Yangchuanosaurus is a genus of metriacanthosaurid that lived during the middle and late Jurassic in China. In appearance it would have looked very much like Allosaurus. Yangchaunosaurus shows up in the collectable market periodically and several figures represent the species, including the Safari Dinosaurs of China figure and a recent model by PNSO. It’s a dinosaur whose remains I’ve seen in person too, since a mounted skeleton of Yangchuanosaurus stands on display at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. It’s certainly an odd choice for a small museum with few dinosaurs, that mostly focuses on local fossils, but I was happy to see it. I would say that it’s also an odd choice for Mattel to include in their Jurassic World line, but Mattel has been pumping out some obscure genera for a while now and we shouldn’t be surprised by any of them at this point.
The Mattel Yangchuanosaurus is part of Mattel’s Massive Action line and new for 2022. Massive Action toys are large sized figures with action gimmicks but no sound. So far, this Yangchuanosaurus and a Quetzalcoatlus are the only figures in the line. The Mattel Yangchuanosaurus measures about 14.5” long and stands 6.25” tall at its highest point. Yangchuanosaurus is estimated to have reached 35’ in length, putting this toy at about 1/30 in scale. The DNA scan code is hidden in a slot on the back but nicely integrated into the ornamentation sculpted there.
Both of this toy’s action features are utilized using the tail. A button at the base of the tail opens and closes the mouth and when the tail is moved back and forth it swings the toy’s torso and head back and forth. Articulation on this toy is somewhat limited due to its action feature. The arms can swing in-and-out and rotate around. The legs do not rotate completely around or independently of each other. Moving one moves the other, but the legs can move far enough forward to position the head downwards, or far enough back that the dinosaur can stand upright. The ankles can rotate around too.
As usual, Mattel has taken some artistic liberties with this toy. You’ve no doubt noticed the crests. While Yangchuanosaurus did have bony ridges running over its snout they weren’t nearly as prominent as they are here. However, a quick Google image search reveals that this idea of large crests on Yangchuanosaurus is not a new one. Personally, I think the crests are cool and visually unique. They help the figure stand out among a plethora of other theropod toys and I’m not going to take Mattel to task for making a toy more appealing to children, while also imbuing it with a distinctive appearance.
The crests on the snout give way to twin rows of iguana-like spiky ornamentation running down the neck that eventually give way to a single row of spikes running down the back and tail. The body is detailed with beautifully executed fine pebbly scales over the entirety of the toy with those on the underside being especially miniscule. Larger labial scales are sculpted around the mouth and a fleshy dewlap is sculpted under the neck.
Large osteoderms run down the neck, back, and tail, and are interspersed on the legs and arms, giving the toy a rough texture. Bird-like foot scutes run down the fingers and toes. Back when I reviewed Mattel’s Kentrosaurus and Pentaceratops I was concerned that they might be skimping out on fine details but the Dominion figures have put those fears to rest. Mattel is bringing out their A game in the detail department.
Where Mattel continues to lag is in their paint application, although I mostly like what they’ve done here. The figure is primarily a soft, dull green color that I quite enjoy. Darker green fades to pale on the underside and the jaw is also pale green. Brown splashes run down over the head, neck, and back, but terminate at the tail and legs, leaving them devoid of paint application. The crests are red, inside of the mouth pink, eyes yellow with painted black pupils, and the teeth white.
Once again, like with the previously reviewed Skorpiovenator, I’m disappointed with how similar all these patterns are. You have a mostly solid body color with a splash of color on the head and back. Legs, tail, and nails are unpainted. In this instance I would have especially liked it if the spiky bits along the back were all painted the same color and that it continued down the tail. Interestingly, it has become evident that Mattel is trying to vary up their paint in a creative but perhaps lazy way. This toy, as well as the Quetzalcoatlus, is molded with marbled plastic. Brown swirls can be seen randomly distributed within the green base color, including on the tail and legs.
When the jaw is closed this toy looks kind of ridiculous, since the teeth hang lower than the lower jaw itself, but even that adds some personality to the toy and with the mouth perpetually open, matters little. While the feet are oversized as usual the overall proportions of the toy are decent enough, and the size of the tail is an improvement when compared to some past releases, such as the Albertosaurus.
Aesthetically this is a neat looking toy whose artistic liberties work in its favor. This is a big, fun, gnarly looking, and well-crafted action figure of an obscure theropod and the kind of thing that makes Mattel dinosaurs appealing in the first place. I consider this toy to be another of Mattel’s highlights this year and definitely worth seeking out. The Mattel Yangchuanosaurus is just now hitting toy shelves in places like Target and Walmart and is also available online. It retails for about $20.