Tyrannosaurus rex (Running) (Papo)

So – and forgive me if you’ve heard this already – Papo have a new T. rex out for 2012. And now, finally, we’ve all got the chance to get our greasy paws on one. Although most of you probably decided a long time ago whether or not you were going to grab one of these, hopefully this review will be useful for the very few still sitting on the fence…

There’s one thing always worth remembering about Papo – they’ve never claimed any sort of scientific authority or authenticity. Their prehistoric line isn’t tied in with a museum, and the figures aren’t declared ‘scale replicas’ replete with educational tags. It’s the aesthetic quality of these figures that’s endeared them to adult collectors – and make no mistake, Papo remain absolutely miles ahead of the pack in this regard. Still, given the high production values clearly evident in these figures, it’s difficult not to view them as at least semi-serious attempts at reconstructing extinct animals, and it’s here that they tend to fall short.

The original Papo T. rex was very obviously a straight-up knock-off of the Jurassic Park creature – an excellent one as it happens – and that contributed immensely to its appeal. For their new T. rex, the sculptor has clearly used Jurassic Park as a starting point once again, resulting in some of the inaccuracies of the original being repeated. Most obviously, the arms are far, far too long. Here’s something I’d like all toy designers to remember in future – the arms of T. rex are only mocked for being laughably short because they really were quite laughably short. The torso is also a little shallow. The feet are too large, of course, but that’s in aid of stability – and I think it’s a worthy trade-off (but more about that in a moment). Quite apart from any problems with proportions, though, it’s the head that will probably prove to be the divisive aspect of this figure.

Abandoning their usual neat rows of teeth, Papo have instead opted for a gnarly, snaggle-toothed look. It’s hard to deny that it looks pretty cool – not to mention sinister – but look at any T. rex skull and you can see that it doesn’t really match up (in other words, there’s a reason we don’t see lots of T. rex restorations with croco-teeth). It’s not that some individuals didn’t have the odd tooth protruding in an unusual direction – they almost certainly did – but the way the teeth are arranged here doesn’t really resemble any T. rex specimen yet discovered. But, yes, it does look cool. And that’s Papo for you.

Of course, for all that talk of giant arms and dodgy teeth, there’s an awful lot to be positive about here. The aesthetic quality of this plastic toy is simply astonishing. Other companies may produce tyrannosaurs that are more scientifically sound, but only Papo’s look alive. The highly refined, crisp detailing stands up to the very closest scrutiny, as does the paintwork which is, as always, flawless and highly naturalistic in appearance. Try as hard as you like – you won’t find a single, tiny accidental paint splash, even around the mouth, claws and miniscule, beady eyes. The pose, too, is exciting and looks convincing, which makes the enlarged feet worthwhile. When it comes to aesthetics alone, Papo continue to put to shame ‘serious’ resin models that can cost over three times as much as these toys.

With the original, which has been repainted brown this year

Even if you’re averse to dinosaur figures that deviate significantly from the real deal, it’s difficult to not see this figure as a must-buy. It does seem a shame that Papo won’t consider consulting with scientists to produce a line of toys that are closer to how the real animals would have looked, as they’d then be pretty much untouchable. However, even with things the way they are, Papo deserve credit for raising the dino toy stakes and producing a line of consistently stunning, often very characterful figures. That brachiosaur is looking like a very attractive prospect…!

Available on Amazon.com here.

29 Responses to Tyrannosaurus rex (Running) (Papo)

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  6. Pachyrhinosaurus

    Is this in scale with the Wildlife Wonders gorilla, I wonder?

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  9. Hi,
    Just came across your site – love it!
    Can’t wait to look through all the blogs.
    This T-Rex toy is amazing – I want one!
    I have just published my first book about a Dinosaur Zoo on amazon – ‘Edison and the Dinosaur Zoo’.

  10. I got one of these a few days ago! It was a reasonable £18 and the realism of it it astounding. Easily matches the Spino for lifelike quality. He’s also a bit on the skinny side (as all Papos seem to be) and it really helps to define all the skeletal frame and musculature, as well as help tell a story of how much this old guy has been through in his lifetime. I personally like the teeth, especially the large lower one that fits into the gap in the top jaw. Little quirks like that really make me admire this figure. It may not be 100% scientifically accurate, but it’s seriously cool!

  11. Cool!

  12. Oh how I wish they would stop making Rex-on-the-loo figures! *poop*

    • Marc (Horridus)

      The old one’s still going to be hanging around, but in brown. So we haven’t seen the end of the Tyrannosaurus on the loo.

      • Bah! At least they should provide a JP-sized lump of sh*t to go with it 😉

        I know, I know, it is a question of stability. Still, I can’t help but make a farting sound whenever I see a museum mount like this, or a model 😉 Happened to NOT do this in Brussels today – nice mount!

        btw, great review – keep it up! 🙂

        • Marc (Horridus)

          Even if the new one has some fugly teeth, at least it’s not in the middle of a dirty protest! For that reason alone it can surely be considered an improvement.

    • Yes, I agree, a dynamic pose makes a figure much more alive.
      Take a look at the large long necked herbivores…some of those swallowed a street pole.

  13. I can’t help but wonder if the inspiration for this new running rex wasn’t a combination of the Jurrasic Park rex and the V. rex from Peter Jackson’s King Kong, which had a snaggly toothed mouth and was more on the lean side. Additionally, the Kong rexes definitely showed more bumps, bruises, and cuts which seem to be evident on this new Papo rex toy.

    • Marc (Horridus)

      I thought people had been overstating the ‘V. rex’ influence but, looking again at pictures from the film, the similarities are plain to see. So it’s probably something that I should’ve mentioned. The ‘V. rex’ appears to have been bulkier than this, though.

  14. I know from personal experience and although not scientific, the positive of this dinosaur is that it is very detailed and very nice texture, you can also admire the most important scales and the muscles of the animal’s body. I recommend it to any fan of the dinosaurs is better seen in the figure to see it in photography. The reality is that they have passed though … only one Vastatosaurus.

  15. Once again Papo produces the best Rexes figures IMHO.

    Slight errors aside, it’s simply the badassest of the badass in the plasticsaurus realm!

  16. great review, i enjoyed the fact that you weren’t overly critical of it. now to get my hands on one.

  17. I don’t care for the snaggly teeth, but I enjoy everything else about this replica. Thankfully the mouth can be closed, which not only solves the toothy problem but it also looks quite dignified and natural with the mouth closed, unlike most other T-rex replicas which perpetually have their mouth wildly agape. Can’t to get this guy and the Papo brachiosaur when it comes out!

  18. It is nice wallpaper. ;D

    I think you may find yourself liking it in spite of everything, Dr. Adam, once you finally have the actual thing. I also got mine today and even I couldn’t help it.

  19. Sorry for posting three in a row, but I forgot to say, nice wallpaper by the way 😉

  20. Oh yes, and the joint on the back of the neck bugs me a little. I know, picky picky.

  21. The gnarly teeth don’t appeal to me – I think the head in the original is finer by far. But the details on this figure really are quite stunning.

  22. Great review, and I can’t wait to get my own but that will have to wait awhile. Now the Brachiosaurus…I’ll probably buy that the day it comes out.

  23. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the strong resemblance to King Kong’s V-Rex.

  24. Excellent review once again, Marc. Very little else one can add to these points.

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