Our Jurassic Park Figure Countdown continues today with a look at the focal point of this series of action figures - the dinosaurs. These are the very heart and soul of the line and are credited with using sophisticated molding techniques akin to what brought many of the animatronic dinosaurs in the film to life.
Being that there are many more dinosaurs than humans in the toy line, this list was much more difficult to compile, but given yesterdays fantastic response to our Top 10 Jurassic Park Human Figures countdown, we feel this list will have a little something for everyone, whether you're a fan of some of the early 90's work, or something a little more recent.
Now, bare in mind this list only includes dinosaur figures that were released on their own, any ones that included an additional human figure will be shown off in another upcoming countdown over the next few days.
With all that said, let's take a look at what makes the Jurassic Park line so special - the dinosaurs!
#10 - Tapejara (Jurassic Park III: Series II) - Again, we're sure we'll be getting some strongly worded e-mails for daring to include a Jurassic Park III dinosaur within the ranks of our Top 10 list, but, like the Military Diver we looked at yesterday, not everything that came out of this Hasbro line was bad.
For one thing, the Tapejara was something different. In a line that included Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptors, Triceratops and Dilophosaurus, the Tapejara was something Jurassic Park fans had never gotten in a previous line, be it from Kenner or Hasbro.
It was daring, it was original. Not many had even heard of the Tapejara until this beauty was released in 2002 in the second wave of Jurassic Park III figures. The electronic Re-Ak A-Tak (Oy!) features work nicely and while they're simply a rehash of the sounds used on the Pteranodon, they do sound better.
The paint is also very nice. Crisp and clean, the figure features no bleeds, blotches or smudges and features a nice mixture of greens, whites and yellows that allow it to fit in nicely with any Jurassic Park display, be it Kenner or Hasbro focused.
The Tapejara takes the #10 spot on our list for being daring, unique and original. A real surprise from Hasbro in a line that, overall, was a disappointment.
Why We Love it: Totally original and daring on Hasbro's part. Fits in with any collection.
#9 Dimetrodon (Jurassic Park: Series I) - The Dimetrodon was one of the most solid pieces from the first wave of Jurassic Park figures from Kenner in 1993. Yet, in comparison to the Raptors and Dilophosaurs, this poor fellow got overlooked time and again, and was kind of a peg-warmer back in the day.
Yet, as we said, this is a very solid piece. The paint is beautiful, utilizing several different shades of greens and yellows. No smudges, smears or runs can be picked out along the toy, giving it a very nice, clean paint job overall.
The action feature is basic, clamping jaws. This is achieved by pulling back one of the animals legs, but be warned to handle this feature with care. Over time, we found the mechanism used for this action feature started waring out, causing the jaws to open less and less. So, if you want this feature to last, don't handle this action feature too roughly. The paint and action feature are the two big draws here. It's just an all-around good entry into the line that many tended to skip over, perhaps due to the fact it wasn't in the film, nor is it even a dinosaur.
If you can get your hands on one of these pieces, do so. He may not be a Raptor or T-rex, but he is sure to be the perfect addition to any Jurassic Park collection!
Why We Love it: Beautiful paint. Solid action feature. A nice addition oftentimes overlooked.
#8 - Junior T-Rex (The Lost World: Series I) - The Junior T-Rex sort of became one of the stars of the Jurassic Park sequel when it stomped into theaters in 1997. When Kenner released the figure based off the character, it's popularity would continue on the store shelves.
We only ever saw two of these in-store throughout 1997-1999, so, fortunately for us, we snapped up the first one we saw all those years ago. This little guy is extremely cute and looks very close to his onscreen counterpart, so we can't help but love this one.
While he doesn't feature a Dino-Strike feature like most of the Basic Jurassic Park Dinosaurs from Kenner did back in the day, he did feature a Broken Leg, which could be healed by means of the included cast. It's nothing to be overly wowed by, but it was something different and, everyone who follows us knows, we love anything different. He also includes a muzzle that goes over his snout and keeps his jaws closed. This is somewhat reminiscent of the scene where Nick uses his belt to keep Junior from taking a chunk out of his arm while he and Sarah set its broken leg.
Again, the paint on this one is nice, resembling that seen on the animal in the film. We were fortunate to get our hands on one with a pretty clean paint job, but a few fans have informed us that this one is prone to blotches, smudges and a fading JP logo. We have no way of proving this, but at least four individuals got in touch with us and gave us the same diagnosis, so if you can get one, watch the paint.
Junior would be repainted at least three more times following his initial release in 1997. However, we prefer the movie accurate look of the first and feel it stands above the rest as the top of the pack!
Why We Love it: Screen Accurate. Unique Features. All Kinds of Cute.
#7 - Alpha Velociraptor (Jurassic Park III: Series I) - Are we seriously putting another Jurassic Park III Dinosaur on our list? Are we even true fans of the franchise? And we'll say Yes to both. Look, while larger dinosaurs like the Spinosaurus and T-Rex were undersized due to the scale change with JPIII, the fact is the smaller animals like the Raptor, Tapejara and Dilophosaurus are still pretty much in the same scale as the previous Kenner releases and fit in just fine.
We loved the redesign for the Raptors in Jurassic Park III, it was fresh and new and supported current scientific theories that dinosaurs were brightly colored, not drab and gray lumbering lizards. It would've been nice to get somewhat of an explanation as to why we now had two species of Velociraptor on Isla Sorna, but we digress. The design is still very cool and, in all honesty, we wouldn't mind seeing this version of the Clever Girl in Jurassic World.
The colors are similar to what we see in the film and the electronic Re-Ak A-Tak sounds are crisp and accurate to sounds heard in the films and games. Yes, the stance is odd, and we hate those weird Dino Damage wounds every dinosaur in this line came with, but given its awesome and unique design, we'll let those weak points slide.
Again, this design was so unique we couldn't help but include it in our countdown. Jurassic Park III really turned the series on its head a few times and perhaps that is why we enjoy it so much. Again, this figure has its flaws, but it was bold, fresh and embodied a sense that our favorite film series was in for some exciting changes.
Why We Love it: Screen Accurate appearance and sounds. Big Fans of the Redesign for JPIII.
#6 - Velocirapteryx (Jurassic Park: Chaos Effect) - A genetic mix between the Velociraptor and Archaeopteryx, the Velocirapteryx was bred for mobility and ferocity. This figure, released in 1998, is the stuff nightmares are made of!
It is described as intelligent and clever, it has been known to hunt for sport, has the sharp claws and teeth of a Velociraptor - and can fly! Yes, this is without a doubt, one of the scariest monsters to ever come out of the Jurassic Park line, but also one of the coolest!
Overall, the paint job is dull, but that is a good thing, given some of the odd choices in color seen throughout the dinosaurs in this line. The detail is nice and the paint is clean, so, out of all the Chaos Effect animals, we'd say this one is probably the most realistic, as genetic mutations go.
Featuring slashing wings and snapping jaws, the action feature is great and really adds to the playability of this piece, plus it also has an electronic Attack Shriek. So, if you didn't think this guy was scary before, just play around with that feature and imagine something like that coming for you - from above!
He's easy to stand, has no issues with toppling and is a personal favorite amongst the figures released in the line. He can be found on the secondary market, but he won't be the cheapest piece to hunt down. Still, with this awesome design and additional features, the Velocirapteryx belongs in every JP fans collection!
Why We Love it: Scary As Hell! Unique Design. Toned Down Realistic Paintwork.
#5 - Triceratops (Jurassic Park: Series I) - Every kid wanted one of these bad boys in the summer of 1993. And why not? It seems like every kid that's into dinosaurs loves the Triceratops, heck, it was even Dr. Grant's favorite when he was a kid!
The Triceratops released in the first Jurassic Park line featured Real-Feel Dinosaur skin, thanks to those revolutionary molding techniques used by the sculptors at Kenner, and a Dino Damage wound! However, unlike the Jurassic Park III figures that Hasbro would release 8 years later, Kenner included a patch of skin that could be used to cover up the gaping wound, adding to the dinosaurs playability.
The Trike also featured a Head-Ramming Attack, made famous by those classic Jurassic Park toy commercials we all know and love. We don't know about our fans and readers, but when we saw the Trike attack the Bush Devil Tracker in that old commercial, we went nuts and had to get one!
Kenner's Triceratops figure showed kids the carnivores weren't the only cool animals that inhabited Jurassic Park, and proved that just because you eat vegetables doesn't mean you can't kick some serious T-Rex tail while doing it!
Why We Love it: Everyone Loves Triceratops. Fully Loaded with plenty of Features.
#4 - Carnotaurus (Jurassic Park: Series II) - Jurassic Park: Series I had the Sound and Stomping Electronic Red Tyrannosaurus, Series II got the Dino Damage Carnotaurus! This one was one of the hardest figures to track down when it was released in 1994. Like the Triceratops mentioned above, this baby comes loaded with features including Real Feel Dinosaur Skin, Snapping Jaws, a Dino Damage Wound and even Capture Gear, so needless to say, not only was it hard it find, it also wasn't the cheapest dinosaur on shelves back in 1994 either.
Also, like the Tapejara that started us off, the Carnotaurus was a bold, original choice on the part of Kenner. Crichton's Lost World novel wouldn't hit shelves for another year, so the Carnotaurus had yet to be introduced into the Jurassic Park universe up until that point. This was something new and refreshing that, to paraphrase John Hammond: Drove Kids out of their Minds!
He was expensive back in 1994 and now, on the secondary market, he fetches even more as collectors and fans scramble to get a hold of this rare and elusive dinosaur that was only released in very small numbers. A second version of the animal would be released in The Lost World line from 1997, but given how hot and awesome the original is still considered even 20 years later, he takes the #4 spot on our list with ease!
Why We Love it: Highly Sought After. Loaded with Features. Centerpiece of Series II.
#3 - Velociraptor (Jurassic Park: Series I) - Every kid had this guy when growing up. Being a Basic Dinosaur, he was cheaper than the larger electronic pieces, plus he featured Dino-Strike Slashing Jaws, which kids just love!
Chances are good if you've grown up over the last 21-years, you may very well, like us, actually have multiple versions of this figure. Never has a dinosaur been repainted and re-released as many times as this bad boy, but Kenner knew he was popular and made the right choice to do this. The Basic Velociraptor would see repaints in Series II in 1994, The Lost World in 1997, Chaos Effect in 1998 and Jurassic Park: Dinosaurs in 1999, so there are no shortages of this figure out there on the secondary market today!
The Velociraptor features a nice paint scheme which closely resembles the creatures seen on film. The action feature works well, the joints are tight and the figure stands pretty well without toppling. All in all, this one is all win, one of the very best to come out of the Kenner era!
Why We Love it: Everyone Had It. All Around Solid Figure. Most Repainted Dinosaur.
#2 - Tyrannosaurus Rex (Jurassic Park: Series I) - The centerpiece of the 1993 Jurassic Park line from Kenner! He's big, bad and all kinds of fun!
The paint job is clearly inspired by the animal described in Michael Crichton's novel and the textured Real-Feel Dinosaur skin and two electronic sound effects made this the ultimate Jurassic Park dinosaur for many kids back in the summer of 1993.
The only real issue is that the mechanism inside the figure that makes it roar tends to break with repetitive use, so be sure to handle this one with care if you want it to last. Honestly, what more is there to say? Amazing playability, molding and sculpt make this the penultimate Jurassic Park dinosaur for any collector and fan.
He won't be cheap mind you, wasn't in 1993 either, but he was the crown jewel of the first series of Jurassic Park Kenner figures and should be in every fans collection, no exceptions!
Why We Love it: Crown Jewel of 1993 Line. Ultimate Dinosaur for the Summer of '93.
#1 - Bull T-Rex (The Lost World: Series I) - If the Sound and Stomping red T-Rex was the crown jewel of Kenner's 1993 Jurassic Park line, and the Carnotaurus, Series II, than the Bull T-Rex was the centerpiece of '97 Lost World line!
What didn't this guy have? Real Feel Dinosaur Skin, a different, yet realistic paint job, 3 separate electronic sound effects, an exclusive figure with Dino Survival Pod AND the ability to swallow human and smaller dinosaur figures whole! There was nothing this one couldn't do and it's impressive even when compared to the larger Dinosaurs that Kenner released before it!
Interestingly, the Bull T-Rex, which was repainted and re-released in both the Chaos Effect and JP2K9 lines respectively, was originally slatted to be released in the second series of Jurassic Park figures from 1994, but due to its price, it was shelved. Than known as the Gulper, he would later get a new paint job and name and eventually released 3 years later. And the wait was well worth it!
Being that this is the only dinosaur capable of swallowing smaller figures, the playability factor, coupled with the additional sounds and exclusive figure, make it stand above all else as the ultimate Jurassic Park Dinosaur figure! It embodies everything we love about these movies, all in a scale that can fit on a shelf in your bedroom or Man Cave! Granted, something better may come along in the future, what with a Jurassic World toy line set to hit shelves in a little under a year, but for now, Kenner's Bull T-Rex from the 1997 Lost World line reigns as King!
There you have it, Jurassic Park fans! Another countdown has come to a close, encompassing a little bit of everything from the last 21-years of Jurassic Park dinosaurs. Again, you may not agree with every entry, but given each ones originality, popularity and overall awesomeness, we feel these truly are the Top 10 Jurassic Park Dinosaur Figures!
Our work here is not done! Two countdowns done, two to go! Next, we'll take a look at the best Jurassic Park vehicles from across the line! Hold on to your Butts, Infinite Earths fans, the adventure isn't over yet!
Until next time, Infinite Earths fans!
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