No collection of toy dinosaurs would be complete without the “great fused lizard”, Ankylosaurus magniventris, and it has been that way since 1955 with the release of the first dinosaur toys ever mass produced, by Marx. The Marx Ankylosaurus was included in Marx’s second wave of dinosaur toys, known as Medium Mold Group, PL-750. It was then released again in 1959 as part of Marx’s Revised Mold Group, PL-977. The Ankylosaurus we’re looking at here is the 1959 revised version.
The differences between the 1955 and 1959 Ankylosaurus toys are minimal and since I am not a Marx completest, I’ll instead suggest checking out the thorough write-up on dinosaur-toys-collectors-guide.com, a fantastic resource for Marx dinosaurs in general. Personally, I am content to own just one of each of the genera unless revised versions differ significantly from the original, like with the pot-bellied and slim T. rex.
All the Marx dinosaur designs are lifted directly from the paleo-art of their time, art by the likes of Charles Knight, Zdeněk Burian, and Rudolph Zallinger. Rudolph Zallinger and his Age of Reptiles mural for the Yale Peabody Museum seem to have been the strongest influence for Marx and the Ankylosaurus looks nearly identical to the one from that mural, although Charles Knight also illustrated a similar one. It’s a burly little fellow with thick, slightly splayed forelimbs, bulbous sloping forehead, and well armored back.
Because of the intricate detail in the armor this is one of my favorite Marx toys. Each rectangular scute along the back is individually distinct with a slight keel running down the middle. Each row of scutes is separated by shallow grooves etched into the sculpt and the space between the scutes is covered in stippling. The scutes just behind the head are remarkably small and gradually increase in size, being largest in the middle, and then decreasing in size down the tail.
Surprisingly sharp spikes are present along the sides where the armor ends, and the rest of the body is minimally detailed, covered in stippling. The globular head is large and goblin-like, with a large spike on either side. The toy looks quite pleased with itself, having a slight smirk on the corners of the mouth. Although three toes are present on the limbs it is hard to distinguish them individually.
The Marx Ankylosaurus measures about 3.4” in length. A length of 25’ is stamped onto the right side of the tail, and Ankylosaurus is stamped in the left side. The pose is static with the two left limbs placed close together and the two on the right farther apart.
Like other Marx toys this Ankylosaurus has many inferior copycat versions that lose a lot of the detail present on the original Marx toys. Make sure when you purchase one that it’s the actual Marx toy. The Marx Ankylosaurus is a delightful, intricately detailed, and historically significant toy in our hobby. it can be found on eBay for about $15 but you’ll get a better value if you purchase it in a lot.
Quite agree with Gwangi, people should remember that these figures were pretty accurate in the 1950s and it would have been a lot harder for sculptors to access source material without the internet. The Marx figures deserve four or five stars in my view. Great review by the way!
It’s really well-sculpted, isn’t it? The figure is small and unassuming enough to be overshadowed by some of the bigger Marx dinos, but the sculptor did some solid work on this little fella.
Was this one of Phil Derham’s sculpts?
For nostalgic reasons, I have this 3 stars. I had one as a little kid, only mine was off white in colour. I used to whack my plastic T-Rex with it all the time..
I don’t think you have to use nostalgia as an excuse to give it 3 stars, in fact I would think anything less than that is an insult. This toy is 66 years old!