Velociraptor (Feathered Version by Recur)

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Review and photos by Charles Peckham, edited by Suspsy

I’m really happy that Recur exists and is making toy dinosaurs. I’m a big fan of CollectA and Safari Ltd., but I realize that they are cost prohibitive to a lot of collectors, and while I enjoy cheap knockoff toys (I don’t care for the term “Chinasaur”), part of me always hesitates to give them to kids, knowing that the original toy they got the design from is probably 70 years old, and was scientifically inaccurate then. I hate the idea of kids growing up thinking dinosaurs looked more like Godzilla than birds. That’s why I like Recur so much. They’ve done, in my opinion, an outstanding job of providing reasonably accurate toys at a reasonable price. One of the ways they do this is to make the toys out of a rubbery hollow plastic. They feel cheap but generally look great, and they fill a sorely needed niche in the marketplace.

The Recur feathered Velociraptor is designed by Ankyl Toys Co., Ltd. I suspect someone at the company with solid foresight decided to put extra effort into making a raptor toy that was visually striking, and it shows. The first thing one notices is that this toy is huge. It’s 46 cm (18 inches) from nose to tail, and at its highest point (the tip of the tail) stands 21 cm (8 inches) tall, making it about a ¼ scale model. That’s absolutely massive. It stands out from all the other toys I own just because of how much it dwarfs them. This certainly makes the toy visually striking. One could argue that making a toy massive to make it distinguished among the competition is an uninspired trick, and while I wouldn’t disagree, there’s a saying in engineering: “If it’s dumb but it works, then it’s not dumb.”

The competition for Velociraptor toys is almost as fierce as the animals themselves once were. Even if you specifically want a feathered Velociraptor, you can choose from several different toys from several companies. I can’t offhand think of a feathered non-avian dinosaur that has a better selection. How does this one stack up? Well, as previously mentioned, the build quality is not nearly as high as the competition. There are several visible seams where the head and limbs were affixed to the torso. The paint job is competent but not the best. It’s a dull, brownish gray with white countershading. The feathers on the arms are a little more detailed. The feet and hands are a bird-like yellow with black claws. The face is shades of yellow and gray with some nice attention to detail. The mouth, however, shows a notable lack of detail. It’s pink, and there’s a sloppy outline of a purplish color for the tongue. If you’re the type of collector who repaints their toys, you’d probably want to at least give this one a touch up. It’s so noticeable for being large that the attention to detail (or lack thereof) really stands out in ways that wouldn’t be so obvious on a smaller toy.

The scientific accuracy of the Recur Velociraptor is good but not great. Aside from the arms, the feathers are all dino fluff. Given what we know about Velociraptor and its relatives, there would likely be at least tail feathers that had a distinct look to them. The arm feathers are also missing from the hand, where they would most likely start at the finger. The hands themselves are symmetrical and the fingers are the same length, which is inaccurate. Also the tail curves in ways that I’m fairly certain a Velociraptor’s tail couldn’t. It reminds me of the tail of a rat or some other mammal, the way it twists about. The bump between its legs, caused by the pubis bone, is accounted for, though I wonder if it isn’t a little on the small side. I feel like I’m picking this toy apart a lot, but the head and torso and feet are roughly the right shape and I think I ought to give credit where credit is due. If you used this toy as a basis for understanding what a Velociraptor looked like, and then you came across one in the wild, you would probably recognize it. It’s not the best representation of the genus in pop culture but it’s far from the worst.

The pose of this toy is a little strange. I’m not sure what this Velociraptor is supposed to be doing. The head looks like it’s engaged in a threat display, but the rest of the body looks like it’s getting up off the ground. The toy manages to keep its tail in the air by balancing itself on one hand. This is a trick that’s been used in many dromaeosaur toys before. Usually it doesn’t bother me much, but in this instance it almost makes the animal look like it’s a quadruped. I’m pretty willing to forgive this though. It’s a toy that accurately portrays Velociraptor as an active, dynamic animal, and it looks neat when it’s displayed.

There is no packaging for this toy. It comes with a small tag that is attached to the ankle with a rubber band. It’s mostly information related to the toy and the company that made it. I just mention it for the sake of being thorough. There’s really not much to talk about.

This is a toy made by a company that has had to cut a few corners. It’s not spot-on in its quality of material or its sculpting. It’s very large, which is not necessarily a positive for all collectors, but otherwise it’s not going to stand out amongst models of a dinosaur that is already well represented in toy form. For me personally, none of this bothers me, because what it lacks in these areas it makes up for in accessibility. It is a toy that finds a niche for those who want something that has been designed post-dinosaur renaissance but don’t have $50 to drop on a toy. That’s a huge demographic. I got into toy collecting largely because now that I have some disposable income, I can finally purchase all the toys I desperately wanted as a child, and I’m certain that I’m not the only one. This toy gets right the things that it needs to get right to satisfy standards of paleontological literacy, and it is still something consumers young and old can afford to enjoy. The soft plastic material also means that it probably won’t be quite as fragile as other toys. There aren’t many toys of this quality that are this reasonably priced. For someone who cringes every time I see a kid playing with the same Triceratops model that was outdated when I had it at their age, I’m very glad this Velociraptor toy exists.

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