Fingerlings is a toy line that consists of electronic animal figures that fit onto a child’s finger and respond to touch and sound with movement and sound of their own. Most of them are designed to look as cute and lovable as possible, but the Untamed subline is clearly aimed at children who prefer their organisms scary, violent, and prehistoric. You’ve got your dire wolves (wow, talk about putting all the big name prehistoric toy companies to shame!), your sabretoothed cats (hey, it’s Machairodus!), your featherless Velociraptors (yuck), and, naturally, your Tyrannosaurus rexes. This particular version I’m reviewing today goes by the appropriate name of Ironjaw.
Ironjaw is decked out in cyan, white, and dark grey with black claws, a metallic silver lower jaw, and black and red eyes. The teeth in the upper jaw are off white while the ones in the lower jaw are grey, accompanied by a pink tongue. It’s a decidedly chilly colour scheme, somewhat reminiscent of the Arctic T. rex from the JP CamoXtreme line. Almost certainly not what any real tyrannosaurid would be decked out in, but undeniably sharp. No word on whether this character is a male or a female. I’m leaning toward the latter myself.
Ironjaw measures about 14 cm long. Her proportions are downright cartoonish, with oversized arms and a boxy head bigger than her entire body, but that’s kind of the whole point with a product like this. The sculpting detail is decent enough, though not certainly on par with the likes of Safari Ltd. or Schleich. The skin is wrinkled with rows of scales on the feet, osteoderms on the back and lining the mouth, and very prominent hornlets surrounding the orbits and earholes. The dewclaws on the feet are absent. No accuracy prizes for this toy, but it’s still recognizable as a T. rex. And it’s better than the Velociraptor version(s) at any rate.
So now let’s examine the main play feature of this toy. The only finger on my 40-year old hand that can comfortably accommodate Ironjaw is my pinkie, so my wonderful and very understanding wife submitted her smaller and much more beautiful hand for the following photos. Truth be told, I think she enjoyed playing with Ironjaw. The toy also works just as well if you simply sit it down on a flat surface in front of you.
Activating Ironjaw is a simple matter of flipping the switch on the back of her head. By petting, pressing, tapping, blowing, clapping your hands, she will turn her head from side to side, blink her eyes, open her mouth, and emit a wide variety of sounds. Cooing, chirping, growling, roaring, sneezing, burping, and apparently even farting, although I have yet to unlock that one.
Ironjaw has two different modes: Tamed and Untamed. Tamed mode is activated by stroking her repeatedly from muzzle to cranium, and as the name suggests, makes her act friendly and laid-back. Lots of cooing and chirping and blinking. Untamed mode is activated either by poking her muzzle, shaking her, or holding her upside down. Once that’s done, Ironjaw snarls and roars and snaps her jaws more. Cradling her on her back will cause her to close her eyes and feign sleeping. Still photographs really can’t do proper justice to all these features, so if you’re further intrigued, check out WoWee’s videos here and here. Four LR44/AG13 batteries are already installed, and can be accessed and replaced as needed by unscrewing the panel on the back. Once you’re done playing with Ironjaw, you simply flip her switch to ‘Off.’
As an electronic toy that responds to sound and touch, Ironjaw naturally isn’t intended for rough play. The instructions warn against dropping her, throwing her, or immersing her in water, meaning this is not a toy for toddlers or even some kindergartners. As to how much fun she is, well, an adult like me really isn’t the best judge of that. I imagine some kids would play with this toy indefinitely while others would become bored after five minutes, or perhaps even less. But as I noted in the intro, these toys were hot sellers during the 2018 holiday season, so there’s certainly something to them. For myself, I’m a lifelong T. rex fan, so I find Ironjaw neat as a novelty item. And I’ll likely pass her down to my son in a few years. The Fingerlings Untamed series can easily be found on Amazon or in stores like Mastermind Toys.