Review and photos by Funk, edited by Suspsy
By now, most of Tyco’s classic Dino-Riders figures have been reviewed here, with a few notable absences, such as some of the Ice Age creatures. Another notable toy that was not covered up until now is the Series 3 Rulon Quetzalcoatlus, which, though just a repaint of the Series 1 Valorian Quetzalcoatlus, was radically different from its predecessor and most other toys of the line due to its vibrant colouration and unique armour and rider. Most other Dino-Riders toys had the usual brownish-greenish colours schemes typical of paleoart at the time.
The review of the original version has already covered most of the usual ground, and in summary, while it can be said that this 1990 toy does not reflect our current understanding of how Quetzalcoatlus looked, it was still ahead of its time by depicting it with hair-like pycnofibres and a crest not too unlike what azhdarchids are often depicted with today. One inaccuracy not mentioned in the older review is that the body is way too large in relation to the head, a mistake seen in many pterosaur restorations, possibly because the actual proportions seem too ridiculous. The head and body would have been roughly the same length in most pterosaurs, and in some cases, the skull appears to have been even longer than the body.
What makes this toy worth reviewing yet again are the fantastic colours. It is yellow on the upper side with black spots on the hind part of the body and wings, and fiery red on the upper side of the head and neck with a yellow snout tip. Most of the lower part is creamy white with the exception of the yellow neck and feet. This scheme appears to be inspired by the pattern of modern giraffes, though with the obvious twist of the red head and only partial spotting. By coincidence, azhdarchids are now thought to have approached giraffes in standing height, and to have had somewhat similar neck and limb proportions; Mark Witton has especially been fond of showing them side by side with giraffes in his artwork.
To me, the spots also looked like military camouflage patterns, which made it look more evil, what with being a Rulon toy, after all. I wonder what the rationale for giving two members supposedly of the same species such radically different colours. Sexual dimorphism? Different subspecies? Just for the sake of wicked coolness? The two Deinonychus toys (one Valorian, the other Rulon) also had different colour schemes, but were much more similar in mainly being brown. The Rulon Quetzalcoatlus had a pretty scary looking hammerhead shark-like “brain box,” and the evil Rulon, Algar, was positioned on its underside as if on a sort of hang glider, while the other Quetzalcoatlus and the Pteranodon had their riders sitting on their backs.
Like the original, the wings on this toy are able to flap by pushing a button on the back, the neck is rotatable, and the jaws can open. Both features are sadly out of order in my toy, due to my little brother snapping the neck back in the day. I attempted to fix it with superglue that somehow made its way to the button on the back, and both the button and the neck are now immobile. The neck and beak were the weakest points of the Dino-Riders pterosaur toys, and my own Valorian Quetzalcoatlus had much of its beak snapped off, a worse fate I’d say.
I was surprised to discover some years ago that this was apparently a very rare and sought-after toy, having been released mainly in the western United States and Europe (where I got it). Therefore, it saddened me even more at how battered it had become, but it was in better condition than I remembered after all. It is a very stunning toy, and I’d recommend it if it wasn’t so expensive at most websites I’ve looked. But if you have it and didn’t know its worth until now, bring it out of storage quickly and let it be the centrepiece of your collection!
You know, when JWD Quetzalcoatlus hits shelves, at least one person is going to be repaint theirs like this. I’m already considering it and a Valorian repaint.
My toy of my youth / adolescence I appreciate that article
Good review. Like many people, I had no knowledge of Series 3 or the Ice Age Series back in the day. I didn’t learn about their existence until about a decade later; thank goodness for the Internet.
It’s a shame Hatzegopteryx wasn’t well known back in the day, as it could easily have served as this toy.
Oh, and if anyone reading this has the Chasmosaurus and the Pachyrhinosaurus and is up for submitting reviews of them, please do so!