Favorite’s ‘soft models’ have had a complete revamp this year, with an all-new series of sculpts by the renowned Kazunari Araki. With the exception of Pachycephalosaurus and Deinonychus (replaced by Velociraptor), every animal in the original series has an Araki counterpart, and the differences are quite striking and very interesting. Presumably hedging their bets from a scientific standpoint, and also because they sell rather well, Favorite have opted for two different T. rex sculpts this time – one more reptilian and spiny, and the other sporting squint-or-you’ll-miss-’em feathers. But which one’s better? There’s only one way to find out…
As is plain to see, the feathered beast on the left is posed in a manner rather reminiscent of the large Sega Dinosaur King model, its legs spread apart as it bellows to the skies for a reason that only tyrannosaurs and movie makers will ever understand. Meanwhile, its unfeathered counterpart is depicted in a more laid-back walking pose, albeit with its mouth still agog so you’re better able to check out all those amazing awesome teeth. The more straightforward pose is – let us make this clear – indisputably more aesthetically pleasing and altogether significantly less ridiculously over-the-top and awesomebro. That’s 1-0 to Unfeathered, then.
Proportionately, the sculpts are very sound. Of course they are – we’re talking about Araki. As one might expect, the two sculpts are very similar when it comes to soft tissue restoration – somewhat on the slim slide, but still very muscular and bulky-looking, with hugely broad torsos, appropriately tiny-but-stout arms and chunky tail bases (although they might still be not quite chunky enough – I wouldn’t want to call on it, but I’m sure someone will in the comments). Both sculpts show excellent attention to the smaller details, with such lovely touches as pads on the toes and carefully placed, crisp skin folds and creases.
Having a decent head on one’s T. rex figure is very important (as has been amply demonstrated in the recent past), and here I feel that one figure is significantly better than the other. For alas, there’s something a little…off about the head on Feathered. Now, as anyone will tell you, a T. rex skull flares out at the back in such a way that both of its eyes face forwards. Unfeathered captures this perfectly. However, on Feathered, the orbits appear to be too high – up to where the bony bosses would be – and so the eyes appear to be ever-so-slightly on stalks. Subsequently, it takes on a rather comical, one might say derpy, appearance when viewed head-on (as above) – whereas Unfeathered remains dignified. Well, both heads are a little sunken, but we’ll let that slide. I’m nice like that.
Which only leaves one other matter of contention – the feathers! It’s important to establish that if you’re the sort of person who’s bothered by feathers on T. rex figures you’re either kidding yourself or know something we don’t, in which case HURRY UP AND GET IT PUBLISHED. Of course, it’s also important that the feathers are handled in a suitable manner, and it must be noted that those on Feathered here are somewhat less than convincing. While it’s wonderful to see companies experimenting with this sort of thing, a smattering draped over the creature’s back and some jolly old forearm plumes just don’t quite cut it. As an avowed enthusiast for the Feathery Future, it pains me to say that Unfeathered’s more consistent appearance is by far the more pleasing – it’s a little same-old, but that seems better than embracing a new(ish) idea, but only doing so in a half, er, hearted fashion. Also, spines are dashing.
Clearly, then, if you only buy one Araki T. rex from Favorite, make it the brown unfeathered version. However, I’d recommend you get both – each one is an uncommonly good sculpt for the toy market, and is bursting with gorgeous detail and real personality. All this, and I haven’t even mentioned the bases. Hooray for the bases! They’re an entirely sensible answer to the issue of theropod toy stability – the figures can be separated for playtime (if you really want to give such great toys to your undeserving progeny), and/or attached to the bases for ease of display. Marvellous, and very welcome. Top-hole once again for Favorite.