There was once a time when no proper museum gift shop didn’t feature the legendary and now-defunct Carnegie Collection. Let us take a closer look at one of its biggest stars.
Here we have the second version of the Carnegie Tyrannosaurus rex, released in 1996. It stands a majestic 14.5 cm tall and measures 27 cm long. Grass green is the main colour, with very dark green running down the back, a pale underbelly, black stripes and claws, yellow eyes, a crude slap of pink inside the mouth, and grey teeth. The skin texture consists of large scales and thick wrinkles, pretty standard for a Carnegie toy.
As you can see, this T. rex is sculpted in Carnegie’s much-loathed signature tripod stance with the tip of its tail touching the ground. Even worse, it’s doing its best impression of Godzilla, rearing upright on its elephantine legs. On the positive side, the body is more or less proportional for a tyrannosaur and the wrists aren’t pronated—although I doubt that was deliberate on the sculptor’s part.
So what distinguishes this toy from the original version aside from slight colour differences? Well, the arms and the legs have been remoulded with better defined muscles and claws. More importantly, just take a look at that completely new head. While it’s still too short length-wise, it’s less boxy and more streamlined, and it even allows for the binocular vision that made T. rex a superior predator to its predecessors. And most importantly of all, there are real teeth lining the mouth! Granted, they look too short and stumpy, but at least they’re actually sculpted as opposed to just painted-on streaks of white!
Despite being outdated by today’s standards, I am rather fond of this vintage tyrant. Toys like these are a great means of gauging just how much our understanding of dinosaurs has changed over the years. This T. rex stands among my other, more recent versions like an aging but proud grandparent. Here’s to you, old timer!