Every once in a while, the knock-off or "plays-with" line outshines and outlives the original. History seems to have given more love to The Outer Space Men than Major Matt Mason, and Lanard's The Corps are still running as a budget line while G.I. Joe hasn't been a childhood favorite for about 25 years. That's kind of sobering. Lanard usually put out cheaper figures, but started hiring sculptors from The Four Horsemen and also acquiring licenses instead of just making toys kind of like Hasbro's. They're making a lot of the figures over and over again, so the Mammoth with Shrapnel gives you a surprisingly heavy pachyderm with a repack of Shrapnel (Darius Weaver), a member of The Curse from The Corps line.
I have only bought three Lanard products in my life - and I'm rarely disappointed. This set was the first of the "Jurassic Clash" toys that hit the UK last year, most of which are hitting the USA at Walmarts now. (The Liopleurodon doesn't seem to be making the trip with everybody else.) At $15 it's not cheap, but it's interesting. Generally Lanard's greatest selling point is a strong sense of unparalleled value - 3 figures for a few bucks, or a single figure as low as a dollar. At $15, this is slightly cheaper than what Mattel is doing for Jurassic World, but with less articulation.
The selling point is a sturdy, heavy Mammoth. Unlike most Lanard figures, it's long on paint and short on articulation. Much like Playmobil's mammoth, only the head moves - the legs are static. The sculpting is a little cartoony, giving you a weirdly-posed four-legged creature with shoulders that remind me of a gorilla. It's cute - the sculpting is excellent, the fuzzy head is cute, and the eyes are painted well. With a mammoth in LEGO being phased out, the timing is pretty good as a hairy elephant alternative. It's not necessarily better than what you'd get out of Schleich, but as action toys go it's entertaining enough as a quasi-Dino-Riders toy.
The figure has some nifty armor. The mask fits over the face and has a strap that slides under the hears - it looks sort of like really weird armored underpants. The sculpt makes it look jointed, but it's only a two-piece mask with a strap that fits nicely over the posts. The saddle seats one figure fairly well, and has a couple of articulated cannons for some reason. It's not bad, and it's not a huge challenge to slide it off which I greatly appreciate. It's chunky and fun, and it certainly has an overall heft that's worth the asking price if it had a couple of leg joints. As is, it's nifty. It's amusing. I assume kids will like it, but it's not impressive.
The figure is pretty neat - a skull-masked Shrapnel figure has a surprising range of articulation. It's also been sold several times before, so you might have it. You get 14 pretty great points of articulation, with a range of motion similar to the 1980s 3 3/4-inch G.I. Joe line. Maybe it's closer tot he 2002 relaunch - there's no O-ring, but you do get ball-jointed hips. It straddles the saddle nicely, but not perfectly - also there's nowhere for his hands to go. However, he has a rifle that plugs in his back and a pistol that fits in a holster, and I think that's just superb. Everything basically works together nicely, and why I need an evil military villain riding an extinct elephant I'll never know. But I like it.
Given the popularity of dinosaurs and Mattel's disinterest in using its Dino-Riders trademark beyond Hot Wheels, I'm glad someone tried out the armored battle dinosaur concept again. We haven't seen many of those lately - and it's fun! It's a lot of heft in a box fo the asking price, but it would've been great if Lanard hollowed out the creature or gave it just a smidgen more articulation. Given Mattel has no mammoth on the market, this is an excellent example of toy counterprogramming. I'm probably not going to run out and buy the rest of these, but if I clear out some space I'll treat myself to at least one more before the line goes away. If you see it on sale, get it. If it's full price, give it some thought - it's interesting and another example of something Lanard is doing well, although perhaps not as impressively as last year's Rampage toys.
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