I’ve got the lead on this column again this week, so I decided to go big. One mere figure isn’t enough to satiate my toy needs today. No, instead I want the return of an entire line.
When I was a kid, I loved dinosaurs. I think that’s pretty normal. Dinosaurs were giant, ferocious, mysterious beasts. With thunderous roars, they stalked and stomped their ancient land, battling each other with armored and spiked hides. And I imagined myself right there along ide them. Maybe riding them, fighting Rulons, with a giant missile launcher or two. Well, that was when I was a kid, and things were much simpler. Now, of course, as an adult it might sound silly to think of humans riding dinosaurs decked out in tech and fighting against aliens and mutants, but I don’t care. Nothing I’ve learned can take away from the awesomeness that was Dino Riders.
Back then, there was no way that my favorite line could be anything but Dino Riders. The interesting thing is, well, I’ve never seen the cartoon. I’m not sure if I just missed it, or if it never aired where I lived, but all I knew about this new toy line were from commercials for the toys and the mini-comics packaged with the toys. And, of course, the awesome artwork.
Pretty limited, but good enough to get the gist of the story. But the story isn’t why I wanted the toys. I wanted the toys because it took elements from my favorite things and mashed them all together into awesome. You had dinosaurs, you had aliens with shark, bug, and snake heads, you had lasers and space age technology, and most of the ‘saurs also had an action feature. Looking back, I have to ask, why did it take so long for something that great to come into existence?
Tyco had a good thing going and they knew it. The toy line easily outlasted the fourteen episode cartoon series. And, even after the line was dead, they continued to sell dinosaurs without their techno pieces to the Smithsonian. Apparently, the Smithsonian thought the ‘saurs were so accurate that they wanted to put them in their gift shop. Not too bad a deal.
Now here we are in 2010, amidst a toy renaissance. He-Man has a Classics line, GI Joe has the 25th/Modern line, Transformers Universe is bringing back the G1 series, Lego is updating their Space Police and Castle sets with new looks, even Playmates is trying to repack those original Ninja Turtles. So where’s my Dino Riders?
Tyco made Dino Riders, and Mattel owns Tyco, but they only use the brand for remote control products. So where’s the Dino Riders license? It’s a shame if Mattel still has it, because I’d rather see it go to Hasbro. Why you ask? Well, because Hasbro makes Jurassic Park toys. They’ve been making ‘saurs forever, and they’re good looking ones at that. Sure that big lumbering T-Rex from the original Dino Riders line was cool, but I want an update. I want the dinosaurs to look sleeker, even more realistic, and definitely more dangerous. Also, Hasbro could save a ton of money by adapting their already existing molds than having to come up with the whole line from scratch. That way they can dedicate more money and effort into making cool techno-mechanical armor and weapons.
Another bonus to having the dinosaurs done already is that there would be more money to sink into the figures too. Part of the line’s great appeal was the bad guys and their monstrous looks. On the subject of figures, I’d like to see them get scaled up a bit. The 3.75” scale would allow for some decently detailed sculpts and paint apps, while still allowing them to fit in with the ‘saurs in the line. Plus, that scale is hot right now, so they’ll fit in with a lot of other lines too. Also, to anyone looking at bringing this line back, you need to make sure the good guys wear a lot less pastel blue. No one liked that.
Ultimately, I really don’t care who picks up the license. Even Mattel can have it, so long as they use it. I just want to see an update to the great concept and to see a popular toy line that from falling into obscurity.