Review and images by Cretaceous Crab, edited by Suspsy
Since the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in 2018, Mattel has practically exploded in terms of the diversity of prehistoric genera it has offered, many of which are the first of their kind to be represented in toy or figure form.
One example is the enigmatic clade of dinosaurs known as Megaraptora. Even today, their exact relation to other theropod groups is not clear. Most specimens are fragmentary at best, but what we do know about them is their approximate size range (medium to large size), as well as their long snouts and large forelimbs with equally large claws. I remember when Megaraptor was first described, it was initially believed to be a giant dromaeosaurid that, if accurately described, would have surpassed the already extra-large Utahraptor in size. Our understanding of the genus has since dispelled this notion, but that does not make the clade any less fascinating or impressive. I mean, the name says it all, right?
Needless to say, when Mattel first announced its Megaraptor figure last year, I was elated. There have been very few figures of the genus before then, and already outdated [without feathers] or hard to find. The Mattel Megaraptor was definitely on my wish list. Unfortunately, I have yet to ever see it in person at any store. I had been put off simply grabbing it off Amazon [the only place I had ever seen it for sale], but then along came the release of the Orkoraptor, a close relative.
So now I had TWO megaraptorids to choose from! Both had feathers and were more or less in the same 1/18 scale, to accompany the standard Jurassic World Mattel 3.75 inch human figures. I will admit the colors and proportions of the Megaraptor were more appealing, but one feature in the Orko tipped in its favor: full lips covering its teeth, which is something the vast majority of Mattel theropods lacked.
The coloration is very natural for an animal of this size and niche. There is a nice blend of olive green and dark gray over the body, with some sporty white stripes on the tail. The eyes are a dangerous red with light orange speckling around them. Predictably, the claws are not painted but eh, what can you do? The Orko measures approximately 12.25 inches long and 4.75 inches tall.
By itself, the head of the Orko appears pretty accurate based on what we know from its remains, and from its cousin, Megaraptor. However, when looking at the entire figure as a whole, it is a little large compared to the rest of the body. The action feature is a little different than most of the previous Mattel mid-sized dinos. There is a small switch that moves back and forth on the back; this operates the head and neck to swivel side to side, with the jaws opening wider the farther the head rotates out. With a little finesse, one can have the head rotate a little to the side without opening the jaws, giving the Orko a curious or inquisitive action. The same action feature triggers a generic growling/snarling sound effect. As a personal preference, I dislike electronic sounds, so I promptly removed the batteries.
Moving down to the rest of the body, one can see another odd feature about the Orko. Many other feathered theropod figures feature the feathers predominantly on the neck and dorsal areas, and less so on the underside. Not so with Mr. Opposite-Orko! While he still retains feathers behind his head, the rest of his plumage is restricted to his throat, arms, belly, thighs, and under his tail, leaving his neck, back, and the top of his tail bare! Sure, there are some decent scale details, but I thought this design choice was most peculiar.
Again, the fragmentary nature of our understanding of megaraptorid anatomy so we are not 100% certain of accurate limb size ratio to body. That being said, the large forelimbs of Orko immediately seem a little off. There is a thick layer of feathers obscuring some of the details, but it appears that the length of the arms are too short, and the hands/claws are too large, with little definition of a wrist. Furthermore, all of the hand claws are about the same length. This is contrary to the real-life animal, in which the first claw was significantly larger than the other two, the erroneous feature that gave the entire clade its name. I did notice this is more accurately portrayed on the Megaraptor figure. On the upside, the legs seem to be relatively proportionate to the body. The largeness of the feet is unsurprising, but acceptable to give more stability for a bipedal action figure. The tail looks just a tad short, but not distractingly so.
Overall, the head and arms are a little large, but for a toy designed for children, not a deal-breaker for me. As far as I know, this is the first figure of Orkoraptor ever, and it is certainly not a bad representation of a general megaraptorid, if you wanted to pretend it was a closely-related genus. While the Mattel Megaraptor may have a more spiffy paint job, more accurate hands, and a more conventional arrangement of feathers, the fully-lipped and accurate head design of the Orkoraptor and its natural coloration, along with the ability to articulate its legs better, may give it an edge. In my opinion, if they had designed the Megaraptor with full lips, I may have opted for it over the Orko. But they didn’t, so here we are. I am pleasantly satisfied with my choice, and can’t wait to see what else Mattel has to offer to us in 2024!