Author Archives: Guest Reviews

Tyrannosaurus rex (Breakout Rex by Chronicle Collectibles)

Review and photographs by Sammy Allouba (aka JurassicGeek09), edited by Suspsy

Continuing on with Chronicle Collectibles’ offering of high-end JP items, today I have the highly anticipated Breakout Rex, which obviously is a reenactment of Rexy breaking out of her paddock in the first Jurassic Park. For those of you who have been following the development of this piece via social media, you may recall there was some controversy regarding the final product in terms of its paint job, with some people claiming Chronicle pulled a bait-and-switch on them because the final product was a complete 180 from what the promo shots advertised. I’ll touch on all that in this review. This statue is approximately two feet long and when assembled, weighs around 30 pounds.

I know the packaging may seem like a pointless part of discussion, but given how much a collectible of this nature sells for, I think it’s important to highlight the respectable and tightly packed nature of the shipment. Let’s be honest, when you buy something from eBay for instance, you rate the seller based on how well they packaged an item amongst other things. This one here is snug and tight. If you’re wondering where the fence cables are, they are located in a separate compartment located on the reverse of the styrofoam. It’s easy to miss and almost made me think I was missing pieces until a friend of mine who also bought one pointed this out to me.

Well, there she is, in all her glory! Please do note that the photos you are seeing here are not filtered and as such, are presented in natural lighting. This is important because, as I said at the beginning, the paint job was a point of contention for a lot of people, so let’s talk about that. But by all means, do take in her glory before we start an analysis. She stands proudly, free of her constraints, ready to take on the world. Even if you’re not entirely sold on her, it’s hard to take your eyes off her. She fits squarely into the base via pegs on the underside of her feet.

So, the paint job. I hate to admit it, but it is a tad underwhelming. It’s more leopard-y than I’d like and based on shots of Rexy in the film, she wasn’t quite so spotted. When I compared the shots of my model to the ones featured on Chronicle’s product page, I saw where the difference lay. Those images featured a slightly darker underbelly and fewer spots.

On to the head. This is really where people started freaking out when the retail images began to surface. Again, same story as the underbelly. In the promo shots, it was darker around the neck with fewer visible stripes. The eyes were also darker. Both of them, in the final release, look like they were painted brighter. For me, this isn’t a deal breaker, but it makes one wonder what the heck happened during production. The teeth are painted, but beyond that, there isn’t much detail to them. They’re pointed, but serrations aren’t noticeable on them, like the Lost World Rex Bust.

This is what the base looks like when fully assembled. It’s very easy to put together. You just need to slide the wire poles into their respective holes, and (I only discovered this after the fact) the middle pole with the lighting fixtures (which do not light up) has small circlets in which you insert the wires from the pole on the left and twist them accordingly. The wires do not feel flimsy, but loose enough that you can twist and turn them to your heart’s content. I had a lot of fun with this part. I tried to make it as “screen accurate” as possible.

And there she is, fully assembled! The night falls, the power fails, and the Queen will once again mark her mark on this primordial world. Overall, I say it’s an impressive piece to look at and can certainly be a conversation starter but the paint job could’ve been better. From what I understand, Chronicle outsourced the final phase of production to a company called Toynami and after the complaints started to come out, Chronicle took matters into their own hands and pulled most of the figures back prior to shipment to touch them up. That said, it’s not nearly as bad as some people claimed it to be. Lord knows some people were ready to tear Chronicle apart, calling them scam artists and such (can you imagine?). A few more touch ups would have been nice, but I would still recommend this piece for any Jurassic Park lover. I look forward to the next one!

Parasaurolophus (Baby)(Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

Review and photos by Quentin Brendel, edited by Suspsy

With its long, tubular crest protruding from the back of its skull, Parasaurolophus is one of the most easily-recognized hadrosaurids. The model to be reviewed today does not have much of one, being a juvenile animal. Safari Ltd’s rendition, while not perfect, is still a nice toy for collectors and children alike. This figure is stamped 1997, coming out a year after the original Wild Safari adult Parasaurolophus.

The dinosaur is posed so that it looks like it is calling out, with its head up and mouth open, perhaps to the adult. The primary colour on this figure is a brownish orange, which, unlike in the adult, is solid and does not fade to a darker shade. The underside is painted beige with hard edges. There is an intermediate colour between it and the orange which has feathered edges, though it lacks the intermediate colour on the right side of the torso. The most striking part of this colour scheme are the green dorsal markings. The back is painted a dark green with lighter green patches on top of it. These markings are also on the top of the crest as well as on the dinosaur’s face. On the sides are smaller green spots which resemble the rosettes of a jaguar. On mine, these are asymmetrical with more spots on the right side. The nails are painted a navy blue and the inside of the mouth is pink. The eyes have black pupils on yellow and a white spot to simulate a reflective surface.

The neck is very thin and goose-like. Recent reconstructions depict Parasaurolophus holding its neck forward and being better-muscled, similar to a horse. The hands each have five fingers (one too many), however, only the outermost digit should have a claw. The others were bound together in a hoof-like structure with the metacarpals being longer. It is not to scale with the adult and should be smaller.

Hadrosaurs are known not only from skeletal remains, but many skin impressions as well. This makes it much easier (or harder, depending on how you look at it) to make an accurate model. The skin of the baby Parasaurolophus has large, wrinkly striations going down its neck, trunk, and tail. They are on the legs more subtly. The skin would have been scaly but the tiny scales of a hadrosaur would not be too visible at this scale anyways. Lambeosaurines also had a series of larger scales on the ventral side of the base of the tail, but even these would probably be too small to sculpt. There should be a bumpy ridge running down the length of the back as well. The most conspicuous inaccuracy of this figure is in the skull. A newly-described specimen of a baby Parasaurolophus is known to have had a crest not unlike that of a Hypacrosaurus which would have later grown into the characteristic crest of the adult parasaurolophus. Safari’s Hypacrosaurus Baby, while not perfect, would actually work better as a baby Parasaurolophus than this one.

The Wild Safari Parasaurolophus baby, despite its inaccuracies, is still a classic figure to those who (like me) grew up with the old Wild Safari line. It does go well with the adult as well as the other baby dinosaurs from the earlier years of WS. It sometimes makes its way onto eBay, but can also occasionally be found in stores with old stock and is more common (from my experience) than the adult. I happened to find three of mine at an old toy store for the great sum of seventy-five cents. Despite Parasaurolophus‘ popularity, there are not as many good figures of it as one might expect, almost none which are completely up-to-date, and very few baby dinosaurs in general.

Tyrannosaurus rex (Original Version)(Recur)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

In 2016, a new brand of toys came onto the dinosaur collecting scene, with a huge selection in their Ancient Animals line. Recur, and its parent company Ankyl Toys Co. Ltd., has been around for a while, but only recently have their products have been revealed to the public (presumably for the first time outside of China). What sets their products apart from the competition is the fact all of them are made out of flexible PVC plastic, and most are filled with a synthetic cotton. As of now, there are 41 toys to choose from, and some of them appear to be in different sub-lines, although Recur has not come out and say if this is true or not. For instance, most of their new products for 2017 are simply jumbo-sized versions of some of the dinosaurs they already released, but I don’t know if they have stated anywhere that these ones are part of a different group. There is also a massive difference in the style of how some of them are made. For instance, the Edmontonia is clearly cartoonish, but the Ankylosaurus they made for this year is a lot more realistic in appearance. Today’s review is another example of this strange contrast in style. What I have here today is what I like to call Recur’s monstrous version of Tyrannosaurus, which was sculpted in a tripod stance instead of having a horizontal pose like the one that was already reviewed.



As for accuracy, there’s nothing praiseworthy about this figure other than the fact that it has two tiny arms. But I’m finding it very hard to come up with the words to describe how inaccurate this T. rex is. For one thing, the skull is way too box-like and does not match up with that of the real animal at all. The skull even lacks the creature’s signature binocular vision, which is something that even collector oriented companies (*cough* Rebor *cough*) seem to forget on their figures. Another prominent issue I see with this figure is that it does not match up with the shape of the real T. rex. I cannot describe what’s wrong with it without writing for hours on end to explain it all, so I will simply say that the 2016 version is a vast improvement in terms of accuracy since it is not a tripod, and at least looks a little more like an actual T. rex than this one ever could.

After all that criticism, you might wonder why I chose to buy this T. rex over the newer one to purchase. Well truth be told, I like this version better. When I say this is the monstrous version, I mean it. The toy looks gnarly and ready to tear you to shreds. However, that is part of what I like about it. I realize not everyone is going to like this figure the way I do (if not at all). But it is clear to me that this toy was made for kids as opposed to adults. The T. rex is posed in a dynamic turning-to-the-side motion, which is up for interpretation. Maybe it’s about to get charged by a Triceratops, and it dodged the hit? Who knows, and that’s what I like about this toy. The materials may not be up to Papo standards, but the detailing and colour choices make it seem like a living creature to me. Of course, the realism is diminished greatly once you get to the blunted teeth, but one must remember that this product was made for kids first and foremost. Not older collectors like us. That being said, it’s time to discuss the colouration of this toy. The model is simply dark, swampy green with an even dirtier swampy green on the bottom. The claws are your typical black and the teeth are white. Inside the mouth, you will find a shade of dark pink, and the eyes are orange. It stands 13.5 cm tall and measures 20.5 cm long.

Overall, I can’t say I recommend this to collectors. But as a kids’ toy, it could work perfectly as long as you don’t use it in an educational context that declares it to be an accurate model. As of now the only place I recommend buying it from is www.dejankins.com, as their prices are often fair, and it carries the entire line as of today. However, the supply of most of them is extremely limited, so if you want one, contact DeJankins now before they’re sold out.