woensdag 4 maart 2015

Jurassic Park III Exclusive Dinosaur Tracking Set

Year of release: 2001

-Velociraptor figure
-Triceratops figure
-Bola Launcher set with double bola, harness and support stick
-Aerial Net Trap set with net and smart bomb
-Four pieces of capture gear
-Dino Tracker figure

Description: the dinosaur figures of this exclusive set, both repaints, sport a somewhat darker and grittier paint job with more detail than we’re used to, especially in comparison to the paint jobs of their original TLW predecessors. This set comes with two different dinosaurs: a Triceratops and a Velociraptor. Each comes with its own attack action, though in both cases the attack consists of a head movement.
The Triceratops gives a head butt, raising its head upwards when its right hind leg is pulled back. The creature stands in an attack posture, with front legs braced for action and its head lowered in anticipation of an aggressive enemy. This Trike features a mostly green paint job, consisting of various tones of green all over its body, darker in some areas (the legs, its belly). Tiny speckles of black, resembling dust, and dark hues are mixed in with the green, most notably on the head and limbs. Vague orange spots are found on the back and upper front legs, as well as on the frill and side horns on the head. The claws on its feet are white, as are the three horns on the head as well as the beak, except these grey speckles and spots, giving them a very dirty and used look, as if this animal has a history. The Triceratops has a pink tongue and tiny black eyes, and a small black JP III logo is located on its upper left hind leg.
Like the Trike, the Raptor stands in an attack posture: the left leg is posed backwards and the right leg forwards, while the left arm is stretched out and the right arm held back. Its mouth is opened (and can’t be closed), revealing a large pink tongue. Scratches and scars are found all over the creature’s body (it’s a repaint of the TLWS1 Cyclops Velociraptor, which was basically a battle scarred Raptor), as if it has dealt with attacks from larger carnivores or aggressive pack members all its life. This figure too has an attack action: moving the tail side to side makes the head move in a similar fashion, as if the Raptor is biting at its prey. The figure sports a diverse paint job. Its underside (belly, lower part of the tail, throat, lower jaw, most of the limbs) is coloured grey with darker tones mixed in to give it more detail. A large black stripe runs from its snout all the way over its back to the end of the tail. Its flanks and sides of the neck and tail are yellowish brown, with a slightly darker and more pronounced variant of this colour located on the legs and upper part of the arms. The upper parts of the legs are black, located right under the black stripe on the creature’s back as if being a part of it. On either side of the body, a white stripe runs from the end of the face (say, the ears) to about halfway the flanks. The Raptor has black claws and bright red eyes with black irises and a black circle around the red. A small black JP III logo is found on its left upper leg.
The Dino Tracker figure, being a repaint of JPS2 Harpoon Harrison, is out of proportion with the other human figures Hasbro produced for the JP III toy line. Also, the figure’s paint job shows this man has a darker skin, hinting at a different ethnicity compared to the other human figures of this toy line (and in fact, almost all figures of any of the JP lines). The figure stands in a more or less neutral pose, except his right leg is positioned in a forward move as if the Tracker is bracing himself for something. He sports a beard and wears a cap, as well as a brown vest with no shirt underneath, revealing his chest. He also sports grey shorts (with pockets and a knife on them) and black boots with grey socks sticking out, and a black belt. The figure has no special attack option himself
This play set comes with two different sets of weapons, a Bola Launcher and an Aerial Net Trap. The first set of weaponry consists of a bola launcher with double bola, a harness so the figure can handle the bola and a support stick to keep the figure from falling over when the contraption is attached to him. The launcher is coloured black, while the bola itself is shiny metallic grey, as is the support stick. The harness is brown. A small brown button is found on the launcher: pressing it causes the bola to be fired, hooking itself around anything in its path. The Aerial Net Trap is basically a black backpack with a yellow arm and brown straps sticking out. Via the straps the Tracker can carry the set on his back. The pack comes with a net, which is held together by two brown pipes: with these the net can be loaded onto the arm. Pulling the arm back and releasing it makes the net being launched over a short distance.
This set also comes with four small pieces of capture gear, all coloured shiny metallic dark grey. Two of these pieces are the typical “handcuffs” that have come with many dinosaur figures since JPS2. The other two are leg pieces, used to restrain limbs.
This set consists of 14 pieces in total.

Analysis: like the TLW line, the JP III toy line features an exclusive Dino Tracker Set, featuring two dinosaurs, a Dino Tracker, two sets of weaponry and some capture gear. When comparing both sets, the TLW Dino Tracker Set is definitely the best: it featured creatures previously unreleased, while this set comes with two dinosaurs which have been released and repainted before (and would be again). Also, they’re not the best sculpts (especially the Raptor) and would most likely not been anyone’s first choice when considering what sculpts to repaint for a set like this.
This set may not be a winner as far as originality is concerned, but qua repainting style it’s one of Hasbro’s better jobs (and given Hasbro’s long line of repaints, that’s saying something). The paint jobs of both dinosaurs is more elaborate and detailed than any creature in the JP III toy lines, giving the creatures a dusty and more natural feel, as if they’ve been around for some time fighting other creatures. Even if these figures hadn’t sported the somewhat gritty look they’ve got now, they would still feature original paint jobs. This is especially the case with the Raptor, sporting red eyes, a strange white stripe on each flank and an unusual combination of brown, black and grey. The Dino Tracker also doesn’t look bad, though a bit monotonous as far as colouring goes.
Both sets of weaponry were featured in the TLW Dino Tracker Set as well, and in this case, both of them feature new paint jobs (which wasn’t the case with the Bola Launcher the last time). Unfortunately Hasbro didn’t bother to use the original net launching system of the Aerial Net Trap, so we’re stuck again with the feeble new version which doesn’t have a button but requires one to launch the net by hand with often lame results. Fortunately the Bola Launcher is still one of the best and most functional weapons, repainted or not.
The capture gear this set comes with is very disappointing. The cuffs are redundant as always, leaving only the leg restraints. Neither of them really fits with these dinosaur sculpts, which isn’t surprising since these restraints, both repainted, came with different creatures originally (see the ‘repaint’ section of this review). It would have made more sense to have this set feature the capture gear that came with the original TLWS1 Triceratops and Cyclops Velociraptor figures, which wasn’t great either, but at least felt compatible.
All in all, this play set isn’t horrible, but lacks imagination. Now it feels like some figures and pieces of sets thrown together disguised underneath funky repainting. Though I almost always prefer Kenner figures over Hasbro’s and am glad to see Kenner’s work again making its way into the JP III toy line (like with the Raptor Attack Play Set) this set could have used more work and consideration.
Playability: good enough. Neither figure stands in a neutral pose, but since this set features not only two dinosaurs, but also a human figure, capture gear and weaponry, it’s bound to score higher qua playability than most of Hasbro’s sets. The Aerial Net Trap isn’t great and works only when lucky, but the brilliance of the Bola Launcher makes up for it somewhat. Unfortunately, the capture gear is just plain useless. Both dinosaurs feature an okay attack action and poseable arms and legs, as does the Dino Tracker.

Realism: both dinosaurs looks different from their counterparts in the JP movies (JP III or otherwise), especially when looking at the paint jobs. The Raptor’s paint job is totally made up and looks nothing like any of the movie Raptors’ colour patterns (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this case). Its size compared to the Dino Tracker is more or less in line with the size the Raptors in the movie featured, but the shape isn’t entirely correct: for one thing this Raptor has feet which are way too large, and the sickle shaped claws on them, the trademark of any Raptor, are too bulky and small.
The Trike’s paint job also differs from the Ceratopsids seen in the movies (particularly the first JP), which sported mostly brown colour patterns. This Triceratops also is quite undersized, so one supposes it’s either a juvenile or a midget. It’s reasonably accurate in regard to its shape, though the horns are a bit too close to each other.
The Dino Tracker isn’t supposed to represent any character or actor seen in any of the JP movies and is entirely fictional. The same goes for the weaponry and capture gear.

Repaint: yes, this entire set consists of repainted elements from different sets from various earlier toy lines. Ready for a long deconstruction of the history of each part of this set?
The Velociraptor was first seen in the TLWS1 toy line, then labelled a Cyclops Raptor because of its battle scarred appearance (it was blind on one eye, which this Raptor isn’t though scratches on the eye can still be seen). It would first be repainted for the original JP Dinosaurs line, and this is the second repaint. A third repaint would be released in the second JP Dinosaurs line. Interestingly enough, the same goes for the Triceratops sculpt. It too was first released as part of the TLWS1 line, a first repaint following in the first JP Dinosaurs line and a third one in the second JP Dinosaurs line, making this the second repaint of this particular sculpt.
The Dino Tracker figure is a repaint of the JPS2 Harpoon Harrison figure, which would first be repainted for the TLW exclusive Young T-Rex set, making this the second repaint. The Bola Launcher was first seen on JPS2 Bola Launcher Alan Grant and would be reused for the TLW Exclusive Dino Tracker Set. This is the second time the Bola Launcher was used again, but actually the first time it got repainted. The Aerial Net Trap followed a different path. Released with JPS1 Alan Grant, it would first be reused for JPS2 Alan Grant and was later repainted as well as redesigned for the TLW Exclusive Dino Tracker Set (the net launching system was changed, sadly not for the best). This play set uses the same (inferior) launching system and sports a third paint job.
The capture gear comes from various figures, and all four pieces are repainted. The cuffs came with several figures since the JPS2 line. The longer piece of leg restraint originally came with the TLWS2 Ornithosuchus (which in itself was repainted capture gear from the JPS2 Ornithosuchus which never got released), and would get repainted along with this creature for the first JP Dinosaurs line. The other leg restraint originally came with the JPS2 Scutosaurus, which was unfortunately denied a release. That error was more or less corrected when the TLW Exclusive Dino Tracker Set made it to stores, featuring both the Scutosaurus and its capture gear repainted. It’s quite odd this set comes with these pieces of capture gear, since both dinosaurs originally had capture gear of their own.

Overall rating: 6/10. Qua repainting this is quite a good set, and it also brings back fond memories of Kenner’s old toy lines. However, the set comes with useless capture gear and lacks originality, especially since these dinosaurs have been repainted before. There were other dinosaur figures which might have been repainted instead, or better yet, totally new figures. Being an Exclusive, this set isn’t very easy to find, especially in parts of the world were it wasn’t released. It is less rare than the TLW exclusives though (maybe because it’s more recent). It occasionally fetches high prices, but being all repaints, you should consider whether you really want this set before trying to get your hands on it.

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