Category Archives: plush

Tyrannosaurus rex (Sue Plush by Field Museum of Natural History)

If you’re reading this review, then it’s likely that you have at least heard of FMNH PR 2081, AKA “Sue.” It is one of the largest and most complete specimens of Tyrannosaurus rex to date, with a length of 12.3 metres and an estimated weight of nine tons. It is also famous for being the subject of a lengthy legal battle over ownership before it was finally sold at auction for the whopping sum of $8.5 million US. Happily, the buyer was the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, which had obtained financial backing from the Walt Disney Corporation and McDonald’s. Sue stands tall and majestic in the museum’s central lobby to this day, much to the delight of experts and enthusiasts of all ages.

Over the years, Sue has inspired a wide variety of merchandise: books, videos, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and, of course, toys. You can check out a couple of them here and here. Today I’ll be examining this stuffed Sue, which came out around the year 1999. At 50 cm in length and 20 cm in height, it’s one of the largest T. rexes in my collection, albeit fairly standard size for a plush toy.

The main colours on this toy are dark brown, light brown, and white with a black stripe running from the muzzle to the tip of the tail. The large eyes are made of red glass with black, cat-style irises. The mouth is purple with white teeth made from thin strips of leather. The black hind claws are also made of leather. Not a particularly unique colour scheme, especially for a tyrannosaur, but it’s realistic and works well here.


“I’m based on Sue too!”

Sue is soft enough to be pleasingly huggable, but its legs and tail are still sturdy enough to allow it to stand in a horizontal tripod stance. Like most plush toys, it’s made to take a good licking from a child and can be dropped, bashed around, or thrown across a room without the risk of breakage. Accuracy-wise, this toy is missing nostrils, foreclaws, and dew claws, but I reckon that’s forgivable given its simplicity. And on the plus side, the hands are properly positioned, which can’t be said for a good many more recent and detailed renditions!

Overall, I’m rather fond of my Sue plush. It’s big, instantly recognizable as a T. rex, and fun to play with. I look forward to passing this toy on to the next generation!

And can it be that time again already? Yes, my friends, I’m celebrating yet another milestone: my 150th review! As always, I must extend my sincerest gratitude to Dr. Adam S. Smith for granting me this wonderful opportunity in the first place. And I thank each and every single one of you for reading and commenting on my reviews. I’m actually nearing the point where I won’t be able to churn them out on a weekly basis anymore, but I still plan on writing as time and opportunity permit! Cheers!

Woolly Mammoth (2007)(Cuddlekin by Wild Republic)

Review and photos by Bryan Divers, edited by Suspsy

This is a review of my most prized possession, the original woolly mammoth Cuddlekin by Wild Republic, released back in 2007. It is not the same as the more recent versions that have already been reviewed, which come in 40-inch, 12-inch, and 8-inch sizes. The original version by Wild Republic is made of noticeably different material and is slightly larger at about 14 inches. I can’t believe I haven’t thought to review it for the blog until now.

This good old woolly mammoth is approaching the 10th anniversary of when I first got her. I was twelve at the time, and my mother bought her for me at the Shop 4 Science gift shop at the Science Museum of Virginia. She was the best of the best for her time, and is probably my most prized possession down to today. I even think that if my house was on fire, I would grab her! A close friend also saw the personality in her and would always ask me about Ellie the mammoth, as we called her. Ellie also accompanied me on a number of family vacations: the most memorable one to me was to Smithfield, Virginia.

My friend always commented on how soft Ellie’s fur was to the touch, and indeed the plush was beautiful. It has become a bit matted over the last ten years, and I actually patched a couple of defective spots on her belly with some felt that matched her fur. The rest of her, though, has remained in fair condition. Although, as her owner, I may be a little prejudiced.

Her trunk is made in a tea spout position, as if she is trumpeting. Her tusks are accurately made, even down to the little brown parts that the tusks grow out of. The end of her tail has little black hairs on it, and the toenails are stitched. The insides of the ears, the soles of the feet, and the toenails are made of a reddish-brown fabric that is flatter than the reddish-brown fur fabric on her head and shoulders. Her mouth is open and makes her look like she is smiling–one of the most appealing features of this toy, to me at least. Her shoulders, hump, and the top of her head are made of a dark reddish-brown fur fabric, and the rest of her body is made of a brown taupe fabric that almost looks dark grey. My mother got her for an easy $12.99, which was moderate considering her quality and that she was sold from a museum gift shop. I think the fact that she remains my favourite stuffed animal into my twenties all the way from age 12 proves that she is as wonderful for the young as for the young at heart.

When my friend was forced to return to her native country, Brazil, in December 2009, Ellie became even more precious to me because she reminded me of the many happy memories with my friend and her family. She is the last connection I have to that beautiful time in my past. If you too see the magic of this beautiful toy and want one for your own, eBay is probably your best bet: search for “mammoth cuddlekins” or “wild republic mammoth.” (A hint: if you want the original mammoth like mine, the fur on the face, legs, and rump looks very dark, almost black, as opposed to the more brown look of the newer version.)

Ammonoid (Paleozoic Pals by Jaag Plush)

First off, just to get it out of the way, this is not an ammonite. This is an ammonoid, the broader group to which ammonites belong. While ammonites lived through the Jurassic and Cretaceous the group ammonoidea first appeared 400 million years ago in the Devonian. Thus, here we have a plush ammonoid, not an ammonite which would have no place in a line of toys representing Paleozoic fauna. Also worth noting, for no reason in particular is that ammonoids are actually more closely related to squids, octopuses, and cuttlefish than they are to the superficially similar nautiloids but all of them are of course cephalopods.

Now what species or genus of ammonoid this toy is supposed to represent is a bit of a mystery, and it’s probably not meant to represent any specific animal, just ammonoids as a group and you could probably pretend it was an ammonite if you wanted. Just for kicks I tried to identify it in my “Field Guide to the Devonian Fossils of New York” but with no real success. This is kind of a shame honestly because the previously released trilobite and eurypterid identify the toys at the species level.

Regardless of identity this is still a great toy. The boldly colored and tightly wound orange shell, in conjunction with the big shiny eyes and ten arms make it a lot of fun to look at and play with. It’s quite large too, measuring 15” in length (arms included) and 7” tall. The shell is quite wide too, 3” across. The eyes are brown, body tan, and the arms tan and white. No mouth is present hidden in the arms, unfortunately.

As with the rest of the Paleozoic Pals line this toy was commissioned by PRI’s Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, NY. If you want to catch one in the wild you’ll have to go there to get one but you can also acquire it on their website which is no doubt the more practical route. But, if you’re ever in central/western New York make sure you stop by the museum. The collection of Devonian fossils is truly impressive and one of a kind. This review concludes our look at the Paleozoic Pals, for now. It’ll be exciting to see what the future holds for these adorable and unique toys.