Vault Tales 140 ToyTrio Pachyrhinosaurus, Stenonychosaurus, Tuatara

It’s a prehistoric…or prehistoric adjacent…Toy Trio today!

Vivid Imaginations Scowler Pachyrhinosaurus

If you think back to 2013, you might remember some pretty heavy dino-nerd excitement. Walking with Dinosaurs was back! As a feature-length, cinema-released movie! And it was going to look at a slightly earlier late-Cretaceous time frame, using the same high end techniques as the other Walking With shows. This was so exciting! The initial images were promising, with some unusual animals that we’d never seen on screen before. Hopes were high, and of course hopes for merch was high too (the WW movies generally didn’t come through on that…)

If you remember the movie…you remember the disappointment. The animals were impressive of course, and the quality was what we would expect, but it wasn’t a simple story with some narration to explain and name what we were seeing. The dinosaurs talked. With lame jokes and everything. Maybe it was meant to appeal to kids, but not mine (the DVD had a dialog-free track, which was more tolerable, but still nothing to tell you what the animals were). So that would explain why we didn’t get more of these movies. But at least a series of figures based on most of the animals in the movie were made! This Pachyrhinosaurus is one of several individuals from the movie, Scowler. He’s meant to be an older bull who’s pretty tough. Well made smaller figures, so worth it for that (again, lots of first-and-only figures in the bunch) but the movie was so painful it took up all of my space to complain about it…

MicroMachines National Geographic Stenonychosaurus

From a media series that started out disappointing to one that…has become more so in some ways…I’m not sure when these came out to be honest, but probably around Jurassic Park time (for some reason!) Labelled as part of a National Geographic series of MicroMachines playsets, there were six dinosaur themed sets, depicting various dinosaur ages, with three figures each. I have exactly one figure, the Stenonychosaurus (labelled Troodon at the time but I believe the taxonomy has changed) from set 6, a Cretaceous dinosaur set (the others were Spinosaurus and Triceratops–I think I got the best one). The biped figures were on bases and appeared to have some swivel motion at the hips and arms. Given the age, this figure is of course not feathered at all. But it does have the toe claw, so they got that right. I could be wrong about the age–it seems like they would have labelled it ‘Velociraptor‘ if that movie had come out, even if the sculpt wouldn’t be quite right (it’s not like the movie was either).

Being MicroMachines, this is of course a small figure, about 7cm long. It is sculpted more heavily than we have come to see maniraptorans, with thick legs and arms that seem out of place on what should be a light, agile runner. It’s an interesting figure though, and by whatever name you give it, certainly not a common figure to see. I think I got this one from a friend that bought a random lot of dino figures from a garage sale. Lucky find! The sets can be hard to find these days, and probably cost more than they’re really worth as far as dino depictions go. And finding them in random lots will be hard–they’re quite small, and would be hard to spot unless you know what you’re looking for!

Kaiyodo Dinotales S1 Tuatara

Finally, a supposedly prehistoric figure from an otherwise very prehistoric set, the secret chase figure from the the original Kaiyodo Dinotales series, the Tuatara. Essentially, this is number 25 in that set, but the Dinotales don’t count that way. Oddly, when they revised Series 1 with new paint jobs and even new piece designs, the tuatara was left out, changed to multiple versions of Siamotyrranus. Anyway, it’s an interesting little figure, and very cool that it was made. At the time especially, there weren’t many figures of this animal around (probably Yowies) but it’s not like this one would have been easily found–limited to Japan of course, and it was the secret, limited figure. My only complaint? Why make a living animal for the DINOtales series (the Animatales were also around at the time)? The species isn’t prehistoric, they aren’t dinosaurs, they aren’t even archosaurs.

For some reason I recall several depictions of Tuatara as actual ‘dinosaurs’ in books made for kids. I definitely had a few books like that, and we still have one, given to my son, that came from New Zealand. It literally refers to tuatara as the ‘living dinosaur’; it says this to a tern, and the irony was not lost on us. The figure is really nice though, well-sculpted and the paint job is great (other than the odd highlights around the mouth). Easily the best one out there. But there are of course other tuatara models, in similar sizes, and this one one of the more expensive ones. And it’s a Dinotales figure so it the usual caveats exist–it needs to be put together, and is breakable. It’s worth getting if you need the whole set–I lucked into mine in an auction lot!–but if you need a tuatara in particular there are easier ways to get a representative of one.