I’ve been meaning to plug some of the gaps in our Marx review series for a long while, so thanks to the other reviewers who have been most patient with me. The Marx Iguanodon toy under review today was part of the Second Series Mold Group, PL-1083, first released in 1961.
Obviously, there’s little point in reviewing these 60-year-old figures for scientific accuracy through a modern lens. They represent an era when our understanding of dinosaurs was vastly different, and generally reflect pop-cultural depictions of dinosaurs at the time. However, this is also what makes them so charming and fascinating.
In the case of this Marx Iguanodon, it is clearly inspired by the paintings of Czech palaeoartist Zdenek Burian (1905–1981). The many similarities include the slightly stooped but upright posture, bumpy skin texture especially around the base of the tail, soft tissue facial features, and the row of low spines running along the back and tail. The toy can be regarded as a Burian artwork faithfully transformed into three dimensions, and in that sense it is incredibly accurate.
The genus name is stamped on the underside of the tail in capital letters along with the length of the animal in feet (“36′ LONG”). This is a small toy oly about 10 cm long and 8 cm tall. Considering this, and also the age of the model, the details really are remarkable. For example, the individual fingers and toes are visible, the eyes are neatly sculpted, the head has fleshy lips and nostrils, and the skin is adorned with a variety of small scales and larger bumps. The seams from the casting process are visible and there’s quite a lot of flaky plastic protruding from some of them, so-called ‘flash’, which distracts sightly.
I’m not of the Marx generation myself, but I did grow up with Invicta models, so a fondness for monochrome dinosaur figures is hardwired into my brain. For me, this is one of the attractions of the Marx figures, and this chocolate brown version is rather pleasing. The plastic is the waxy hard variety, and very slightly pliable to avoid shattering. The pointy bits, like the tip of the tail and the thumb spikes, are really quite sharp. I doubt they would pass modern health and safety laws.
The Marx models are such a crucial part of the early history of dinosaur toys, they’re a must for collectors interested in the origins and history of our hobby. In general, Marx collectors should be wary because many of the Marx toys were ‘knocked off’ by another company, MPC. However, the Iguanodon seems to be one of the few Marx dinosaur figures that were not copied, so there’s no need to double-check whether your Marx Iguanodon is the real deal.
All in all, I really love this little model and I’m so glad I picked it up on Ebay along with several other Marx toys. So, for this retro Iguanodon, it’s two big thumbs up from me!