Here’s something unique! Although the animal was described in 2011, Tomy are the only company to have produced a Zhuchengtyrannus magnus figure (so far – I can’t imagine Collecta will leave it alone forever). The Dino Kingdom 2012 expo had a particular focus on Chinese dinosaurs, so it’s only fitting to see this huge tyrannosaur among the tie-in toy lineup.
It’s important to note that any reconstruction of Zhuchengtyrannus is going to be, by necessity, rather speculative – the animal is only known from parts of the jaws, namely a right maxilla and left dentary. However, as large tyrannosaurs were really quite uniform when it came to body shape (like the employees of unsettling American clothing retailers), it’s pretty safe to assume that Z. magnus would have looked much like its close relatives T. rex and Tarbosaurus bataar.
Within that remit, this figure does very well – with muscular legs, stout arms, a bulging neck and a chest like a great big keg, this is a creature that appears bulky, but very powerful with it. Overall, this is an excellently proportioned sculpt that clearly has a great deal of effort and care behind it. The animal is also portrayed as having very well-developed binocular vision, a trait present in the North American T. rex but not the Asian Tarbosaurus (or many other tyrannosaur species), which seems a bit iffy. On the other hand, since that part of its skull isn’t actually known, does it really matter? It’s certainly plausible enough. As are the feathers.
Yes, they decked out another one of their giant tyrant dinosaurs in a coat of fluffiness! Don’t they know the popular super-scientific rule advanced by countless internet trolls, namely that direct evidence must be found for feathers on every last theropod dinosaur that could plausibly have had them before they can be restored with such an integument? Tsk. Seriously, though, the inclusion of the feathery coat is most welcome, and although the avoidance of another green mohawk should be applauded, the animal’s plumage does seem a little sparse – limited only to the neck, back, tail and arms, although admittedly quite bushy. These feathers are a great start, but how about MORE feathers? We want MORE! (Oh, I’m such a fanboy.)
Feathers aside, while this figure should be praised for its intricate detailing and frequently highly meticulous paintwork (those eyes!), the colour scheme and choice of pose do seem a little uninspired. It seems that T. rex, with its energetic attacking posture and wild blue face mask, was intended to steal the other theropods’ thunder in this collection; by comparison, Z. magnus appears rather plodding and dreary. On the other hand, some may view this pose as fittingly statuesque and dignified, particularly as the mouth isn’t hanging wide open like the animal’s just been grossly offended by something.
Whatever your thoughts on the pose, this remains a wonderful little model – highly detailed, well researched and affordable. The only problem is finding one, although eBay’s a good bet, and it’s definitely worth your while. Happy hunting!