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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.

Rebbachisaurus (CollectA)

rebbachisaurus-1

In the 1950’s some fragments of an interesting sauropod with tall neural spines was discovered, unfortunately, unlike many other dinosaurs with tall neural spines, it has not captured the imagination of others in its family.  The name of this animal is Rebbachisaurus.  It is unknown if it supported a sail or a hump, though the trend is to show it with a sail.    Other than the tall neural spines, it is widely considered to be a generic diplodocid sauropod with a large build,‭ ‬long neck, and whip-like tail.  Of course its popularity could change if more material was found.  The  holotype  included part of a vertebral column,  a scapula, a humerus, and an ischium.

This is one of CollectA’s earlier attempts which was very simplistic in its design and colors, but over time, they have grown up.  CollectA continued getting better and better, and now they have become a serious competitor in the prehistoric toy market.  With Rebbachisaurus they continued the trend of making every type of animal, from the obscure, to the well known.   Since this is an earlier figure, you know their will be some small issues with it.   Could it be a surprising figure, that is better than many expect or remember?  Lets take a look.

rebbachisaurus-5

About the toy:  It is small toy, which is typical for CollctA’s standard size figures.  It is 20.5 cm long and 6.7 cm high. Unfortunately, it has the typical horse head that many early CollectA figures were given.  The mouth is open and showing off its white peg like teeth.  Starting at the base of the skull, and going all the way down the  spine to the tip of the tail, are the tall neural spines, that are sporting a sail.

The pose is ok.  The head turned slightly to its left, and the tail raised off the ground with some flowing curves to it.  The front and back legs are paired up and are in a static standing pose.  The feet are outdated and inaccurate, showing multiple claws on each foot. The gut is bulging and rotund, yet it feels small, wedged between the front and back legs.  The neck is thick and long with a nice dewlap, while the tail is thin and long.

rebbachisaurus-13

The texture is made up of small wrinkles and skin folds along with some osteoderms embedded in its flank.  The colors are rather dull.  The base color is actually a light brown that is overlaid in a thick dark chocolate brown.  Due to the dark brown, the orange on the sail really pops.  The material used on the figure is very bendy.  As the legs, neck, and tail can bend easily.  Despite this, the material will snap back into place and will not break or tear easily.

rebbachisaurus-15

 

Overall:  It isn’t really a bad figure, but neither is it memorable or outstanding. There are some typical scientific errors, the brown color is kind of off putting, and its pose is a bit on the static side.   For most collectors, they might want to pass on this toy.  When I compare it to some of the other early CollectA sauropods toys, I kind of like it.  Due to  its calm and innocent demeanor, along with its bright sail, it has some personality, and that makes me like it despite its flaws.  Its size can come in handy if you need shelf space, but not for those who like to have their figures in a compatible scale.  Rebbachisaurus  toys are rarely made, I know GeoWorld made one as well, but it is a harder species to find as a toy.