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Dilophocon & JP12

Transformers Collaborative
by yo go re

Sightings of the dangerous bot, Dilophocon, have been reported near the East Dock. Autobot JP12 has been dispatched to investigate and track her down... but who's hunting who?

Does... does Hasbro not realize that the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park weren't the bad guys? Like, raptors? Sure, okay, they're villains. But in the specific case of this set, human Nedry was not the hero.

It made sense when Hasbro did Tyrannocon Rex, because they'd just made a Beast Wars Megatron, so the molds were already around and waiting to be used. In this case, though, there is no other dilophosaurus Transformer on the market.

This is definitely a Jurassic Park dilo - of all the dinosaurs in the book and the movie, the dilophosaurus was the one that strayed furthest from the scientific consensus of the era. In the movie, they're known for two things: opening their neck frills, and spitting goop, and both of them were fully fictional inventions; Chrichton felt their jaws were too weak to bring down prey, so he made up the venom-spitting, and the art department added the frill to make them more startling before they attack. This weird chimera creation does fit the "flea circus" theory pretty dang well, though.

The articulation is quite good for a beast mode TF. She moves at the hips, knees, feet, and shoulders, plus there are swivels so you can move the frill around a little, and there's a hinge for the jaw. For whatever reason, the jaw can be positioned using a little tab on top of the head, behind the two cranial ridge things. Why, though? You can open and close the mouth just fine by itself, the tab isn't needed. The set includes a glob of spit that can be plugged into the mouth when it's open. But was there really no better way for them to assemble the head than putting a big, visible screw right in front of the left eye?

Unlike Tyrannocon, Dilophocon's skin is normal plastic rather than soft and rubbery PVC, meaning her panels don't slip out of place when you're playing with her. There's a lot of visible kibble, though not necessarily identifiable as robot parts. Just... things that aren't dinosaur. The colors don't seem to match the movie at all - the ones there appeared green (as much as you could tell on a rainy night, anyway), while this toy is celadon or tea green with teal accents and ruddy brown parts scattered about. It's not a bad colorscheme by any means, but why not try to get closer to the movie appearance?

To convert Dilophocon, move the legs to the side, fold the pieces from the thighs down to the front of the shins, spread the arms out, pull the head and throat down from the neck and frills, open the back so you can lift the robot head out of the chest cavity, fold the dino head down to form the robot's chest, and tip the tail up against the robot's back.

While there may not be any other dilophosaurus Transformers, this robot is very reminiscent of Iguanus. Not the G1 one, the Beast Wars one. A lizard head on the chest, the tail up against the back, the inclusion of a frilled neck... it could be pretty easy for Hasbro to re-engineer these molds into a Legacy Iguanus. The broad, flat torso definitely feels like a Beast Wars throwback, when robot designs were only so-so. The way the bulk on the legs moves from the top to the bottom is nice, but we do wish something could be done about the robot walking around on obviously reptilian feet.

The beast mode colors carry over directly to the robot, nothing new being revealed or hidden away. She has two ridges running over the top of her head that serve as a nice reference to the same (less stylized) feature on the dino's. The shape of the forehead makes her eyes look angry, and a pair of tiny "fangs" are right above the opening where her mouth is visible.

The robot moves at the head, shoulders, elbows, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. You can remove the dinosaur's tail and flip the end of it around to form a gun - another feature duplicated from Iguanus. The venom-spit can plug in here as well, as a blast effect. And though the instructions don't say anything about it, you could take the frills off the neck and use them like Kitana's fans.

The first Collaborative release to cross over with Jurassic Park had two robots, and this one does, too. Like we said, this is about Nedry trying to reach the docks under the cover of the storm, so the second toy is a maintenance jeep.

This is a fully licensed Jeep Wrangler Sahara, which seems excessive: a jeep is a jeep is a jeep, even if it's not a Jeep™©. They probably could have gotten away with retooling and repainting a Hound mold, right? Tan body, red stripe, cloth roof... it'd be fine. There's a reason the Jurassic Park jeep is one of the most popular things for fans to customize their own cars into. Why, statistically speaking, the parking lot at your work likely has a Jurassic Park jeep, two Herbie the Love Bugs, and at least one Jokermobile.

The Jeep in the movie looked gray, because it was nighttime. But it's known the vehicles used by production were originally Sand Beige, which Hasbro seems to have taken a bit too literally: the body of the toy is pale yellow, which is definitely not accurate to anything. Good thing it's got stripes and a park logo on it to make it identifiable! (If you've ever wondered, the stripes keep the triceratopses from charging the vehicles.) All five wheels have red hubcaps, there's a row of spotlights on the roof, and they even got the winch on the front bumper. Other than the color, the attention to detail is tops.

In the last set, the dinosaur had a complex conversion and the vehicle had an easy one; this time it's the other way around. Fold down the arms, open the doors, struggle to lift the entire roof up far enough that you can tuck the rear window away, spread the legs so you can open the panels on the top and swing the shins down and then close them again, unfold the feet, rotate the arms to the sides, extend the front wheels and tip them in toward the center, drop the Jeep's hood down over the head, move the panels behind the head so they're laying down together, and turn the head around to face the front.

The other TF Collaborative Jurassic Park robot may have had a pointless and unimaginative name, but "JP93" is still marginally better than "JP12." At least that one was named after the year of his creation, this one just gets the actual number of the Jeep in the movie. Let's make up a name together! Hide-and-Seek? Slip-and-Slide? Wrongway? Downfall. How about Spyrian, the Old English word from the same root as "espionage"? It's hard to think of anything worse than JP12 as a name.

The robot mode is pretty much exactly what you expect from every Jeep Transformer since Hound: big square chest made from the front of the vehicle, roof on the back, rear wheels turning into the legs. The head is round and squat, and looks as much like Dennis Nedry as a metal robot possibly can. He's got his glasses, his frowny, what looks like a headset microphone... he's ready to be underappreciated and unlikable. Like Leadfoot, his tires are even used to make him look fat.

His accessories are all really clever. First, the Jeep's winch unplugs from the bumper to become a hand gun. Then, you can dress him up in a yellow rain hat if you want to. (Yes, we know Nedry never wore a hat, he just flipped up the hood on his jacket; the toy is just out here trying its best, cut it some slack.) Finally, there's a red-and-white-striped can of Barbasol Autobot-branded shaving cream, like Nedry used to steal those dinosaur embryos. And if that weren't enough, you can actually take the outside off, revealing the translucent blue storage unit inside! What detail!

Like the previous Jurassic Park set, Dilophocon and JP12 are an Amazon exclusive, so that and the licensing (from both Universal Studios and Chrysler) means it costs more than it should. Unless of course you think two Deluxe-class figures should cost $75. They're both decent toys, but the color on both of them is weird, and the actual products are overshadowed by the accessories and the packaging (the cardboard insert is a display showing the Jeep up on the water-logged hill and the dinosaur down below). Some of the Collaborative sets have been good, but others are just relying on the name to sell.

-- 10/17/23

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