Just as the Carnegie collection’s 10 year milestone was celebrated with the release of an updated Tyrannosaurus sculpt, so this year’s 25th anniversary sees the release of an all-new T. rex figure, one better suited to the line’s current aesthetic. This latest generation T. rex is an obvious improvement still further on the old version, and shows a commendable level of background research, even if it’s still not quite the ‘definitive T. rex‘ figure that some might have wanted it to be. Still, if nothing else, we’ve certainly come a long way from the chunky blockhead with painted-on teeth.
First impressions are good. While the tripod pose is a pity, the subtle sideways sweep of the tail at least looks less stiff and unnatural than the obvious ‘prop tails’ on the Carnegie Cryolophosaurus and Concavenator. The overall proportions of the body are excellent; the hips are massive, the chest suitably barrel-shaped, and the arms are as tiny as they should be (by no means a given in T. rex toys, in spite of the animal’s reputation). The head appears very large at first glance, but it’s by no means disproportionate for T. rex – ‘Stan’ in particular is noted for its outsized-looking noggin.
In fact, the head in particular is excellent on this figure, corresponding closely to real T. rex skulls without appearing ‘shrink-wrapped’. Careful attention has been paid to the shape of the animal’s hornlets and bosses, and there is ample room for jaw musculature (an occasional problem with T. rex figures) alongside nicely realised superficial details such as the nostrils, ears, and beady eyes. The teeth are appropriately proportioned and, while of course making concessions to the fact that a child would probably want to deploy the jaws as a weapon, don’t appear overly blunted.
The head is borne on a lovingly detailed, impressively muscular neck, while the torso is certainly robust – although perhaps not robust enough. The Carnegie style certainly favours rather svelte (but by no means emaciated) dinosaurs, and here it seems that the torso could perhaps do with being a little deeper, which would have made the protrusion of the pubic ‘boot’ a little less obvious. The ankles and feet also seem a little delicate for T. rex, and could do with some widening side-to-side. While we’re discussing the beast’s multi-tonne chunkiness, its big fat rear end might also not be big and fat enough.
Yes, I’m afraid that the problem with Carnegie theropod backsides persists in this figure – that tail base is simply too thin to accommodate the pretty meaty muscles that ran from the tail to the thigh and helped drive the creature forward (the better to hunt Triceratops, lawyers and what have you). Still, it seems churlish to complain about this sort of thing when so few other figures get it right; this remains an unusually well-researched figure, and will please anyone used to despairingly trudging past the usual hideous dreck in their local shops.
All in all, it’s been quite a journey for the Carnegie T. rex – from chunky child’s plaything, through smush-faced terracotta wonder, to stripy green, toothy-grinned splendour. There may remain anatomical nitpicks, and (as with other Carnegie figures) it perhaps could have used a little livening up aesthetically – there are no decorative spines or feathers, and the paint app leaves something to be desired. Nevertheless, it’s a figure I’d recommend to anyone hankering for a decent 1:40-ish scale model of a freakish coelurosaur in their life.