Over a year ago now (wait, what? What happened!?!) I reviewed a Dinotales-esque miniature Triceratops model from Tomy (aka Takara Tomy), which I was sent in lieu of the Tyrannosaurus from the same range. Happily, Tomy have released a new set for 2012 – to tie in with the Dino Kingdom expo in Japan – and I’ve actually managed to get hold of the T. rex this time. It’s a wonderful little figure that I’m sure, nevertheless, is going to split opinion. I’ll give you three feathers…uh…guesses as to why.
Yes, they’ve given everyone’s favourite hadrosaur-chomping, piddly-armed, birdy-legged monster a flufftastic covering. Actually, it’s not Tomy’s first feathered T. rex – the 2011 sculpt that accompanied the aforementioned Triceratops also boasted a handsome mane – but this iteration shows marked improvements, both in sculpting and painting finesse and in its far more striking pose and imaginative colouration. The punkish green mohawk is probably a step too far, but the bold, almost tribal patterns on the face certainly make it stand out from the gigantic horde of T. rex figures out there. For me, the feathers themselves are most definitely a welcome inclusion, and one that I can only hope will set a precedent for other manufacturers. Not only is at least a smattering of fuzz (if not more) highly plausible (especially in the light of recent discoveries), feathered figures are also so much more interesting than their all-scaly counterparts. Those who don’t like the idea are quite welcome to grumble quietly in the corner, clutching their VHS copies of Jurassic Park – just as long as they don’t get in the way of the Feathery Future™.
Integument aside, the pose of this model also attracts interest. The karate kick action – reminiscent of the Michael Trcic resin T. rex manufactured by Favorite – isn’t going to please everybody, but it’s certainly unusually dynamic and means that the figure commands attention when it’s placed among the usual standing-around-with-their-mouths-agog crowd. It’s worth noting that it’s designed as a companion to the Triceratops from the same series (which I don’t have), and the bases of the two figures slot together – if you’re finding the pose a little odd, it does make more sense in that context. Nevertheless, the sense of action and momentum in this figure, perched as it is on the very tips of the toes of one foot, make it eye-catching and perfectly worthy of proudly displaying even without its pointy-faced adversary.
From an anatomical perspective, the sculptor has done a superb job within the limitations inherent in a very small, mass-produced, snap-together plastic figure. Perhaps most admirable are the arms, which are every bit as tiny as they should be while still retaining a certain robustness. The legs are highly birdlike and muscular – as they should be – with the ‘kicking’ leg swinging in towards the midline, just as it would when the animal took a step. The tail may be a little bit ropey and flattened, and there’s something a little off about the mouth (not to mention that hairdo), but other than that it’s a very nice piece of work.
I’d recommend this figure without hesitation – it’s pleasantly novel, affordable, striking in appearance without being overtly flamboyant, and offers a different take on a species that many thought had been done to death. Oh, and it has an adorably teensy gold plaque on its base making it quite unambiguously clear as to precisely which animal this is meant to be, which is definitely a feature that should be much more widespread. Hunt it down while you can!