Stegosaurus (Jurassic Park Series 1 by Kenner)


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So before we get to the review I would first like to offer an apology, the specimen I have of this toy has really been through the ringer, it’s in dreadful shape. It’s covered in paint rub-offs and is cracking along most of the limbs and tail. This toy is so bad that despite having had it for nearly a decade I’ve never chose to review it or display it (and I do display my Kenner toys). For most of the time I’ve had this poor fellow its been sitting in a box in my closet, that is until my 4 year old daughter found it, now it’s being abused (or loved?) once again. And, it does need a review, so since no one has stepped up to the plate with one of their own I guess this poor old toy will have to do.

This toy is of course the original Kenner Stegosaurus for their Jurassic Park line. It’s a classic toy from a line of toys that has reached a legendary status among collectors. The original series 1 and 2 Kenner lines are still heralded by many as being the best Jurassic Park toys ever produced, even in the wake of Mattel and their Jurassic World line. Most of that original line has been reviewed on the blog, but not the Stegosaurus. Why is that? Well it might be because as far as the Kenner toys are concerned, the Stegosaurus might be the worst the line has to offer.

Measuring 13” in length the toy certainly has size going for it, and it’s also made out of the same “real feel” rubber as the rest of the larger Kenner toys. The Light green paintjob with darker green splotches is attractive, and the detail work admirable; small pebbly scales cover the hide and add a pleasing texture to the toy. Various skin folds and creases aid in adding a lifelike, organic quality to the toy. But as far as praise goes, that’s about it.

The toy stands in a static pose, with all four limbs held stiff under the body. The head is sculpted with a confused, dim expression that might be fitting for what is often portrayed as a dim animal. The alternating plates are oddly shaped, unlike any Stegosaurus I’ve ever seen, and there are only 10 when there should at least be 17 [EDIT: Refer to the comments for a good explanation about the plates]. Other accuracy issues abound which should be expected but the most glaring is that there are only 2 spikes at the end of the tail. Do I need to remind anyone how many tail spikes Stegosaurus had? The toy is advertised as having a “whip-action spiked tail” and you only give it two spikes?

As for that action feature, the “whip-action spiked tail”, it doesn’t exist. There is no button to push that makes the tail whip, it’s just a rubbery tail and I guess the idea is that you can just swing it back and forth. The toy has no action feature or articulation; it might be the most boring toy in the original Jurassic Park series. It does of course have the “Dino-Damage” feature where a piece of skin is removed to expose muscle and bone. This was standard issue on a lot of the Jurassic Park toys and was usually frustrating because it was almost inevitable that the skin chunk would get lost. Mine doesn’t have one, and it’s rare to find one that does.

The Kenner Stegosaurus would go on to be replaced by a far superior toy for the Kenner Lost World line, and 25 years later Mattel would go on to make a Stegosaurus that puts them both to shame, thus making this one the weakest of the Jurassic Park Stegosaurus toys. But despite all of my criticism the Kenner Stegosaurus is still a part of the original line and worth seeking out for collectors; just make sure that yours is in better shape than mine!

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Comments 8

  • This was almost mythological to me; I never saw it in any stores, only on the back of the package of the other toys. The only one of the original JP toys I never found…

  • Haha, this literally looks exactly like the one I still have, missing “dino damage” and all. I’m nostalgic about it and still love it despite its many, MANY flaws. I even repainted the (now) old Wild Safari Stegosaurus in its colors and patterning. Nice review

  • Eh, the JP Stegosaurus toy is kind of interesting in being part of a recognizable ’80s/’90s paleoartistic lineage: the single row of plates hypothesis was then-recently proposed in the literature by Czerkas (1987), accompanied by this model: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/0d/1b/1d/0d1b1dd748b940560bec45c2bf2e8ad1.jpg

    Peters (1989) was likely influenced by Czerkas in putting the large posterior plates in a single row, and Peters (1989) was likely THE biggest influence on the Kenner JP toys (which has gone largely unnoticed; perhaps I should write up an article on this some time.)

    Czerkas. S. 1987. A reevaluation of the plate arrangement on Stegosaurus stenops. pp. 82–99 in Czerkas, S. and E. Olson (Eds.), Dinosaurs Past and Present, vol. 2. University of Washington Press, Seattle.

    Peters, D. 1989. A Gallery of Dinosaurs & Other Early Reptiles. Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York.

    • The JP Kenner toys definitely owe a lot to Czerkas and Peters. This Stegosaurus was the first one I bought, before the movie came out, because I was impressed with how “accurate” it was (i.e., Peters’ like, which to me in 1992 was the epitome of modern, accurate dinosaurs). I don’t think I noticed the lack of tail spikes until later. I figure this is down to somebody in production making drawings in lateral view and then not carrying that over to the sculpt.

      I never noticed the similarity between Peters’ T. rex and Triceratops to the Kenner designs before but now that I look, it’s completely obvious.

  • Sin duda como muchos juguetes de la primera linea esta basado en la descripcion de la novela y los juguetes anteriores a ella …pero lo de los punchos de la cola es algo imperdonable

  • It’s a puzzlement as to why this Stegosauus was done so poorly compared to most other 1993 JP products. I used to pretend it was an entirely new genus of two spiked stegosaur.

  • Eye-wateringly bad, yet still has a certain charm.

  • It’s one of the worst Stego toys ever, certainly, but there’s just something about it that I love. I think it has that, “it’s so ugly, it’s cute” vibe going for it.

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