Please welcome Liz, Collect Jurassic’s newest feature contributor!
In 2018, Mattel blew a lot of fans away with their first Jurassic World line. There were some hiccups such as the botched release of the Legacy Collection, and an over saturation of some figures (Owen, in particular). But, for many fans, it was a huge change from the flop of a line Hasbro released. That said, two omissions caught a lot of people’s eyes.
Indominus Rex and the Raptor Squad. Mattel wanted to focus on the Indoraptor, so an Indominus figure was left to the sidelines for 2018. Blue’s squad had all been killed in Jurassic World, so there was no need to make figures of them. Dino Rivals opened the door for the squad’s first release. It was a staggered release, with a member of the squad coming with each Attack Pack. They caught lots of flack, and rightfully so, for not matching the color schemes of their screen counterparts. Echo also was a disappointment for many fans because she was made using the crouching Raptor sculpt.
So, at the end of the year, fans were left with three, maybe four, Attack Pack figures representing key characters. Attack Pack Blue, Delta, and Charlie were all generally the same sculpt, save for Charlie’s leg tweaks. And, again, that loathsome crouching Raptor was used for Echo. At least for Blue, fans had some options. The first choice being the Savage Strike with gigantic feet and a wrong skull. The second option came in the form of the Battle Damage Raptor, and then Mattel released a new take on Blue with the last wave of Savage Strike dinos. A version with slashing claws and a relatively neutral pose! Another Blue? I wasn’t thrilled, nor were many fans. But the sculpt is stellar, so many bought her.
Now, In 2020, this sculpt is already being repainted… this time as Charlie. That isn’t the greatest precedent if you’re a collector, which most of our readers are! I’m not a MIB collector or a woman who has to have every dinosaur, but I certainly wanted the Squad when they dropped, but, what was the point in collecting these characters last year when a new “definitive” version of at least one animal has come out? It remains to be seen if a new take on Delta and Echo will be made, but it is likely that we’ll see something similar.
That said, is this really fair to the fans? The Indominus will be carried over to 2020 in new Primal Attack packaging, which is fine, but it isn’t getting any revisions or anything. It’s the same figure with the same features. This also isn’t a situation like the Tyrannosaurus in the first Jurassic World line, where Mattel offered multiple versions of the same character, but for different price points. Some fans opted for the larger Thrash & Throw, others for the Extreme Chompin’ rex, some opted for both as well as the oversized Super Colossal Rex. At least then we all could see the options available. Nobody was left wondering if a better version of the same character would come out in the future. The later rex releases (Bite and Fight, legacy male T. rex) at least offered different things. In the case of the former, a deeper color scheme, and the latter was meant to represent the male Tyrannosaurus from the second film. While the latter didn’t have the film’s thick neck and scars, it was clearly meant to be a different animal.
Now, Mattel has basically re-released the same character that many of us purchased a year ago in a remastered sculpt. It is sleek and finely detailed with a warm green skin tone and darker striping, a stark contrast from the repainted (and repainted, and repainted… and repainted) Attack Pack release we had last year. It doesn’t look too different from the character it is supposed to be, either.
So, where does this leave us collectors? Do we jump on the first release of a character? Or do we wait for Mattel to remaster it? The answer to these questions really depends on what kind of collector you are, but one thing is for sure: more versions of the iconic Raptor Squad are undoubtedly on their way.