Leptoceratops (Definitely Dinosaurs by Playskool)

3.3 (3 votes)

Review and photographs by dinoguy2, edited by Suspsy.

Playskool released several series of individually carded dinosaurs between 1988 and 2000. These were very similar to the small vinyl toys released as Wendy’s kids meal promotions in 1988 and 1989, though the Wendy’s dinosaurs generally had different color schemes and didn’t include some of the carded species. One species released on card, but not at Wendy’s, was the awesome Leptoceratops.

Compared to the other toys featured in Playskool’s dinosaur lines, the Leptoceratops (nicknamed “Jexar” on the packaging) looks surprisingly modern for a figure produced in 1988. It’s sculpted in a relatively static but dynamic pose, with one hand off the ground, the neck stretched up in a bellowing posture, and the tail swept to one side. The animal is sculpted relatively svelte, with well-defined musculature and detail around the small frill at the back of the skull. This toy fits in the general aesthetic of the Dinosaur Renaissance-inspired second series of Tyco’s Dino-Riders, and I remember being pretty impressed with it as a kid. Just compare it to the other carded Series 1 toys, which were all very crude-looking and definitely relics from the mid-20th century Burian era of paleoart. The Renaissance-era accuracy and dynamism of the Playskool Leptoceratops, combined with a brilliant electric blue color scheme (light blue base plastic with a dark blue paint application on the back), made this one of my favorite dinosaur toys of the ‘80s.

The Leptoceratops measures 16 cm long and stands 6 cm high. This same sculpt was re-released with different color schemes in later series of carded Playskool dinosaurs. In 1991, it was released with the same dark blue-back paint, but this time with plain white plastic as a base. In 1996, it was released again in an orange and yellow color scheme.

As far as accuracy goes, it’s hard to hold these toys, which were intended for very young kids, to too high a standard. Details have necessarily been softened and the design primarily chosen to be recognizable and durable. That said, the Leptoceratops may well be the most accurate of all Playskool’s dinosaurs and it still holds up reasonably well today. The front paws are somewhat more hand-like than the feet, and have five fingers, though all are of nearly equal length and have large hooves. The feet correctly have four toes but, again, they’re too equal in length. The head looks great, and though the lower jaw isn’t as deep as it should be, the frill and jugal horns look very good for a small vinyl toy. The figure only has one point of articulation, at the neck, which can be rotated around.

Overall, this was a great figure for its time, and still holds up reasonably well as one of the few Leptoceratops toys available.

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