review: Grafix Block Tech Dinosaur Island Explorer Tour (242 Pieces)

Although the box claims it as exclusive to Dollar General, I believe that exclusivity may have lapsed.

Our visit to Isla Nublar Dinosaur Island continues with a look at this set from Block Tech. At 242 pieces, it has nearly double the number of the Dinosaur Island Park Center set. Will it make any difference?tour-contentsThe box contains a tray, four bags of parts, and an instruction booklet. The tray, while helpful for keeping track of loose parts, unintentionally magnifies how small the set truly is.

tour-truckThe first build in the instruction booklet is the Feeding Truck. It’s a dinky little thing. I presume the trailer is supposed to carry whatever it is that dinosaurs eat. It would have been nice of Block Tech to include something to transport.

tour-commandNext up, we have the Command Vehicle. I’m not sure how this compact car qualifies as a “Command Vehicle.” It’s so small that it won’t fit a minifigure. Also, I don’t understand why it has candy cane striping on its sides. The color scheme sort of makes the car look like it might belong to Ronald McDonald.

tour-copterThe “Site[sic] Seeing Helicopter” is a tandem rotor helicopter like the Boeing CH-47 Chinook. Of all the vehicles in the set, it’s probably the best looking one. However, it’s not without problems. First, it’s out of scale with the other vehicles. It won’t fit a minifigure. The sloped bricks that make the roof are not really supported by anything. The loading hatch does open, but the landing gear keep the copter too high off the ground to allow for access. I’m also not sure why Block Tech insists that you use the transparent blue windshield for the helicopter. The side windows are transparent black, so why does the one transparent black windshield of the set go to the Command Vehicle?

tour-trex-1This is the dinosaur of the set, another T-Rex. There were other dinosaurs besides tyrannosaurus rex, Block Tech.

tour-trex-2Those dorsal spikes. I swear. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but this T-Rex actually is an improvement from their previous effort. It still looks like it’s in desperate need of a sandwich, and the construction is a little iffy in some spots. However, almost anything is better than this:


tour-minifigs-1Here are two of the characters, the creatively named “Tour Guide” and “Visitor.” They’re nothing that we haven’t seen before. I mentioned it in a previous review, but it doesn’t seem like the hairpiece that Block Tech uses for its female figures was intended to be used with those heads. You can clearly see the white stress marks on the hairpiece.

tour-minifigs-2Good gravy! What happened to these figures’ bodies? As I mentioned earlier, neither the Command Vehicle nor the helicopter will fit a standard minifigure. Block Tech’s solution was to put the figures’ heads on these specialized 2×2 bricks. You may be wondering why Block Tech didn’t instruct builders to plug  just the torsos into the vehicles, without their legs. The problem is that, unlike Lego, Block Tech torsos will not clutch to studs by design. Absolutely terrible. Just redesign the vehicles or the torso, Block Tech! How is designing and tooling a special block to deal with the shortcomings of your sets saving you any money?


The MSRP of this set is USD$10. While it may not even remotely be worth that much, I don’t want to say it’s entirely without value. The vehicles have some play value, even though two of the three are incapable of fitting a minifigure. The dinosaur is a travesty, but it’s a notable improvement from their prior attempt. I can’t help but feel that the set would have been acceptable if only Block Tech had put it just a bit more effort. Tragically, we received what we received.


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