Ceratosaurus was certainly not the biggest or the most dangerous theropod of Late Jurassic North America, but thanks to its prominent nasal horn, it was probably the most distinctive. As a result, it is rather popular among dinosaur fans; renowned paleontologist Robert Bakker has declared it to have been his favourite since 1958.
A Ceratosaurus appeared briefly in Jurassic Park 3, yet Hasbro failed to produce a toy for the accompanying toy line. They did produce one for the Jurassic World line (despite Ceratosaurus not appearing in that movie), but it wasn’t exactly a smash. Now we have Mattel’s attempt: the JW:FK Roarivores Ceratosaurus. From nose to tail tip, this bad boy measures slightly over 30 cm long and stands around 13 cm tall when standing in a horizontal position. Its colour scheme is nearly identical to the aforementioned Hasbro version: sandy yellow and fiery red with black stripes, orange eyes, pale yellow for the horn and teeth, and reddish pink for the tongue and mouth tissue. The claws are unpainted. The JW logo is sculpted on the sole of the right foot while the sole of the left foot features the JW Facts app.
The skin on the body has a pebbled texture all over, complemented by heavy wrinkles on the neck and flanks, visible musculature in the limbs and tail, and multiple rows of small osteoderms. The head is covered in large scales, similar to those on a crocodilian’s. The nasal horn is grooved and the inside of the mouth is reasonably well detailed. Overall, the sculpting is not as intricate as the likes of CollectA, Papo, or Safari, but for a JP/JW toy, it’s pretty danged impressive!
Accuracy-wise, this Ceratosaurus scores well, but not superbly. The head, with its prominent horn and brow ridges, is unmistakable, but both the horn and the skull ought to be narrower. The skull is also shrink-wrapped, with visible fenestrae. The hands are properly aligned and have the correct number of digits, but the neck, body, and hind legs are much too beefy. It kind of looks like a Ceratosaurus given Tyrannosaurus-style proportions, save for the arms, of course!
The main play feature on this toy involves pushing the large button on top of the hips. This causes the mouth to open wide and activates one of three sounds: two distinct raptor screeches and the iconic T. rex roar. The shoulders are on universal joints, allowing them a far greater range of motion than the real deal was capable of. The legs feature ball joints, allowing them to spread wider as well as pivot forward and back. You’ve all noticed the Lego support in the photos, yes? Well, without it, this Ceratosaurus has difficulty standing up unless you fiddle with the legs a bit. It’s also very front-heavy, so it’s better to have it rearing up slightly.
As a children’s toy, I strongly recommend this Ceratosaurus. It’s big, it’s scary-looking, and it has a good action feature that definitely makes it fun to play with. Oh, and it’s also not riddled with screw holes on one side! Hasbro may have dropped the ball, but Mattel has managed to scoop it up and make a basket!
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