Tyrannosaurus rex (Small)(Schleich)

Review and photographs by Indohyus, edited by Suspsy

Well, here we are. After several prehistoric mammal reviews, I’m reviewing my first dinosaur for the blog! As it is my first, I thought I’d start with a popular beast, the one everyone knows: Tyrannosaurus rex! While it may not be the biggest predatory dinosaur anymore (Editor’s note: T. rex was still probably the heaviest), there is no doubt it still has rex appeal (I apologise for the pun!). With hundreds of figures made over the years, one would think that companies would try to make their models as scientifically accurate as possible. Schleich evidently didn’t bother when they made the one I’m reviewing.

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Before that though, let’s talk facts and figures on the toy. At 4.4” high and 5.3” long, it’s a middle size, neither big or small. It’s a brownish-beige colour, which looks rather boring. The scales are moulded well and look right for dinosaur skin. The pose is fairly static, and what exactly it is doing up to the imagination of the owner (I like to think it’s just trying to be intimidating. TRYING).

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Right, accuracy. Anyone with a little T. rex knowledge knows the inaccuracies, so I will start with the good stuff (it won‘t take long!). As I said above, the skin texture is good and the arms and legs have the correct number of digits. That is it for good features.

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Now for the bad stuff. The pose is upright, which is wrong as T. rex held its body horizontally, as further study has shown. If this was an older figure, say 80s’ or 90s’, this could be excused. It isn’t though. It was made in 2002, long after the horizontal stance of T. rex was shown to be correct. With plenty of films and TV shows depicting it like this, you’d think Schleich would have avoided this stance, but no. The legs are also slightly too thin, whereas the arms are far too long and stick out badly, making it look more like Barney (note to self, purple repaint). The tail is bent in such a way that muscles, ligaments, and bone structure would prevent this in life. The head is also too thin, goofy, and results in the eyes facing out to the sides, not straight ahead as they should be.

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Overall, there are so many faults to this figure by modern standards, and even by the standards for when it was produced. As a result, despite being retired, it is easy to find and often very cheap. At this point I’d like to say I didn’t pay for this figure. I got it as a result of a mixup with an order, and was told I could keep it along with having my order re-sent (thank you, Dinosaur Time).

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If you want a retro dinosaur or something for kids to play with, it might be worth picking up, but if you want an accurate T. rex, I’d avoid this eye-saur (again, sorry for the pun!)

Deinocheirus (CollectA)

He was resting comfortably in the shade a second ago, but now the chieftain is charging with his mighty arms raised and his eyes blazing. A young tarbosaur has entered the nesting colony and is now attempting to isolate the chicks from their mothers. With an angry screech and a powerful swipe, the chieftain knocks the tarbosaur to the ground. Frightened and injured, the predator beats a hasty retreat. The chieftain then turns to his shaken family and begins cooing softly to comfort them . . .

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Growing up as a dinosaur-obsessed child in the 1980s’, Deinocheirus represented a great and potentially scary mystery to me. A set of huge arms “capable of ripping open a sauropod’s soft lower belly” was how one book described the only known fossil specimen at the time. But as time went on, more and more paleontology sources described the arms as belonging to an ornithomimosaur rather than a carnosaur.

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From The Amazing World of Dinosaurs, published in 1981.

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Gallimimus is clearly impressed by its massive cousin, courtesy of William Stout, also 1981.

Then, in 2013, it was revealed that ample new fossil material had been discovered. To top it off, a skull which had been stolen and sold by fossil poachers was retrieved in Europe and eventually repatriated to Mongolia. And just like that, Deinocheirus went from being one of the most mysterious dinosaurs to one of the best-known! Not only was it confirmed as the largest known ornithomimosaur, but also the weirdest-looking. Which brings us to the subject of this week’s review: CollectA’s brand new 2016 toy!

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CollectA’s previous Deinocheirus was a Deluxe figure, and a particularly large one at that. This new version is much smaller, but still a respectable size, with a height of just over 11 cm and a length of just under 18 cm. The main colours on the body are medium and yellowish brown with beige for the underbelly, royal blue on the arms and back, black running from the shoulders to the end of the tail, white tail feathers, and medium grey claws. The head is dark red and black with bold white stripes, the tongue is a dull pink, the eyes and crest are black, and the throat is red. It’s a vibrant and attractive colour scheme, and quite similar to that of the Deluxe’s.

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The Deinocheirus is sculpted in a fairly standard walking pose with the head held high, the mouth slightly open, the arms held out in front, and the tail raised. If a major natural history museum ever mounts a cast of this animal (and seriously, when is that going to happen already?!), I imagine it would be in a pose like this. One can envision it in the act of anything from displaying to a prospective mate to defending itself from a predator to simply taking a leisurely stroll. Due to the figure’s proportions, there’s simply no way it would be able to stand up on its own. As such, it is mounted on a small, desert-themed base. The many tracks in the sand appear to suggest both younger individuals and a predator. Indeed, bite marks found on Deinocheirus fossils indicate that it was fed upon by the ferocious Tarbosaurus.

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CollectA is one of the few toy companies that has fully embraced the concept of feathered dinosaurs and this Deinocheirus is a shining example. Except for its head, hands, and feet, it is covered in an intricate and shaggy-looking coat of feathers. A prickly crest runs from the back of the head to halfway down the neck. Rows of large feathers hang down from the famous arms and there is a small fan at the tip of the tail. No direct fossil evidence of feathering on Deinocheirus has been found yet, but the vertebrae at the tip of the tail were found to be fused. This pygostyle feature is also found in oviraptorosaurs and therizinosaurs, and it is a strong indication that Deinocheirus possessed a tail fan in life. As for the feathering on the arms, it’s uncertain whether or not ornithomimosaurs possessed primary feathers just like dromaeosaurs did. If that were indeed the case, then there ought to be feathers covering the hands as well. The claws might actually be slightly too long, but it’s impossible to be certain given that they would have been covered by keratin sheathes in real life.

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Other notable anatomical features of Deinocheirus are its spoonbill-like beak and the large, triangular hump on its back. Both are well represented here. Moreover, this figure continues the VERY pleasing trend started by last year’s Feathered Tyrannosaurus rex: proper-sized hips!

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The CollectA Deinocheirus is a must-have in my opinion. Carefully researched, beautifully sculpted, and definitely one of the strangest-looking dinosaur toys you’ve ever seen. And if they ever make a new Deluxe version, I’d happily snap it up an instant. A big thank you to CollectA for this advance sample!

Velociraptor (I-Toy)

Review and photographs by Ish Hernandez, edited by Suspsy

This is my first review, so I hope it goes well. After collecting dinosaur figures for years, I had recently been looking for a colour variation of the Papo Running T. rex on eBay when I came across this figure as a suggestion. Velociraptor by I-Toy, a company I had never heard of. After doing some research, I found out that this company is basically only in China and that I’d have to buy of their any figures as imports.

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The box is beautifully made, right up there with Rebor, and the figure inside comes in a protective foam casing just like the Rebor statues. The box states I-Toy Velociraptor antirrhopus, which is odd since that usually describes the species known as Deinonychus. In fact, when you turn the box over, the information isn’t for Velociraptor, but for Deinonychus. It also gives a nice scale comparison of the model to a human.

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The figure itself is based on the Jurassic Park 3 Velociraptor. It appears to be a female as it does not have the protofeathers that the males in the movie had. As this is a movie monster, the scientific accuracy is either missing or over-exaggerated, but it’s still a pretty cool figure. The Velociraptor‘s hands are in the wrong position just like in the movies. However, the figure itself is much like the Papo figure in that it is very well detailed and painted.

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The colour is a greyish green with brown highlights and a light grey strip going from the head to the tail. The pictures don’t quite do it justice, but there are plenty of scales and details when looking close up. The head has a moveable lower jaw and the eyes are painted a wonderful blood red with a clear coat over them to give them a very shiny, wet look. There is also the prominent ridge above the snout like on the JP3 raptors that has been given a hint of red paint to make it pop. The mouth and teeth are well sculpted, but the feet are rather small for the figure. This because they were made to fit into the accompanying base.

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You cannot stand the figure without the base due to the small feet. Without the base, the prominent large toe claw is clearly visible, however, when you put the feet into the base, the claws disappear into the feet, which diminishes the raptor’s appearance.

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The base itself is extremely well done and detailed with plenty of spots that make it look like the figure is walking through a wet marsh.

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All in all, it’s a very well made figure, kind of short on detail, but it doesn’t really detract from the figure as a whole. Fans of Jurassic Park would love to have this in their collection due to its fairly correct movie accuracy.

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