It's amazing how the toy industry works some times, especially when it comes to cartoon tie-in lines. Supporting characters
are often overlooked, even when they are in almost every episode. Then characters which show up for just a single episode
will get their own figures. Of course Playmates would never do that, so tonight I'll be reviewing the new Purple Dragon's
box set... Oh wait, never mind. Yes, it's true. The Paleo Patrol vehicles have absolutely nothing to do with the two part
"Return of Savanti Romero" story. But just because a character was or was not in the cartoon doesn't make it a good toy.
(Heck, if you read my other reviews you know that the Savanti Romero figure that appeared in that form for more than two
minutes and I thought that was the worst of all the Paleo Patrol figures.) So are the Dino Bike and Dino Capture
vehicle/figure sets winners? Read on.
Packaging - 7/10The Paleo Patrol Dino vehicles come in the same type of window box that Playmates has been using for most of their recent vehicles. The graphics for the box are a strange mix of the new packaging design with the dark horizontal stripes across the top and light burst style pattern in the background and the Paleo Patrol's stone age themed graphics. Why they mixed the style instead of just using the background from the cards of the Paleo Patrol figures is beyond me. Otherwise the photographs used are more or less the usual: a single photo of the toy recycled for the sides and back panel along with some small photos of the Dino Runners and carded dinosaurs. The large window provides an ample view of the toy. It also has the benefit of allowing the toys to be posed within the box in a far more decorative fashion. While the fossil wall background doesn't create quite the diorama look that some of Playmates' recent offerings, the decorative nature should make it more appealing to kids in stores. It should also be advantageous to collectors who prefer to display them in the packaging since they can still enjoy the contents. Of course, this style of packaging has a whopping downside, getting the toys out of the package is a royal pain. At least they are not quite as bad as the Dino Runners. One other thing which I noticed was that the Dino Bike set doesn't do the best job of filling up the space inside the box. There is easily two inches of empty space across the top. I realize that altering the box size would have made shipping a problem. But since they were creating a display in the box already, they could have raised the figure and vehicle up by an inch to fill some of that empty space. It is a minor quibble, but if I noticed it, there is a fair chance of parents noticing it when considering if they want to purchase it in a store.
Sculpting - 7/10Both vehicles are completely new which was a pleasant surprise for me. I had honestly expected both to be reuses of existing molds with some slight alterations and additions. That most certainly is not the case. The Dino Bike proves that even in the stone age, Playmates finds a way to include a motorcycle. It is a truly unique motorcycle. You don't see many half-track trikes. Overall the sculpting has a nice blend of modern and prehistoric details. The rear wheels include plenty of detail without looking too busy. There are two areas that disappointed me. The first is the body by the gas tank. There is some detail there, but it is not up to the same level as the rest of the vehicle. The other problem is the huge grappling hook on the back. It is just way too large. Even when it is fully retracted, it scrapes on the ground. Plus the size makes it look more like a large propeller than a grappling hook. The Dino Capture is another unique design, sort of a reverse pickup. It has a large open bed in the front with an open seat in the back for the driver. The decision to use a narrow axle for the rear wheels makes the design even more interesting. There are a few areas that came out a bit dull. The control panel is the big one. The sides of the bed were left with not detail work at all. When the net is in place, that's fine. You don't see it. But once the net is launched, it becomes noticeable in a hurry. I won't bother to go into detail about the figures since they are identical to the carded versions. And I do mean identical. Unlike the figures that came with the Dino Runners, they did not leave out any of the articulation on these. (Which makes me all the more curious as to why Playmates would have bothered to make new leg molds for the Dino Runner figures.)
Paint - Dino Bike/Don 5/10The paint work on both the Dino Bike and Donatello is pretty mediocre. The bike has just enough paint applications to keep it from looking dull. But they didn't make very effective use of the paint to highlight the details of the sculpt. Once again, the grappling hook is the low point. It is a piece almost 3/4 the size of a figure, yet it is completely unpainted. The figure sports a light green for the paint on the straps and a slightly lighter shade of paint on the leg pads. I don't care for the green color they used for the straps. I think they were going for the look of green vines. But the color is a rather sickly pale color that make it look more like the straps are moldy. They also were no more careful with the application of the paint here than they were on the carded figures. Parts of the shell were painted with the straps. And in general the edges are sort of sloppy. The Dino Capture turned out much better. While the paint work is still pretty minimal, by using them well and layering them in a few areas the results are pretty good. The only real problem area is the control panel once again. It has no paint work at all. Combine that with the minimal sculpting and you have a big red block of bland. As with Donatello, Leonardo has a slight change in color from the carded version. The straps across his chest are now gray and the bands on his left arm are now a bright green. There aren't as many issues with sloppiness, but I still don't care for the color choices.
Accessories - Dino Bike 3/10, Dino Capture 8/10The Dino Bike comes up extremely light on accessories with just two. They recycled the stone headed spear from the carded figure. The other accessory is a rather dull looking missile. The Dino Capture is better armed. First of all, Leonardo retains his two swords from the carded figure. And once again, they can be stored in the scabbards on his back. In addition to the swords, there are two sais included which are new molds. You are supposed to be able to store them on the vehicle. But by storage, what they really have are two holes into which the tips can be stuck. The instructions say it is storage for "secret weapons". I wouldn't consider them to be much of a secret when two thirds of the weapon is hanging out for all to see. Still, poorly designed storage is probably better than none at all. The final accessory for the Dino Capture is the most important one, its net. In case you are wondering why I'm considering this as an accessory, it is not in any way shape or form attached to the vehicle at any point. When loaded, it sits in the bed with the sides folded in slightly. When released, it flips forward while the side spring out, landing upside down directly in front of the vehicle. The sheer size of the net is perhaps its best feature. Unlike some nets which are barely large enough to cover the mini PVC monsters (see Monster Trapper Leonardo and Michelangelo), this one can easily cover an entire full size figure.
Articulation - 5/10Both figures that come with the Paleo Patrol vehicles have nineteen points of articulation.
Play Value - Dino Bike 4/10, Dino Capture 6/10The Dino Bike has three basic action features: a firing missile, the working treads and the grappling hook. The firing mechanism for the missile isn't terribly strong. Add to that the fact that the missile is aimed on a pretty low trajectory and you get a very limited range. (Boy I miss the days of missiles that could be fired across a room. Heck, I still remember the Goliath M.A.S.K vehicle that had two large missiles that not only could really fly, the whole launcher could be pulled off and used as a hand gun.) The other big feature is the grappling hook. You can pull the hook out of the back of the bike and hook it onto figures or items. Then by pushing the skull on the back of the seat, the cord will retract. The feature works well. But once again, the problem is the hook itself. IT'S TOO BIG! You have a four inch wide grappling hook tied to a string that is only ten inches long. The proportions are just wrong. They should have either made the string much longer or better yet, the hook much smaller. The last feature, the rolling treads, aren't necessarily a feature. But after so many years of toy makers making treads out of hard plastic with a tiny little wheel mounted underneath, it is nice to see it when they go the extra mile now to make functioning treads.
The Dino Capture is really limited to one action feature, the launching net. It isn't a very elaborate action feature, but it works well. Ideally it would be nice if the net could really be launched instead of just flipped forward right in front of the vehicle. There are a couple of other features of which to make note. I already mentioned the "secret weapon storage" which is no secret. The other feature is the rear wheels that can be turned to steer the vehicle. Again, it may not be an amazing feature, but it is a nice added touch.
Value - Dino Capture 7/10, Dino Bike 5/10The Paleo Patrol Dino Capture and Dino Bike sell for roughly $15 in most stores. That's not a bad deal since you are getting both a vehicle and a figure. The problem of course is that there is a good chance that the figure you are getting is one you already have. And even if you don't have the carded version, you are missing out on many of the accessories. If these were sold without the figures for the old price of $10 they would be a slightly better value. But even so, their unique designs make both vehicles worth considering for purchase.
Happy Hunting:The Paleo Patrol themed figures and vehicles have been shipping for almost four months now. But I know locally these two items were much slower to show up due to the large amount of existing stock of Battle Bikes and Combat Cruisers still sitting on shelves. I finally found mine a few weeks ago. Since then I have seen them at both Walmart and Target stores. They were similarly slow to show up online. But now they are available from both Amazon.com and Walmart.com .