream banks you can hear hoots, honks and sounds of the many animals living in the area.  While standing in the shadows of the Pterosaurs flying overhead, you look over the floodplain and over by a small copse of conifers you see  a rare animal.  At 40-50 feet high (12-16 meters) it dominates the landscape.  It is pulling the branches on the conifers and striping them of their needles.  With its towering long neck along with its long forelegs and sloping back, forcing you to look high into the air to see its head.  The animal is truly majestic. It is the magnificent Brachiosaurus.

Before anyone rips out some hair from their head and scream out, “That toy is not a Brachiosaurus its Giraffatitan brancai!”  Let me say,  I know.  When Schleich  made the Replica-Saurus line, it was done in close cooperation with the Natural History Museum of the Humboldt-University Berlin. Until recently the Brachiosaurid that is mounted at the NHM of Humboldt-University Berlin was known as Brachiosaurus, and it was obviously the  inspiration for this toy.  In 2009 paleontologist Michael Taylor determined that Gregory Paul was correct and that B. brancai should belong to its own genus, reclassifying it as Giraffatitan brancai.   Back in the 90’s when the toy was made it was still considered a Brachiosaurus, so you really can’t fault Schleich.

With all that out of the way lets take a closer look at this 1993 Brachiosaurus behemoth from Schleich.

About the toy:  Due to being made in the 90’s it is proud and standing tall in a classic periscope style pose. At 34 cm high (13 in) this is a tall toy.  It is one of the tallest brachiosaurid toys out there.  It is only 1 cm shorter than the huge Carnegie version and is taller than its Schleich counterparts.  Its Replica-Saurus replacement was only 31 cm tall and the WHO and COE versions are much, much shorter.

If you are familiar with some of the ugly heads that Schleich has put on some of their models in the past, Examples: (Carnotaurus or Baryonyx,) you know what you are in for and will not be surprised when you take a closer look.  Ugh, what were they thinking.  The skull is poorly done, the circle eyes, and the nostrils are placed in the classic sauropod snorkel position on the large bump in front of its eyes.  In reality the nostrils were forward on their snout.  Another example of shrink wrap anatomy.  I don’t know what you think but with that toothy frown, this girl looks unhappy.

As for the rest of the body it is a rather plain pose.  Just standing there like it is holding still for a portrait or on display at a museum.  The legs are rather straight and thin.  The body is big, but I would still say that this figure looks underfed.  The skin texture looks like dried mud all cracked and disjointed.  There are some skin folds along the body that look nice.  The feet are incorrect but typical of the toys made at that time.  The tail is small and rather thin.  The colors are simple.  Brown, with some dark brown shading.  Its nails on the feet are grey.  The eyes are a dull orange and the teeth are white.

Only the thumb should bare a claw.

Overall:  I recently did a dinosaur talk at school with kids that are 4-5 years old.   I brought around twenty dinosaur toys with me for the discussion.  I let the kids hold onto and look at each toy as I talked about the animal.  I brought models of T-Rex, CarnotaurusApatosaurus, and Triceratops among others.  The toy that the kids liked the best was this Brachiosaurus.  Why?    Well both my kids like to play with this toy so I asked them why they like this toy.  There answer was simple.  The size.  I must agree with them.  This figure inspires awe despite the inaccuracies, ugly face, and bland colors.  It towers over most other figures and can dominate the display shelf.

On the positive side, as a collector I appreciate that “in the U.S.A at least” it is a harder figure to find. Makes it stand out from the regular figures.   It is a big figure which I think really makes sauropods look better.  On the negative side its pose is outdated,  there are many inaccuracies, and the colors are bland.  If you like it, this toy does pop up on e-bay from time to time.