Dryptosaurus (Jurassic World Dino Trackers, Wild Roar by Mattel)

2.3 (101 votes)

The late Cretaceous tyrannosauroid, Dryptosaurus, is a historically significant genus that due to the fragmentary nature of its preserved material has been largely forgotten and ignored. Dryptosaurus aquilunguis was one of the first theropods ever discovered and the first theropod discovered in the Americas. Originally named Laelaps by Edward Drinker Cope in 1866, Othniel Charles Marsh would rename the genus Dryptosaurus in 1877, upon discovering that the name Laelaps was already being used for a species of mite. Charles R. Knight’s 1897 painting Leaping Laelaps is one of the earliest examples of art depicting dinosaurs as agile and active animals. In the painting, one theropod is laying on its back with its talons lifted skyward while another is depicted in mid-air, leaping on the other. It is one of my favorite pieces of paleoart, and quite possibly my favorite Charles R. Knight painting. 

Dryptosaurus at the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science.

Dryptosaurus remains one of the best-known dinosaurs from the American east coast and one of only a handful of dinosaurs known from what was once the mysterious island continent of Appalachia, which was isolated from the rest of North America by the Western Interior Seaway. For those of us that live on the American east coast this means that there’s a bit of local pride where Dryptosaurus is concerned, so I was thrilled when the first toy of this important dinosaur was announced, by Mattel of all companies. Of course, Mattel making obscure dinosaurs is nothing unusual anymore.

The Mattel Dryptosaurus is part of their Dino Trackers wave, although in this instance there is no tracking gear included. It is also part of the Wild Roar line, which means it is a mid-sized figure with an action feature tied to sound. A switch on the back tilts the head left and right while opening the mouth. This also produces a series of roars, one of which sounds a bit like a revving engine, and another like King Ghidorah. I find the action feature a bit awkward and I think just sticking with a basic button that opens the mouth would have worked best. No point in reinventing the wheel here.

The Mattel Dryptosaurus measures about 13” (33.02 cm) down the midline of the back and stands about 6” (15.25 cm) to the top of the head. Dryptosaurus is estimated to have measured 25’ (7.5 meters), putting the figure at about 1/23 in scale. In addition to the action feature there is some limited articulation as well. The arms can rotate around and swing outwards, and the legs can also rotate and pivot outwards slightly. The tail can rotate around too.

In terms of accuracy, this toy is respectable enough. Granted, we don’t have much of Dryptosaurus to go by, and the toy still has the cartoony toy-like aesthetic we would expect it to have, but aside from that it clearly represents a tyrannosauroid and the overall proportions match up pretty well. The tail, which comes unattached, it longer and thicker than on many of Mattel’s older theropods, and the feet aren’t egregiously oversized either although the dewclaws are unusually large.

The arms are longer than you might expect for a Tyrannosaurus relative, but Dryptosaurus is known for its long arms and were believed to have had 3 fingers. Although, recent research suggests that only two of the fingers were functional. At least the hands are supinated, or partially so anyway. Lastly, the toy should probably have feathers. They certainly would be more welcome here than on something like the Eocarcharia, which Mattel provided with a full feathery coat. Mattel makes strange choices about which dinosaurs to put feathers on.

The detail work is excellent with a variety of different scale types corresponding to different portions of the body. On the head we get large, irregularly shaped scales similar to a crocodilian. These give way to tiny, pebbly scales running down the neck, torso, and tail. Larger feature scales are distributed across these portions as well. Scales on the arms are slightly larger with bird-like scutes on the fingers. The thighs are decked out in larger, square shaped scales with smaller pebbly scales on the back of the legs and tarsal scutes on the toes. Wrinkled skin is present on the inside of the hands and bottoms of the feet. And even the underside of the body is covered in fine, pebbly scales. Creases and skinfolds are sculpted where appropriate and look especially nice running down the neck, along the torso, and on the knees.

Mattel takes a bit of artistic license with this figure, giving it a row of iguana-like spikes running down the back, from head to tail. Additional spikes are sculpted along the sides of the tail and some of these are quite long, giving the figure an unconventional and unique look. There’s no way of knowing if Dryptosaurus had features like this and they seem a bit outlandish, but I have no issue with speculative features on a toy made to appeal to kids. Mattel needs to make these toys visually distinct, and they succeed in that here.

The figure is painted in mottled gray and black with the lower jaw, arms, and tail completely gray. As we know, Mattel likes to cut corners with paint application but due to the way the mottling is distributed the lack of paint on these portions is not quite as noticeable as it is on some of Mattel’s other dinosaurs. The exception to this is the tail, where on the underside a sharp demarcation in color separates the tail from the body. But you can see that Mattel at least tried.

A splash of dark purple adorns the face, and the eyes are yellow with black slit pupils. The eyes contrast nicely with the otherwise dark color palette. The teeth are white, inside of the mouth pink, and the claws are unpainted. Like all the Dino Trackers, Mattel associates this figure with a particular biome. In this case it’s the forest biome and I can see this dark paint app working well for this dinosaur in the murky forest undergrowth. Overall, this is one of Mattel’s better and more unique paint apps as of late. Although Mattel takes the typical shortcuts we expect, the way the coloration is distributed blends most of the figure together nicely.

I’ve been trying to move away from Mattel’s mainline figures in favor of the Hammond Collection, but I could not pass up the opportunity to add a Dryptosaurus to my collection. And thankfully, it’s a pretty decent one as Mattel toys go. Although honestly, I’ve been impressed by most of the Dino Trackers line. If you’re a casual Mattel collector like me, or have a fondness for east coast dinosaurs, the Mattel Dryptosaurus is worth adding to your collection. For the more refined collector, a Beasts of the Mesozoic Dryptosaurus is due to be released that will certainly be better than this one. But for the collector on a budget, or with kids, this Mattel one will suffice. And it will always be the first ever figure of Dryptosaurus, a dinosaur that was discovered nearly 160 years ago. The Mattel Dryptosaurus is currently in production and retails for abut $17.99.

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Comments 9

  • je voulais dire que best of de mesozoic ferais une versition plus scientifique correct mais peu etre pas plus cool pour moi car jaime bien la plus par des jouet de mattel en particulier se liu si

  • Szeretem ezt a figurát!
    Nemrég szereztem be,és pontosság szempontjábol tényleg nincs vele probléma.
    A Beast of the Mesozoic verzió ugyan pontosabb,ám színeiben ez a verzió jobban
    tetszik.Gratula a Mattelnek! A gombbal akövetkező a helyzet a gyártó azt akarta elérni hogy érdekesebb legyen a mozgása.Tényleg ha lassabban tolod a gombot akkor sokkal jobb.És amúgy köszönöm az értékelést.

  • Heh, I guess the East Coast has to take what it can get when it comes to dinosaur fossils. Maybe a bit of Laramidia envy going on.

  • While the broad design is more cartoony than I care for, it does look like Mattel put in a decent effort with this toy – even as more of a generic 2000s-era theropod than a distinctive Dryptosaurus reconstruction.

  • Just wanted to clarify that this isn’t the first ever figure of Dryptosaurus. There was one from the Transmutazors line (which were available in the 1990s) and even before the release of this figure by Mattel, there was more than the one one from Transmutazors. See the Unique Species Specimen Discussion Thread on the DTF for more information.
    To be fair, I’m not getting this as there will be a much better Dryptosaurus from Beasts of the Mesozoic that’ll be released soon.

  • Good review. Me, I don’t care for those horizontal rows of spikes on the tail, though. And it’s really getting silly how Mattel keeps coming up with alternative ways to activate gimmicks that are inferior to a plain old button.

    • what’s wrong with new action features? People will get bored and complain if every action feature is just in the form of a button.

      • Adult collectors might get bored and complain but I’m pretty sure kids just want a theropod that can open and close its mouth. As is, this figure’s action feature is somewhat awkward, and doesn’t allow for much chomping and biting.

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