maandag 14 april 2014

Jurassic Park Chaos Effect: Velocirapteryx

Year of release: 1998

Description: this larger Chaos Effect monster assumes a largely neutral posture, with its thin arms stretched forward showing off it’s fearsome claws. Thin and slender is the trend with this figure: it has a small and skinny body, clearly showing muscles. It also features long and slender arms and legs, large thin claws on both hands and legs, an elongated snout with large jaws armed with many sharp teeth, and a long tail which ends in a club like “tail wing”. Most noticeably it features a very long third finger on each arm, adorned with feather like protrusions, giving the impression this animal sports wings (though it’s very improbable the creature would be able to fly with these). The figure also has similar feathers sticking out of the back of its head and on its back, and on the tail club.
Velocirapteryx sports a very modest paint job by Chaos Effect standards. It’s mostly beige, with the exception of a thick red stripe running from the tip of the nose all the way over the back to the very end of the tail. This stripe is accompanied by three thin black lines, one on each side of the red stripe, and one running exactly over its centre. The area around the eyes is also black, the small eyes themselves being red with minuscule black irises. The claws on the arms and legs and black as well, including the ones on the third finger holding the “wings”. The feathers are all light pink with black tips. Velocirapteryx has white teeth and a long red tongue. This beast is marked by a black JP Chaos Effect logo along with the number .53 on its upper right leg.
Velocirapteryx is equipped with thrashing wings and snapping fangs! Or so says the box. Pulling its right leg back makes the arms move up and the head down, as if clawing and biting at an opponent. The jaws however don’t snap since the jaws aren’t poseable. Interestingly enough, this figure produces three different sounds instead of one like the Paradeinonychus. The sounds are combinations of screeches and shrieks and are hard to describe beyond that.

Analysis: Velocirapteryx may be the best new sculpt of the Chaos Effect toy line, though it too has some downsides. The design is plain brilliant and makes for an eerie, unpleasant critter, no doubt a deadly carnivore you don’t want to mess with, especially when noticing the huge claws. Its whitish colour and skinny appearance give it a skeletal look, as if it’s not only deadly but also a messenger of death. The paint job isn’t detailed or overly bizarre but still effective and different enough.
Velocirapteryx comes with a neat attack action feature, combining large claws moving up to strike anything unfortunate enough to get in the way with a nasty head butt as if the monster moves its terrible jaws down on potential prey. Such an attack certainly knocks most human and smaller dinosaur figures over, as well as being a fun way to attack larger beasts. It may not be totally original, but it’s effective and imposing enough. The sounds the creature produces are quite cool, especially because there are three instead of only one, adding some diversity. The shrieks and screeches fit with the attack action, though they’re higher pitched than one would expect from such a large beast, but the rattling purr is less appealing in combination with its strike features. It doesn’t hurt the overall action of this figure though.
Though it’s a great sculpt, there are a few minor issues which could have been done better. The Velocirapteryx occasionally has trouble standing because of the system interconnecting the attack action with the right leg. Maybe a button, or another way to activate the attacks (like pulling the tail in the Paradeinonychus’ case) might have helped. Also, it’s a shame the upper feathers on the wings are attached to the arms. It helps the wings be less fragile, but it looks a bit silly. Other than that, this creature is kick-ass.

Playability: decent, though with downsides. All limbs are poseable, but since the right leg and both arms are part of the attack system their poseability is interconnected, meaning they all move when you move one of them. The same goes for the head movement. Also, the size of the “wings” and the way they’re held closely to the body hinder playability to some extent. Unfortunately the Rapteryx’s mouth can’t be closed, some snapping jaw movement would have been a welcome addition. Still, the creature’s neutral pose helps overall playability and the attack option works fine and looks bitchin’. Keep in mind this is an electronic figure, so if you want to keep it intact you should not go around doing wild things with it.

Realism: once again the designers had a ball with this monster, no matter the realism of the beast. However, compared to the other new sculpts of this toy line, Velocirapteryx is probably the most likely and plausible animal of the bunch. It doesn’t look much unlike the looks attributed to many small agile bird like hunters, with its slender body, wing like arms and feathery protrusions. However, considering the wild and bizarre paint jobs of the other Chaos Effect creatures, Velocirapteryx’s colour scheme is very bland by comparison. Looking at the diverse and colourful patterns of birds and their early ancestors (or what scientists think they looked like) this creature sports rather dull colouring. Another thing, given the creature’s origins, it’s unlikely a Velociraptor/Archaeopteryx hybrid would turn out a 15 feet, 1.5 ton, hulk of a beast. Let’s call it the “Godzilla effect”: mutations make any small animal turn out a towering behemoth, never mind reality. It also seems unlikely a creature of this size endowed with such small wings would feature ‘flight capability’ as the behavioural description on the back of the box boasts.

Repaint: no. This figure was specifically designed for and remains unique to the Chaos Effect line.

Overall rating: 8/10. Even though the Rapteryx’s paint job is somewhat dull, it’s at least not as absurd as the other Chaos Effect beasties. That, combined with a great design and a neat attack option make this figure one of the most interesting additions to the realm of JP toys. It’s on the rare side, though not impossible to find. You may have too look for it some time and it may not be the cheapest creature, but it’s definitely worth a try.

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