review: Grafix Block Tech Dinosaur Island Pterodactyl and Animal Planet Dinosaur

With Jurassic World due for release at theaters this month, I thought it would be fun to look at a few dino-related building block sets in anticipation of the film. Both reviewed sets were found at Dollar General stores.

bt-dino-boxesOh, Block Tech. I’m going to jump to the end and say, “Well, at least they were cheap.” The unit price for both sets was USD$1. With that out of the way, let’s have a look at the pterodactyl set. You may have noticed that the box reads, “Only at DG” (Dollar General) in the upper left-hand corner. Block Tech may have been a Dollar General exclusive at some point, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this set for sale at other discount retailers. It should also be clear from the derivative fossil T-Rex logo and the unimaginative name, “Dinosaur Island,” that Block Tech is attempting to cash in on the enduring popularity of the Jurassic Park franchise.

ptero-contentsYou receive one bag of parts and one instruction sheet.

pterodactylHere is the completed model. Oh, boy. Where to begin? The purple 1×2 double-sloped(?) roof tile doesn’t clutch well, so the neck won’t connect to the body. Is there any flying animal, extinct or extant, where the legs precede the wings? Finally, this creature looks more like an archaeopteryx  than a pterodactyl.

This is how the pterodactyl is commonly thought to have appeared:


This is the archaeopteryx:


See what I mean? I guess most people are more familiar with the pterodactyl, though.


Turning our attention to the second set, the first thing that stands out about it is that they don’t even try to pass off this assemblage of bricks as any particular dinosaur species – it’s just generically “Dinosaur.”  There’s a small blurb on the back of the box which states that some portion of the sale of the set goes to Animal Planet’s animal and wildlife welfare project, R.O.A.R. It takes some of the sting off putting this set together.

“When scientists talk of dinosaurs, they mean a special kind of creature that lived on land during the Triassic, Jurassic, or Cretaceous period. But a lot of people say ‘dinosaur’ when they mean any prehistoric creature, such as sea creatures or pterodactyls.”

The side of the box has “Fun Facts” which seem to be accurate. Who knew pterodactyls weren’t dinosaurs?

ap-dino-contentsYou receive a bag of parts and an instruction sheet, much like the pterodactyl set.

ap-dinoEgad. This monstrosity looks more like the xenomorph from Alien 3 than any dinosaur. I guess you could squint and pretend that it’s a baby stegosaurus or something. It’s funny that the piece used for the head in the pterodactyl is used as this creature’s tail.


If you’ve come this far, and if you’re still wondering whether these sets are worth your money, then let me spell it out for you: No, they’re not. While the Animal Planet set has superficial educational and charitable value, there just isn’t enough play value in either set. The so-called pterodactyl doesn’t even stay together when built according to instructions! Both models are atrocious. Put the two dollars that would have been spent on these sets towards the purchase of a good toy.


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