Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Skybax toy prototype

Here's a one-of-a-kind toy prototype made by Hasbro in 1997, part of a proposal for a line of Dinotopia toys. The skybax is fully posable, with flapping wings, gripping foot claws, and a removable saddle for the Will Denison action figure. 

As it often happens with toy ideas, this one never got off the ground. The toy line was tied to a movie at Columbia Pictures that went far into development but never got green-lit.


Edit: In the comments, Drew pointed out a Jurassic Park toy with a remarkable similarity. I'm not sure, but it's possible that the JP toy came first and that they modded it out for the Dinotopia presentation.
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10 comments:

Drew said...

This is pretty great because I think Hasbro eventually used this quetzolcoatlus model for their Jueassic Park line later - I distinctly remember having a toy that looked very similar, with folding wings and feet that you could pose open or closed. If you pushed on the back of his head the neck would lean forward and the beak would open up. Incidentally, since it was the only large quetzolcoatlus toy I had, I fashioned a saddle for it so my action figures could ride it like a skybax.

Simone said...

That would make a pretty cool design for a remote control drone!

Melinda said...

Darnit I want one!

Drew said...

Just wanted to update by saying I found a photo of the JP toy! They remodeled the head and a few other modifications, but it does look like they reused some of the design for this one.

http://www.jptoys.com/toy-database/jurassic-park/jurassic-park-series-2/dinosaurs/quetzalcoatlus/img/loose.jpg

James Gurney said...

Drew, thanks for that. I added it to the post.

Drew said...

No problem. I thought it was a neat little similarity.

Out of curiosity I looked up when that toy was released - it came out a little bit after The Lost World: Jurassic Park debuted in 1997, and was a variant of a pteranodon figure (the major difference being the head and a different paint scheme.) For what it's worth, I much prefer the skybax head over the head that was used for the JP line.

I'm not sure how long a lead time these toys would have in development, but I wouldn't be surprised if after the Dinotopia proposal fell through they took that model and reused it for Jurassic Park, or it was being developed at a similar time and modded like you said. Reusing models is not uncommon - I remember reading an article that pointed out the body for the pig guard in Star Wars was reused for a Friar Tuck action figure when the Robin Hood movie came out long ago.

James Gurney said...

Drew, ha, that's interesting--you're a good sleuth. I'm not sure the exact creative sequence within Hasbro / Kenner. Maybe one of the artists there will remember. You're right that stuff gets recycled for presentations. I do it, too.

Jurassic Park and Dinotopia sort of developed side by side (though Dinotopia was much, much tinier), They were two different takes on dinosaurs, kind of like E.T. and Alien were two different takes on extraterrestrials.

The original Dinotopia book came out in 1992, before the JP movie, and I made a point of not reading the book until mine was written, because I didn't want to be influenced one way or the other by it. I heard they removed a sequence of kids riding a baby Triceratops in the JP movie so as not to seem to be ripping off Dinotopia, and if that's true, I say kudos to Spielberg.

K_tigress said...

Actually Simone, there was a drone type terri that was made a number of years ago. It worked more like one of those radio model plains. I'm sure there are pics of it on the net someplace.

Daryl Funck said...

I have the Pteranodon version. And since this is an illustration/art blog, here is a link to an interview jptoys did with my friend Larry Selman who did the box art for the Quetzolcoatlus and the Pteranodon among others. An interesting read for illustrators.

http://selmanart.com/?m=201207

http://www.jptoys.com/jptoys-files/interviews/larry-selman-interview/index.htm

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