Mike Pigott continues his series on the Jurassic Park franchise as we look at Jada’s small range of models based on the 2015 film Jurassic World.Jurassic World, the fourth instalment in the Jurassic Park series of films, was released in 2015, 22 years after the original movie. As with the previous episodes, there were diecast toys produced to tie in with the film, although this time the license was given to two different companies. Matchbox produced a large selection of 1/64-ish vehicles which had very little to do with anything actually seen in the film. A small range of larger scale models was made by American company Jada Toys, which were (mostly) more authentic to the film.
Two decades after the disaster of Jurassic Park, the concept of a theme park populated by cloned prehistoric animals has been revived and for several years has been running successfully as Jurassic World. The Central American island of Isla Nublar has been bought by an Indian billionaire who built a new theme park on the site of the original resort, and had it re-stocked with dinosaurs. Animal behaviourist Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) is having some success with training a group of velociraptors to obey simple commands. However, the head of security for parent company InGen, Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), is intent on use the raptors for military purposes.
The park management is concerned with gate receipts, and feels that the best way to attract new and returning visitors is to give them something new – in this case a huge genetically-engineered dinosaur that is more terrifying than anything yet seen. Geneticist Dr Henry Wu (BD Wong) breeds a dinosaur cloned from a Tyrannosaurus Rex plus several other dinosaurs and animals, creating a monster that is not only incredibly ferocious, but also highly intelligent, with the ability to camouflage itself and regulate its body temperature, making it invisible to park sensors.
ESCAPEThe film opens with a pair of teenage brothers being sent on vacation to Jurassic World; Gray Mitchell, a dinosaur-mad but whiny teenager, and his older, surly brother Zach. They are meant to be met by their aunty Claire Deering (Bryce Dallas Howard), a senior manager at the park, but due to work problems she sends her PA Zara (Katie McGrath) to meet the boys and show them around. The boys manage to ditch the indifferent Zara and go off by themselves.
Meanwhile, the Indominus Rex escapes from its enclosure by camouflaging itself, eating two keepers in the process. The park’s emergency squad, the Asset Containment Unit, is sent out to track the dinosaur with instructions to use non-lethal force as the company has invested a lot of money in the creature. Unfortunately non-lethal force is useless against the huge dinosaur, and the squad is decimated. Claire gives the order for the park to be shut down and evacuated just after her two nephews have entered the clear spheres of the Dinosaur Safari ride.
The boys are attacked by the Indominus Rex, but manage to escape to the ruins of the original Jurassic Park, where they find an old Jeep which Zach is able to start and drive to safety. Meanwhile, the dinosaur breaks through an aviary, releasing dozens of savage Pterodactyls which attack the people evacuated to the visitor centre. The unfortunate Zara is taken by a Pterodactyl, only to be dropped into the mouth of a Mosasaurus, an enormous aquatic dinosaur. Hoskins orders Owen to use his Raptors to attack the I-Rex, but this backfires when the Raptors side with the I-Rex and attack the security troops. Dr Wu escapes with several dinosaur embryos, but Hoskins is eaten by a Raptor. Claire releases a Tyrannosaurus Rex to attack the Indominus Rex. The I-Rex is chased to the park lagoon, where it is dragged in by the Mosasaurus and drowned.
Jada Toys was founded in California in 1999, and produced diecast models from the outset. Jada models tended to be in larger scales such as 1/24, and were mostly of customized cars with blown engines and huge wheels. Later the company moved in to remote-control toys, dolls and miniature figures. More recently Jada has entered the character toy market, with diecast vehicles based on a range of movie, TV and comic book franchises. Jada models are often in medium-sized scales neglected by other manufacturers, such as 1/24 and 1/32.
To tie in with the release of Jurassic World in 2015, Jada Toys produced a line of four vehicles based on the film, which were mostly authentic and mainly around 1/43 scale. Like many of Jada’s diecast vehicles, these were budget-priced items that sat somewhere between being scale models and toys. However, what made them interesting was the fact that they were the first Jurassic Park vehicles to be faithful the movies; the previous offerings from Matchbox and Hasbro were fictitious items that bore no resemblance to anything seen in the film franchise. Unlike these, there were no toy dinosaurs included with the Jada range.
The Jada models were good castings, and were generally well-finished, but lacking the detail that serious 1/43 scale collectors would expect. These 1/43 scale models were actually sold in two different formats. In some markets, they were unpackaged and sold from counter-top boxes; these were fitted with pull-back-and-go motors, and were clearly aimed at children. In other regions they were issued in window boxes; this type was targeted towards the collectors’ market, and were not fitted with friction motors (although they still had raised boxes over the rear axles).
MERCEDES-BENZ G-CLASSThe Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen (also called the G-Class) is a large, powerful four-wheel drive vehicle widely used by both civilian and military operators. In Jurassic World, G-Wagens are used by the park management, and both Owen and Claire are seen driving them on several occasions.
Despite being a budget-priced item, the Jada toy accurately captures the shape of the G-Wagen. It is also accurately painted in silver with blue stripes along the sides and a Jurassic World logo on each front door. The front doors can be opened, and have raised windows with printed frames held in place by black plastic door cards. The interior is black plastic, and is reasonably accurate, although with no additional detailing. The base is also black plastic, and incorporates the bumpers, front wheel arches and bull-bar. The rear wheel arches are part of the body casting and mask-sprayed black. At rear is a spare wheel cover, painted tail-lights, and an accurate park registration plate done as a paper label. The wheels are authentically shaped with five spokes and rubber tyres.
1992 JEEP WRANGLERThe Jeep Wrangler was mostly used in the original film, but a pair was seen in Jurassic World when the two boys escaped into the old park entrance. Although the Jeeps were run down, Zach found a new battery and was able to start one up and make it out of the danger zone.
While the Jada Jeep Wrangler is marked 1/43 on the base, it isn’t; and appears to be more like 1/36. It is clearly out of scale with the Mercedes, and is much larger than 1/43 Jeeps from other manufacturers. However, it is accurately shaped, and features the rectangular headlights from 1992 Wranglers. The interior is made of black plastic and is generally well detailed, if somewhat shallow. However, the roll bars are way too thick, including the rear ones which are painted brown to represent padding. The doors open and are fitted with inner cards. The base is black plastic and includes the front bumper with a crude winch. The wheels are the correct style, but lacking the open slots. They are fitted with thick tyres, as is the rear-mounted spare.
What is most impressive is the colour finish, as it is the first diecast model in an authentic Jurassic Park livery of beige with a pair of day-glow red stripes. There are serial numbers on the bonnet and front wings, and Jurassic Park logos on the doors. However, the model does not match the vehicle seen in Jurassic World, which had a #29 fleet number. The model has #12 markings, which was the Jeep used in the first film by Dennis Nedry before he came to a messy end. This Jeep was fitted with a soft top and had a row of spotlights above the windscreen. Possibly the reason Jada did this was because Jeep #29 had been in an abandoned garage for 20 years and was run-down and rusty, and a version from the first film in ‘as new’ condition would be more appealing to purchasers.
RESCUE TRUCKWhen we described Jada’s models as being ‘mostly authentic’ to the movie… the Rescue Truck is why. There was no vehicle of this type in any of the films, and I really don’t understand why it was included. It is a generic large pick-up truck, possibly a Dodge. It has opening front doors, fitted with opaque black mesh instead of door windows. The body is painted blue with silver stripes, with Jurassic World logos on the doors and a strange ‘JW’ logo on the bonnet. The rear bed has a black plastic roll bar and tonneau cover. The base is black plastic and includes the large front bull-bar. The wheels are large chrome mags with rubber tyres. It may have been that this vehicle was meant to be featured in the movie and ended up on the cutting room floor, but there were other pick-ups seen and they were not in this blue livery. It was probably a case of using an existing casting to pad out the range.
MERCEDES-BENZ G63 AMG 6X6The Mercedes-Benz G63 is variant of the G-Wagen modified by the company’s in-house tuning and engineering department AMG. It is a civilian version of a military six-wheel drive, fitted with crew-cab pick-up bodywork. The G63 was built in extremely limited numbers between 2013 and 2015, and was eye-wateringly expensive. In Jurassic World, these vehicles are used by the Asset Containment Unit security team. This rugged, powerful vehicle was an ideal choice for the ACU troops – except, perhaps, when going up against an Indominus Rex.
For some reason, Jada’s model was made to a different scale than the others in the range, being much larger at 1/24 scale. The reason for this is uncertain, and caused this small set of four models to be incompatible. It is clearly aimed at collectors rather than children, although it lacks the level of detail that would be expected on a model of this size. It’s certainly a large model, measuring 23cm in length. However, it isn’t as heavy as one would expect, as the base is made from black plastic and also incorporates the wheel arches and running boards. The interior is also black plastic and is very well detailed, but with no painted trim, and the load bed has black plastic lining. The body is grey with Jurassic World logos on the front doors. Chrome roll bars are fitted over the rear bed, but are overly thick. Like many 1/24 scale models, there are several moving parts. The front doors open (although the rear ones don’t) and the tailgate drops down. The bonnet lifts to reveal a rather undetailed engine. The wheels are made from black plastic with press-on hubs with red rims. A sun visor is installed over the windscreen, and separate red tail-lights are fitted. However, the wipers and sidelights are just cast in as part of the body.
PACKAGINGThe smaller models were packaged in card boxes with a header and acetate windows. The G63 was packed in a similar box, but larger and without the header card. All had Jurassic World logos, plus a picture of Indominus Rex over a red and blue ‘dinosaur skin’ background.
While this Jada range is of fairly average quality, they are notable for being the first accurate Jurassic Park franchise models.
Jurassic Park TM and (C) Universal Pictures / Amblin Entertainment
Text and photos (C) Mike Pigott 2020.
This article first appeared in the May 2020 issued of Diecast Collector magazine.