MPC Figures Were, in My Considered Opinion, Low-rent Copies of the Marx Line.
The MPC figures (all released at the same time in 1964) were for the most part smaller, less detailed and brighter colored Dinosaur toys than the ones that Marx put out. There were a few unique MPC figures, however, such as the Ceratogaulus, Diatyrma, Dire Wolf, Glyptodont and Machrauchenia.
Their selling point was that they were cheaper in cost (to buy and produce) and unfortunately quality as well. The most striking feature is that they came, purposefully, in a great variety of bright colored plastic ranging from fire-engine reds, through blues, yellow and silver along with earthier (and more Marxian) green, brown and gray. Ultimately a number were produced in very attractive flat pastels. For purposes of presentation I have divided them into four groups:
1)Before the Dinosaurs: consisting of the (a) Cynognathus (poor) (b) Dimetrodon and (c) Moschops.
4) The Pleistocene, After the Dinosaurs: (a) Ceratogaulus (horned gopher- weird) (b) Diatryma (flightless carnivorous bird- GREAT!) (c) Dire Wolf (cool) (d) Glyptodont (hollow) (e) Machrauchenia (good) (f) Woolly Mammoth (okay) (g) Megatherium (h) Smilodon (not bad).
The biggest rivals to MPC figures were put out by the Marx Toy company whose offerings were superior in both quality of detail and production. However the unique offerings in the MPC figures (the Diatryma and the Machrauchenia in particular) and even some of the copies (the Smilodon, Styracosaurus and Triceratops) showed innovation and the ability to produce high quality Dinosaur toys when they wanted to... which, in my opinion, wasn't often enough.
Current rumor has it that Marx of Mexico will be ironically reproducing the MPC line in the near future. Interestingly, Toystreet, included the MPC Cynognathus, Dimetrodon, Plateosaurus and Pteranodon in their "Marx Playsets" as those figures were unavailable to them in the original Marx molds.
List of All Dinosaurs Included in the MPC Figures
(alphabetical, click on highlighted Dino name for page access)
MPC figures were sold on card sets (a clear, rigid plastic over the figures on cardboard) as well as in Playsets similar to Marx. Cavemen, caves and terrain features were included. I personally only began collecting the MPC figures quite recently as they came in with groups of other figures that I purchased on eBay auctions. I don't think that you should have to average much more than a dollar or two per figure if you are bidding on them or find them at a garage sale or someplace similar.
The metallic blue figures (only[?] in the Machrauchenia, Mammoth, Megatherium, and Parasaurolophus) tend to be a bit rarer and should therefore demand a slight premium. The most common appear to be the Plateosaurus (it seems like that is often the case) and the Pteranodon. The rarest (in my experience) are the Ceratogaulus and Dire Wolf.
Given the range and variety of MPC figures a child could play with them for a long time, creating all kinds of scenarios in a relatively limited space. They are quite small compared to the contemporary Dinosaur toys from Safari, Ltd., their Carnegie collection, Papo, and others.
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