After a bit of research, I was unable to come
up with what 'AAA' stands for. Nope, I'm not talking about the travel club that offers hotel discounts for members--I am talking
about a rubber/vinyl dinosaur-making company.
The Dinosaur Collector reviews the newer toys by AAA, but during the seventies and eighties, AAA put out some very 'Imperial-looking'
dinosaur figures. By Imperial-looking, I mean these guys have the classic open-mouthed, toothy look so common in so many older
(and even some newer) dinosaur toys. Most of them (that I have found, anyhow) are made in China.
In the early eighties, when my fascination with dinosaurs began, I got
two of these guys at one of those touristy places (in Branson, I think) with a lot of strange, cheapo toys. As a kid,
these were the only two I ever bought; I never saw them anywhere else after I found them in that strange little shop.
Like the Imperial dinos, these dinos are not
stamped with a name indicating what type of dinosaur the figure's supposed to be. So one is left to guess what each is supposed
to be. I suppose many kids that got these didn't really give a rip about that, but being a total dinosaur nerd, I always had
to apply a name to each dinosaur. I called the first two I got an Iguanodon and a Diplodicus (below) I suspect, however, that
the bipedal guy is supposed to be a T-Rex, or T-Rex-like beast...
On Ebay not long ago, I found a big bunch of these figures up for bid.
I won them, and now I think I may have the whole set. They are all the same color of riverscum green and they
all have bright blue eyes. And the trademark gaping mouth, of course. Compare these to the Imperial dinosaurs from that same
time period. There are a lot of similarities there, except (as mentioned) for those bright baby blues they all have:
Stegosaurus (sans tail spikes):
Ankylosaurus (with an extraordinarily large
And lastly, (not actually a dinosaur): Dimetrodon. Again, with a really
To me, these guys may be ugly, but they are a kick (if not a bit
kitschy). But I dig kitschy. And I think, though they are not accurate depictions of any certain species, they are cool anyhow.
Like I said, I am a nostalgic freak, and they take me back to simpler times, when I could play with them in the front yard
and not get weird looks from the neighbors.
No, I don't still play with them in my front yard. No...really...
AAA still makes dinosaur figures as far as I know. If you have visited the Dinosaur Collector (I refer to his site a lot on mine
because he is the guru of Dino-Collecting--at least in my humble opinion) you notice that newer AAA figures look a little
bit more believable. I do have a few newer AAA dinos, and they now represent actual species and have lost that toothy, roary
look. They really aren't bad--at least they are a big improvement over their ancestors (as far as realism goes, anyhow). They
are stamped with the dinosaur's name, usually on the underbelly or the underside of the tail.
Here's a Dimetrodon that looks like a cross between a Dimetrodon and
a Spinosaurus to me:
(Stamped 'Made in China'. There is also a number '2' stamped on him as
well. There is no year).
I am ever on the hunt for more of these newer AAA dinosaurs on Ebay.
For now, if you want to see more pictures of a much more complete collection, see the Dinosaur collector's Company Reference