Category Archives: Definitely Dinosaurs

Stegosaurus (Wendy’s Exclusive from Definitely Dinosaurs by Playskool)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

For my second Definitely Dinosaurs soft model review, I will be tackling their rendition of Stegosaurus. Right off the bat, this model is downright cute, and it is clear it was made for toddlers because of the bright colours and the hard vinyl plastic it is made off. As with the Ceratosaurus(and every other model I will get to in the line), this model is not made to be taken seriously, as it is clearly for the youngest of children. However, they did managed to get one thing right with this figure: ending the mouth with a beak.

The two colours this model is painted in are teal and bright purple, while the eyes are painted yellow. The plates are all too small to be realistic for an adult, so I’m assuming that this model is made to represent a juvenile. There are also way too many plates on its back to be considered accurate. Instead of 17, there are over 21 plates, not counting the thagomizer. The thagomizer spikes are also way too short to be effective against the mean old Ceratosaurus, whom I see as more of a bully then a hungry animal. The model is made as if it were a heavyset animal, with his thighs up just beneath the plates. This forces his front legs to sprawl out to the sides, and one of them is outstretched so that he can achieve his pose. The feet on this model are nowhere near being as accurate as say, the feet on the Battat Stegosaurus released in the same Decade. But they are not your usual elephant feet either. Instead, they look like blunted claws that stick out of the animal’s feet.

Really, this is not a toy that needs to be scrutinized for accuracy, but I thought it would make this review more interesting if I did anyways. It’s very hard to criticize this figure, as it is still apparent that it was not made for adults. But I’m sure that this little guy will forgive me as he knows I’m just writing a review for him on a blog that scrutinizes dinosaur toys. As always, the only way to get this figure is through eBay, and understand that you may have to settle for one with a duller color scheme than this, as mine was one of the latest releases of these toys.

Ceratosaurus (Wendy’s Exclusive from Definitely Dinosaurs by Playskool)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

And now for something completely different from all the scientifically sound and modern reconstructions of dinosaurs. I’ve tackled many different figures for this blog, but today marks the start of a series of reviews that will be very different. Back when I was a child in the 1990s, my parents spoiled me with various dinosaur toys, and among them was a brand of colourful, cartoonish models that reminded me of the Land Before Time, although it was clear that the line shared no connection with that franchise. These were in fact the vinyl models available at Wendy’s restaurants and made by Playskool for their Definitely Dinosaurs line. The toys were not made to be scientifically accurate. In fact, they seem to go out of their way to make these figures look like cartoon animals. To my knowledge, there were ten models made for the series and I acquired all but two in my lifetime, although I lost one at some point in my youth. Fortunately, most of the others remain with me to this day, and I have since traded some contemporary items for a couple more Playskool figures. This leaves only three that I plan on acquiring somehow in the future.

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​Today’s review focuses on my personal favourite of the entire group, mainly because his presence makes him look a lot different from all the others. He is the Ceratosaurus. He is unique among the rest of the batch because he looks nothing like the animal he is supposed to represent. This is due in part to the fact that he is supposed to be a cartoon animal, but there are enough things wrong with him that it suggests the sculptor(s) did nothing but glance at a picture of Ceratosaurus.

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If you’re thinking I’m going to spend the rest of this review ripping this poor guy a new cloaca, don’t worry, I won’t be that mean to him. But he does look like the sculptor(s) barely knew what a Ceratosaurus was, so I will touch on a few things that are fairly obvious.

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​The head is round and almost frog-like, with one horn in between the nostrils. On top of that, the arms look like human arms, and there’s only three fingers sculpted on either hand. I can go on to say how it is in a tripod pose, but I think I’m being mean enough. This toy was not meant to be taken seriously, and I knew that back when I was a kid. The one thing that stands out to me with this particular toy is that the eyes were painted red, giving him an evil look with that mouth full of teeth (keep in mind, other figures in the line also had red eyes, but they also did not have the teeth). When I played with these toys, I always pretended that the herbivores were on an adventure and they were always pestered by the mean old Ceratosaurus (I did not have the Tyrannosaurus at the time, as I was not aware of its existence until 20 years later).

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​The colors on all of these Playskool models were very bright and cheerful. This Ceratosaurus is the darkest of the bunch, but it still manages to be anything but dull. The bottom part of the toy is blue while the top is purple. These days, most preschool toys look a little more realistic, with brands like Fisher Price making their figures a little more modern and somewhat realistic while still retaining the cartoonish look. Today, Playskool (now run by Hasbro) includes a Heroes line that makes characters from popular franchises into cute toys for little kids. The successors of the Definitely Dinosaurs series would be the Jurassic World figures from this line (which in my opinion were a lot better then the garbage released for older fans).

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The Definitely Dinosaurs Ceratosaurus is not something that I can recommend to those who want a serious take on the animal, and I am unsure if anyone other than a collector like me is willing to acquire these classic figures. I decided to collect them because I already had most of the assortment saved from my youth, with only three awaiting to be acquired. If you want one, your best bet is Ebay, as it is the best place to find long retired toys such as this. [See Definitely Dinosaurs on Ebay]

Tyrannosaurus (Definitely Dinosaurs by Playskool)

If you were a dino-fan in the eighties, you might remember the TV spots for Playskool’s highly successful “Definitely Dinosaurs” line. While Tyco was raking in the cash with “Dino-Riders” and their eerily realistic figures, Playskool cleaned up nicely with the toddler and young child market. Although both lines featured articulated dinosaurs, the Playskool line favored sturdier constructions with “safer” points of articulation that were far less likely to pinch the skin of a wee tot. This sturdiness was actually highlighted in the commercials, where children would sing of how they can “play with them real rough”.

There aren’t any dull Dino-Rider browns and greys in Playskool’s line, only bright and vivid colors. Replacing the weaponized humanoids from “Dino-Riders” were a batch of squat, kid-friendly cave-people which came with each Playskool Dinosaur. Using primitive tools and saddles, these cave-people could attach and “ride” on the dinosaurs to help them with… well, laundry and berry gathering. Tyrannosaurus was one of the few that came with a cave woman, in fact. In the water-color illustrated story book (which also came with each dinosaur), the tale centers on a clever cave woman who is harassed by a narcissistic Tyrannosaurus. With a shrug of her shoulders, she gives him the brush off, mentioning that she’s seen far scarier tyrannosaurs in the past. Angered, the Rex insists that she show him these scarier predators. She guides him to a lake, at which point, he attacks his own reflection and falls face first into the water. The cave woman wanders off with her basket of flowers, presumably leaving the Tyrannosaurus to his watery grave.

Aside from teaching children how to properly drown their enemies, these supposedly kid-friendly playsets offered no real explanation as to why humans were living alongside dinosaurs. While Dino-Riders could at least muck about with space-age time travel, the Playskool line seemed to perpetuate the notion that humans and dinosaurs lived together, and in relative harmony too. Fortunately, I suspect most kids either threw away or lost their cavemen, and focused on the all-important dinosaurs. The mint-green Tyrannosaurus was the third-largest figure in the line (two sauropods outclassed him, and they were absolutely enormous). At about the same size as the JP and DinoRiders Rexes, he was likely a must-have for any fan of the line.

Quite a bit of articulation can be seen in the figure, from the base of the tail and jaws, to the arms and even the ankles. These pieces had a tendency to wear down and become loose with time unfortunately, and may affect standing abilities in pieces found today. To their credit, the Playskool Rex actually could stand without the support of its tail, even if his stance was rather rigid. The teeth are quite dull to keep small fingers safe, and the jaws barely open about an inch or so. The body is largely reptilian-looking, with a mildly menacing yellow eye in each socket. Each Definitely Dinosaurs figure can be identified by a brand marker, a circular stamp of a sauropod, not unlike the “JP” stamp that Hasbro used for their dinos in decades to come.

Despite their moderate scarcity, the Playskool Dinosaurs do not typically fetch high prices at online auctions. With a bit of patience, you should be able to find this Rex for a reasonable sum. Just don’t leave him unsupervised near any bodies of water.

Sometimes available on eBay here.