Toy companies and dinosaurs are a match made in toy heaven. And Playmates in particular loves to work the thunder
lizards into their toy lines. So it is no surprise that they took advantage of the "Return of Savanti" story line from
the new cartoon to produce a small herd of dinos for the current toy line. I already reviewed the three basic Paleo
Patrol dinos, so tonight I'll cover the two Dino Runner figure/dinosaur packs which include Michelangelo and Raphael
with an allosaurus and triceratops to ride.
Packaging - 5/10The dino runner figures come in larger window boxes. The large windows offer a clear view of the toy and figure. Playmates gave the packaging a partial graphics overhaul to match the Paleo Patrol theme. In particular, the background features partially exposed fossils as well as using the Paleo Patrol logo on the bottom of the box. I wish they had completed the process and used the stone pattern for the background of the box like they did with the figures, partially so that they would match and partially because I still don't like the yellow and orange colors used. The back of the box has a paragraph about the figure and photos of the toy and other Paleo Patrol themed items. There is one thing that may not be too noticeable about the packaging at first, the twist ties. There are about a dozen twist ties and another half dozen rubber bands holding the toys captive. On the plus side, they allow the figures to be packaged almost free standing within the box. But when it comes time to open them you better have tools at the ready. The worst is a twist tie that actually goes through Raphael to hold him in place.
Sculpting - 9/10The sculpting on both sets is excellent. The figures are almost identical to the carded versions. The only change is was to leave out some of the articulation which doesn't really affect the sculpts which were great to begin with. The dinosaurs look great. There is a tremendous amount of detail work both on the texturing of the skin and the armor. They also did a nice job limiting the visibility of the screw holes on the Allosaurus, even plugging one of them. It's too bad they didn't plug all of them. The holes are more visible on the triceratops, particularly since they are all on one side. I'm not wild about the saddles though. Rather than sculpting them to be able to fit any figure, it appears that they took a completed sculpt and carved out chunks until they fit the corresponding rider. It means the figures fit snugly, but when they are removed it leaves some strange and ugly gaps. It isn't too bad on the triceratops, but the saddle on the allosaurus looks really strange. It also means that other figures don't fit well or in some cases, at all. The stirrups also look like they were last minute additions. The stirrups on the triceratops are okay, but the way they stick straight out from the saddle looks unnatural. The stirrups on the allosaurus are worse. There is very little detail to them and the gap in the support struts looks really out of place. But those problems are minor.
Paint - Mike/Allosaurus 8/10, Raph/Triceratops 6/10The paint work on the allosaurus is terrific. The silver of the armor contrasts well with the body color. The body color is nice, transitioning from a dark blue to tan on the underbelly. Unfortunately they didn't continue the painting onto the arms or lower jaw so they stick out. Unfortunately the base is unpainted which is a big opportunity missed. The triceratops is similar, but not quite as well thought out. The body coloring is a very dark green that is probably more realistic. It also avoids any mismatched body parts such as on the allosaurus. But the color choices don't work well with the armor. The gold color of the armor would look great, but it needs some accent colors to break up the larger areas like the brown that is used for the saddle of the allosaurus. And the dark color used for the straps make them all but disappear against the color of the top of the body. Had they used brown instead, those details would have stood out much better. The paint work on the figures is nothing special. Raphael's clothes are a bit lighter in color than the carded version. The straps across Michelangelo's chest are a darker color and the odd shoulder armor is now gold. But both have some issues with sloppiness. The worst is the areas of Michelangelo's shell between the rope straps in the front. It was painted the same dark brown as the straps. But in general, all of the edges are sloppy.
Accessories - 2/10Each set comes with just two accessories, a rip cord and a lance. The rip cords have a little sculpted detail on the handles. The only weapons are the lances which are so large that they look silly in the figures' hands. Their size also makes them quite unruly to pose the figure with them. Considering Playmates has the molds for much nicer Paleo Patrol themed weapons, it's a shame they didn't use them.
Articulation - 2/10The dinosaurs don't have much articulation. Their legs move at the hips in a circular motion, but only in connection with the action feature. Otherwise the articulation is limited to the allosaurus' small front arms which have a very limited range of motion. The strangest thing though is the Turtles. For some reason Playmates created new molds of the legs to remove the articulation from the knees and ankles. It still leaves them with thirteen points of articulation which is sufficient. But it just doesn't make any sense to both making new molds just to take articulation out.
Play Value - Allosaurus/Mike 2/10, Triceratops/Raph 3/10The dino runner figures really only have one feature, their walking action. The rip cords can be inserted through a hole in each dinosaur's body just behind the saddle. When the rip chords are pulled out, a weighted wheel inside begins to spin. This in turn causes the legs to move and continue moving until the internal weighted wheel stops. By quickly inserting and pulling the rip cords without pulling them out entirely, a substantial amount of energy can be imparted to the wheel to keep the walking action going long after the rip cord has been pulled. The walking action works really well, even if the allosaurus' bipedal walking motion isn't very smooth. The triceratops is even reasonably quick. The problem is that they are the proverbial one trick ponies. Walking is all they do. Add to that the fact that the design of the saddle of the allosaurus means that you can't even get just any figure to ride it and you get a toy that isn't much better than the unarticulated hard plastic dinosaurs they used to sell for a quarter of the price.
Value - 4/10The Dino Runner sets sell for roughly $20 in most stores. That's not unreasonable considering you are getting a vehicle and a figure. While they are nice, I think they should probably be about $5 cheaper. Ideally I'd like to see the dinosaurs available without the figures since the carded versions are better and another $5 knocked off of the price. At $10 for the dinosaurs alone, these would be a great deal. Unfortunately that wasn't likely to happen if for no other reason than their size.
Happy Hunting:The Dino Runners have been shipping since the beginning of the year. But the early shipments only had the Raphael/Triceratops set. It should be fairly easy to find at any of the big toy sellers. But the Michelangelo/Allosaurus set didn't ship until much later. I first found it about three weeks ago. Since then I have seen it at both Target and Walmart stores. But finding it may prove difficult if the earlier shipments haven't been selling well. There are some online options. Amazon.com has the Raphael/Triceratops set available. Or you can order both sets from Walmart.com.