Skorpiovenator is a genus of late Cretaceous abelisaurid known from the Huincul Formation in Argentina. It was described in 2008 and the genus name means “scorpion hunter” due to the abundance of scorpions dwelling around its dig site. The species name, bustingorryi, was given in honor of Manuel Bustingorry, whose farm the dig site was located on. Skorpiovenator is only known from a single specimen, but that specimen is also one of the most complete abelisaurid skeletons ever found, missing only portions of the tail and most of the forelimbs. You would think that with the relative completeness of the holotype that one of the more accuracy-orientated toy companies would have reproduced a Skorpiovenator by now but alas, Carnotaurus is apparently the only abelisaurid worth their time. Leave it to Mattel and their line of Jurassic World action figures to finally produce this genus. Indeed, with Carnotaurus, Majungasaurus, Skorpiovenator, and Rajasaurus in their lineup, Mattel now has the most diverse range of abelisaurids available.
The Mattel Skorpiovenator is new for 2022 and sold under their Jurassic World: Dominion, Roar Strikers line. This is a mid-sized figure, similar to Mattel’s Roar Attack, Roarivores, and Sound Strike lines. The toy measures 13” in length and stands 5” tall at the top of the head. The actual Skorpiovenator is estimated to have measured 20’ in length, putting this toy at 1/18 in scale which means it scales accurately with the human figures.
The action feature on this toy is unlike anything we’ve seen from this line before. Instead of having a push or sliding button the figure’s action is activated by simply pushing down on the body. This causes the body to slide down its legs, making the toy open and close its mouth while roaring. I like this gimmick as it seems especially child-friendly while also avoiding visually obnoxious buttons. Of course, the tradeoff here is that the legs are not well articulated. They can move backwards but forward movement is limited on the left leg and the right leg cannot be moved forward at all.
Articulation in general is limited with this toy. The legs don’t pivot out anymore, and there is no ankle rotation. Not a huge concern for me, personally. The tail can uselessly rotate around, as usual, and the arms can swing in-and-out and rotate completely around.
Also new with all the Dominion figures is that the DNA scan code is now hidden in a slot on its back (or under a flap in some instances). In this case it’s well hidden but on other toys it’s rather obnoxious, and difficult to access too. I foresee a few of these being snapped off in time. Personally, this seems like a waste of resources and effort, printing the scan code on the foot was sufficient. I would rather Mattel have focused on improved paintjobs than on innovating an unnecessarily complicated hidden scan code. How many times do these scan codes even get used? Once? Don’t worry about scan codes Mattel, paint the tails and claws instead.
Since this is a Mattel toy, we won’t judge the accuracy of the figure too harshly, but we’ll touch on a couple things. Honestly, overall, it’s not terrible. On the surface it’s well-proportioned and a decent caricature of Skorpiovenator. The head is oversized and the snout shorter than it ought to be. The arms, while small, still aren’t small enough and only possess 3 fingers where there should be four. It’s inaccuracies mostly work in its favor though. I absolutely love the enormous, blunt-snouted, rounded head on this toy. These toys are made to appeal to children, and they need a bit of artistic license and “awesome-bro” appeal in order to sell themselves. The stylization applied to this toy does that exceptionally well.
The detail work on this Skorpiovenator is as good as it has ever been on a Mattel dinosaur. The entirety of the toy is given a coat of small, pebbly scales. On the head are three rows of small horns running over the snout, around the orbits, and down the neck and these are detailed further with small striations etched into them. Running down the back and tail, and on patches on the shoulders and thighs, there are triangular, overlapping, keeled scales like you would see on a snake. These overlapping keeled scales are certainly inaccurate on a dinosaur but visually distinctive, texturally fun, and helps the toy stand out among its peers. Again, when you’re producing several dozen toy dinosaurs with the intent to sell them to kids, you have to make each one unique.
The antorbital fenestra and eye sockets are visible just under the skin, but not jarringly so. Musculature is evident around the shoulders and legs, ribs are visible under the skin, and skin folds run along under the base of the tail. The feet are oversized, as usual, but not dramatically so. The teeth are nicely aligned and sized, avoiding the weird snaggle-tooth look of many other Mattel theropods.
The color choices applied to the Skorpiovenator are some of my favorites on any Mattel figure, and a major selling point for me. But I’m also a sucker for an orange and black color combo. The body is orange and the cranium black. Black coloration runs down the neck and along the back, terminating above the hips.
The lower jaw is white, and splashes of white are painted under the eyes, along the sides of the neck, and running down the flanks. The eyes are yellow with black pupils and appear especially striking against the black head. The teeth are painted creamy white, and the tongue and mouth are painted red. The nails aren’t painted at all. I adore this color scheme but these solid body colors with splashes along the back type patterns are getting to be awfully repetitive.
The Mattel Skorpiovenator was one of my most anticipated toys from this wave, and it is now among my favorite Mattel theropods. My anticipation for this toy had nothing to do with it being a Skorpiovenator mind you, it rested entirely on the interesting and gnarly head sculpt, and orange and black coloration, which goes to show you that even if inaccurate Mattel knows how to make an appealing dinosaur toy. And for me, that’s what matters. I collect the likes of PNSO, Safari, and CollectA for scientific accuracy, but I collect Mattel for the pure fun of them.
The Mattel Skorpiovenator is just now hitting toy shelves. It’s available at Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon, and wherever Jurassic World toys are sold. The toy retails for about $15 and is, in my opinion, one of the standouts of this wave. Get it while you can!