When the prologue (and later, trailer) for Jurassic World: Dominion dropped, it was met with a lot of grievances from our community. To be fair, there was a lot to gripe about, from anachronistic animals mingling together, to the sloppy anatomy typical of the franchise. That said, people seem to like focusing on the negative, and while everyone was fussing over the pronated hands of the prologue’s Oviraptor, few people seemed to take notice that the franchise was now giving us, perhaps, the best pterosaur ever put to screen in a Hollywood movie. I’m talking about the Quetzalcoatlus presented in both the prologue and trailer. Although still not perfectly accurate, if such a thing exists, the Quetzalcoatlus is leagues ahead of the scaly gargoyles we got in Jurassic World, or it’s bat-winged predecessors from old stop motion flicks. Indeed, the shot in the prologue of the pycnofiber clad Quetzalcoatlus gliding in amongst the smaller pterosaurs, with its contemporaries quadrupedally wading in the background, was just as breathtaking as any Spielbergian moment the original Jurassic Park had to offer.
With the knowledge that Jurassic World: Dominion would star a Quetzalcoatlus came the hope that we would also get an action figure of the azhdarchid befitting its onscreen counterpart. Of course, Mattel had already released a Quetzalcoatlus a few years ago, one that I had reserved for review but alas, thanks to its rarity I was never able to acquire. It was a big, beautiful toy, with a stunning combination of orange, yellow, purple, and turquoise in its color repertoire. Honestly, it was the only pterosaur in the entire Mattel lineup that I really longed for. Now, with the release of the Dominion toy, I’m kind of glad I never found it.
With the Dominion Quetzalcoatlus, Mattel could have simply repainted their older toy, and until I had it in-hand I assumed that that’s just what they had done. But no, Mattel has given us an entirely new and better sculpt with this toy. This Quetzalcoatlus is part of Mattel’s Massive Action line, along with the previously reviewed Yangchuanosaurus. It is an enormous toy, with a beak-to-tail length of 10” and a 16” wingspan. Quetzalcoatlus is estimated to have had a 36’ (11 meter) wingspan so scaling down that width we get a scale of 1/27 for the Mattel toy.
With Mattel toys I try not to dwell on accuracy too much, but this Quetzalcoatlus does strike me as being one of their better efforts. That’s probably due in part to the effort put forth in rendering its on-screen counterpart. I’m no pterosaur expert so what I do recognize as accurate are the pretty basic things. The crested head is proportionally enormous with a long and slender beak, the neck is long, four digits are present on both the wings and feet, the legs are long, and the tail is short, and the entirety of the toy is covered in pycnofibers.
The only obvious inaccuracies that I can see is the lack of a membrane stretching between the tail and hindlimbs (uropatagium) and the lack of a pteroid bone on the elbow to support the membrane between the neck and elbow (propatagium). Keep in mind that the missing uropatagium is necessary for the leg articulation to work. There are probably other things inaccurate about it but that’s as deep into accuracy as I dare go with a Mattel toy.
Two buttons are present on the toy. One on the back flaps the wings, while the other is located on the belly and opens the mouth. Unfortunately, the mouth is not strong enough for you to snatch and carry off other toys with. Next to the button on the back is a small door with the DNA scan code hidden within.
Being a Massive Action toy, this figure emits no sound. I have no shame in admitting that I’ve been having a blast playing with this toy, making is soar and flap around the house. I haven’t had this much fun with a pterosaur toy since my Tyco Pteranodon soared around my parent’s home, roughly 30 years ago.
The toy is articulated in a few places. The head and neck can swivel up and down but only has a range of motion of about 3”. The legs also rotate and can move far enough towards the chest so that the toy can awkwardly and inaccurately rest on its hindlimbs. The wings can fold back too, and I’ve never liked the “broken” wings of these large pterosaur toys, but I can certainly understand why companies do it as it allows for less packaging and saves on shelf space.
The beak is smooth with the nasal opening about halfway down its length. Grooves sculpted into the beak indicate where the antorbital fenestra is located and the eyes are present just behind that. The crest is detailed with vertical striations. A tongue is sculpted within the mouth with a groove down its center and nice texturing on the roof of the mouth.
A short mohawk of pycnofibers is sculpted just behind the head and as stated previously, the entire figure is covered in pycnofibers. Only the fingers and toes have any scale detail. The finger bones that make up the elongated fourth digit are plainly visible but an unnecessary detail.
Although I loved the unique and vibrate paintjob of the original Mattel Quetzalcoatlus, this one is arguably better and more naturalistic. It’s not identical to its onscreen counterpart though. The beak on the toy is primarily black instead of the yellow we see in the movie trailer, for example. But it’s still a cool paint job none-the-less. The body is primarily gray, but the plastic used for the body is marbled with random streaks of black distributed about. This is no doubt supposed to be an easy workaround regarding Mattel’s often bland paintjobs, and it’s fine.
The beak is black with orange splashes, one on top of the beak and one around each orbit. A splash of blue is painted on the crest and the eyes are green with round, black pupils. The wings are nicely painted brown, tan, and pink, with brown speckling overlaying the tan portions and the pink coloration restricted to the back edges of the wings.
Overall, this is about as complex of a paintjob as you could ever expect from Mattel, and it works in the toy’s favor. It’s visually striking with a lot of different colors at play that contrast nicely together. My only complaint is that the underside of the wings aren’t painted. The toe and fingernails aren’t painted either, but that’s not unusual.
Overall, the Mattel Quetzalcoatlus is a big, fun, nicely sculpted AND painted, surprisingly accurate toy that has proven to be an improvement on its predecessor, and more accessible too. This is without question one of Mattel’s best Jurassic World toys to date, and certainly their best pterosaur. I daresay that it’s one of the best pterosaur action figures ever made and so far, it’s my favorite toy from this first Dominion wave. The Mattel Quetzalcoatlus is currently available online and in stores wherever Jurassic World toys are sold, and it retails for about $20.
I’m surprised you said the older quetz was hard to find. I got it off Amazon without a problem. I love both toys.
Got two of these “big Birds” (by accident, but still). They haven’t been set free yet–I’m looking for display stands if anyone can point me in the right direction– but they are up to par and by far, the best Quetz toy yet in any of the Jurassic lines. Definitely better in quality than ol’ Firebeak! I wish they would come up with a way to make pterosaur action figures able to posed/articulated in their quadrupedal walking stance, although that would probably come out looking not-right and probably sacrifice the flapping action.
I find it really interesting that the underside of the wings aren’t painted on this big guy/gal when they are on the considerably smaller and cheaper Minis “mystery box” version. Not even just with the pale sand color, they did the darker splotches too there. Anyway, to get back on track, the in-box look definitely doesn’t do the wingspan justice on the big version but even then it’s striking. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it the first time. I think in particular it’s the head the paint job on that feels consistently good from the ones I’ve seen (the dangers of working in a toy store haha).
For what it is, the model is nice especially loving the head and it’s color, very striking.
I agree that this is one of my favorite Mattel/JW toys so far, and this species’ inclusion looks like one of the best elements to the upcoming film. I’d love to see a Hammond Collection version down the line too!