Elasmosaurus (Jurassic World: Gigantic Trackers by Mattel)

4.3 (35 votes)

One of the biggest and admittedly funniest fiascos in paleontological history involved the legendary American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope and the famous plesiosaur Elasmosaurus platyurus. The latter’s fossil remains were first discovered in 1867 in the Pierre Shale Formation of Kansas and formally described by Cope in 1869. But then in 1870, fellow paleontologist Joseph Leidy pointed out that Cope had reconstructed Elasmosaurus with its head at the end of its tail instead of its neck! 

Naturally, Cope was mortified by his error, which was especially damning given the fact that the Elasmosaurus specimen included the axis and atlas bones, which are part of the neck and ought have been a dead giveaway as to which end was which. He did his best to recall all the copies of the preprint article containing the faulty reconstruction, but one of them still managed to fall into the hands of his hated rival, Othniel Charles Marsh. For years afterward, Marsh maliciously made sure to bring up Cope’s colossal cock-up at every opportunity.

And that brings us to the Jurassic World: Gigantic Trackers Elasmosaurus. Not gonna lie, I really wanted Kenner to make such a toy back in the day, but better late than never, I reckon. From the tip of its snout to the end of its tail, this toy measures a little over 37 cm long and has a maximum flipper span of 26.5 cm. That makes it Mattel’s second longest marine reptile after the Mosasaurus.

Towering over fellow fish eaters Tanystropheus, Plesiosaurus, and Nothosaurus . . .
. . . but dwarfed by the Mosasaurus. Ouch!

The Elasmosaurus‘ main colour is aqua green with beige for the lower jaw, the underside of the neck, and the chest. The eyes are orange, the inside of the mouth is glossy dull pink, and the teeth are light silver. Blue-green markings run down the skull and neck. A splash of pale blue is on the lower back and the tail is mostly solid dark blue-green. Fitting and realistic for an elasmosaur, I’d say.

The sculpting is also pretty good. The entire body features tiny rounded scales, but the ones covering the head are noticeably larger. The palette and tongue are textured as well. An array of large, flat rounded scutes runs down the entire neck and back and there are even larger scutes covering the leading edge of the flippers and dotted on the bottom sides. The JW logo is sculpted on the right front flipper. Finally, there’s a fairly large sail on the stubby tail, supported by spines no less. This has no basis in reality, and it’s hardly the only Mattel toy to possess such a fantasy feature. Pity it’s not a simple fluke instead. The slide-up scan code is located on the spine just above the hind flippers.

The flippers are all on universal joints, can rotate a full 360 degrees in either direction, and as you can see, can support the Elasmosaurus on their very tips. Pushing down on the button on the right shoulder causes the neck to lower and the mouth to open wide.

And pushing the button on the left shoulder causes the neck to swing to the left and the mouth to open again. Fun stuff!

The dark brown tracking/control harness is made of rubberised plastic and attaches via two straps. Unlike with the Sinotyrannus, the play features are not at all impeded when the Elasmosaurus is wearing the harness. Nevertheless, I can still do without it.

In terms of accuracy, we’ve already touched on the finned tail. The flippers are oversized and really ought to be more streamlined, but their shape probably helps with poseability. The heavily textured skin is highly implausible; Elasmosaurus, like other marine reptiles of the Mesozoic, probably had relatively smooth skin. The teeth should be longer, pointier, and there should be much more of them. And most glaringly, the neck is too short and the head is oversized to boot. But a longer neck probably would have made it impossible to sell the toy in the Gigantic Trackers size range, and made it more prone to breakage. Besides, this toy is definitely recognisable as an elasmosaur in spite of its flaws.

Overall, I rather like this Elasmosaurus. It’s an iconic beast, it’s fairly large and looks cool, and it’s quite a lot of fun to play with this toy. I think both my boys ought to enjoy playing with it in their grandparents’ swimming pool come summer. So will I for that matter. 🙂

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Comments 13

  • There’s one very weird thing that this review neglects to mention…it has NO NOSTRILS!!

    • No, it does indeed have sculpted nostrils.

      • Where? I don’t see them. o.O
        I have the figure, too.

        • I was looking on my figure and there does seem to be a slight indication of a slit-like nostril in the correct position, near to the eyes, on the left side. You can see this in the photo above showing the head in profile view. This slit isn’t so clear on the right side.

  • I am sorry I was not able to say anything about this when it was posted, but thank you for the review.

  • […] the biggest and most impressive Mattel figures is the ‘Gigantic Trackers’ Elasmosaurus, reviewed by Suspsy on the DinoToyBlog. A mini version of it was also released as part of the ‘Dino Trackers […]

  • la peau des reptiles marins est lisse serte mais est quand même écailleux à par sa c’est une bonne critique

  • It’s far from perfect but still a must have for me. Maybe we’ll even get to see a plesiosaur in the next Jurassic World film?

    Elasmosaurus is about 10m long, which makes this figure approximately 1:27 scale, so I’ve input that into the scale category for you.

    • With the neck being so short, relative to how long it is proportionally on the real animal, 1/27 isn’t really an accurate scale estimate. The toy is more like 1/22 with a neck that is way too short. If it were more accurately proportioned, the neck would be much longer and the body much smaller in the same 15 inch-ish length. And that would be 1/27.

      If the neck were in scale with the body, it would be much longer, the toy would be closer to 19 inches long and it would be about 1/22 scale. The Mattel Elasmosaurus is proportioned more like a Plesiosaurus than an Elasmosaurus.

      Determining scale on most Mattel JP/JW toys is pretty difficult given how free and loose Mattel is with the proportions on them.

      I will say the Elasmosaurus is a pretty fun toy though..

      • I’ll amend the scale category for this review to reflect this. When we calculate the scale of animal toys ourselves we can only ever give an approximate value because there’s so much room for error. So, they shouldn’t be taken as Gospel, but it’s still useful to have them as a ball park figure.

        • Fair enough. But some toy lines are better than others and determining scales for them is very useful and can be done fairly precisely as compared to the scientific data available. However, I sometimes wonder if there is any point to indicating scales at all for the vast majority of the Mattel dinos as they are so out of whack proportion-wise that the scales derived from overall length of the toy are close to meaningless. They are sorta like saying a 4 inch tall bobblehead figure is 1/18 scale….lol.

          Maybe a better guide would be to just measure the skull length of the Mattel figures and assess the scale for that? Or maybe i’m just taking this scale thing too seriously. I’ve been working with scale precision for 40 years nearly now in a variety of hobbies, in some of which a couple of millimeters off is considered an egregious error.

  • One of Mattel’s best from 2023 and certainly one of their best marine reptiles.

    I really think some streaming service or other should make a Bone Wars show, a limited run mini series. That story has it all.

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