A number of dinosaurs in the Wild Safari line have been subject to resculpts, but the most famous dinosaur of all is unique in having been revised twice. The iffy original was replaced by an abysmal Jurassic Park-esque affair back in 2006; it was almost reminiscent of the Papo T. rex, but with none of the high-quality detailing or copyright-infringing charm. This year Safari are back for one more try and – although flawed – the resulting toy is a huge improvement over its predecessors.
This toy caught people’s attention when it was first announced thanks to its bipedal stance, which remains quite unusual in Tyrannosaurus figures. The pose is indeed an uncommonly dynamic one, and the figure is very steady on its feet without any assistance; the feet also look less awkward than in the similarly-posed Favorite model. This has come at a cost, however, as the feet are also noticeably exaggerated in size. That said, it doesn’t detract from the model too much and the attractive stance is probably worth it. Unfortunately, the anatomical flaws don’t end there.
Tyrannosaurus‘ highly specialised mega-head is what often draws people’s attention (and with those arms, it’s hardly surprising). Here a respectable effort’s been made to make the head lifelike, with plenty of scaly detail and all facial features (nostrils, ears etc.) present and correct. However, the mandible appears to be dislocated, as muscles that should attach it to the cranium at the rear just aren’t there. The result is that the skull appears to have just been stuck on the end of the neck without too much thought as to how it would all work. (The eyes are too low down and large too, but I’m more willing to forgive them on that one. Being the lovely man that I am. At least the face is nicely symmetrical.)
As can be seen in the above picture, the arms – while not broken (HURRAH!) – are still far too long. It seems like everyone makes a big deal of T. rex‘s small arms without ever realising how comparatively piddly they actually were – although T. rex could totally have taken an abelisaur in an arm-wrestling contest (or indeed a human), describing its forelimbs as ‘highly atrophied’ is probably not hyperbole.
Still, and in spite of all this, the figure has a lot going for it. The low price is an important factor, but just as with its neo-Wild Safari contemporaries it’s a lovingly detailed and scaly figure, with some well-defined musculature (even if the shoulder area looks a bit bony), a barrel chest and a paint job that is, for the most part, nice and subtle as befits such a huge creature. While the overall paint application is praiseworthy it does seem that the guy who painted the teeth was retiring the next day, as in that area it is rather sloppy. At least it gives Tyrannosaurus the opportunity to star in the next ‘Got Milk?’ ad.
In the end, though, I’m disappointed that this figure didn’t live up to the standard set by the Wild Safari Allosaurus. And that’s not really fair – the Allosaurus is a truly exceptional figure, and given their track record it was unlikely that Safari would produce a T. rex to match it. This is a good figure in its own right, and given its bipedal stance and correctly-positioned arms it’s one of the best in the 1:50 – 1:30 scale range.
Available from eBay stores here