Review and photos by Patrx, edited by Suspsy
Any review of a recent CollectA figure is likely to point out the dramatic increase in quality that the company has undertaken within the past few years–and rightly so. Also of note, however, is a more gradual improvement since then. CollectA have proven quick to adapt not only to palaeontological progress, but to consumer critique, and that’s evident with their latest fluffy tyrannosaur, the “gore king” Lythronax.
Lythronax argestes is currently the oldest known tyrannosaurid, dating back approximately 80 million years. Though it’s known from sparse remains (a partial skull, most of its left leg, and a few other bits), traits made famous by the later tyrannosaur giants can be observed: binocular vision, bone-crushing teeth of varying sizes, and a powerful skull. Suitably, CollectA’s version is reconstructed as a typical tyrannosaurid, with small forelimbs bearing two claws each, a deep thoracic cavity, a bulky neck, and, of course, a feathery coat. The skull itself is a good match for the available material, demonstrating all the previously-noted tyrant trademarks. In terms of overall anatomy, this looks to be a success. Bulky, birdlike musculature is sculpted into the animal’s legs, which is appropriate. The tail muscles look pretty hefty as well, but could stand to be a little more so just behind the hips. The implementation of a base for support means no major concessions have had to be made with regard to leg, hip, or foot structure, and I am once again left wondering why every toy theropod does not stand on a base.
Striding forward with its head raised and mouth agape, the animal’s posture could suit a variety of hypothetical situations, even if it isn’t exactly unique. The tail is posed with a whiplike curl at the very end, which seems to be pretty popular among CollectA’s theropods of late. I’m not sure if theropod tails where quite that supple in life, generally speaking. The animal is convincingly pressing its weight onto its pedal digits, aided by some nice toe pads and wrinkles details in the feet. This is another improvement over other recent theropods in the line, many of which seem strangely tiptoed and light on their feet. Unfortunately, the toe claws are oddly flat, and don’t hook downward as they probably should.
Long, shaggy clumps of feathers are etched into the surface, following the contours of the body and rising into sculpted points in a twin “crest” atop the skull. The result looks a little blobby and fluid. The feather details cover most of the body, stopping short around the knees and the face. Though the filaments are meant to appear long and loose, they do not cover the animal’s thighs or shoulders convincingly, leaving a strange separation where the limbs meet. The reticulae (“scales”) that cover the legs also seem outsized – one can defend this as something done for the sake of visible detail on a small model, but it’s still an error by my reckoning. Flat scutes adorn the feet – a popular detail which unfortunately only makes sense on animals whose predecessors possessed winged legs–not a good fit for Lythronax. Continuing the list of improvements over previous efforts, though, the skull shows somewhat less in the way of shrink-wrapping than, for example, CollectA’s Carcharodontosaurus. However, there appear to be large scutes around the edges of the fenestae in the skull, and dark paint which accentuates them, lending the beast a hopelessly Dinosaur Renaissance-era visage. The dentition is a good match for the known material, and very sharply rendered, though the jaws appear to be lipless.
Unusually for a recent CollectA piece, Lythronax‘s color scheme is fairly subdued. A sandy tan provides the base colour, which is lighter on the face, legs, display feathers, and ventral scales. The end of the tail features a fade into grey and black. All of the paint application is tidy and clean on my own copy of this piece, and while some have expressed disdain for the glossy black eyes CollectA like to use, I generally find them charming. The eyes certainly work for Lythronax.
Although it seems I have found many nits to pick with regard to this figure, my overall opinion is positive. CollectA continue to evince a propensity for obscure animals, an eagerness to maintain pace with palaeontological art, and consistent overall improvement. If this Lythronax is any indicator of the rate at which said improvement will take place, I look forward to the future.