Review and photos by Patrick Bate (Pixelboy), edited by Plesiosauria.
Ah, Japan. A culture that seems to be equal parts tradition and progress. Fortuitously, when it comes to dinosaurs, progress seems to be their strong suit. If you’re looking for accurate, up-to-date dinosaur figures, Japanese companies like Kaiyodo, Kabaya, TakaraTomy, and Kinto/Favorite are often your best bet; and this Tyrannosaurus maquette from the 2012 Tokyo Dinosaur Kingdom Expo is no exception. Sculpted by Takashi Oda and based on an illustration by Raúl Martín, this unorthodox addition to the Favorite Desktop Model series is nothing if not striking.
The tyrant king is here depicted in mid-stride, perched atop a rocky base with its mouth agape in what one might imagine to be a triumphant roar. Not a hugely inventive pose, perhaps, but certainly dramatic. Like all of Favorite’s desktop models, this guy gets a wooden plinth with a metal nameplate. For some reason,the scale isn’t engraved along with the name. At approximately 7 1/4 inches long and 4 1/2 inches tall, I would guess it’s a bit smaller than their usual 1/40 scale.
Probably the first (okay, maybe the second) thing one notices about this figure is the unusual color scheme. It’s much like that of the previously reviewed Takara Tomy version – they were produced for the same event and based on the same artwork. The body is mostly grey, with a nicely subtle fractal pattern of dark stripes on the back and tail, shifting to a pale, almost white shade on the ventral surface and legs. Splotches of bright blue adorn either side of the face, with the characteristic ridges on the skull lined in red. I think the coloration strikes an excellent balance between bright patterns and more “natural”, subdued colors. It’s both interesting and realistic.
Generally, the sculpting detail is quite sharp. The feathers – covering nearly the entire body – are etched intricately into the surface. Longer filaments cover the dorsal surface, transitioning to smaller ones toward the underside of the body and broad, birdlike scales on the feet and hands.
The feet, unfortunately, are somewhat lacking in detail, but it is easy to see what kind of look the sculptor was aiming for. Muscles and tendons are more clearly defined here than in some Tyrannosaurus models, and remind me of the lower portion of the legs on an ostrich.
T. rex’s real claim to fame, of course, is its head – and Favorite clearly spared no expense when bringing it to life on this model. The skull is nicely fleshed out, with the fenestrae as invisible as they should be. There’s an unusual structure along the back of the mouth, a bit like the soft tissue behind the beak of a modern raptor. The feathery “mowhawk” may seem a little ostentatious, but looks a bit less silly here than on the Takara Tomy version, with the blue color limited to the tips of the feathers. The only thing that disappoints with regard to this figure’s head are the teeth – they aren’t sculpted as precisely as I’d have liked, and look slightly blobby on close inspection.
Anatomically, there’s not much to complain about here – the legs are proportioned very well, with excellently birdlike musculature, the arms are correctly tiny yet powerful-looking, and the torso is wide and boxy. However, while I like the elegant look of this rex’s tail, it really should be quite a bit wider and more muscular at the base. It also seems a bit short.
I think it’s safe to say I’m a big fan of this piece, and not only for its forward-thinking design. It has a lot of life to it, and makes a unique and eye-catching addition to any dinosaur collection. Unfortunately, only 500 were made. They’re still available over at Clawmark Toys for a hefty $130.00 USD, but once their stock runs out, it’ll probably be tough to track down this Tokyo Tyrant. And no, you can’t have mine.