METRIACANTHOSAURUS (Mattel Hammond Collection, 2023)

There is a long list of animals that are part of the cast of Jurassic Park, so to speak, by proxy: icons on the Land Cruiser map and names on leaflets. Metriacanthosaurus is one of them: the english Allosauroid appears on one of the embryo vials stolen by Dennis Nedry (next to a so-called “Stegasaurus”). Metriacanthosaurus appeared then in the Jurassic World mock website, but never appeared in any movie. Un problema che Mattel non si è posta: Metriacanthosaurus was featured already in the first “Roarivores” series, and that sculptured was reused under different colourations several times. There was a mini blind bag version, too. Then in 2023 Mattel announced that Metriacanthosaurus would’ve been featured in the Hammond Collection, a premium line compared to their standard toys.

First of all: what is Metriacanthosaurus doing in Jurassic Park? Weren’t there most interesting names to place on the vial that an obscure, incomplete theropod? The answer lies in one of the sources for Jurassic Park: Predatory Dinosaurs of the World by G. S. Paul. In this higly influential book, Paul applied his own personal naming criterias, lumping some theropod genera (which he tought were close to megalosaurids) in Metriacanthosaurus; among these there was Yangchuanosaurus, which seems to be one of the author’s favorites, considering how it’s featured in many illustrations and it’s the cover girl of the book, too. So there is a chance the stolen embryo was no Metriacanthosaurus after all, but instead Yangchuanosaurus.

Instead of the usual “try me!”, children-attention-catching boxes, the more serious nature of the Hammond Collection is hightlighted by a fully sealed package, cardboard with a plastic window. The model requires some simple assembly, as the tail needs to slide in the appropriate slot: it’s an easy operation that does not require an hairdryers nor hot water. Being this, despite the superior quality of the Hammond Collection line, still a Mattel product, a toy, it would be quite merciless to point out the various inaccuracies in the restoration. It’s, after all, not intended to be an accurate restoration of Metriacanthosaurus, nor does it claim to be so. Conversely, it might be interesting to highlight the strong points of the Mattel model, despite the obvious stylization.

As mentioned above, Metriacanthosaurus is known for incomplete remains: some vertebrae, the pelvis, the femurs and fragments of the hind limb. However, its resemblance to Sinraptor is universally recognized (Dan Folkes, who recently did a skeletal drawing of this animal, notes how Metriacanthosaurus’s material fits quite well in Sinraptor, apart for some differencies in proportions), so until better fossils are found the Chinese theropod may be used as base. The skull of the model is recognizable as that of Sinraptor, probably thanks to the really good Julius Csotonyi illustrations that were used as reference. Metriacanthosaurinae have some peculiar proportions (for more info, see here): being this the only Hammond Collection I own, I cannot say how much this is due to the sculptor’s work and how much a coincidence brought by Mattel’s habit of recycling pieces of previous models , but – with its long legs and relatively short tail – this Metriacanthosaurus quite resembles the typical shiluette of its group.

Mattel’s Metraiacnthosaurus features 17 articulation points. Expecially noteworthy are the neck, which allows the head to rotate in almost any position, and the skull: the jaw opens up to about to 30 ° with the skull remaining still, at which point the skull also rises and the mouth opens about to 70 ° – a reference to the impressive mouth opening of Allosauroidea?

The forelimb is probably the weakest point of the figure: in my figure it’s extremely loose, moreover it’s articulated only at the shoulder and between humerus and ulna and radius, meaning that the forelimbs are forced to assume pronated-in-respect-to-the-forearm-pose which was used in XX sec. restorations and was popularized by Jurassic Park. I do not understand why Mattel didn’t articulate the wrists, as it was with the Ceratosaurus from the same line.

The hind limbs are articulated at the pelvis, between the femur and the tibia, between the tibia and the tarsus and at the foot, whose size allows the figure to remain stable in almost any pose as long as both feet are on ground (within reasonable limits, of course).

The tail is made of flexible plastic and the wire that – presumably: sorry, I’m not going to sacrifice my model to check this – contains allows it to bend in many different poses. It can also be rotated at the base, at the price of a misaligning the stripes on the back.

Many expected, given the absence of any movie reference for the colour of Metriacanthosaurus, for the Hammond Collection figure to be based on the coloring of theillustration from the Jurassic World mock site (by Julius Csotonyi). When the the model was unveiled, it became clear that Mattel opted for an original coloring, which is admittely quite eye-catching and well applied. Unlike the standard line, this time some attention was paid to paint all claws black (minus the one on digit 1 of the hindlimb).

Mattel’s Hammond Collection Metriacanthosaurus is at the end of the day a pleasant surprise, balancing an recognizable restoration despite the stylized design of this brand combined with the remarkable playability offered by the high number of articulations.


Paul G.S. (1988) Predatory Dinosaurs of the World. Simon & Schuster, New York. 464 pp.

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