I have spoken about the Playmates Dinosaur King series of figures, but this is the first time I’m looking at a whole (mostly) series of them. In this instance, it is all of the figures that I have from the second release, which in my case is 16 of the 24…and it looks like that will be as far as I can get.
The series was released in 2011 (or maybe late 2010) and I had already picked up the first series. The species and models in the new series were in many ways more diverse and interesting, but were otherwise similar to the first. Unlike the first series, there are no ‘human’ characters (the three main kids were part of the first series). As with the earlier series, the figures are not at all to scale, although the sizing is variable. Overall the figures are smaller in general stature than the first (although the couple of armoured dinosaurs appear to be similar in size to the armoured dinos from the first).
As is their way, the Dinosaur King figures take a pretty loose adaptation of the fossil material; and of course some are more ‘correct’ reconstructions than others (the Megaraptor being the most obvious–being depicted as a dromaeosaur of some kind, as presumed from initial discoveries). As well, the figures utilize the familiar bright (okay, sometimes garish) colour palette, but I’ve mention before that this doesn’t bother me; indeed, it’s kind of a bright spot on the shelves (as opposed to the more naturalistic colours…it’s not like the sculpts are naturalistic!)
This series is notable for how short-lived and hard to find it was–I was able to get what I did from a fellow collector in Spain. He was able to find the 16 that I have–and was never able to find the other 8 models, even for himself. The set was released in various parts of Europe, but I don’t think it hit North America (so, same as series one). And from what I could find, the 8 that I don’t have are the 8 that nobody has…Most collectors have given up.
I know that at one point, another collector wanted to trade for a rare Japanese set that I had–I offered to do so if he could find those 8 missing figures (he’s in the UK). He begged me to come up with absolutely anything else…it wound up being a Japanese paddlefish from a short-run artist which is probably more my thing anyway (I do have a large collection of paddlefish after all. It can be seen here). That should give an idea of how unlikely it is to track down the rest of the figures in the set.
This is especially irritating as a number of the unobtainable figures are either species I don’t otherwise have, or are unique depictions of familiar prehistoric animals. It would be nice to get them as the size is relatively small, and would be nice for the shelf. Plus, of course, completing the set would be great too. And if I really wanted, there are lots of other Dinosaur King sets out there in different sizes, most of which include the same species in the same overall design.
So, as always, a great series that of course is going to be difficult to track down. I believe I’ve seen a few on eBay a couple of times, but most of them are Series 1. It’s too bad that these didn’t get more proper, wider releases. I’d love if they somehow found new life but I don’t see that happening. They’re neat models, definitely standing out in a crowd of other small dinos, but the search would be frustrating. If you do, they tend to cost a pretty crazy amount…each (seriously, $30 for a single one of these is not reasonable). But you never know!