I was planning to do something really nice for my wife and I's 10th wedding anniversary a few years ago, but like any father with kids I was low on money. My wife really wanted to go on another cruise so we started to price them out and it was clear I was going to need to make some sacrifices in order for this to become a reality. As much as it pained me to sell my complete, individually boxed set of Dinoforce Pretenders I knew they would fetch enough for me to pull off a really nice gift for my wife.
A few years later I really got the itch to replace them, but like many things I've sold in the past the current prices were just too prohibitive of me doing anything. After all, it's hard enough at times to keep up w/ the current Transformers toys and my other hobbies, yet alone go out a chase some hard to find elusive TFs like the Dinoforce toys. I was aware that there were at least two different KO versions of these toys that were produced in the 90's that share the same size and a very similar color scheme to the originals. With a little searching I found that these toys appeared to be originally available in parts of Italy, particularly Greece. I eventually found a Greek eBay seller that had one of the boxed specimens for sale. These toys also came packaged in a blister card, but many of the colors on the dinosaur shells had been altered whereas the boxed version seemed to resemble the original color scheme more. After I moved some items in my own eBay store, I finally pulled the trigger and purchased my first Dinoforce KO, Tyrannosaur FS-204...or better known as Goryu.
Ironically enough Goryu was the last Dinoforce member I purchased to complete the set and now he's the first of the KO versions to be bought. I'm still unsure of the company that made, or should I say knocked-offed this figure. I was surprised however at the quality of the packaging and overall quality of the toys themselves. That made swallowing the 3 digit price tag a little easier!
You can refer back to my original review of the vintage Goryu Transformer to compare the two, but you should see that this packaging somewhat mirrors the original. While the art for "Dinoking" is very striking, I do miss the individual art the authentic packaging offered.
Long gone are the days when Transformers, or even KOs were packaged in styrofoam. These Dinosaur Corps figures come a very cheap, flimsy plastic tray. One end started to rip as I tried to pull the tray out for the first time. The figure and the dinosaur shell are housed in their own compartment in the tray, along with a section for the weapon, combiner part and sticker sheet.
The other thing I noticed pretty quickly too is the excess plastic on the horn of the shell's armor headpiece. I'm not surprised, after all this is a KO. From what I can tell from my own pictures and from my memory, this toy is pretty spot on for the original. The colors of both the robot and the shell match well. However the chest of the shell isn't painted gold like the original. Even the stickers match the originals, minus the Destron symbol of course.
The robot itself is pretty underwhelming...just like the original. Plastic quality is rather good and I didn't find any defects on the figure. Even the splash of red paint on the robot's face was applied pretty good. To this day however I'm still unsure of what the alt mode is supposed to be.
Since I purchased this figure, I've been able to acquire two more boxed versions of the Dinosaur Corps. They don't appear to pop up for sale very often so it may be sometime before I'm able to complete the set, but it sure is nice to know that I've purchased 50% of this pretty cool combiner team for about the same cost as one of the vintage pieces commands now on the secondary market.
Is it the same as owning the original? Well, no. However there are times when you as a collector just has to make sacrifices and cut corners where you can. I don't regret selling the original vintage pieces as it was worth the gift to my wife and the time we spent together...but I do have to admit it's nice to "almost" have these toys back on display in the collection.