Although first described in 1966 the crocodyliforme Sarcosuchus didn’t really achieve popularity until the mid 90’s through early 00’s, with additional discoveries by Paul Sereno and publicity via National Geographic. Since then Sarcosuchus has gone on to become, perhaps, the most popular extinct crocodyliforme of them all. Several collectibles of it exist and the year 2020 would see the release of two Sarcosuchus figures, one by Safari and this one by Mattel for their Jurassic World line.
The Mattel Sarcosuchus is part of Mattel’s new for 2020 Massive Biters line. It was released alongside the Tarbosaurus in the first wave of toys earlier this year. New Massive Biters are coming out as well with the Siats already hitting shelves. The Massive Biters are larger than toys in the Roarivores or Sound Strike lines and all share a similar action feature. The tail when rotated will twist the head up and down and left and right.
There is also a button at the base of the tail that opens and closes the mouth but these toys do not make sounds. It’s a fun gimmick that allows for a lot of imaginative play for their target demographic. It particularly suites this toy as it allows for some movements akin to the death roll employed by extant crocodilians.
The Sarcosuchus measures 16.25” from snout to tail, a massive biter indeed! It is presented with a two toned paint job, a burgundy color on the head and back and a drab green color along the lower jaw and rest of the body. Actually these colors are quite similar to those used on the Battle Damage Albertosaurus and Mattel certainly likes to recycle its color palette. In addition to the chomping and twisting head feature there is articulation in the limbs as well. The forelimbs can be moved up and down and twisted around. The hind limbs can rotate too, though not completely around.
With each new wave of toys I’m continually blown away by the amount of fine details that Mattel puts into these figures, and the Sarcosuchus is no exception. The entire surface of this toy is covered in scales and texture of some type or other. Cracked looking, irregularly shaped scales adorn the head, whereas on the body there are mostly rectangular scales and raised scutes of various sizes. The belly has the large, flattened belly scales of extant crocodiles. Along the back and tail are the phenomenally sculpted dorsal scales and twin rows of large osteoderms, the details of which are one of this toy’s major highlights.
On the end of the snout there is a large bulb, called a bulla. The individually sculpted teeth are spaced apart so that when closed they nicely alternate and overlap the jaws. The eyes are small and yellow with elliptical pupils and have a villainous look about them. The pink tongue and ridged palate are smooth and glossy, giving them a wet appearance. The body and tail are wide, robust, and sturdy looking and the tail itself is one of my favorite features of the toy.
Of course being a Mattel action figure the toy doesn’t hold up well to scientific scrutiny, but we won’t get into much of that here as I don’t consider myself well versed in extinct crocodyliformes. Offhand I can see that there are too many clawed digits on the forelimbs, only three should be clawed. There are also five digits on the hindlimbs where there should be four. Aesthetically the toy is serviceable but it does have some wonky proportions that make it look cartoonish; a short tail, large head, etc. For a more scientifically sound Sarcosuchus then look to Safari and their recent release.
Overall the Mattel Sarcosuchus is a strong offering from Mattel. It’s a fun, large, dynamic, and well sculpted action figure of a fairly obscure prehistoric animal that is not a dinosaur. For all of those reasons I heartily recommend the Mattel Sarcosuchus for even the most discriminating Mattel collector. This figure is new for 2020 and as of this writing widely available in stores.