Site hosted by Build your free website today!
Dinosaur 3D Puzzle

(Produced by Greenbrier International, Inc.)

A toy review by Mark Patraw
Posted on 9/19/13


The Glow Bones come on a 6" (15 cm) wide x 10" (25 cm) tall blister card, with the plastic bubble glued securely onto the cardback. The front of the package is primarily red and yellow in color and gives you an excellent view of the dinosaur bones on their plastic trees. The back of the card is printed in black-and-white and shows what the instructions look like as well as photos of the six models that are available: Tyrannosaurus Rex & Diplodocus, Triceratops & Ankylosaurus, and Stegosaurus & Parasaurolophus. I already own larger dinosaur skeletons of T-Rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Apatosaurus (which is so similar to Diplodocus that, for practical purposes, it might as well be the same thing), so I wanted to get a set that contained a skeleton that I didn't already have, which narrowed it down to either Parasaurolophus or Ankylosaurus. Parasaurolophus struck me as being the more interesting and attractive model, and Stegosaurus' distinctive plates and spiked tail never go out of style, so that's the pair I decided to buy.

Ripping off the exterior bubble, you'll find the plastic trees individually wrapped inside their respective cardboard instructions with transparent tape, both of which are then nestled inside yet another plastic tray. I like this arrangement, because, if you wanted to be thrifty, you could part these out to two different children instead of buying a set for each. I was a bit surprised that there isn't any educational/background information provided about the dinosaurs themselves anywhere, as that's the norm for this type of toy.

Stegosaurus ("Plated Lizard")

Each dinosaur's skeleton is divided up into bones on two plastic trees. While you can just twist these off with your fingers, I recommend using a tool to snip them free, like fingernail clippers. Take your time, and, to avoid confusion, only remove the pieces that you're going to immediately use. The ribs and vertebrae are particularly easy to get mixed up if you're not paying attention to what you're doing.

I decided to start at the head and work my way backwards to the tail, although I don't imagine it makes much difference where you begin. The plastic is pretty sturdy, but I would take care not to apply too much pressure on the thinner parts, as you could potentially break something if you exerted too much force. I wish that Greenbrier had sculpted the corresponding numbers, from the instructions, onto the individual parts, because that would have made life easier. I didn't do it, but I think you might find it helpful to cross off the pieces on the instructions after you've used them. The fit of some of the bones is pretty loose (several of the ribs and one of the tail spikes on mine), so, provided you don't want to take the model apart again, you may want to use an adhesive to secure them. One last thing: I recommend switching around pieces 33 and 34, otherwise, you'll have an unattractive gap between the back plates that doesn't look right.

Here's the finished Stegosaurus and all the leftover debris. I'm thinking of keeping the plastic tree frames, because I might be able to cut them down to make some glow-in-the-dark sword blades or something [I'm going to have to hide them from one of the cats though (Chauncey), as I had to stop him from munching on them twice, apparently glow-in-the-dark plastic is a delicious feline delicacy]. Fully assembled, the Stegosaurus measures about 4-3/4" (12.1 cm) long, 1" (2.5 cm) wide, and 2-5/8" (6.7 cm) high. I could never get all four of the dinosaur's feet to touch the ground at the same time, no matter how I arranged them, but the figure can stand on its own.

This is a group photo of all the Stegosaurus toys I currently own. The white skeleton is from a Becker & Mayer Dinosaur Building Kit and the brown plush is a Russ Berrie "Stego" stuffed animal. The Greenbrier Stegosaurus seems the most anatomically correct to my eyes. While the Becker & Mayer dinosaur may look a bit odd, in its defense, many of the parts are used for multiple dinosaurs (it's more like a LEGO set than a dedicated model), so accuracy had to be sacrificed to some extent in the interest of versatility.

Parasaurolophus ("Near Crested Lizard")

For variety's sake, I built Parasaurolophus in the reverse direction of Stegosaurus (tail first, head last). Although this dinosaur is bipedal, the construction process was similar, and I would say that Parasaurolophus was a bit easier to make than Stegosaurus, because there weren't any back plates to worry about. Take particular care with the pelvis--there's a lot going on in that region, and, while nothing broke on me, I did notice that some stress marks had formed in the plastic in that area, due to how close-packed those pieces are. Some of the ribs are a bit loose, but, overall, I'd say Parasaurolophus' pieces fit together more tightly and reliably than Stegosaurus' parts.

Here's the finished Parasaurolophus and leftover debris. As a bipedal dinosaur, Parasaurolophus is taller than Stegosaurus, but, has comparable measurements otherwise. The model is about 4-3/4" (12.1 cm) long, 1-1/8" (2.9 cm) wide, and 4" (10.2 cm) high. Unlike Stegosaurus' crazy legs, Parasaurolophus' two feet and tail rest uniformly of the floor and the dinosaur stands straight and true.

Glow-In-The-Dark Feature

Both skeletons shine with a soft, eerie-green light in the dark. As you'd expect, holding the dinosaurs under a lamp for a bit will give you the best results. My digital camera is dreadfully bad at capturing photos in the dark, without any flash, so this picture is terrible and shouldn't be interpreted as an accurate representation of the glowing effect, but, rest assured, the plastic does exactly as advertised.

Cost and Value

I only paid a buck for these, plus six cents sales tax, at the local Dollar Tree store (where everything and anything in the establishment can be had for a portrait of George Washington), which is an amazing price for two complete dinosaur skeleton models. You could easily pay a whole lot more for similar products from other manufacturers (I can still remember buying larger balsa wood dinosaur skeleton kits when I was a kid). Dollar store toys often get dismissed as garbage, and while that is true in some cases, these Glow Bones dinosaur sets are an excellent product, for an incredibly low price, that I highly recommend if you, or a loved one, have any interest at all in dinosaurs and/or building models. I'm seriously considering picking up the other two sets myself.

For Parents

Greenbrier International is marketing this to the four-years-and-older crowd, but I very much doubt that many four-year-olds would be able to handle constructing something as complex as this without their parent's assistance--I think this toy would be better suited for children that are a bit more mature. And, as usual, there's a warning not to give this to kids that are three-years-old, or younger, due to the choking hazard posed by small parts.

  • Two complete models for a dollar is an outstanding value.
  • Attractive skeletons that exhibit the anatomy of the two prehistoric reptiles with fair accuracy.
  • Simple slot assembly with no glue or tools required.
  • Glows in the dark!
  • Relatively small size makes them easy to store/display.
  • For assembly purposes, it would have helped if the part numbers were molded onto the individual plastic components.
  • The fit of some of the pieces is loose.

  • « Return to my Toy Review Index