Review and photos by Charles Peckham, edited by Suspsy
I’m still rather unclear on how DinoWaurs worked. It was distributed by One2Play, a South African organization that may or may not still exist. I was under the impression that they were simply for collecting before I started researching this review, but there seems to be a game that goes along with it. Information on how this works is sparse and typically not in English. Another thing I didn’t know about DinoWaurs before I got this toy is that they weren’t all blind bags. This set seems to be a starter kit of some measure. It comes with the Brachiosaurus and Stegosaurus, which have already been reviewed on the DTB, as well as a lot of other stuff. For the sake of cultural preservation, let’s see what it has.
Almost none of the information on the outside of the package is in English. After perusing the contents, I’m pretty sure it’s in Slovene, Bosnian, and Macedonian.
The back of the package includes a lot of information in several different languages. The only thing it says in English is ‘Massive Attack!!!’ which I assume means this toy has something to do with the band. Maybe you’re supposed to put on Mezzanine when you’re playing the game. Does anyone get that joke? I feel like a bit of a dinosaur myself making references like that.
There’s a dinosaur skeleton encased in plaster of paris included in this kit. I have a few DinoWaurs blind bags and none of them mention anything about skeletons.
Included inside the kit is a sheet of paper that lists all the dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals in the DinoWaurs line, kind of like a checklist. Honestly, the design and art on this is pretty cool. I like how they’re bursting out of the paper. I just wish I knew what it said.
It also comes with instructions on how to play the game, in at least two different languages, neither of which do I understand. Again, I believe it’s Slovene, Bosnian, and Macedonian. I couldn’t read it and attempts to translate it with technology were, for all intents and purposes, fruitless. From the pictures, I gather that to play the game one does something like stack up the cards and determine the winner from the configuration of dots. I imagine somewhere out there someone who speaks English knows how to play this game, but I haven’t found any sources.
The toy itself comes with two cards, one, is transparent and appears to be used in gameplay. The other has information about the animal, including location, height, weight, time period, and a pronunciation guide. This card is in English.
After all that, let’s look at the toy itself. The crest on Majungasaurus is one way to easily distinguish it from other dinosaurs, but I’ve never seen a recreation that gave it such a pronounced unicorn-like horn on its head. The toy balances on its tail, and it doesn’t quite give the impression of being a long, thin animal like Majungasaurus was in real life. Inversely, the skull might be a little on the long side for an abelisaurid and its arms are almost certainly too long. The dip in its back makes me wonder if this was supposed to be an elderly dinosaur, as I’ve seen old horses with a similar dip in the middle of their backs, but beyond that, I can’t offer even a guess as to why Majungasaurus was reconstructed this way.
I really like its expression, and by that I mean I find its expression goofy and fun. If you want a Majungasaurus that looks like it could bite your head off, this is not a toy for you. The bumpy texture of the skin is, to the best of my knowledge, not implausible for the animal to have had in life. The coloration is dull and, in my humble opinion, ugly. This is an issue that I think really causes DinoWaurs to suffer as a toyline. No DinoWaurs that I know of has been colored in an exciting way.
The figure itself isn’t perfect. It doesn’t stand out particularly well on a shelf, but it’s kind of fun if you take the time to look it over. It’s certainly the toy for you if you want to have a goofy little Mesozoic unicorn.
The dinosaur skeleton that comes with the kit is encased in plaster of paris which has the words ‘Dig it out’ inscripted on it. It includes a nice wooden chisel and brush. I’m generally not a fan of dinosaur bones encased in plaster of paris kits, and this one is particularly bad. The skeleton included in this set is of a sauropod. The bones did not stay together without glue and it has a bow-legged stance that is neither aesthetically pleasing nor, to the best of my knowledge, scientifically accurate.
Seeing DinoWaurs packaged this way was a surprise and I wanted to document it for posterity. Is the kit better than the blind bags in any way? Not in my opinion. If it’s cheaper to get the dinosaurs you want from the blind bags, then I would recommend doing so. The kit might be a good deal when bought new, but you almost certainly will not be buying DinoWaurs new. If you speak any of the languages on the packaging and you want to provide additional information, please do so. I’d be quite interested to learn what it says.