Dino Showdown Allosaurus Assault
Dino Trackers Tyrannosaurus vs Ground Patrol
$29.99 & $9.99
PresidentJuggernaut here, getting to know you with another review. One more thing you should know about me is that I love Jurassic Park. I love the movie, it remains an all-time favorite, and I loved the book. So despite my lukewarm feelings toward 3D, I will probably see the rerelease when the movie returns to theaters next month. With a fourth movie moving toward production, the brand is attempting a comeback, and Toys R Us has an exclusive line of toys to promote the 3D release.
But first, a bit of history. Part of what cemented Jurassic Park as a pop culture staple was the awesome Kenner toyline, which provided some of my favorite toys of the 90s, and continued with figures based on The Lost World. When Kenner was absorbed by Hasbro, they took over the license and made JP III toys. These toys were sort of a step backwards, with hard plastic dinosaurs filled with electronic features in multiple scales, rather than the more unified single scale of the Kenner figures. Since 2001, the torch has been kept burning with several repaint toylines using moslty the JP III molds, but with a few new or Kenner molds sneaking out.
In 2009, Toys R Us had another exclusive set of repaints, and later some prototype images snuck out of new dinosaur sculpts and human dino trackers using GI Joe parts and vehicles. I guess the 2009 toys did not sell well enough, because the new toys did not end up making it out… until now. Mixed in with all the JP III repaints are two all new battle packs called Dino Showdowns, each including a large dinosaur and a GI Joe based dino hunter.
Neither the dinosaurs or the humans are based on anything from on screen, making these somewhere in the “expanded universe” of Jurassic Park. But are they still worth it? And what about the older repainted figures? JP III humans are returning as Dino Trackers, including each a small dinosaur. Today I will take you into some of these figures, the new Dino Showdown Allosaurus Assault and the repainted Dino Tracker Tyrannosaurus Rex vs Ground Patrol, in what I am referring to as… A Tale of Two… Two-Packs.
When theses toys were first solicited online, I was unsure about them… I already have some of the molds, and only the new Allosaurus piqued my curiosity. But I ended up purchasing not only the Allosaurus Assault pack but also the Dino Tracker, and a big part of the reason is that this packaging is awesome.
Overall, it is based on the 2009 packaging, but it was awesome back then too. It is very eye catching, with the roaring T-Rex head in the corner, and the weathered and overgrown theme overall. I like the JP logo they are using, marrying the traditional T-Rex skeleton with the stainless steel look of the JP III logo. The Allosaurus Assault box shows off the figures in a dynamic way, and I am almost able to forgive the fact that it is an open air package. I usually do not like having the figures exposed like this, especially when it is a breakable figure with moving parts like this one, but it looks great. On both side panels, there is some sweet artwork of the Allosaurus charging, jaws open wide, toward the hunter as he takes aim with his bow.
The Dino Tracker set has a more traditional oversized card, but it has the same cool graphics as the other set. The large card and bubble can almost fool you into thinking there is more value here than there was in 2001, when the same figure and small dinosaur were packed together in half of the packaging at half this price.
Topping out this category is the big dino… the Allosaurus has a fantastic sculpt. From the vicious looking jaws and claws to the texture of the skin, he is looking good. There is a lot to love, the ridges and spikes, the detailed tongue inside the mouth… Any dinosaur fan will want this figure in their collection.
His partner is the human Ash Skullstriker. Yes, that is his name, as printed on the back of the box. Yes, I am being serious. He is labeled as a mercenary with martial arts and bow skills. That is the only information supplied about this new character, which is kind of a shame. You can’t just dangle “Ash Skullstriker” out there and not do a filecard for him or something. Let me see if I can help them out a bit here here… So Ash Skullstriker was a family man, who got a job with InGen as a dino wrangler and moved to Isla Sorna with his wife, Amy Skullstriker, and son, Billy Skullstriker. Unfortunately, some carnivorous dinos overran their camp one night and ate his family. Ash went rogue, and journeyed deep into the jungle, vowing he would never rest until he killed every. Single. Dinosaur. He is ready for this rough and tumble lifestyle in his tank top, cargo vest, cargo pants and high boots. His grim face lets you know that he takes his job seriously, and is ready to decapitate a velociraptor at a moment’s notice. He can blend in with your GI Joe figures, or make a good generic adventurer.
The smaller set includes the 2001 figure only identified as a general. He has no biography provided either, so let’s just say he is an Army general working closely with InGen to explore potential military applications for the dinosaurs running wold on the island. The General has a stern look and sharp haircut that let you know he takes no guff, from subordinates or genetically engineered thunder lizards. His uniform is sculpted well enough, fairly generic but able to get the point across. There are some sculpted tears in his clothes to let you know he has had some up close and personal time with the dinosaurs, but they sort of blend in with his uniform. I wish they would have left this sculpt in the Hasbro basement and just kitbashed another GI Joe-based generic military general. He would have fit in better on the pegs and felt like a better value.As it is, he is
He is partnered with a small T-Rex. Traditionally, JP human figures included a young dino hatchling, but the toys since JP III have included what looks more like a shrunken down adult dinosaur. Maybe InGen engineered a dog sized T-Rex so that wealthy clients could bring the fun of Jurassic park home with them. Anyway, the sculpt is awesome, and he seems to be captured in the middle of a tremendous roar. He has also has some texture to his skin, and maintains a JP Rex vibe that separates him from generic dino toys. This is key, because the figure is essentially a PVC figurine.
The color choice is likely to be the biggest sticking point for a lot of collectors with the Allosaurus toy. He is moslty a blue or aqua color, with some brown and gray details, and some orange on his head. It is brighter than what most people would expect from a dino, but I think it works. Look, these big animals were not blending in with rocks and dirt. It makes sense that he might have some brighter coloring to attract a mate or scare off rival dinosaurs. After all, many birds and lizards have coloring like this. Some Jurassic Park toys have had garish coclor schemes that I definitely do not like, but this one is fine by me.
Ash Skullstriker will once again blend in with your 25th Anniversary style GI Joes, with clean and simple paint apps. Most of figure is simply molded in the appropriate colored plastic. The coolest pain detail is a tattoo on his left arm of a dinosaur skull, likely the Allosaurus or a Tyrannosaurus rex, being pierced by arrows. It is a really cool touch that gives him some character. And it also supports my theory. See? The man lives to slaughter dinosaurs.
Paint is pretty much the best category for The General, with one major problem. He has a nice dark green camo for his uniform, and everything is crisp and clean. Except the flesh colored paint on his left hand has a large scrape, exposing the dark plastic underneath. It looks like a factory issue, as it does not look like it happened in the packaging.
Lil’ Rex is mostly brown on the top half, and gray on the lower half and legs. He also has some metallic copper splotches along his top that make him stand out a bit more. I dig his color scheme, he has colors that no one will complain about being too bright, but still looks interesting.
Dinosaur toys are not usually great in the articulation department, but the Allosaurus can move pretty well. He has an articulated jaw, balljoint head, balljoint shoulders, swivel hips, and balljoint ankles. The head and jaw allow you to give him a lot of personality in your posing, and the ankles allow for better balance than past dinosaur toys. There is an action feature, but it does not ruin the articulation. If the right arm is twisted, the neck will swing his head back and forth. The arm can still click into different places and hold a pose. He also has no trouble standing on his own, which is a major plus. Being based on GI Joe parts, his partner Ash Skullstriker has all the articulation you would expect. You know the drill, balljoint head, shoulders, elbows, torso, hips, ankles, with double hinged knees and swivel wrists.
The General has swivel shoulders, hips, and head. The way the limbs are preposed, he really only has one or two decent looking positions he can take. This is the category that absolutely kills this figure, it just is not acceptable in 2013. All of the Dino Tracker sets should have included figures like the larger sets, using GI Joe parts to make some more interesting mercenaries/explorers. I understand that a quick tie-in line like this doesn;t have the budget for new sculpts of actual movie characters and new dinosaurs. As it is, this is just too half assed. Kids and Collectors would have appreciated it. Lil’ T-Rex has no articulation.
Ash Skullstriker tops out this category in a great way. He gets a large compound bow, a large pistol, two katana type swords, and a backpack with sheaths for the blades. The bow is an interesting piece, with technological devices on it that I could not begin to identify. between the tattoo on his arm and the fact that the promo art heavily features the bow, I’d say this is his signature weapon. It also supports my theary, as he would clearly have trouble finding ammunition living on his own in the jungle. The pistol is some sort of large modern revolver, which suits his look and fits well in his holster. The swords are an interesting addition, and also seem to support my idea that this guy is a bit unhinged.
Not to be outdone, the Allosaurus also gets an accessory. Since the first Kenner Jurassic Park dinosaurs, the hallmark of the line has been dino damage, patches of torn flesh on the creatures that simulate battle damage. On the Kenner dinos, there were rubbery flesh plugs that allowed you to choose whether to reveal the damage or not. Hasbro did away with the removeable aspect, and made the damage the site of the buttons which activated electronic features. This release sees the return of classic dino damage, so the Allosaurus includes a plastic piece of flesh to clip into his wound. It fits nicely and stays on well. It’s a nice feature and I am glad to see it make a comeback.
As for the Dino Tracker set, the score will depend on how you frame it. Is it a real two pack? Or is it a crappy human figure with a dino accessory? The marketing seems to want this to be a two pack, with rex getting top billing on the package, and that means the only accessory is the terrible claw gun thing that is included. It is way too big, and the low articulation means The General can’t really hold it. Hasbro has about one million gun sculpts at this point, so it is disappointing that they did not decide to include some more realistic and useful weapons for this guy.
The Allosaurus Assault battle pack retails for $29.99, which is a bit steep. Luckily, Toys R Us often makes 20% off coupons available, and with one of those I paid only $23.99. For a new exclusive item in this day and age, that’s a decent price. $20 would have been fantastic, $25 might be a bit more realistic for the current toy market. Toys R Us is also known to have deals like BOGO half off sales for toylines around the time of related movie releases, so holding off might be a good idea. Try to knock a bit off if you can, but it is a good toy and with my Jurassic Park nostalgia I can say I would have paid the full $30 for it.
This category again decimates the smaller set, with a price of $9.99. Ten bucks for this thing? It’s a $6 toy at the most. Definitely skip or wait for a sale on this one, or maybe just wait for the inevitable clearance pricing that this toy is destined for. They were clearanced out in 2009 when the same toy was released, and not even a movie release can save this one.
Packaging – 9
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 8
Articulation – 8
Accessories – 9
Value – 6
Overall – 8 out of 10
Tyrannosaurus vs Ground Patrol
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 7
Paint – 5
Articulation – 4
Accessories – 3
Value – 4
Overall – 5 out of 10
The Dino Showdown Allosaurus Assault set is a great toy, fun for kids and collectors. It captures the spirit of the fun of Jurassic Park, without accurately representing anything from the story. The second Dino Showdown set, “Pachyrhinosaurus Clash,” is also tempting me, and after the fun I’ve had with the Allosaurus Assault set it might just have to come home with me. The Dino Tracker set does not fare nearly as well. this is a very obvious retread toy, and it is showing its age in a serious way.
A figure like The General belongs among the dollar store knockoff toys, not something released by one of the largest toy companies, with a history of fantastic 3.75″ figures. The mini dinosaurs are fine as accessories but don’t try and sell them as the main feature. The brand new toys make me hopeful for the future of Jurasic Park toys, hopefully the JP IV stuff will continue to improve. In the meantime, I hope more of the unused prototypes surface and provide us with more dinosaur goodness.