Review and Photos by Griffin
Lycaenops was a three foot long mammal-like reptile, or Therapsid from Southern Africa during the Late Permian. It’s a distant later relative of the much more famous sail-backed, Dimetrodon. Its name means “Wolf Face” rightfully so due to its canine-like fangs on its upper and lower jaws. These would have been used most likely for killing prey.
I was really impressed by Kenner for releasing an action figure of such an odd and not widely known animal amongst all of its Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor and Triceratops toys. In fact, during its series two release for the Jurassic Park line of figures, Kenner included several obscure species of non-dinosaur creature figures. It’s good to see some of the lesser known but equally cool Permian age animals available in toy form. As a little kid, it is thanks to these figures actually that sparked my interest in other prehistoric monsters along with my already present obsession with dinosaurs.
This figure has a nice sculpt I think. Considering that its one of the few Gorgonopsid toys ever made combined with the fact that it’s made by Jurassic Park, it’s reasonably accurate. Its standing in an upright, mammalian posture, possesses the right number of fingers and toes on each limb (something JP always messes up, whether they care or not…probably not) and has an iconic Gorgonopsid head, complete with menacing sabers and dog-like snout. The only glaring inaccuracy is the fact that it has two upper canines on each side of its skull instead of the actual one. Other than that it’s a pretty dang good representation of the animal in my opinion. The sculpt itself is really cool for an action figure. The animal’s ribcage is clearly showing along with veins, muscles and tendons. It has the grizzled look of an animal that lives under truly harsh conditions. The short tail is lined with rings of what could be muscle which is present in certain modern mammals.
The paintjob is one of my favorite things about this figure. It’s a solid tan color with dark markings over its eyes and a striped pattern that starts at the hips and continues down to the tail. This color scheme is obviously inspired by the presumably extinct marsupial, the Thylacine. It fits the creature well. This figure went on to be released two more separate times with two more distinct paintjobs but neither is as good or as inspired as the original’s if you ask me.
When the right hind leg of this figure is pulled back, its upper jaw opens WIDE almost to a 180 degree angle. The tongue which is attached by a hinge also swings out when this happens. Probably not something the actual animal would have done in life but hey, it’s JP. (Would you expect anything less?) All I know is that as a seven year old boy, taking this baby out of the package and activating that action feature for the first time blew my little tiny mind. To this day I think it’s pretty freaking cool.
All in all I think this is by far one of the most original and coolest toys the Jurassic Park franchise has ever managed to pump out. It’s reasonably accurate, it’s of a little known species, it’s fun, and when all else fails, nobody can deny that it looks just plain awesome. Unfortunately, like most Jurassic park toys, this critter left the shelves a long time ago. I recommend ebay if you want to get your hands on one.
Frequently available on Ebay here