Jurassic World Dominion Roar Strikers
Item No.: Asst. HDX17 No. HDX41 Manufacturer:Mattel Includes:Tail (assembly required) Action Feature:Push down on body and the head lowers while the sound chip roars Retail:$18.99 Availability:July 2022 Other: Hello clearance my old friend
I saw the Roar Strikers Iguanodon in stores a few times over the holidays and said "gee, that's neat, I wish that were cheaper." And then I was in a Walgreens with 60% off holiday toys, and even at the mark-up of $23.99, an under-$10 Iguanodon sounded pretty good. I'm trying hard to curb new purchases across the board - as you can see, there are a lot of toys in my area - so I've been trying to keep things to 3 3/4-inch scale or smaller and this thumb-stabber qualifies.
At about 12-inches long, it's a a decently sized beast. The Iguanodon has gone from being a 4-legged dinosaur to a 2-legged one back to what is basically a 4-legged one again, which shows just how fascinating science is and just how ready we were to jump to conclusions when the Victorians found some bones and said "hmmm... this one looks like a nose" when it is, by modern standards, a thumb. Dinosaur toys play fast and loose with reality because a lot of them may or may not look cooler as weird feathered creatures, or with a fleshy comb or spikes or whatever. Odds are pretty much any dino reconstruction is a sort of a work-in-progress, and as such, it's not a bad toy.
She has rotating shoulders with a joint so they can swing out, which is handy if you want to knock other toys around with her thumbs and arms. The back legs have ratcheting joints, the base of the skull can move somewhat freely, and the neck joint at the body. The articulation isn't particularly meaningful, and what's funny is that I understand why there is still such a place for cheap $1 dinosaurs in Walmart bins and why tiny plastic statues still sell. When you get right down to it, this Iguanodon is going to fall over if you do anything other than the default pose for his legs. You can move the head around, and the tail is static. She can't really do much other than be a statue, and the play value would not be greatly diminished if they cut out the joints.
She has two nifty features. There's an app code in her back which slides out to scan for marketing or tracking or whatever, which I could also do without, and electronic roars. And that's a nice feature to sell a toy in a store, but it is kind of loud - but well-integrated. The speaker is in the belly, as are the batteries, so the toy still has a striking silhouette. She looks good - but if it was a slightly cheaper plastic dinosaur that didn't do much of anything, I don't know if I would have missed these features. Things like dino-damage make a lot of sense because coming up with any kind of good action feature or play elements for animal toys can be tricky. Having said that, I'd love a Triceratops with some head-ramming action like Kenner's Bull Alien.
The reason to buy this creature is because she has a great sculpt with good paint. It's bland oatmeal coloring, but it's nicely done. The skin is bumpy, and while the details are mostly a little soft they are extensive. A dark spray on the back looks superb, but a lighter brown striping on top of it looks a little off. They could probably leave the stripes off and you'd like the deco a bit more. The head is excellent with lots of bumps, prominent brows, a nice beak, and a face that's rather sunken-in and skeletal. Maybe we'll find out they're more like turkeys or something down the road, but this one is cool in that it's an animal that the designers may have monster-ified about 20%.
I like what they did here, particularly for clearance prices, and I'd say it's worth picking up if you like the general body type. But it is bland, and you can get other, more colorful ones without articulation for lower prices. Also the packaging says "you can't throw this away because lead" which is the kind of thing that, when you buy a toy of a long-dead extinct animal, certainly reminds you about what kind of future outlook we as a species continues to lack. Mattel did a decent job, but I would certainly have loved to see a more vibrant coloration - they seem pretty hesitant to do wacky colors like we sometimes saw from Kenner. It's still a decent toy for the price, relative to other licensed action toys on the market in 2022 and 2023. Heck, $18.99 is pretty on-the-money for a toy with these features back in the 1990s, let alone in 2022. Mattel did something pretty good given their budget, so pats on the back all around.
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