Due to a huge marketing push, great distribution, and lots of "oh man, I wish I bought that" the Jurassic Park line is now actually quite expensive. $20 dinosaurs are now a couple hundred bucks, and even figures I snagged on clearance like Tim Murphy are, by most measurements, "worth something." I got him, Muldoon, and Grant in a 3-pack from J.C. Penny - as they had a lot of unsold stock - for about ten bucks, mostly for the hatchlings. Little companion figures and trading cards were all the rage in the 1990s, and this had both. Sadly I didn't go after the dinosaurs thanks mostly to my belief that Dino-Riders were better and I should go buy more of those - which I didn't - so now we've got tiny Tim Murphy.
As the movie's shortest character, it's surprising that the figure is 4-inches tall. It's not so surprising, sadly, that his sister Lex was passed over multiple times in the action figure line - but before you cry foul, also remember that the first Jeff Goldblum figure in this line didn't hit until a year later. Clearly someone there wasn't doing a good job of planning. But now you've got him, and.... well, he could be slightly better. With soft facial details, the figure doesn't look a heck of a lot like the actor - really, none of the first wave people do - and he's got a bandolier for some reason. He isn't at all dressed like the character in the movie, instead clad in a ringer t-shirt with a JP logo on it. It's not even close, and to be honest you could probably make a solid case on this figure being an afterthought or something someone dreamed up while reading the book.
With brown shorts and white sneakers, the figure is posed strangely. One foot is sticking out at an odd angle, and his shoulders are slouched down a bit. Kenner in those days was pretty big on symmetry in their poses, so this was nothing if not weird. Just having him stand on my desk as I type this reminds me of talking with my friends and bagging on the weirdness of the toys when they came out, and the generally strange decision to include big weapons with them all. Tim has a snare and a cage, which means that Kenner said "I know what this ten year old kid should do. He should get this rare baby creature in a noose." The line has a lot of hallmarks of violence, as one of the big gimmicks was "dino-damage" - figures had exposed bones and ripped-off flesh, which seemed to be appropriate for the movie's "adult" PG-13 rating despite the fact that every kid in America wanted to go see dinosaurs.
Tim has no problems holding the big, red snare which can be activated by pulling out a cap on the end of it. It's a pretty good "third leg" for the figure, helping prop him up so he doesn't fall under the weight of his accessory. A silver cage opens up and has a big opening for the baby Brachiosaurus' neck, which is all sorts of awful. The dinosaur hatchling is quite nice, particularly when compared with other dinosaur toys of the era. He has a white "JP" brand, black eyes, and a white belly - and no articulation. He's an impressive little fellow and the only sauropod toy to be made for the first movie's toy line, not counting the die-cast metal figures, as nobody counts those. Other than a redeco, the long-necked dinosaurs didn't get much love for those first two movies and no larger toys were made for any of the films so far.
Rounding out the set is a pair of unpainted night vision goggles that slip on Tim's head with no problems. There's a trading card, but it's somewhere in the boxes and I can't find it at press time. All in all this set gave you a lot of toy for your money, even for the era. Five or six bucks was the norm for an action figure, and one that came with four nice accessories with paint on one of them was downright unusual. I didn't get any big dinos until later movies - this is one of the lines I always regret not buying more of - but the humans made for pretty decent toys in light of their larger, fanged companions in this line. Kenner did a good job making the humans appealing as toys, even if accuracy wasn't at the top of their to-do list. Considering that this toy is 22 years old and part of a pretty pricey toy franchise, the going rate ain't bad. But it's also not fun enough to warrant $30, so go ahead and get a loose one for $10 or less if you can swing it because it seems most of them weren't played with enough to not stay in mint condition. Here's hoping Hasbro reconsiders making humans for the new movie - but if they don't, at least we've always got these ones.
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