Category Archives: Oldies

Stegosaurus (HG Toys)

Here is an interesting rendition of the popular, plate covered, thagomizer wielding stegosaurus.  HG toys made some interesting looking dinosaurs during the 80’s.   For inspiration on this stegosaur they must have looked at turn of the century paleoart.  They certainly didn’t reference any dinosaur renaissance ideas into this stegosaurus, as this toy looks squat and sluggish.  This guy could have leapt from the canvas of Heinrich Harder. The last time someone would have considered this toy scientific accurate, it would have been the 1920’s. Despite being outdated lets take a closer look at it and see what redeeming features it might have.

About the Toy:  It is a decent size toy at 11.50 in (29.21cm) long and 4.6 in (11.68 cm) high over the hips.  It is made of hollow plastic and despite being relatively light, it is a rather sturdy fellow.  The pose is straight and low.  The suspension on the guy is low with a clearance of just 0.25 in (3.9 cm).  A true low rider.  The legs are short with big feet, with three toes per foot.   Along the back there are twenty two plates arranged in parallel lines of eleven.  The body is rotund and well fed.  The tail is rather short and is slung low to the ground ending with four spikes.  There is some texturing with the skin folds rippling along the body and etched lines on the plates  The main paint job is sweet potato orange with a secondary color of dark brown along the back, plates, the underside, and brushed along the legs.

This toy does have some articulation.  The front legs do not move backward, but when pushed forward to the front they can move to about 100 degrees. The back legs  are the opposite as they do not move forward, but they do move backwards to about 95 degrees.  Due to the low body, the fact the legs move is sort of pointless unless you want it to slide on its belly like Frosty the Snowman.  There is also an action feature, push the button on the head and the mouth opens.  The mouth does not open very wide though.  The head can twist all the way around exorcist style.  The tail by the spikes can also turn all the way around so you can get those pesky predators.

Overall:  It is a “Classic” sand box toy.  Yes it does have some retro styling which might give it some curb appeal but this toy is not heading to most peoples shelves.  In fact, most people would find it a rather unattractive fellow.  Obviously it has very little use as an educational tool.  Unless you love Stegosaurus (which I do), into retro styling, or have a sandbox and in need of a toy for a family member, I would pass on this toy.  If you are interested in this toy, it has been out of circulation since the 80’s, but does show up occasionally in neighborhood garage sales, thrift stores, and on E-Bay.

 

Stegosaurus (Field Museum Mold-A-Rama)

Finishing off our reviews of the Field Museum Mold-A-Rama collection is the Stegosaurus. Older original Mold-A-Rama dinosaurs exist as well but they aren’t currently being produced at the Field Museum and the only way to really obtain them is through eBay. It has come to my attention that the Stegosaurus machine was recently removed from the Field Museum so if you don’t already have the Stegosaurus then try to find one on eBay before they become scarce. The “retired” figures include the Ankylosaurus, Edmontosaurus (Trachodon), and Corythosaurus. All of the Mold-A-Rama dinosaurs were offered up as souvenirs at the World’s Fair Dinoland back in the 1960’s.  To the best of my knowledge the only place that still has working Mold-A-Rama machines are those located at the Field Museum in Chicago. For a brief history of Dinoland and the World’s Fair check out the review of the original Tyrannosaurus written by Foxilized.

The Stegosaurus is presented as you would expect it to be in a pre-renaissance era. It’s low to the ground with a dragging tail, sturdily built but obviously dim and slow moving with a considerable amount of bulk. True to Stegosaurus the plates at least alternate but aside from that there is little in common with modern depictions.

There is a good bit of detail on this dinosaur but the painfully yellow color makes them difficult to see. Circular scales adorn the body, loose skin hangs from the neck, and skin folds sag along the flanks. The plates are unusually small but vertical striations are etched along them. Although lacking cheeks the mouth does have a thick set of frowning lips which only accentuate the plodding demeanor of the mold.

Personally this Stegosaurus is my least favorite of the Field Museum molds. It lacks the same charm and character that even the oddball Tyrannosaurus possesses. The yellow color is a bit of a turn-off too but that’s just my personal preference and he certainly stands out on a shelf of conventional dinosaur toys.

Caution must be exercised with this particular mold. All of the molds are fragile, made of hollow waxy material but the Stegosaurus seems particularly prone to breakage along the tail. Mine came to me broken but it was easy enough to just glue it back on.

This is the kind of figure that only dinosaur historians might find interesting. The history of the Mold-A-Rama machines, Dinoland, Sinclair Motor oil, and the World’s Fair are all fascinating bits of American history that make seeking this and the other Mold-A-Rama figures worth the effort. Get this Stegosaurus while you can and good luck!

Tyrannosaurus (Field Museum Mold-A-Rama)

Having technically already been reviewed there really isn’t much new to say about this one. DTF member “Foxilized” reviewed the original back in 2010. For the sake of consistency though I feel compelled to share my thoughts too, I’ve been reviewing all of the current Field Museum Mold-A-Rama figures and it would feel strange not including this one.

I kind of have an obsession with the life-sized Tyrannosaurus that was displayed at the World’s Fair. It’s severally dated by today’s standards sure but it’s still a beautiful reconstruction, and accurate for its time. It’s strong, robust, and imposing, the stuff of nightmares. The head is gigantic and menacing with its pointed brow horns and toothy grin. But we’re not here to review this Tyrannosaurus, but rather its tiny take-home counterpart which sad to say is a far cry from its inspiration.

In general shape and pose it’s fairly faithful, so too is the oversized head. But while the head of that beast was menacing the head on this Mold-A-Rama is, well, goofy looking. The head just sits there atop the neck, I have no idea how the spine attaches to it. Anatomically the head looks more like a frog than the Tyrant King. The attempt is there with the tooth filled grin and even ear and nasal openings present but it still falls a little short. It stands on a base with “Tyrannosaurus rex” stamped on one side and “Field Museum Chicago” on the other. It’s funny that you can get this monstrosity in the same museum that displays Sue, but I’m glad it’s still available at all really.

The body is of course posed as a tail dragger and perhaps more so than other tail-draggers looks very much like a man in a dinosaur costume. The tacked on head doesn’t help but even the legs end up looking more human than theropod. The best thing I can compare it to is the Tyrannosaurus from the 1957 movie “The Land Unknown.” Watch the trailer to see what I mean. Make sure you watch the whole trailer so you don’t miss “the battle of the great stegosauri.”

Overall I find this figure “so bad its good” which is perhaps why I like it just as much as those cheesy old movies it reminds me of. It’s not a very good representation of the World’s Fair Tyrannosaurus but it’s a unique character all its own and worth seeking out for those who have the shelf space to display this oddball.