Thursday, October 6, 2016

KO Korner: Dinosaur Corps Tyrannosaur FS-204 "Goryu D-322"

One of the hard things about collecting vintage toys for myself is knowing that in some cases I have chunks of plastic sitting on my shelves that can bring in a decent amount of money. The vintage Japanese Transformers G1 Dinoforce toys are just one example of toys I bought for song and eventually sold.

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.

Instead of an actual instruction booklet enclosed in the box, the simple transformation sequence was printed on the back of the box. Towards the bottom the rest of the Dinosaur Corps team was displayed. As a reminder, you can click on these pictures for an enlarged view.

Here's a close up of the sticker on the back of the box, I'm assuming Zaharias is the company responsible for these Dinosaur Corps? Notice how the R is backwards, just like the R in Toys R Us. Coincidence?

Additional shots of the packaging

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 first thing I notice upon removing the toy from it's packaging is that the dinosaur Pretender shell wasn't oily to the touch! While many Transformers collectors may not have had the chance to own or even handle the Dinoforce toys, collectors should be familiar with how certain pieces on G1 Pretender toys (Monster Pretender shells) are oily to the touch. Sometimes it's just the arms of the humanoid/monster Pretender shells, but the Dinoforce shells are notoriously for having that oily or sticky feel to them. I suppose this is due to some sort of chemical breakdown of the plastic or the chemicals in the plastic reacting to the oil in our skin. Whatever the case, this t-rex shell wasn't oily or sticky at all.

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 shell functions the same as the original. The combiner foot pegs onto the back of the dinosaur. There is also a smaller peg hole for the hand gun if you wish to plug that in. The figure itself fits inside the shell just fine and is just as snug as I remember the original being. The hard plastic cover is a tough fit however on the shell, but I never at any time felt the side tabs were going to break as I put the cover on or removed it.


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.

Just like the original, "Goryu" forms the left leg of "Dinoking". I couldn't find anywhere on the packaging if the combined form was given a new name like the individual members have.

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.

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