As I mentioned earlier, this week is accidentally non-dinosaur animals that predate dinosaurs. We started with a Triassic archosaur, and now we’re going even further back to the Permian, with an animal on the eventual mammal lineage! I am talking about the Lycaenops figures made by Kenner (possibly under Hasbro) as part of the original Jurassic Park series of figures.
The original model of this figure was released with a second wave of dinosaur models tied to the first Jurassic Park movie. Unlike the first wave, a lot of the figures in this wave featured animals that were not in the movie; a few of them were not even dinosaurs, including this Lycaenops which is fantastic! Moreover, there was a wave of human figures packaged with baby versions of animals–and this included a baby Lycaenops. The two models were painted in a similar fashion, dark orange with black backs (but different eye colours) which really helps tie them together as a pairing. Of course, the baby could stand in as an adult in a different scale if needed I suppose.
A funny thing is that a few years later, after Kenner (Hasbro by then?) had already released figures for the Jurassic Park and Lost World movies, they produced some re-releases of figures from both series. The good news is that this included a repainted version of the Lycaenops, now named ‘Lynx’. The sculpt and overall mechanic, with the chomping mouth, was the exact same; the colour scheme was altered a lot to a banded green and grey with black spots. It’s a little more natural I suppose, but doesn’t stand out quite the same way. Although when you put them all together, maybe it creates a dimorphic family!? Either way, they are both great takes on the animal. And it turns out that there is a third version of the adult–a brightly coloured one as part of the Chaos Effect series that came between…it is called “Tyrannops” but the sculpt is completely the same (unlike most of the CE figures, which were often weird hybrid animals). I’ve never been able to get my hands on that one.
The figures–either one of the adults–are sculpted as very muscular, if a little skinny (check out the prominent hip area). They are a bit more reptilian than might be expected for late Permian synapsids; more current reconstructions usually give them quasi-mammalian features, such as a fine fuzzy coat or even just vibrissae on the snout. There is a bit of that in the snout, although the bodies are just smooth. Most of the other expected features–the large, prominent canines, the heavy tail, the long powerful legs, held erect below the body–are all there, and for JP figures, they look great.
I remember trying very hard to track these down long after they were discontinued (and they were never…it involved eBay for the original one, a trade of an Battat Ouranosaurus for the baby one…and eventually a random, probably bulk lot for the last one…That’s what happens when you don’t buy things when they first come out, although I don’t think they were particularly easy to find even upon release. And to be fair, I probably wouldn’t have purchased them then anyway, since I didn’t really appreciate animals like this until many years later, when I was in grad school. There aren’t a lot of gorgonopsid figures (I recently reviewed all that I have in my collection) and while they’re difficult to find, it’s worth trying!