Thanks to the incredible team of Dr Bella Bricking and Beth Buildit most readers will be familiar with the certain incarnations of dinosaurs in the world of LEGO. Especially the figures released in the Jurassic World Franchise can achieve a serious price amongst collectors but there’s way more dinosaur figures in the LEGO universe than those.
As far back as in 1997 LEGO released their very first batch of dinosaur figures and surprisingly these were part of the LEGO Duplo world, a line designated towards children age 2 to 5. 30 years ago LEGO had no licenses on any franchises (this would change in 1999 with Star Wars) and so dinosaurs for a City theme (aimed for kids 6 to 12 or so) would have possibly caused trouble with the Jurassic Park franchise that launched few years before. Instead LEGO released a beautiful yet most inaccurate playset of cavemen and dinosaurs in their peaceful Duplo world.
The set included seven dinosaur figures (well, six dinosaurs and a pterosaur to be precise), three of them being mother-child pairs (or father-child, you couldn’t tell), only the Pteranodon went single. The figures were released from 1997 to 2007 and came in varying colors and patterns, depending on the set. The figures are most durable as one would expect from a LEGO figure, their prints are clear and can withstand some serious play and rummaging in a storage box. As appropriate for an early childhood toy the figures have no hard edges or spikes and are totally safe to play with. And as common in the Duplo world their appearance is smoothed and friendly. Those features require a certain concession to accuracy but nevertheless each of the figures is probably recognizable to most people who have only a basic knowledge of dinosaurs.
There’s a pair of Triceratops (the pair shown here does not originally belong together, hence the differnt pattern), a pair of Brachiosaurus (same here for color), a pair of Tyrannosaurus and a single Pteranodon. The adult Brachiosaurus has an articulated neck and this pair was later released in a set including the oversized egg shells. The original Tyrannosaurus pair appears very gentle and docile, the version relased in 2008 is much more like the Tyrannosaurus everyone is used to and has an articulated jaw, appropriately wide to have a big chunk from those awful “new” Duplo cavemen (you know, those with the weird hips and crushed faces). The teeth are blunted and for those wondering, the hands are suppinated (but the grip will be in between the digits naturally). I initially deemed the hammerheaded Pteranodon a juvenile aswell. One can’t be sure it isn’t but there’s no bigger version – no smaller too as that would have rendered it too small not to be swalloed by the target group. All the other adult dinos have four studs on their backs, so they can be used as mount or to build stuff upon them – depending whether you like to recreate themes from Dinotopia or DinoRiders.
In recent years the Duplo world saw a lot of unfortunate franchise licensing and more and more products that are more designed for parents than the needs and wants of young kids. In 2018 there will be another awful attempt on raiding early childhood with unneccesary franchise products and the accompanying T. rex is no step forward compared to the older version shown here.
If you are looking for some nice dinosaur figures for your young kids, I highly recommend hunting for those out of production pieces. They can most easily be found for a fair price via bricklink.
It is very nice to see cute and friendly little dinosaur figures being reviewed for a change. I think they are very appealing to little ones and reflect a little bit the knowledge about dinosaurs at that time. I do not have these, but I recently got wooden, painted ,little and cute dinosaur toys for kids also. I do not have any Lego set yet, but if I had the choice, I would definitely start by this little set. The paint scheme on the big, green T Rex is very reminiscent of the color scheme on the Playmobil T Rex figure. Though I do not have this set, I can content myself on the little, wooden dinosaur toys for kids that I recently got. Nice idea of reviewing these little toys for a change.
Nice to see someone else do a Lego review! I will be getting the JW Duplo set for my little one, but I certainly agree with you that the upcoming T. rex figure pales in comparison to the one here. Don’t know why Lego chose to go this way.