LEGO Dino is a 2012 LEGO theme, built around the idea of a troop of experienced dino hunters capturing prehistoric animals. It is very similar to the earlier LEGO Dino Attack line, especially with regards to the dinosaur figures, although the setting here is more grounded in reality, at least in that the dinosaurs aren't monstrous mutants, and the gear used by the human characters are far less fancy and sci-fi-ish.
The story is as simple as it gets: The dinosaurs "are loose" and about to attack "the city", so "the heroes" have to capture and sedate them. The dinos reside at "the nest", while the heroes live at "the base".
A total of seven sets were released. The dinosaur figures, although still utilizing the kind of construction that made the Dino Attack ones so unwelcome, and sadly suffering from several anatomical inaccuracies, are by far the best dino sculpts LEGO has released so far.
While some criticized the sets for putting too big an emphasis on these dinosaurs, making the vehicles and buildings look plain and underwhelming in comparison, the reception of the line wasn't at all bad, and the similarities between the setting and the popular Jurassic Park franchise didn't go unnoticed either, turning the line into a sort of "JP stand-in" in the eyes of many collectors; given that the Jurassic Park license was held by KRE-O at the time, this may have been LEGO's way of Building Around Trademarks.
LEGO Dino contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Sue Montana, who pilots a mini-copter and whose record is 20 dinos captured a day.
- All There in the Manual: The website gave us the names of the human characters, as well as other intriguing bits of trivia, like what their "most dinos caught in a day" record is, which dino they hate the most, and what their favorite food is. For some reason. Their characters aren't defined further, sadly.
- Bring It Back Alive
- Crossover: A LEGO Magazine comic revealed that the dinosaurs of this theme were released by Commander Hypaxxus-8, the Big Bad of LEGO Alien Conquest, at the end of a crossover comic in which he teams up with Pharaoh Amset-Ra from LEGO Pharaoh's Quest and a Clinger-possessed Golden King from LEGO Atlantis.
- Dumb Dinos: All of the animals are stupid and violent and threaten the city for no reason - including the comparatively harmless Coelophysis and Pteranodon, and the herbivorous Triceratops.
- King of the Dinosaurs: A Tyrannosaurus rex appears in two sets, and they are naturally the biggest and most expensive ones of the line. The T. rex is also the icon mascot of the LEGO Dino theme as a whole.
- Legacy Character: One of the main characters is named Josh Thunder, and he is confirmed by The LEGO Book to be a descendant of Johnny Thunder.
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to LEGO Dino Attack (to be fair, most LEGO lines are), and even to Dino 2010.
- Prehistoric Monster: Seems to have been averted, though it's really up to you how you decide to play with the dinos. However, they are rather mean-looking.
- Ptero Soarer: While the Pteranodon figure is probably the best-ever LEGO pterosaur, it has what seem to be additional fingers on its wing-membrane. These could just serve decorative purposes, but sadly make the toy look inaccurate.
- Punny Name: Rex Tyrone, "Tracer" Tops, Sue Montananote .
- Raptor Attack: In contrast to the Pteranodon, the Velociraptor figure is wrong on every level. It is, like most raptors in media, essentially a Jurassic Park ripoff, and is therefore scaly, has kangaroo-hands, a short tail, and the head resembles that of an Allosaurus. There is also the size-issue, though engineering such a figure on a smaller scale would have been difficult.
- Shown Their Work: The dino facts on the website aren't bad, but of course they do not go out of their way to point out how inaccurate some of the designs are.
- Spiritual Successor: To Dino Attack/Dino 2010.
- The Squad: The Dino Strike Team.
- Stealth Sequel: To LEGO Pharaoh's Quest, LEGO Alien Conquest, and LEGO Atlantis.
- Stock Dinosaurs: All dinos are stock: Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, "Velociraptor", Pteranodon and Coelophysis (though this one has a lesser-tier stock status).
- Toilet Humour: Click on the T. rex's butt in the website's dino explorer.