That’s right, everyone, we’ve gotten our very first glimpse at a couple of the much-anticipated, or much-dreaded depending on how you look at it, Jurassic World Hybrids line! We’ve gotten photos of a Playskool set and of a “normal” toy, although the “normal” toy from the main line is… well, anything but normal. Take a look for yourself:
I… I’m not quite sure how I feel about this.
OK, I think I’ve decided how I feel about it. I feel Stegoceratops about it.
Seriously, they look remarkably similar– it can’t just be me, can it? Was there some kind of I. rex-like sibling-eating type of deal going on when Wu engineered these guys? I think we know the real reason Stegoceratops didn’t appear in JW in the flesh, and it’s right above that Stego photo, staring at you with its slit pupils as if to mock the idea of death itself.
The first concern, of course, is the actual toy. For what it is, it isn’t as bad as it could be. The Chomping Rex base toy is kinda crappy, but that’s the original toy’s fault, not this one’s. (For the record, they could’ve patched up that awful seam on the front of its upper jaw while they were at it.) The spikes on the back– what is it with adding spikes and plates to hybrid animals’ backs these days?– look better than the ones on the head, which look good but less natural. Supposedly the back spikes can pop up or down, and while that’s a cool feature, it does make me wonder if there’s consequently a huge, gaping slit in the back. (I’m going by Hasbro’s track record here.)
And what the heck is it with the slits on the side? I guess it’s meant to look like Rexy’s scars, but if it doesn’t make any noise (and it doesn’t appear to), then it looks less like a battle wound and more like a badly-disguised speaker hole. Finally, possibly the texture is just more visible because it’s a darker color now, but more skin texture appears to have been added, and there are shifts to yellow on the back and tail, which I like. I’m not as crazy about the scale pattern on the undercarriage, though; if they had to add that, assuming it isn’t simply there to evoke the whole “ooh science and DNA molecules” aesthetic, it would have been far better if it were printed smaller and if it covered more of the body. So overall, with all of its design changes and flaws, I’m going with a slightly positive rating on it; in terms of toy quality, it comes out just above the original Chomping Rex in my book.
The second concern is the actual animal and what it implies. Regardless of toy quality, I really don’t think I like how this animal looks. It gives the overwhelming appearance of a half-hearted Dilophosaurus Rex that ended up getting spliced with Stegoceratops instead because it was getting late and the geneticists wanted to get out of the lab before 9:00 that night. It looks like it’s trying to capitalize on the whole Stegoceratops look, but not explicitly. In other words, it’s a slapdash design that’s trying to push the status quo, but not too much. And it’s perfect for that, since that’s probably exactly what it’ll end up getting used for in the movie, if it’s used in it at at all. (I know that this toy was made before serious talks about JW2’s plot began. But I’m assuming that there’s at least a remote possibility that this animal will end up on the big screen, just for the sake of speculation.)
If I were the head of a company that was part of the first or second wave of private dinosaur cloning, this is exactly the type of animal that I’d make to show to the public. It still basically looks like a T. rex, but it has just enough hybrid characteristics to make it unique. It might even be seen as cooler than the original animal in the eyes of the public– it’s still a killer T. rex, but with spikes! Plus it might be more useful for combat, which is what a rex would most likely be used for anyway; its spikes could be good killing tools as well as threat displays. It still looks sort of original, but it’s part of the beginning of the original-to-hybrid transition. It’s designed to help accustom people to the idea of dinosaurs starting to look a little different, both in-universe and outside it. So what I’m saying is– I may not like the hybrid rex’s design, and God knows that a lot of people are greatly opposed to the idea of hybrids in general, but the idea of it makes perfect sense. It fits in well enough with the “individual companies making dinos” plot that we might want to start bracing ourselves for Rexy’s new ‘do.
The other released toy set is much simpler, and involves far less complaining from me. Behold the new face of JW Playskool:
OK, I’ll be 100% honest here– my first thought when I saw this wasn’t “that looks great/terrible” or “did they change the molds?”. My first thought was, “That’s gonna be really expensive.” It looks like this is a set of 5 dinosaurs that won’t be sold individually in these colors, and if we add together the costs of each of those toys as they’re sold now and assume that there won’t be a price cut because they’re bundled (there probably will be), that set is looking at somewhere around $45-50. That seems like a bit of an excessive amount to spend on Playskool toys, but collectors will be collectors and far be it from me to tell people not to buy dinosaurs that they want. You do you, guys.
I won’t critique the molds, as A) they appear to just be repaints and B) these are toys for 3-year-olds. I have mixed opinions of the color schemes, though. The yellow and purple raptors and the pterodactyl, in my opinion, are a step down from the ones we have now; there’s even a yellow and brown raptor out now that looks better than that, and the ptero’s new colors make it look like a cheap bootleg. I do like the other two, though. A red and black Spinosaur is delightfully evil-looking, and I like the green raptor simply because it looks so much like a kiddie version of Charlie. (Although it would look better with pupils in its eyes.) For a Playskool set, this could be worse, but personally I’d go for the ones on shelves today.
That’s all for today; next time, unless more news pops up, I think this blog is due for another installment of Fanfics You Should Be Reading!