Edmontonia is a popular genus of nodosaurid that has been produced by toy companies many times over the years. CollectA, Schleich, and Battat have all taken a crack at the beast with fairly good results. Edmontonia is a very well-known genus with articulated specimens first discovered in 1915! With animals this well preserved there is little excuse for idle speculation and poor research. The oldest toy or model I can come up with is the one produced by Tyco in 1989 for their Dino-Riders line of toys. Measuring about 14” in length it’s a big and impressive piece of plastic, but at nearly 30 years of age how well does this toy hold up?
The Tyco dinosaurs are a somewhat odd bunch of toys; they straddle the line between more modern depictions and older, outdated ones. A clear example of this contrast can be seen by comparing their Stegosaurus to their Kentrosaurus. The Edmontonia is one of the toys that have probably held up the best, mostly because ankylosaurs haven’t had their popular image tweeked that much over the years. They were giant tanks 50 years ago, and that’s still true today. Where this toy does show its age is in its posture. The tail is swung really low, almost touching the ground. It’s not a tail dragger mind you but it’s hardly a modern looking depiction when compared to something like Doug Watson’s Sauropelta. The toy is rather squat too, low to the ground it almost looks as if the animal is straining under its own weight or perhaps sneaking through the underbrush. These are hardly complaints though, it’s an old toy after all and while the posture is outdated this one gets a lot of points for anatomical accuracy.
As stated previously, we have a good idea of what the armor on this animal looked like. This toy is a close match to the fossil specimens that tell us that. Three bands of bony plates are present along the neck, with a spike protruding forward on each end of the second band. On the third band we see a wicked looking bifurcated spike, a unique feature where one spike basically branches off another. Small osteoderms cover the back and tail. The head is appropriately “pear shaped” with a narrow beaked muzzle. The larger, well-muscled hind limbs each possess four toes and five digits are present on the forelimbs, the last two digits being reduced and hardly noticeable.
Pebbly looking scales adorn the head, neck, and back of the toy. Thin, narrow scales are sculpted on the underside and larger plate-like scales sit atop the head. Overall the toy is simply a dark gray color, but Tyco toys weren’t really known for vibrant color schemes. The color choices work well on this one though, accentuating the tank-like nature of this animal. The osteoderms along the back are an almost dark purple color, the toe nails, spikes, and bands along the neck are a lighter shade of gray, as is the underside. The life-like eyes are gold colored.
This toy is primarily made of hard plastic, pieced together and hollow on the inside. About half of the tail is made of a more rubbery material. The legs do have some degree of mobility but this toy lacks the action features present on many of the other Tyco toys. When flipped over you’ll notice that the spikes aren’t finished except for the two on the neck band. It’s not really a big deal though, how often will you be looking at the underside of this thing? I certainly didn’t care when I was a kid.
The Tyco Edmontonia is a toy that has aged astonishingly well and having been released in 1989 it is still one of the best representations of this gnarly looking dinosaur. In accuracy, it still excels. For a toy line of militarized dinosaurs, Tyco’s only real job was to make these things look cool, they went beyond that though and made many of their toys believable. This toy is one of their best and modern toy companies should take note. There is a reason that the Tyco dinosaurs are considered classics. The Tyco Edmontonia is rare but can still be found on eBay with a bit of patience. It typically doesn’t cost too much either and is worth seeking out for any ankylosaur fan.