History: 166 million years ago during the middle Jurassic a predator named Megalosaurus prowled England. In 1824 it became the first non-avian dinosaur to have a validly named genus. From there its popularity grew and became a widely known dinosaur celebrity. It received top billing at Crystal Palace Park where it was one of the three mascot dinosaurs. Megalosaurus looked to become one of the foremost faces of the prehistoric age, even being mentioned in a Charles Dickins novel. Then, as with many celebrities, it slowly all fell apart.
Even though an entire family, the Megalosauridae was established in the mid 1800’s, (we have to remember that at the time dinosaurs were not well known), so many dinosaurs were just thrown into the family. There is no holotype fossil evidence just the lectotype, a piece of a right lower jaw (Dentary) with a single erupted tooth, and the syntypes fossils that are associated with it that may, or may not be part of Megalosaurus. Including the possible Megalosaurus tracks found in 1997. At least until a more complete skeleton arrives to use as a comparison.
Then you had the almost complete skeletons of now popular dinosaurs being found during the bone wars in North America and in 1905 the rise of T-Rex. By that time, the Crystal Palace Dinosaus was basically forgotten; no new fossils of Megalosaurus had arrived. So as the 20th century got under way, it slowly faded from popular imagination and became an afterthought.
So how does this quick history lesson apply to the 2006 Toyway (Natural History Museum) Megalosaurus, let’s take a look!
About the toy: Its size is 17cm long and 9.5cm high and the scale is 1:40. The posture is very basic with the head (if you are looking at it from the front) slightly turned to the right with its mouth open. The body has a slight curve, leading all the way to the tail were it curves slightly to the left. The right foot is forward, with the left foot slightly behind the hip. The head is thin and rather small, with many very small teeth that go far back into the mouth just underneath the eye. The snout is thin and rather flat, with two brow ridges above the eyes. It has a common theropod s-curve with an average length neck. The arms are short and pronated with bunny hands with three digits ending in small claws. The mid torso has a narrow ribcage, wider hips, and the legs are thin below the knee. The tail is thin and is as long as the rest of the toy.
The body is covered in small round irregular scales that cover the head, mid and upper torso, arms, and legs. There are some loose skin and folds along the neck, torso, shoulders, and hips. There are some muscle bulges and a hint of a rib cage. The base color is a light orange, with grey tiger striping coming down from the spine along with smaller darker orange striping over the grey. The belly and neck are a light creamy orange. The eye is glossy black, the inside of the mouth and the tongue is pink, and the small teeth are white.
Also: the legs can warp over time on this toy, which can make it difficult to stay upright over time.
Scientific accuracy: I almost give this toy a pass in this area; there just isn’t the fossil evidence to really compare it too. The toy is generic theropod toy. It is bipedal with a horizontal tail. Its arms are pronated which we all know is wrong, while ending in three digits which could be right. I also think the head looks like it was just stuck onto the neck.
Playability: It is your basic predatory dinosaur. Kids will enjoy playing with it, and the colorization is striking enough for them to enjoy. It is also a rather tough toy, as the paint holds up very well. The edges are not sharp, so it is safe for kids of all ages to use.
Overall Appraisal: In many ways, this is a forgettable toy. The posing and anatomy is generic, and it has some scientific flaws. This is forgivable due to the lack of fossil evidence. In the toy world, the Natural History Museum Megalosaurus doesn’t have much in the way of competition. The only other toys that I have seen are from CollectA, Sega, Starlux, and Invicta. I wouldn’t say those were very good, though the Invicta toy is very strange and cool in its retro styling. In fact, that is the good thing about this toy. If you follow the history of our understanding of dinosaurs and compare it to Megalosaurs, even starting at Crystal Palace, the toys for it reflect the current thinking of the time of what dinosaurs looked like. You could do a really cool diorama with Megalosaurus from that perspective. I also like the color and the striping pattern on it, it is both pleasing, and stands out in a crowd.
The Natural History Museum Megalosaurus is an average toy at best. Since the Megalosaurus is a rare dinosaur to find in toy form, it can find a place in some people’s collections. It also works well with many different types of dioramas and for kids play-time adventures.
Usually available from Ebay.com here.