Depending on how you look at it, repaints are either a blessing or a curse. On the one hand, it can be annoying to plunk down hard-earned money on a sculpt you already own. On the other hand, there’s a lot to be said for a radical new colour scheme that spruces up a familiar toy. This review will examine Papo’s ultra-rare brown version of the Running T. rex and 2015’s vibrant, limited edition repaint of the original T. rex.
Pickings for good dinosaur toys were slim in my fair Canadian city back in 2012, so I ordered a Running T. rex from a retail chain called Mastermind Toys. The online catalogue depicted the standard green version and I assumed that’s what I would be receiving in the mail. Imagine my surprise then when I opened up the package and pulled out the ultra-rare brown version!
Now please don’t ask me how this happened. All I know is that I’ve never come across another one in any of Mastermind’s stores (the chain has since opened three outlets in my city and I need never worry about acquiring Papo toys again, yay!) or anywhere else. Over the last three years, I’ve gotten quite a few inquiries from fellow dino fans asking if I would be willing to sell my rare piece. Sorry, folks, but this T. rex will be remaining with me. 🙂
This bad boy stands 12 cm tall at the hips and measures 33 cm long. His colour scheme consists of varying shades of brown, darker on top and lighter on bottom. The beady eyes are yellow, the mouth is dull pink, the teeth are yellowish white, and the claws are black. It’s not what you’d call a vibrant scheme, but it looks great regardless. This T. rex feels more like his own beast as opposed to a Jurassic Park/King Kong mashup. Unfortunately, the hind claws on mine have been painted very sloppily. Quite uncharacteristic of Papo.
I will not go into all the scientific inaccuracies on this toy, as they have already been amply described in the review of the standard version. Rather, I shall briefly touch on my favourite feature: the head. This male has three rows of rough osteoderms running down his snout and angry brow ridges. Opening his mouth wide reveals not smooth, even teeth, but jagged, broken ones. And there are three deep, painful-looking clefts in his upper jaw. Perhaps he sustained these injuries from battling a Triceratops or a rival male. In any case, it is very clear that this is one T. rex who is not to be trifled with. I call him Roughskull.
As intimidating as he looks, however, Roughskull receives a failing grade in the stability department. His dynamic pose, with one foot raising off the ground, makes him prone to falling over at the drop of a hat, literally. To call it frustrating would be a gross understatement. Over the years, I’ve had to employ various methods for balancing or propping him up. Anyone who claims that bases are a bad thing need only be reminded of this toy.
And now let’s move on to the female T. rex, whom I’ve dubbed Blueback. This sculpt is Papo’s flagship dinosaur, originally released as part of the very first assortment back in 2005. Directly inspired by Jurassic Park and magnificently sculpted, it has achieved global fame over the past ten years by appearing in numerous advertisements, articles, and books. In the process, however, it has helped cement a rather outdated, inaccurate perception of T. rex in the public’s mind.
But let us not dwell on pronated wrists and other negatives. This mighty female stands 16 cm tall and measures around 23 cm long. The original version was coloured green just like the subadult male in Jurassic Park 3. The second version, released in 2012, was done in brown to reflect the beloved and indomitable Rexy from Jurassic Park and Jurassic World.
This latest version, however, boasts a totally original colour scheme. The claws are very dark grey, the teeth are off white, the inside of the mouth is full pink, and the beady eyes are red. The underside is medium grey and the forearms and lower legs are dark grey. The thighs have dark stripes and the throat is airbrushed red. The upper portion of the skull is dark blue with faint red airbrushing on the fenestrae and the brow ridges. A blue-black stripe runs down the length of the spine, flanked by dark purple stripes, which in turn are flanked by light brown stripes. Finally, there are some light brown spots tossed in for good measure.
The overall result is a colour scheme that isn’t bright or all that realistic, but is very attractive and unique. Blueback really stands out from the other, mostly monochromatic Papo dinosaurs. Only the Archaeopteryx rivals her. I have to say, I seriously hope Papo isn’t planning to reissue more of their dinosaurs this way, because it’d be very hard to keep from buying them!
Both Roughskull the Brown and Blueback the Beautiful are great toys. Inaccurate, yes, but dynamic, impressive, and full of personality. And again, the new colour schemes make them seem more like their own tyrant lizards and less like their JP inspirations. Unfortunately, if you want Roughskull, you’d better be prepared to shell out some serious dough. Blueback, however, is currently available at Mastermind locations across Canada and online, and will hopefully become widely available in other countries as well. She has also been advertised online in a two-pack with a similarly repainted Velociraptor. Not sure how many stores will be stocking that one. Good hunting!