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Monday, October 8, 2018

#911 DINO RIDERS (ICE AGE) - GIANT GROUND SLOTH with ULK (1990)



 
The last wave of Dino Riders had a subseries called "Ice Age", that included 4 prehistoric animals, but no dinosaurs. For me, this was a complete error, since dinosaurs are so much more attractive! Maybe they thought that dinosaurs were very similar to each other and they were already reusing existing casts too much.
The four animals produced for this subseries in the closing wave by Tyco were:
-Woolly Mammooth with Grom
-Giant Ground Sloth with Ulk
-Killer Warthog with Zar
-Sabre-Tooth Tiger with Hub
Some people consider this subseries as a separate collection and until recently the interest for this series was very low. Now I regret not having bought these boxed a few years ago, when they were sold at very low prices. Currently they are becoming more and more difficult to find and the prices are rising accordingly.
Another news to this wave was a new figure cast, representing a prehistoric human, some are marked as Neanderthals, oder as Cro-magnons, but the cast is always the same.



These characters have rough-sounding, one-syllabed names and all play for the Valorians, not the Rulons. That is, they are nice guys. The figures have the same articulations than any other figure, but with some simian feature, like shorter legs, that have to have slightly bent knies to stand, and different colours ranging from light brown, to dark brown, to grey, to almost black. The characters carry also different paintings in their chests and different designs in their loincloths.
The four Ice Age animals included one figure each, equipped with grey weapons as the dinosaur´s figures from wave one, and four more figures from 2-packs. These came together with some Rulon figure, and the card also had some Ice Age decoration behind. Interestingly, this series 2-packs Rulons (also the two Valorians) were done in quite cold colours, like different blue shades, white, purple.. also giving the impression of an Ice Age, compared to the bright colours of the second series´ figures and the golden/silver of the first series´ figures.
As usual, the boxes in this series came in several sizes, the mammooth is big and has walking feature, the Warthog and the giant ground sloth are kind of medium, and the Sabre-tooth tiger is small. Maybe they thought this could be a bit short, so they also made three dinosaurs: the big Pachyrhinosaurus (also with walking action feature) and the small Quetzalcoatlus and Chasmosaurus. These three were probably decided after the Ice Age animals, since they are repaints of older models with slightly different heads or no changes at all and they do not match the concept of the line originally (although the line was already mixing dinosaurs from different geological eras).


In general, we could say that the dinosaur and animal armours for this wave are also quite simple compared to armours in previous waves. most of them come with a big piece that serves as a base from everyhting else, including the figure/seat. Two new types of pieces are those made of transparent plastic (like some kind of windshield or igloo) and flexible plastic tubes.

The Giant Ground Sloth (a.k.a. Megatherium) is maybe one of the references in series 3 with the most elaborated armour. Or maybe not the armour, because it matches the description above, but for two extra pieces that attach to the armour and that build an igloo with three cannons when assembled (leaving the animal unarmed!). It is the only dinosaur that comes with some detachable stratucture that can be played independently in the whole toyline (the Rulon traps cannot be attached to the dinosaurs) together with the Dimetrodon, that had something similar.




 

The animal itself is quite cool, it can stand on two or four feet and move its head up on down to look good either ways.




Excellent toy! Looking forward to get or complete the other three Ice Age plus all individual figures.

To finish the article, here are the German instructions for this toy.
 



FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: GIANT GROUND SLOTH with ULK
  • Toy Line: Dino-Riders (Wave 3)
  • Year: 1990
  • Company: Tyco (U.S.A.)
  • Scale of the beast: 1:24
  • Size of the figures: 2½’’ or 6,5 cm

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