Category Archives: theropod

Velociraptor (Blue Version)(Papo)

Ah, Velociraptor. Thanks to its starring role in the Jurassic Park franchise, it is arguably the second most popular dinosaur after Tyrannosaurus rex. But the funny thing is, it might never have become so famous had it not been for a taxonomic error in a certain book: Predatory Dinosaurs of the World.

Written and illustrated by acclaimed paleoartist Gregory Paul in 1988, PDotW combined meticulous research, vivid art, and a writing style that was appealing to an eleven year old dinosaur buff. It is still one of my favourite books, one that truly revolutionized my perception of dinosaurs. Michael Crichton clearly felt the same way, as he relied heavily on Paul’s book when he was doing research for the novel that would be titled Jurassic Park. The problem is, PDotW contained a number of erroneous or highly dubious claims regarding dinosaur taxonomy. One was to lump Deinonychus and Velociraptor as the same genus, with the latter name taking precedent. Had Paul not done this (he has since acknowledged the error), or had Crichton not relied on PDotW, it is very possible that Deinonychus, not Velociraptor, would have been the dromaeosaur featured in Jurassic Park.

Enough musing on what might have been. The toy I’ll be reviewing here should be a familiar face to most readers. Recall that Papo released their first Velociraptor toy way back in 2005. In 2010, they rereleased it in grey with reddish brown markings. In 2015, they released a multi-coloured version in a two-pack with a similar repaint of the original Tyrannosaurus rex. In 2016, they released a rather dull green version. And finally, for this year, Papo has opted to release their 2015 version again, with the official name is ‘Blue Velociraptor.’ And indeed, it does feature purple-blue on its back and bright blue around its eyes on and on the tip of its tail. The main colour, however, is a dull olive green with very faint pink for the underbelly. Reddish-brown and faint pink stripes run in a line down the neck and spine. The lower jaw and throat are tinged with rusty orange and there are black spots lining the mouth. The wide eyes are dark orange. Finally, the inside of the mouth is medium pink with a pale pink tongue, the teeth are white, and the claws are black. Not quite as flashy as the T. rexes, but easily the most colourful of all the Papo raptors.


The Acrocanthosaurus is similarly coloured too.

This Velociraptor stands 9.5cm tall and measures slightly over 17 cm long. I’m not going to go into a description of the fine sculpting or the many, many glaring inaccuracies riddling this toy, as both have been covered in the review of the original version.

So why did I even bother with this toy given my passion for dromaeosaurs depicted with feathers and my disdain for those that are still depicted without them? Well, as an educator, I love squeezing dinosaurs into my lessons whenever possible. And I figured an outdated, inaccurate toy such as this one would be a perfect contrast to say, Papo’s 2016 Feathered Velociraptor or Safari’s 2017 masterpiece. Show this toy to the kids first, ask them where they’ve seen raptors like it, then show them the feathered version and explain that this is what they really looked like.

For those of you who do thoroughly enjoy the JP franchise, or just vintage renditions of dinosaurs in general, the Blue Velociraptor will probably be a good addition to your collection.

Tyrannosaurus rex (Sue Plush by Field Museum of Natural History)

If you’re reading this review, then it’s likely that you have at least heard of FMNH PR 2081, AKA “Sue.” It is one of the largest and most complete specimens of Tyrannosaurus rex to date, with a length of 12.3 metres and an estimated weight of nine tons. It is also famous for being the subject of a lengthy legal battle over ownership before it was finally sold at auction for the whopping sum of $8.5 million US. Happily, the buyer was the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, which had obtained financial backing from the Walt Disney Corporation and McDonald’s. Sue stands tall and majestic in the museum’s central lobby to this day, much to the delight of experts and enthusiasts of all ages.

Over the years, Sue has inspired a wide variety of merchandise: books, videos, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and, of course, toys. You can check out a couple of them here and here. Today I’ll be examining this stuffed Sue, which came out around the year 1999. At 50 cm in length and 20 cm in height, it’s one of the largest T. rexes in my collection, albeit fairly standard size for a plush toy.

The main colours on this toy are dark brown, light brown, and white with a black stripe running from the muzzle to the tip of the tail. The large eyes are made of red glass with black, cat-style irises. The mouth is purple with white teeth made from thin strips of leather. The black hind claws are also made of leather. Not a particularly unique colour scheme, especially for a tyrannosaur, but it’s realistic and works well here.


“I’m based on Sue too!”

Sue is soft enough to be pleasingly huggable, but its legs and tail are still sturdy enough to allow it to stand in a horizontal tripod stance. Like most plush toys, it’s made to take a good licking from a child and can be dropped, bashed around, or thrown across a room without the risk of breakage. Accuracy-wise, this toy is missing nostrils, foreclaws, and dew claws, but I reckon that’s forgivable given its simplicity. And on the plus side, the hands are properly positioned, which can’t be said for a good many more recent and detailed renditions!

Overall, I’m rather fond of my Sue plush. It’s big, instantly recognizable as a T. rex, and fun to play with. I look forward to passing this toy on to the next generation!

And can it be that time again already? Yes, my friends, I’m celebrating yet another milestone: my 150th review! As always, I must extend my sincerest gratitude to Dr. Adam S. Smith for granting me this wonderful opportunity in the first place. And I thank each and every single one of you for reading and commenting on my reviews. I’m actually nearing the point where I won’t be able to churn them out on a weekly basis anymore, but I still plan on writing as time and opportunity permit! Cheers!

Tyrannosaurus rex (Breakout Rex by Chronicle Collectibles)

Review and photographs by Sammy Allouba (aka JurassicGeek09), edited by Suspsy

Continuing on with Chronicle Collectibles’ offering of high-end JP items, today I have the highly anticipated Breakout Rex, which obviously is a reenactment of Rexy breaking out of her paddock in the first Jurassic Park. For those of you who have been following the development of this piece via social media, you may recall there was some controversy regarding the final product in terms of its paint job, with some people claiming Chronicle pulled a bait-and-switch on them because the final product was a complete 180 from what the promo shots advertised. I’ll touch on all that in this review. This statue is approximately two feet long and when assembled, weighs around 30 pounds.

I know the packaging may seem like a pointless part of discussion, but given how much a collectible of this nature sells for, I think it’s important to highlight the respectable and tightly packed nature of the shipment. Let’s be honest, when you buy something from eBay for instance, you rate the seller based on how well they packaged an item amongst other things. This one here is snug and tight. If you’re wondering where the fence cables are, they are located in a separate compartment located on the reverse of the styrofoam. It’s easy to miss and almost made me think I was missing pieces until a friend of mine who also bought one pointed this out to me.

Well, there she is, in all her glory! Please do note that the photos you are seeing here are not filtered and as such, are presented in natural lighting. This is important because, as I said at the beginning, the paint job was a point of contention for a lot of people, so let’s talk about that. But by all means, do take in her glory before we start an analysis. She stands proudly, free of her constraints, ready to take on the world. Even if you’re not entirely sold on her, it’s hard to take your eyes off her. She fits squarely into the base via pegs on the underside of her feet.

So, the paint job. I hate to admit it, but it is a tad underwhelming. It’s more leopard-y than I’d like and based on shots of Rexy in the film, she wasn’t quite so spotted. When I compared the shots of my model to the ones featured on Chronicle’s product page, I saw where the difference lay. Those images featured a slightly darker underbelly and fewer spots.

On to the head. This is really where people started freaking out when the retail images began to surface. Again, same story as the underbelly. In the promo shots, it was darker around the neck with fewer visible stripes. The eyes were also darker. Both of them, in the final release, look like they were painted brighter. For me, this isn’t a deal breaker, but it makes one wonder what the heck happened during production. The teeth are painted, but beyond that, there isn’t much detail to them. They’re pointed, but serrations aren’t noticeable on them, like the Lost World Rex Bust.

This is what the base looks like when fully assembled. It’s very easy to put together. You just need to slide the wire poles into their respective holes, and (I only discovered this after the fact) the middle pole with the lighting fixtures (which do not light up) has small circlets in which you insert the wires from the pole on the left and twist them accordingly. The wires do not feel flimsy, but loose enough that you can twist and turn them to your heart’s content. I had a lot of fun with this part. I tried to make it as “screen accurate” as possible.

And there she is, fully assembled! The night falls, the power fails, and the Queen will once again mark her mark on this primordial world. Overall, I say it’s an impressive piece to look at and can certainly be a conversation starter but the paint job could’ve been better. From what I understand, Chronicle outsourced the final phase of production to a company called Toynami and after the complaints started to come out, Chronicle took matters into their own hands and pulled most of the figures back prior to shipment to touch them up. That said, it’s not nearly as bad as some people claimed it to be. Lord knows some people were ready to tear Chronicle apart, calling them scam artists and such (can you imagine?). A few more touch ups would have been nice, but I would still recommend this piece for any Jurassic Park lover. I look forward to the next one!