Edited by Dinotoyblog
Every now and again the Dinosaur Toy Blog receives independent reviews of the same toy within hours of each other. And so, in the generous spirit of the season, here is a rare special double-bill review by two guest reviewers, Loon and Carnosaur, who both have something to say about the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Dracorex by Mattel.
Review and photographs by Loon, edited by Dinotoyblog
Mattel’s Jurassic World line, despite being less than a year old, has provided a good sample of different archosaurian families, some of which feature multiple unique species. The new “Dino Rivals” line, despite the prevalence of repaints and retools of already existing figures, continues this trend of new species by adding a new pterosaur, Rhamphorhynchus, and with this Dracorex, completes the tribe of Late Cretaceous Pachycephalosaurids.
With the release of this Dracorex, Mattel seems to have pulled a reverse of that “Benjamin Button” movie I never saw, by releasing a depiction, depending on who you ask, of the earliest growth stage of Pachycephalosaurus last.
The Dracorex figure, like all new ‘Dino Rivals’ figures, comes with a trading card that features a rather extreme looking version of the animal and some stats. While it’s not something I’ll ever use, it doesn’t make the figure cost more. Just watch out, some of these have been unfortunately attached to the card.
Releasing figures of unique species is commendable, especially as it exposes some obscure species to a wider audience. Unfortunately, many of the animals that are absent from the films suffer from a cartoonish stylization, such as the Minmi. At their 2018 San Diego Comic Con panel, Mattel revealed that this disparity comes down to the use of pre-existing 3D models in the sculpting process; explaining the more toyish appearance of figures without movie counterparts. Technically, Dracorex does appear in Fallen Kingdom as a statue, or taxidermied animal depending on who you ask, in the small dinosaur hall within the Lockwood estate. This means that no 3D model exists for the film design of Dracorex, forcing Mattel to sculpt this figure from scratch.
Despite these obstacles the figure turned out rather nicely. While not 100% accurate to either the fossil record or the film (so, no cute little tongue sticking out of her mouth), the figure is recognizable as Dracorex, albeit a bit too large. The color scheme seems close enough to film model; she is cast in nice cream color with black speckles mixed-in, with a light coat of orange paint on the top-side and some dark stripes around her eyes, and across her lower back and thighs, making her look a bit like some kind of Mexican ice cream bar. If this color scheme doesn’t suit you, there is an upcoming release featuring a more ‘Arctic’ color scheme in a pack with an ATV and the 49th Owen figure released in the past 2 months.
While trying to break down the paleontological accuracy of Jurassic World figures often seems futile, I was shocked to discover how decently this figure compares to her fossil counterpart. At first glance, the most noticeable inaccuracy is the trademark Jurassic Park-style pronated hands; they’re here, with their weird thumbs, and their more-than-three claws. As well as the tail being too thin, its tip seems a bit too bent, as pachycephalosaur tails were rather stiff thanks to the support of many ossified tendons. The legs are nice and long, as is common in these animals; like its relative Psittacosaurus, Dracorex might have had a thin fold of skin – a patagium – connecting the hind limbs to the tail, which might have been hard to work into an articulated figure. Unlike other figures of her more mature Pachycephalosaurus form (depending on who you ask) the animal is covered from neck to tail in osteoderms, which is a nice touch.
The greatest inaccuracies are on the head. Dracorex is partially known from a nearly complete skull, making it an important feature of any figure. However, despite being fairly recognizable here, several key points are off.
Like Asian pachycephalosaurs, Dracorex featured a flat skull, lacking the infamous dome of other North American species. This figure faithfully recreates that flat top, however, the head does seem a little too level, unlike the more tapered skull of the real animal. The horns and bumps on the skull are also misplaced in several places and seem a bit soft, detail-wise. However, the biggest issue is the beak, or, in this case, the lack of one. While the lower jaw does feature a flap of skin differentiating the beak from the skin, the upper jaw has no such distinction. This isn’t helped by the wrinkles on the upper jaw, which create a lip-like appearance. Aside from that, the beak also seems a bit too pointy, but I’m not sure.
The figure also features a nice array of articulation, seemingly being the most articulated ‘Dino Rivals’ figure. The head has a swivel and hinge joint on top of another hinge at the base of the neck, allowing for some nice head-ramming poses. The rest of the figure features the typical swivel joints for the limbs; as well as a joint at the base of the tail, which can break the sculpt if turned too much.
Overall, despite some weird details, this may be the best small Jurassic World dinosaur yet; featuring a very nice sculpt, as well as a good amount of articulation. It shouldn’t be too hard to find, as they, along with the rest of the new Dino Rivals, seem to be filling up the pegs of local Wal-Marts and Targets, as well as online stores like Amazon (here).
Review and photographs by Carnosaur, edited by Dinotoyblog
Dracorex is a small pachycephalosaurid dinosaur which lived approximately 65-70 million years ago during the late Cretaceous Period. It was first discovered in 2004 in the Hell Creek formation of South Dakota. It was subsequently named by Bob Bakker in 2006. Its full name — Dracorex Hogwartsia — is a tribute to the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling and means “dragon king of Hogwarts.” There is some controversy as to the validity of Dracorex as its own species, as some scientists think Dracorex and Stygimoloch might actually represent earlier growth stages of Pachycephalosaurus.
Dracorex is a relative newcomer to the toy dinosaur world being previously represented by only two figures made by CollectA and Safari Ltd. With the release of the new Jurassic World toy line, Dracorex is the third pachycephalosaur (along with Stygimoloch and Pachycephalosaurus) to appear in the toy line making it’s appearance in the second wave with two color variants that I’ll be going over shortly.
The figure is small, roughly the same size as the Safari Ltd figure at around 5 inches long. like all the Jurassic World action figures, this model is meant to be a toy more so than a collectible. It features typical articulation at the hips and shoulders, but also includes a neck pivot at the shoulders and articulation at the base of the head that allows both up and down movement, as well as left and right, giving this lovely little figure a surprising amount of poseability for its size.
The arms, tail, and horn-like spikes on the head are made of a slightly softer rubber like plastic than the figure’s body, and the skin is nicely detailed with nice muscle detail, very fine wrinkles in the skin, and plenty of scutes running from head to tail. It’s painted in a very attractive tiger-like pattern going from cream on the limbs and underside to a bold orange with brown stripes that start at the hips and continue down the entire length of the tail. there are also brown stripes around its yellow cat-like eyes. There is also a ‘white Tiger’ color variant that features the same stripe pattern and is packed with Owen and a ATV.
As for accuracy I’d have to say it’s more accurate than you would expect for a Jurassic Park toy. The limbs are the correct length, with the correct number of digits, and there’s even a dew claw on each foot. The skull is the right size and shape including the beak, and is not shrink wrapped. The arms only appear slightly pronated, to be honest, I’m not sure what the norm is for pachycephalosaurs. If there was one complaint it would be that the tail might be just a tad too short. The figure stands up great, however, on feet no larger than the Safari Ltd version’s feet.
I would recommend this figure for Jurassic park fans, or pachycephalosaur fans in general, and of course kids. It’s attractive, with a charm to it. It’s well made, and with great play-ability. It’s also very inexpensive. I think even picky dino collectors might enjoy this little dinosaur on their shelf.
Available from Amazon here.