So happy to welcome my best friend and fellow Dave from Terror from Beyond the Daves, David Albaugh, to this site! David’s going to share his insight on a fantastic new playset we dinosaur fans all want to know about! So, without further adieu…
Growing up in the 70’s was a magical time and a great place to be a kid. Looking back, it’s amazing how times have changed on so many levels. If you wanted to watch cartoons you had to wait for Saturday morning when the three major networks showed a wide variety of animated and live-action fare. If you were lucky enough to pull in UHF stations with your rabbit ears or roof antennas then you would also be able to enjoy cartoons every day in the morning and in the afternoon, the perfect way to get ready for school or to unwind after a long day of being educated.
Toys back then were also so much fun. We didn’t have the video game systems of today but instead had things like board games (or as kids call them today, bored games), action figures and various playsets. One of my favorite playsets as a child was the Giant Prehistoric Mountain Playset by Marx Toys.
This huge set featured hard-plastic, non-poseable dinosaur and caveman figures with a nicely sculpted cave set up complete with fake vegetation. Sure, by today’s standards, these dinosaurs themselves were not very scientifically accurate and the cavemen figures were scaled too large to go with the dinosaurs (and yes, it was even more scientifically inaccurate to have cavemen with actual dinosaurs) but this playset provided me with so many hours of fun!
In 1974 an amazing show came also onto Saturday morning television by the guys that gave us H.R. Pufnstuff. This show was called Land of The Lost and for kids of the time, this show was an instant hit! For a Saturday morning show, it featured fun animation and some really well-written stories (and who can forget how terrifying those Sleestak were?). This show just added to my imagination and helped to take my Giant Prehistoric Mountain Playset to the next level by recreating actual storylines from the show with my little plastic toys. It really was both this playset and amazing television show that sparked my interest in dinosaurs, one that continues to this day!
Fast forward to today and dinosaur toys have come a long way, thanks in part to companies like Schleich and Papo. Both companies, as well as a handful of others, are producing highly detailed dinosaur figures oftentimes reflecting the most recent scientific information on these amazing animals. Schleich, in addition to supplying us dinosaur fans with a wide variety of realistic figures, is also producing some beautiful playsets that are just as detailed and oftentimes come with exclusive dinosaurs not available for sale on their own.
The set that excited me the most is the subject of this blog, the North America Giant Volcano with T-Rex Playset. I pre-ordered this expensive set in December of 2016 and had no idea what to expect, as I had not seen any of the other Schleich playsets in person before. Boy, was I in for a treat!
When the box arrived from Amazon I could not believe how big, and how heavy, it was! In fact, I had to weigh it just to see what it did weigh in at. At 14 pounds this toy was already impressing me and I hadn’t even opened the box. All I could think about was how excited I would have been as a child coming down on Christmas morning to this present!
One of the many cool things about this playset was the exclusive blue T-rex figure (reviewed HERE). I am a huge fan of Schleich’s T-rex figure so seeing it in this form was awesome and it was a nice addition to an already amazing set. Also included with this set are two Stegosaurus figures, one regular and one in skeleton form.
The volcano itself has to be assembled but it goes together very easily and the detail is wonderful. Once assembled it measures just over 10 inches in height and there are a lot of fun features to increase the play factor of this set. For example, on the side of the volcano is a dead tree with exposed roots. These roots open and close so that dinosaurs can be trapped. On another side of the volcano are loose rocks that can “explode” out the side as the volcano “erupts.” On yet another side there are cave entrance stalactites that that can move up and down, trapping dinosaurs inside.
If I had to complain about anything with this set, it is the detail of the plants. I understand that doing plants in hard plastic is difficult but the look of them actually detracts from the beautiful sculpture of the volcano itself. Perhaps if they were painted with the detail that goes into the dinosaurs they would look better. The green plastic used for these just doesn’t work, in my opinion. Schleich does sell sets of just the plants and perhaps they should consider, at least with these sets, painting them a little more realistically. Then you can buy the sets and add them to this set; increasing the look of the set
Overall, I cannot recommend this set enough, though, despite its high price tag (about $100 on Amazon) and appearance of the plant life. If you are a collector of dinosaur figures or have a child that is, this set is a must-have addition to the collection. Though Schleich has other playsets available, all of which are very nice, this one is by far the best. A lot of care went into the design of this set and me for one, cannot wait to see what else they come up with!