It is with a heavy heart that I write my next review because as most of you are probably aware a dear member of our community and master paleo-artist Dan Lorusso has passed away. Even though this model was sculpted by Greg Wenzel it is Dan Lorusso that we have to thank for many of the old Battat models as well as the resurrection of the Battat series and its new sculpts and new paint jobs. The fact that Dan chose to spend his remaining years doing what he loved and sharing his passion with dinosaur enthusiast like us is a testament to his strength and devotion. May those who knew him and were close to him, take comfort in knowing that he has created a lasting legacy that will never be forgotten, and whose talents and personality will surely be missed.
And speaking of lasting legacies, it’s with open arms that we welcome back one of the most coveted of Battat models and arguably the best Tyrannosaurus ever molded in plastic; the Battat T. rex, now with Dan’s new paint scheme and a place as king in the Battat Terra line. In fact, when our community voted in a poll for the “Top 10 Tyrannosaurus Toys” it was the Battat that took first place, and deservedly so! Even though this model is pushing 20 years old, it’s still everything you would want from an accurate, museum quality model.
Tomhet reviewed the original Boston Museum of Science model and in that review he covered both the second and third versions of the sculpture. It is important to mention that the Terra T. rex is a repaint of the 3rd BMOS T. rex. The 3rd version of the model was originally released in 1998 with the first version released in 1994. The only real concern some picky collectors might take issue with is the lack of feathers, but most modern rex models still lack them. Since feathers are still speculative (but highly likely) for the genus you can’t really take points off for their omission.
Starting at the head we have that classic T. rex skull; a narrow snout that widens towards the back, allowing for the binocular vision we know these animals had. A think beefy neck conveys the power that propelled that enormous bone crushing head. The body is lean, but barrel-chested and muscular. The model is supported by two well-padded feet with strong muscular legs. The hands are properly positioned neutrally and even the tail is of considerable heft when compared to most reconstructions that ignore bulking up the caudofemoralis muscles.
In many ways, this was a model ahead of its time. This is of course true for the Battat line in general but the Tyrannosaurus is a great example of why this is true. This model stands up with not only our modern interpretation of these animals, but with our modern quality of production as well. This model compares well to current models by CollectA or Wild Safari and when you compare it to say, both the older Carnegie T. rex models from its own time, you’ll see that while those models appear heavily dated, this model looks fresh and new. The detail here blows it’s contemporaries out of the water. The bony bosses and bumps that adorn the skull, a ridge of muscle on the back of the neck, jugal bones protruding from the sides of the head, labial scales along the mouth, individually sculpted teeth of various sizes, attachment sites where the legs meet the body, slight visibility of the hips under the skin, tiny scales and wrinkles sculpted all over. All this and more, perfectly sculpted on a model pushing 20 years of age. Need I go on?
Though I’ve never owned the Battat Tyrannosaurus I have long advocated that it’s the best toy T. rex ever produced in the mass market. I even find the paint scheme and patterns on the original appealing. Although I would still love to have an original model for that reason alone the new paint job and patterns are not only naturalistic looking, but cleanly applied and certainly more realistic looking than the original. The color choices suggest this is an ambush predator. Olive drab dorsally and brown on the underside with spots and stripes overlapping both colors these choices certainly give the model a camouflaged appearance. Though greens and browns are usually overdone on dinosaurs the patterning makes this an interesting model to look at, and a convincing one too. The bony bits on the head are red, suggesting a display function for this beast. The nails are painted grey and the eyes yellow. Generally speaking the paint application is clean, but certainly if you look close enough you’ll see some runoff. Inside the mouth the teeth have some pink on their bases, the grey on the nails bleeds onto the feet. And the eyes? Well let’s just try not to look at it head-on.
So it would seem that the reissued Battat Tyrannosaurus gets high marks all around, that or it appears I’m a Battat fanboy. Not so fast, there is one glaring problem with the model that some may have difficultly reconciling with. It cannot stand! Although the tail is bent downwards in order to aid in stability the soft material used on this model coupled with too much weight in the front lead to a figure that tips over without some kind of added support. There are many ways around this of course. A stability rod can be implemented, or if your shelf is crowded like mine you can just lean it on another dinosaur. But perhaps the best way to make this model stand is simply by placing a small wedge under the left foot. A coin does the trick pretty good.
There was a lot to address with this model, what I consider the benchmark of T. rex toys so thanks for bearing with me. Clearly I believe this is a model worth seeking out, and thanks to Dan LoRusso and the folks at Battat you no longer have to spend a small fortune to do so. The Battat Terra Tyrannosaurus is exclusively sold at Target stores in the U.S., and at a price between $9.99 and $14.99 is a steal compared to what the original goes for. If you live outside the United States be sure to stop by the Dinosaur Toy Forum where many of our American members will gladly be willing to sell or trade one to you. This is a must have model for Tyrannosaurus fans so get it while you can and happy hunting!