Tyco Dino-Riders Struthiomimus and Nimbus Tyco, 1988
Day #274: November 22, 2011
Struthiomimus and Nimbus Good Guys
Dino-Riders Boxed Toy Set
Item No.: No. 9114 Manufacturer:Tyco Includes:Driver, dinosaur, harness, smattering of silver plastic gear Action Feature:n/a Retail:unknown, est. $6.99 Availability:ca. 1988 Other: Later repackaged as "Smithsonian Institution Dinosaur Collection" toy
The Struthiomimus was a neat dinosaur, but by no means an action-packed beastie from prehistory. I wouldn't say he's a wuss, but I would say that about Nimbus. These telepathic space hippies were pretty dull as heroes went, especially as the enemy were a tribe of aliens which had a lot in common with Battle Beasts in a spiritual sense. Well, in a literal sense too-- they're little plastic dudes with animal heads. On the other hand, figures like Nimbus were dorky little kids with long hair, and in 1989 long hair wasn't particularly common in the target age group for these figures. While some of the other dinosaurs were pretty spectacular, with great gear, this was one of the lesser entries in the series.
The dino-ostrich stands just fine, the third leg acting as a tripod making a display stand unnecessary-- even with all his gear, he had no problem standing up on his own, which is the way I think most 1980s toy fans remember their toys. Today, toys need display stands-- back 25-30 years ago, they just friggin' worked. The Struthiomimus has no action features and only 4 points of articulation, so he's really more of a display piece than he is an Awesome Toy. The saddle has a gun and storage for spare red gun tips, should you lose any, and the silver, grey, and blue design matches the good guys nicely. I've had this one since I was a kid and I remember not being as excited about it as some of the four-legged lizards, and as an adult I can see why. It doesn't do anything-- it's a model, it's a shelf item.
His companion figure is, at least, not blue. Most of the good guys are blue, but Nimbus is brown, with brown hair, and... well, he does his job. The figures in this line were the accessories, and that's a mentality in toys that's long since left the building outside Imaginext, Playmobil, and LEGO. The vehicle, the playset, the creature is what's important-- the figure is just some dude to sit in a seat, a proxy for the child playing with the toy. Action figure collectors have moved to focus solely on the figure, the character. The toy element is a thing of the past, which is a shame as while I like my action figures, as a kid, the vehicles were damned exciting stuff. I mean, look at Nimbus-- this is a kid who'd lose his lunch money. But he's got a cool dinosaur to ride around on, and I don't care how much of a putz you are-- you can make friends if you ride around on a dinosaur.
7 points of articulation give him just about enough movement to sit in the saddle or carry his ample silver gear, which included a ladder, a couple of guns, and a bunch of bandoliers/necklaces/hippie crap. I don't know why I'm in such a mood to knock that group today, but man, I thought those sucked as a kid. It's not that I need guns to have a good time, but at least give the kid some tools or a helmet or something. A hat! Would a hat be so bad?
Were this figure released today in this exact format I'd find it exciting, refreshing, and fun. As a leftover from my childhood, at the end of a decade that was a shamefully wonderful period of new concepts and fun playthings, this one stands out as being an acceptable entry in a great toy line. I don't like how the kid sits in the chair, I don't find the dinosaur's gear fun, and the dinosaur doesn't have any fun features. Others in the line had turning heads, flapping wings, opening jaws... they did stuff. Complete samples of this guy sell for about $30 on eBay, which is a fine price given it includes a box, but don't expect to fall in love with the concept of Dino-Riders if you start with this toy. The Styracosaurus, the Monoclonius, these are truly glorious playthings.
16bit.com is best not viewed in Apple's Safari browser, we don't know why. All material on this site copyright their respective copyright holders. All materials appear hear for informative and entertainment purposes. 16bit.com is not to be held responsible for anything, ever. Photos taken by the 16bit.com staff. Site design, graphics, writing, and whatnot credited on the credits page. Be cool-- don't steal. We know where you live and we'll break your friggin' legs.