Having gorged himself on flesh and liver of hadrosaur, the sovereign rises to his full height. He raises his fiery red crest, opens his blood-streaked jaws, and bellows a warning to the landscape. He then retreats to a shady grove a short distance away. As he settles down to rest, his dark eyes remain fixed on his half-eaten kill. Though it will be days before he is hungry again, the sovereign knows that the smell of fresh meat may bring an intruder into his territory.
And he will have none of that.
Tyrannosaurus rex, the iconic, undisputed king of the dinosaurs, is known from numerous specimens including young Jane, big-headed Stan, mighty Sue, and Canada’s own Scotty. It is also known that T. rex, like all coelurosaurs, was related to birds. And there is fossil proof that its tyrannosauroid relatives Dilong and Yutyrannus were feathered. Phylogenetic bracketing therefore suggests that there is a possibility that the tyrant king possessed feathers as well. But to what degree? And where? On the head? Along the spine? Dangling off the arms? At the end of the tail? We may never know. Despite that uncertainty, or perhaps because of it, CollectA has opted to go all out and create a T. rex adorned in feathery goodness.
This Deluxe model measures an imposing 31 cm long and stands 14 cm tall, making it the largest dinosaur in CollectA’s 2015 prehistoric line. Its head is light brown with black stripes and pine green patches on the tip of the snout and either side of the jaw. The eyes are black, the teeth are yellowish white, and the inside of the mouth is pink. The large crest on the head is fiery red and the region around the neck is pine green with a white stripe. The rest of the body is light brown with a yellowish white underbelly and black claws. It’s a striking and attractive colour scheme, one that is very similar to that of a rooster or a male pheasant. I’m therefore going to assume that this T. rex is meant to represent a mature male. I’ve also decided to name him Firestreak. He makes a perfect dad for last year’s Juvenile T. rex.
Aside from his feet, shins, underbelly, hands, and most of his head, Firestreak is entirely covered with plumage. Very impressive plumage at that. The sculptor has clearly taken great pains to sculpt each and every feather with precision and care. The ones making up his crest are fairly long while the ones on his body are smaller and finer. His non-feathered parts are covered in large, thick scales, especially his shins and feet. This, combined with all the plumage, makes him seem far more avian than reptilian.
Firestreak’s massive head has the proper shape for a T. rex. His teeth are large and reasonably sharp, his eyes are facing forward, and his nostril openings are located near the bottom of his snout. Studies have concluded that T. rex possessed vision superior to an eagle’s and a sense of smell comparable to a vulture’s. Invaluable weapons for an apex predator. Firestreak does have a bit of “shrink wrapping” going on, in that the antorbital fenastrae and orbits can be seen through the skin on his skull. Fortunately, they are not as noticeable as on other depictions.
Firestreak’s neck is extremely thick. His arms are appropriately puny and his hands correctly lack pronation. The white feathers on his arms may have come in handy in a mating display. His legs are big and robust and his feet are large, but not oversized. His long, powerful tail would have helped increase his speed. I’m also very happy to report that this model does not have the overly wide hips plaguing the Acrocanthosaurus and last year’s Carcharodontosaurus.
Firestreak is sculpted in a very active pose with his head turned sharply to the left, his legs in a walking stance, and his tail twitching. He could either be stalking an unwary Edmontosaurus, circling a defiant Triceratops, sizing up a rival male, or showing off to an interested female. Due to the extreme pose, CollectA has wisely chosen to mount their model on an earthen-shaped base. One need never worry about Firestreak taking a fall.
This is one of the first CollectA models to feature an articulated lower jaw. I’ve long been a fan of such a feature and it works well on Firestreak. However, the tissue on either side of his mouth have rounded edges for some strange reason. It doesn’t ruin the appearance for me, but it is unfortunate. As well, the hind claws and feet are slightly too long and the the seams where Firestreak’s bare shins meet his feathery thighs are rather noticeable. These are all minor flaws though.
The CollectA Feathered Tyrannosaurus rex is an awesome and exciting model. It’s big, it’s fun to display or play with, it’s beautifully painted and sculpted, it’s accurately proportioned, it’s stable, and it solidly refutes the silly notion that feathered dinosaurs don’t look intimidating. Again, we may never know for certain if T. rex had feathers, but for myself, I much prefer dinosaur depictions that take speculative chances as opposed to ones that remain conservative. This is now my favourite T. rex and the best prehistoric figure of 2015 as far as I’m concerned. It truly captures the essence of the tyrant lizard. Five out of five stars for King Firestreak!
A big thank you goes out to CollectA for generously providing me with this advance sample!