Review and photographs by Rajvinder “IrritatorRaji” Phull, edited by Plesiosauria
Spinosaurus is, without doubt, one of the most blood-curdling, spine-chilling, formidable creatures humanity has ever come across. A seven tonne crocodile-like monster measuring in at 18 meters from nose to tail. A conqueror of land and sea. Finger tips giving way to meat-mangling machetes. The bearer of many needle-like, flesh-piercing teeth, cradled in jaws powerful enough to turn bone to mush. It was a slayer of tyrants, as fast as the wind, unforgiving and ruthless. Nature’s most violent, most powerful killer! Huh, wha? Excuse me, what was that? I’m wrong? Of course I’m not, silly! What Spinosaurus are you thinking of? Oh! I see, no, no, no, you’re thinking of different Spinosaurus! I’m talking about Spinosaurus hollywoodtiacus, the Spinosaurus subspecies that’s only reserved for the big screen, the movie monster that Hollywood just adores! What was that other Spinosaurus you were thinking of again? Aegyptiacus? Pssh, why would I be talking about him? He’s a stumpy legged pescitarian, what would he be doing running around slaying tyrants?
Measuring in at approximately 55cm (21.6 inches) from nose to tip of tail, and 26cm (10.2 inches) tall at the top of the sail, the Jurassic Park 3 ‘Animatronic Spinosaurus‘ is a fairly large toy. Understandably so given its role in Jurassic Park 3, it was only logical that the toy sought to match the big and bad aesthetic of its movie counterpart. I suppose its size makes up for its really basic pose, a straight body that is slightly tilted upwards, possibly for balance, arms at a right angle, hands held straight and flat, and a curled tail. I’ve never really understood why the tail was bent this way. Unlike the Jurassic Park ‘Bull Rex’ or ‘Thrasher Rex’ this toy wasn’t crammed into a box that was too small for it and therefore none of its body was squished into an undesirable position. The box that housed this Spinosaurus didn’t fully enclose the toy, allowing the tail to freely hang over the outer edges of the box. The toy isn’t necessarily a tripod, it can stand on its own two feet, but it’s not the most stable that way. The tripod stance is recommended if you’re going to be displaying it.
The arms and legs feature very basic articulation with a limited range of movement. The tail features a gimmick like that of the ‘Thrasher Rex’: wiggle the tail from side to side and the head will also swing from side to side, creating a thrashing motion. Unlike the Thrasher, this Spinosaurus toy has animatronics. Only the head features animatronic movement which is activated by three buttons located throughout the right flank of toy. Two of the buttons are located under wounds on the neck and ribs, the third is located under the ‘JP3’ logo on the base of the tail. Pressing the button on the neck wound results in the head moving either up or down while the animal screeches in pain, pressing the rib wound button results in the same sound being made except the head seems to only move downwards. Pressing the JP3 button results in the head swinging upwards and roaring proudly, but oddly enough the toy does not use the classic Jurassic Park 3 Spinosaurus roar, the roar is an extremely generic dinosaur roar that could have been bellowed from any larger dinosaur. Quite disappointing considering that we have both a paint job and a roar that don’t match up.
Oh yeah, the paint job. The paint isn’t the worst but… it’s far from brilliance. The body of the animal is mainly brown with a darker brown wash. The antorbital fenestra, orbit, and temporal fenestra are spray painted gold. A bright white, also spray painted, stripe makes its way from the face down to the torso. The sail is also brown but with some white and dull blue highlights. Along the base of the sail is a thin white wavy squiggle. The base of the neck and upper chest are the same blue used to highlight the sail. The claws are all painted a solid black. The eyes are an emerald green with a black, slit shaped, iris. The tongue and roof of the mouth are painted a grey-ish pink and the teeth and gums, most bizarrely of all, are painted brown with the occasional gold flecks. I can’t be the only one questioning that, right? Was Hasbro going for a ‘face first into faecal matter’ look? Because that’s all I’m getting here.
Teeth aside, the paint job annoys me because it doesn’t resemble the Spinosaurus from Jurassic Park 3 much at all. I know the colours are technically correct, there is brown, white, and blue on the dull coloured big screen Spinosaurus, but I just feel like they’ve got these colours in the wrong places or have emphasis on the wrong things. They’ve got this bold white and gold contrasting against the dull brown body but… do you see any of that on this toys movie counter part? The stripe, yes, but it’s a lot more subtle, it looks more like a slight highlight than a huge bold marking. The movie counter part uses dull red tones on the top of the head, contouring the skull, making the animal look monstrous, reminding us of blood and bone, reminding us that this animal is lethal. The film Spinosaurus also uses red on the top of the sail, perhaps mimicking the idea that Spinosaurus could flush blood into its sail to create an intimidating display. What I’m saying is the Spinosaurus in the film used bold colours a bit more carefully, colours that contrasted its mostly grey looking body were used to draw your attention. The paint job on the toy irritates me because it uses bold colours wrong. Here, have a white stripe, have a blue neck, have some blurry gold fenestra, have a little bit of a blue sail! I don’t mean to sound like I’m going off on a huge rant, but I don’t really understand why Hasbro didn’t stay faithful to the film. The ‘CamoXtreme Aqua Spinosaurus‘, which is meant to be outlandish and weird, looks more faithful to the original!
Moving on, let’s discuss the sculpt. The skin of this toy is comprised of a soft, thin rubber, the only exceptions being the arms and legs which are sculpted in a solid plastic. The body isn’t covered in sculpted scales but is instead covered in variety of wrinkles. Though, I suppose with an animal as large as Spinosaurus you wouldn’t be able to see the scales if you shrunk it down to nearly a couple feet long. The only scales to be found on the toy are located at the top of the skull, along the top of the neck (though it looks a little more like armour plating), and on the hands and feet where the scales seem to replicate bird feet. The skin does feel like… well… skin, but not reptilian skin. The teeth are quite blunt and, like the tail, I don’t quite see the reasoning behind it. It’s not like conical and sharp teeth could harm children because the teeth, like the most of the body, are also made of rubber and feel really flimsy and weak. I don’t really understand why the teeth were made out of rubber to begin with. Every other large rubber-skinned dinosaur in the Jurassic Park toy line had solid plastic teeth (save for their ‘Demon Carnotaurus’). Perhaps the animatronics had something to do with it? Maybe this was cheaper? Was it easier to hold onto any figures put into its mouth? Eh, I guess I’ll never know for sure.
In regards to scientific accuracy, the one thing that can be excused right off the bat are the long legs. This figure was made long before the discovery of Spinosaurus‘ little legs, so I think we can give Hasbro a pass on this one. Although this doesn’t excuse everything else wrong with the toy. The head, aside from being long, doesn’t resemble Spinosaurus very much. It’s too wide, features two head crests placed above the eyes as opposed to one crest atop the skull, has the nostrils placed too far forward, is shrink-wrapped and lacks the signature fish trapping tooth notch at the end of the snout. The neck is a little on the shorter side but is far too wide. The arms are really weird. They’re on the small side, placed really far forward and look like they’re jutting out from the base of the neck, I can’t really see any indication of a scapula so for all I know it could be. The hands themselves are pronated and are void of the enlarged claw on the first digit of each hand. The sail is also too small and thin, though part of me is assuming this was done purposefully to prevent the toy from becoming too top heavy. If that’s the case then so be it, though it’s a little annoying that the feature the animal is named after is made so tiny. Dew claws are present but they’re very high up, coming out from the end of the fibula, and incredibly long. The tail is also very short and seems to be lacking in muscle. The Spinosaurus itself also looks pretty thin, but that’s understandable as it probably wouldn’t have been able to stand up with a tail so tiny and wouldn’t even be able to walk on all fours to find food due to its broken wrists.
One thing that does seem to be accurate though is the fragility of the animal. Spinosaurus was big but it was actually quite feeble, and this toy feels the exact same way. The entire toy feels so delicate and ready to break at any time. The skin is quite thin and feels vulnerable to tearing, especially around the tail and the tail itself also feels incredibly weak. I get that it’s meant to have a lot of movement because of the head thrashing gimmick but it feels like it could snap at any time. The same goes for the sail, with only a thin piece of plastic hiding under that rubbery exterior, and the neck, housing such delicate animatronics.
Speaking of those animatronics, they’re very loud and sound broken even when they’re in perfect condition. I’m honestly not sure why it’s like that, and I know it’s not just my toy that suffers from this. Whenever the animatronics are set in motion you can hear every single metalic snap and clang, it’s incredibly unnerving and, frankly, a little bit annoying.
And while we’re on the topic of annoyance: that seam. I don’t even need to point it out, you know which one I’m referring to. It wouldn’t even be too much of an issue if it didn’t interfere with the paint job, this is more evident on the left flank as the white stripe on the torso seems to be placed far above the stripe on the neck to the point where they’re just barely connecting.
My final verdict on the toy? It was an okay attempt recreating Hollywood’s Spinosaurus. It’s clear that scientific accuracy was out the window for this one. And yet, even with a toy not grounded in realism, Hasbro still managed to mess up in so many other places. This Spinosaurus is far too delicate to be a toy for a child and far to inaccurate to be on any dinosaur model collectors priority list. And its rarity with its insanely high prices is even more insulting given all its problems. But, for any spinosaur lovers or Jurassic Park collectors who truly and desperately want this toy, I’d say go ahead. With myself being an absolute die-hard Spinosaurus lover I bought this figure for a stupidly high price knowing full well how flawed it was. If you’re prepared to do the same then I welcome you to try to hunt down one of these toys yourself. It’s very hard to get and you’ll probably see yourself spending months or, in my case, years trying to get a hold of it.
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