Sinoceratops (Jurassic World Sound Strike by Mattel)

3.9 (11 votes)

Back in 2018, when Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was released, a curious thing happened. Mattel, with their newly acquired rights to the Jurassic Park franchise began pumping out action figures for the movie’s various starring animals. But one of those animals was decidedly different from it’s on-screen counterpart. While Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom featured a Sinoceratops, Mattel made an obvious Pachyrhinosaurus instead. It was painted with the same color palette as the movie’s animal, and the packaging even labeled it as a Sinoceratops. How was that allowed to happen? Well, it’s an interesting bit of movie production history, and perhaps too in-depth to include in a toy review so we’ll keep it short.

Basically, the movie was supposed to originally feature Pachyrhinosaurus instead of Sinoceratops. Early renders and concept art for the film actually show a Pachyrhinosaurus instead of the Sinoceratops, and hints of Pachyrhinosaurus can even be seen in the anatomy of the film’s Sinoceratops. It seems that Mattel was already too far invested in the Pachyrhinosaurus to replace it with a new figure, so opted for a name-swap instead. Toy production usually begins long before the movie is finished and released.

Why make a change at all? Pachyrhinosaurus is a fine animal, what difference is there? Well, I have a hypothesis. The producers wanted to include a Chinese dinosaur to appeal to Chinese moviegoers. Studios are increasingly trying to appeal to China as China has proven to be a major contributor to their revenue. How well a movie does in China dramatically effects how well a movie does overall. Consider this, Jurassic World grossed over $652 million domestically, but it also grossed over $228 million in China. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom would go on to gross over $417 million domestically, and over $261 million in China. China has proven to be a powerful influencer in how blockbuster movies are made, and it makes sense that at some point in the movie’s production they would decide to swap out an American dinosaur for a Chinese one.

The result of this mix up is an interesting bit of movie history, and a delightful Pachyrhinosaurus action figure too. I personally loved the original “Sinoceratops” by Mattel and happily count it among my all-time favorite Jurassic World toys. However, we still needed an actual Sinoceratops, and in 2020 Mattel finally delivered.

The Mattel Sinoceratops is exactly what we wanted from Mattel back in 2018 and is every bit as awesome as you could want it to be. That said, the Jurassic World Sinoceratops is among the more inaccurate dinosaurs in the franchise. The most obvious issue is the gaping holes on the frill, placed where the fenestra would be on the actual animal. In life these openings would have almost certainly been covered. Perhaps these holes were inspired by the Walking With Dinosaurs Pachyrhinosaurus?

It doesn’t stop there, the animal’s frill and the horns on the frill are too large, and dramatically sweep up and over the head in a way not seen in the fossils for Sinoceratops which had a short frill and smaller, curved hornlets. There are also small horns on the center of the frill, between and behind the eyes. These are almost certainly carried over from the original Pachyrhinosaurus design as it’s a feature that genus exhibits, but Sinoceratops does not. Sinoceratops also had a shorter nose horn than it’s on screen/toy counterpart. And of course, as is the case with all Jurassic Park ceratopsians, the tail is too long, and the feet are the generic elephantine feet shared with the movie’s Triceratops.

What we end up with is an animal that is such a greatly exaggerated version of the real animal that it is barely a Sinoceratops at all. That said, I absolutely love it and its design. I can’t help it, it’s cool looking. It brings to mind Agathaumas, the ceratopsian that never was, described by E.D. Cope in 1872 who’s remains are almost certainly that of Triceratops. Agathaumas would go on to be immortalized in a painting by Charles R. Knight, and landed a starring role in 1925’s The Lost World. For that reason, I find this Sinoceratops design immensely appealing.

Never mind the accuracy though, we know what we’re getting here. This is a splendid action figure from Mattel. The animal looks robust and formidable. It actually looks better than its movie counterpart, being leaner and more muscular whereas the one in the film was chunky and flabby.

The detail work is exceptional, especially on the head and frill, with it being covered in irregularly shaped, pebbly scales. The scales are even sculpted on the back of the frill too. The body is nicely textured with scales along the back and raised bumps on the torso, legs, and tail. Where scales are absent, they’re replaced by wrinkled skin. Skin folds are realistically sculpted along the torso, neck, and the joints on the muscular limbs. The rib cage is visible under the skin on the torso.

The Mattel Sinoceratops is a large toy, measuring about 13” long and standing 5” tall at it’s highest point. It dwarfs the Mattel Triceratops which should be considerably larger. Still, it does display fantastically alongside the other large ceratopsians by Mattel. Since this is a Sound Strike toy it also has an action feature. Moving the tail rotates the head around and triggers its various roaring and grumbling sounds. Like other Sound Strike toys, it is a bit sensitive and makes noise even when gently handled. The articulation is basic, the limbs can move but not completely around, and the hind legs can splay outwards too.

This toy is marketed as part of the Camp Cretaceous line and its paintjob is borrowed from that series, instead of the movie. I’m alright with this, because I already have the Mattel Pachyrhinosaurus with the movie paintjob and don’t really want two toys with the same color palette. If you want a more movie accurate Sinoceratops there’s supposed to be a re-paint of this toy at some point in 2021.

I really like the paintjob on this toy. It’s soft and subtle and rather unique. The toy is primarily painted in a pale blue/gray color. Cream color splotches are painted along the shoulders and torso. The face also has some cream coloration around the snout and there’s some on the frill as well. Orange ovals are painted around the exposed fenestra and along the sides of the frill. The beak is painted brown, and the horns are dark gray. The jugal horns are unpainted, as are the toe nails which is typical for Mattel.

For Jurassic World toy collectors this is a must have toy. It is beautifully sculpted, big and impressive, with a pleasing color palette. And of course, it represents one of Fallen Kingdom’s more memorable creatures. It pairs well with their other large ceratopsians and for me personally it’s my favorite Mattel figure of 2020. Unfortunately, the Mattel Sinoceratops has proven to be one of the harder toys to acquire, suffering greatly from Mattel’s shotty distribution and the ongoing pandemic. I never got to find this toy in stores, but my wife was able to acquire it online for me for Christmas, I didn’t dare ask how much it cost her. Thankfully another Sinoceratops is due out eventually and will hopefully be easier to find. If you find one for a good price, don’t skip on it.

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Comments 6

  • It’s a great replica of the film Sinoceratops and we should remember that the JP/JW dinosaurs ARE all supposed to be laboratory reconstructions with DNA added from other creatures to fill the gaps, so they aren’t neccessarily accurate to their real life counterparts. (Just a fan boy trying to rationalise having this in his collection! 🙂 ). I hope Season 3 of Camp Cretaceous comes along soon, as I not only want to find out what happens next, but also hope for more great toys! Mattel have blown Hasbro right out of the water, in my opinion.

  • A nice touch would have been a protruding tongue feature,to greet your Owen action figure with!

  • Wonderful! I actually just got this figure a couple of days ago! It’s a nice figure that took forever to find at a decent price.
    It really does display well with the two other ceratopsians.

  • Excellent review on this. I agree that it would be interesting for a real ceratopsian to look like this (minus the holes). It’s a great toy of the show’s animal too. If I recall right a grey one is S1 E3 got a bit of interaction, so makes sense to go with this color pallette, but it is nice they are doing a FK variant as well too.

    I really hope a larger Triceratops is made at some point (next year hopefully?). They could easily retool it and have it fit in within the large animal range (Stegosaurus, Suchomimus, etc).

  • It would be cool if there really existed a ceratopsian that looked like this, minus the ridiculous holes in the frill, of course.

    And damn, that Triceratops looks so bloody boring next to those other three. It’s kind of a curse to be one of the genera that actually appeared on screen; the artists at Mattel are clearly given no creative leeway with them.

    • Yes, it’s a real shame about the Triceratops. At the very least Mattel should make a larger one. And a more flamboyant paintjob wouldn’t hurt it either. I like the toy, but it is mediocre compared to the other 3 large ceratopsians.

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