As per the introductory convention, I should probably mention how T. rex is a popular dinosaur rarely done well, and the animal’s pop culture significance, and all that stuff. Sod it, though – just look at this beauty. That’s some serious tyrannosaur sexiness.
A little background: this model is rather scarce these days, and the specimen shown is not actually mine. Rather, a good friend of whom you might have heard (we shall call him ‘NP’) offered me the chance to review the figure, and also look after it for a while (presumably until he acquires a little more space). Once I’d finished dancing around the room with joy, I politely accepted. This is probably one of the best Tyrannosaurus figures out there, and it’s also huge, easily rivalling the larger Jurassic Park tyrannosaurs in size. As such, it has an awesome presence in a room, which is only helped by that rather showy pose.
What’s most impressive about this figure is how it rights so many of the wrongs that have been perpetuated in tyrannosaur toys and models through the years (which often take their inspiration from Jurassic Park). At a glance, the powerful appearance of the animal is what immediately strikes the viewer – the neck, often made too scrawny on Tyrannosaurus figures (a fault I found with the older Sega vinyl T. rex), is hugely muscular, as are the legs with their enormous drumsticks. Elsewhere, the sculptor hasn’t skimped on making this T. rex very barrel-chested, with muscles bulging from the stout forelimbs – worth contrasting with the spindly twigs affixed to JP-style tyrannosaurs (like this one). Admittedly, the arms are still, alas, a little too long, but they are nevertheless closer to reality than many models.
Overall the huge-hipped, barrel-chested, very toothy creature we are presented with is unmistakably Tyrannosaurus, and this is one of the few models that really gives the impression of just how awesome this elephant-sized predator would have been to behold in life. Of all the plastic tyrannosaurs that I’ve seen, this is probably the only one that really matches just how I’ve imagined this mighty theropod – a real predatory powerhouse. In terms of fine detailing, too, this figure has few equals. While most toys and models naturally make the eyes too large relative to the head (or else, on smaller figures, they’d be impossibly miniscule), the (slightly closed) eyes here are appropriately small relative to the head which, lest we forget, was bloody enormous in life. The animal is covered in very fine scales, and details such as claws and teeth are carefully painted. The row of spines adds to the threatening appearance. The raised tongue in the mouth is superbly pulled off, while the teeth are appropriate sizes, if a little ‘complete’ (although that’s typical).
Some people do have a problem with the colour scheme, which is a little bright for such a large, predatory animal. I’ll concede that an overall duller colour scheme would be more realistic, but the figure is very striking as is. The bright red with a yellow stripe will certainly ensure that it stands out among your Tyrannosaurus figures, particularly if you group them all together as I do. It’s not entirely perfect anatomically either – for example, the tail musculature could do with a tweak – although that’s being rather demanding (even for me). This figure was released in 2007, which means it predates W Scott Persons’ paper on dinosaur tails (basically, everyone’s been making them far too skinny – see this Archosaur Musings guest post.).
So yes, it’s gorgeous. Finding one is the tricky part, but if you do you will find that, as a hollow plastic figure, they are very reasonably priced – especially given that the level of detail can only really be matched by costly resin figures. Best of luck, and if you manage to nab one be sure to let me know!