Every year, starting with the release of their misnamed Pachyrhinosaurus in 2018, Mattel has released a ceratopsian that I’ve absolutely adored. In 2019 it was the Nasutoceratops, in 2020 it was the Sinoceratops, and it looked like this year it would be the Pentaceratops. Since seeing the early release images of this toy it has been on my must-buy list, like those ceratopsians that preceded it. Now I finally have it in-hand, but does it live up to the hype I gave it? Let’s take a closer look.
The Mattel Pentaceratops is part of the Dino-Escape, Mega Destroyers line. Like other releases in this line it comes with capture gear, in this case a cage that fits over its head. It’s also a large sized figure, this is in fact Mattel’s largest ceratopsian to date! The impressive head alone measures just under 7” (17.78 cm). The entire Pentaceratops, from horn to tail, measures just under 13” (33 cm) long and stands 5.5” (13.97 cm) tall at the shoulder. Pentaceratops was a large ceratopsian, estimated to measure 20’ (6 meters) in length so a large size for this toy is appropriate. It would be great if Mattel gave us a long overdue Triceratops at a similar size.
The Pentaceratops has two buttons on its back to utilize its action feature. The forward button lifts the head up and down and allows it to break free of its capture gear. The rear button swings the body rightwards but doesn’t break the toy out of the capture gear. The body is divided into two sections to allow for this, like the Kentrosaurus and Chialingosaurus. The capture gear is entirely gray in color and made to look like steel, with various rivets, struts, and padding.
The toy is also articulated in the basic way that most Mattel toys are. The hind legs pivot in and out and can rotate completely around. The forelimbs also pivot and can rotate partially around but the bulky body doesn’t allow for complete rotation. The tail rotates completely around as well.
The head is made of extremely soft and flexible rubber, like the frill of the Nasutoceratops but softer. I imagine that this makes the head more lightweight and allows the action feature to be better utilized. As a result, it has a pleasing “real feel” kind of texture to it but I must wonder how it will hold up to long-term play. I can foresee the rubber degrading over time and paint being easily worn away.
The head sculpt on the figure is magnificent, like the other Mattel ceratopsians. The entirety of the frill, front and back, is covered in fine, pebbly, irregularly shaped scales. These scales fade to a more wrinkled texture around the snout. The antorbital fenestra is defined and the eyes somewhat sunken, but this gives the toy a menacing and brutish appearance, aided by its fleshy, wrinkled frown. The brow horns correctly curve forward and downwards and epioccipitals are sculpted around the frill, with those closest to the gap at the top of the frill pointing forward.
On the body, scales are mostly restricted to the flanks where the eye is mostly likely to be drawn. On the limbs, the scales terminate around the knees and elbows and give way to wrinkles in a sharp and unconvincing way. Likewise, the wrinkled back is mostly devoid of scales. This is something I noticed with the Kentrosaurus as well and I must wonder if Mattel is now trending towards less detail. The previously released ceratopsians all have a complete covering of scales over their entire bodies.
The body has a solid and sturdy build. The torso is tall, wide, and muscular. This is how it should be on a Pentaceratops, which had tall neural spines, like a bison, that would have anchored ligaments that attached to the enormous head. The tail is too long but not as jarringly so as on past Mattel ceratopsians and it has a slight curve at its tip.
The forelimbs possess the five, clawed, weight bearing digits that you would expect from Mattel. The hindlimbs are weirdly angular, especially on the right hindlimb with the joints sharply bent at the knees and ankles. I suppose this makes the dinosaur look braced and ready for combat. Alternatively, with its head down like it is, it looks like a hunched-up cat ready to cough up a hairball. I would have greatly preferred it if the head was held higher and propping it up makes it display significantly better.
The color is like that of the Pentaceratops in Jurassic World: Evolution. It’s tan overall with some dark gray stripes running from the shoulders and stopping just before the hindlimbs. Dark splotches are painted running across the face and eyes, like war paint, and add to the menacing demeanor of the toy. Additional dark patterning is painted on the frill, outlining where the frill openings would be on the skull.
The claws are all left unpainted, which is typical, but Mattel “spared no expense” on the head. All the horns and the beak are painted an off white, cream color, and the eyes are yellow with black pupils. Yes! Mattel did indeed paint pupils on this toy. Overall, the paintjob is unremarkable but serviceable. The war paint on the head and frill are nice but a splash of color on the frill would have been appreciated too.
Overall, I would say that Mattel has once again given us an outstanding ceratopsian, but it’s a bit of a mixed bag too. The body lacks some of the detail afforded past ceratopsians, and it’s somewhat awkward looking in posture. The head sculpt really saves this toy however, in addition to the toy’s large size and unique action feature. Despite its issues this is a fun, visually striking toy, and it pairs great with the other Mattel ceratopsians. I would consider it one of the best Mattel toys of 2021. The Mattel Pentaceratops is currently available in stores and online, I was able to get mine from Target’s website for its retail price of $20.