It has been a good year for Carchorodontosaurus, as I mentioned in my review of the figure by PNSO. The PNSO figure, along with the one by GR toys, gave sophisticated collectors a fantastic, updated pair of “shark toothed lizards” to display and admire whilst sipping brandy by the fireside. And for those who just want action figures to smash together, we now also have the Jurassic World Carcharodontosaurus from Mattel.
The Mattel Carcharodontosaurus is new for 2021 and part of Mattel’s Dino-Escape, Mega Destroyers line. This line brings about the long-awaited return of capture gear, restraints that come packaged with the dinosaurs that the dinosaurs can subsequently break free of. I could personally take or leave it, but for those nostalgic for the Kenner days, or kids who want to do more with their toys, capture gear is a fantastic addition to the line.
What grabbed my attention with the Mattel Carcharodontosaurus is that it’s directly modeled after the Jurassic World: Evolution video game. I’m a big fan of Jurassic World: Evolution and credit it with helping to keep me sane during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, the Carcharodontosaurus design in that game is not among my favorites and so the toy also kind of had me on the fence. I stopped and looked it over no less than 3 times on 3 separate occasions before deciding to get it.
Despite being an alleged “mega destroyer” this Carcharodontosaurus is quite small when compared to most of Mattel’s larger theropods. Keep in mind that Carcharodontosaurus was among the largest theropods to have ever lived. The toy is similar in size to Mattel’s Carnotaurus and dwarfed by the Epic-Roaring T. rex but does scale reasonably well with the Extreme Chomping T. rex. The toy measures about 14” in length and stands just under 7” tall.
Starting with the capture gear what we have is quite simple, it’s a two-part apparatus that is designed to look like a steel cage of sorts and fits over the toy’s head and neck. It’s nicely detailed with various struts and rivets, padding where it would be needed, and blinders that cover the eyes. The pieces interlock loosely so that when the action feature is engaged the dinosaur can break out of the capture gear.
The action feature is really quite neat, even when used without the capture gear. When the button on the back is pushed the neck lunges downward and the jaws snap. If the button is slowly pushed halfway down the toy snaps once, when pushed down further it snaps again, when the button is pressed down quickly the toy may snap either once or twice. The speed at which the jaws snap is quite remarkable, a blink and you’ll miss it kind of thing. The jaw snap is only useful in breaking out of the capture gear though, the jaws don’t open wide enough and move too quickly for you to grab another toy with them.
The wide, flattened head of the toy looks nothing like a carcharodontosaurid skull but is faithful to the video game that inspired it. The arms are too large for a Carcharodontosaurus too, making it really a Carcharodontosaurus in name only. Proportionally the toy is a typical Mattel theropod with oversized legs and feet and an undersized tail. Additionally, the jaw overbite is particularly off putting here, but necessary for the action feature I suppose. In additional to the action feature the legs and arms can also rotate completely around and pivot in and out and the toy stands on its own very well. The tail can rotate and pivot around too, as usual.
The detail work is commendable. The entire body is covered in irregularly shaped pebbly scales of varying sizes and bird-like scales are sculpted on the toes. Skin folds, musculature, and wrinkles adorn the hide where appropriate and I particularly like the sagging skin along the underside of the neck, flanks, and belly. The rough texture on the head is nicely implemented and visually distinct, and I like the row of iguana-like spines running down the neck, back, and tail. The spines are made of soft rubber and set into the main body. Interestingly the button is also made of the same soft rubber, and I have to wonder how well it will hold up to use over time.
The paintjob matches closely with the null color skin from the video game. The body is predominantly a dull yellow color. Orange coloration is airbrushed around the face and along the back. And brown horizonal stripes run from the face down the length of the body. Although I love this color scheme it would have been nice to see the coloration extend down the legs as well, especially since the legs overlap, and thus break up, the stripes running down the flanks. On the plus side, at least the stripes extend down the tail. Mattel often leaves the tails unpainted.
The nails are all unpainted, and it occurs to me that while Mattel appears to always leave the fingernails unpainted, they do paint the toenails on at least some of their theropods. I would like to see them do that more often. The eyes are painted orange, but the pupils are unpainted so they’re the same brown color as the stripes that the eyes overlap. The teeth are off-white, and inside the mouth is painted with a glossy, pink color.
For most people the main appeal of this toy will be the capture gear and that the figure is modeled after the Jurassic World: Evolution game. It has many of the same pitfalls as other Mattel toys with its disproportionate body making it awkward and goofy looking, but you know what to expect at this point. For me personally, the game inspired design is a major selling point. Hopefully Mattel will release more Jurassic World: Evolution inspired toys and paint variants in the future.
Although recently released, another paint variant of this toy has already been announced and although I really enjoy this paint job, I must admit that the newer one might be better, although it is not inspired by the game. It might be wise to look that one up before committing on this one. The Mattel Carcharodontosaurus is still available in stores as of this writing and sells for $20.00 in the U.S.