Category Archives: theropod

Tyrannosaurus rex (2017)(Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

Available from Amazon.com here.

The old bull snorts angrily, but Hardbit is unmoved. He has stalked and killed scores of calves and cows on his own, and together with his mate, Tanjaw, large bulls like this one. And there is no moon in the sky overhead. A good night for a kill. Silently and methodically, the two hunters circle their prey. Unlike them, it cannot see in the pitch darkness and can only swing its horned head blindly from side to side. Suddenly, Tanjaw lunges and bites down on the bull’s right thigh! The bull jerks its head to the right and in that instant, Hardbit comes in from the left, clamps his jaws down on the bull’s frill, and forces the massive animal to the ground. Immediately, Tanjaw places her full weight on top of the bull and pins it down. Hardbit then plants a foot on the bull’s shoulder, bites down on the frill even harder, and begins to tug with every ounce of his brute strength. The frantic bull struggles and screams as the skin around its neck stretches and tears. There is a sickening crunch of breaking bone, and then, with one last effort, Hardbit wrenches off the bull’s head completely! He holds the dripping prize aloft for a few seconds, then lets it fall to the ground with a thump.

Tanjaw wastes no time in beginning to feed, but Hardbit pauses to catch his breath. He regards the severed head lying in a dark puddle at his feet. Although his mind does not allow much in the way of deep thought, he is still capable of feeling pride. This was indeed a good night for a kill . . .

Tyrannosaurus rex is THE dinosaur, plain and simple. Granted, some people have other favourites, and that’s great, but the tyrant lizard king will always be iconic. It’s the Batman, Spider-Man, Optimus Prime, Mickey Mouse, and Darth Vader of dinosaurs, the most famous and the most liked. And the most studied one too. The Dinosaur Toy Blog certainly attests to this popularity, as there are by far more T. rex reviews than any other animal. And now it’s my pleasure and privilege to review one of the newest and most anticipated renditions, the 2017 Feathered T. rex from Wild Safari!

As is often the case when I acquire a new figure, I promptly presented this T. rex before my non-dinosaur loving wife. Her gut reaction this time? “It’s really fat!” And yes, this certainly is one of the beefiest tyrant kings I’ve seen yet. The rib cage is nearly 6 cm wide and the torso is around 7 cm deep. The figure stands a majestic 14 cm tall and measures just over 31 cm long, positively dwarfing the previous Wild Safari T. rex! It is also noticeably heavier than either of the Papo T. rexes or the CollectA Deluxe Feathered T. rex. So why is this figure so massive? Well, the truth is that we’ve all been duped for a long time into envisioning T. rex as slimmer than it really was. One reason is that a number of prominent museums such as the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and even the Field Museum in Chicago have their T. rex specimens mounted without gastralia, those belly ribs that would have made the animal’s torso particularly bulgy. The Smithsonian’s recently acquired specimen, however, will include its gastralia when it goes on display in 2019. Another reason is that even some of the best paleoartists have had a tendency to depict T. rex more along the lines of an NBA forward as opposed to the NFL linebacker it really was. Indeed, while it’s true that Giganotosaurus was longer than T. rex, the latter was still heavier, with a thicker head, neck, and torso as well as far greater physical strength. And if the Ibrahim/Sereno reconstruction of Spinosaurus is indeed correct, then the spined lizard also lost out to the tyrant lizard in terms of mass if not length. Bottom line: I strongly advise against placing this figure up on a high shelf; you really wouldn’t want it falling on your head!

This T. rex is posed with the head raised high and turned to the left, the jaws wide open, the left foot forward, and the powerful tail twitching slightly to the left and well off the ground. Unfortunately, I’ve heard a few people report balancing issues with their figures. Mine was stood well enough when I first got it, but after a couple of days, it became more prone to tipping forward. Fortunately, after softening the left foot in boiling water, bending it back slightly, and then running it under cold water, I have solved that issue. The figure can also be balanced on the tip of its tail if needs be.

Our fine feathered friends! And a must-read book too!

One detail I’m going to touch right now are the deep scars crisscrossing the muzzle, three one on side and three on the other. Looks like the result of a very nasty scrap with another T. rex. There does exist fossil evidence that tyrannosaurines at least occasionally engaged in intraspecific conflict. These could have arisen over food, territory, mating rights, or possibly even cannibalism. In any case, the scars give this individual a distinctly rugged, hard-bitten appearance, hence why I’ve named him Hardbit.

Hardbit’s most prominent feature is, of course, his elaborate plumage. Nearly his entire body is covered in feathers. A thick mane, similar to that found on the wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) and various species of eagle, covers the back of his neck. A welcome bit of variety from the tall mohawks so frequently seen on feathered dinosaur depictions. There are even feathers extending onto his cranium. Feathered renditions of T. rex usually omit such a feature, so this is again a welcome change. The only bare parts are the muzzle, the mandible, the throat, the feet, and a large patch on the underbelly.

Like many of the 2017 Wild Safari figures, Hardbit here was crafted by artist (and fellow Canuck) Doug Watson, which alone should tell you about the quality of the sculpting. The featherless bits have a very fine pebbled texture, with thick folds of skin on the throat and large, overlapping scales on the fingers and feet. The feathers on the main body have a lush, shaggy feel, like on a rhea or a kiwi. The larger, spikier feathers comprising the mane have tiny grooves carved into them. The savage teeth are appropriately sharp and the roof of the mouth and the tongue are pitted. There are also rows of tiny osteoderms running along the brow ridges and along the top of the muzzle, as well as the aforementioned scars. Even the soles of the feet are textured. I can’t imagine how much time, effort, patience, and heart must have gone into sculpting this figure, but I take my hat off to you, Doug.

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food!”

Hardbit is easily one of the most colourful Wild Safari dinosaurs to date. The plumage on his main body varies between dark red and pale orange with black stripes and a slight dark grey wash. The plumage on his chest and the underside of his tail have a white wash and the mane and cranial feathers are a combination of crimson and black. The scaly parts are a mixture of grey and beige, the nostrils, claws, and the large scales on the feet are dark grey, the eyes are yellow surrounded by red, the osteoderms are red as well, the mouth, connective tissue, and scars are crimson, and the teeth are white. It really is a gorgeous scheme, one that utilises a wide variety of colours, yet at the same time is quite realistic and not overly bold. There are a few small nicks and blemishes here and there amidst the feathers, but keep in mind that finely textured figures carry a greater risk of paint rubbing when they are packed close together during shipping. This goes more so for large figures like this one. Safari may want to consider providing extra protective packaging for their products in future.

And now it’s time to discuss the scientific accuracy of this figure. Doug Watson informed me that Hardbit was based on the famous Sue specimen, which is the largest T. rex known from near-complete remains (although Scotty might actually have exceeded Sue in mass). As such, Hardbit possesses all the correct anatomical features. The massive, T-shaped skull features stereoscopic vision and savage teeth that are large, but not overly so. No question of shrink wrapping here; the orbits and fenestrae are completely hidden beneath the skin. There is a short, sturdy neck, a barrel-like rib cage, rightly tiny arms with non-pronated wrists, powerful-looking hind legs, and finally a stout tail whose enormous caudofemoralis muscles would have enhanced the animal’s speed and allowed it to successfully pursue live prey. As for the plumage, we all know that’s a divisive issue among dinosaur experts and enthusiasts. It’s true that there’s currently no direct fossil evidence of feathers on T. rex, but the same can be said for a good many theropods that we are still pretty certain had them. Fossilised feathers are the rare exception, not the norm. Phylogenetic bracketing certainly suggests the distinct possibility that the tyrant king had feathers. And shoot, no one has yet discovered a Megatherium with preserved fur, but you don’t hear anyone claiming it had naked skin! Speculation will always be an essential and major component of paleontology, and I for one am all in favour of a tyrant king adorned with plumage. I will also note that for the life of me, I’ve never understood the notion that feathered theropods can’t possibly be scary. I think the people who claim as such would be screaming at their top of their lungs if they were attacked by a Canada goose, let alone a great horned owl, a harpy eagle, or a cassowary (which actually has killed at least one person). And consider brown bears, which are covered in heavy fur that gives them a cuddly, friendly appearance. But have you ever seen The Revenant or the documentary film Grizzly Man? A feathered T. rex like Hardbit here would be no less lethal than a scaly one.

Wild Safari has long been one of the very best prehistoric lines, but 2017 will go down in history as the year they took it to a whole new level of awesomeness. This Tyrannosaurus rex is nothing short of a masterpiece, no two ways about it. Its gargantuan size and bulk alone make it stand out in any dinosaur collection, but add to that the expansive plumage, the handsome colour scheme, the exquisite sculpting, and those vital airs of majesty and ferociousness that accompany any proper depiction of the tyrant lizard king, and you have a truly phenomenal toy. One for the ages. Even people who don’t agree with the feathered look ought to be impressed by it. Hardbit here is now my favourite T. rex figure, hands down. Yes, even more so than the CollectA version (which I still adore, mind you). Highest of recommendations!

A heartfelt thank you goes out to Dan’s Dinosaurs for generously providing this figure for review.

“It ain’t about how hard you bite. It’s about how hard you can get bit and keep moving forward. It’s about how many bites you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

Tyrannosaurus rex (Carnage Dinosaurs by ReSaurus)

Review and photos by EmperorDinobot, edited by Suspsy

Welcome to another review by Emperor Dinobot! Today we’ll take a closer look at the Carnage ReSaurus Tyrannosaurus rex! This legendary figure is the easiest ReSaurus figure to find, and it fully delivers!

Those who know me know that I appreciate a fully articulated dinosaur figure. However, this leads me to a discussion about the things I don’t like about this figure, so we will start there. Most Carnage dinosaurs are high quality, but they aren’t always durable. Their joints tend to degenerate over time, with their pins falling out and so forth. I’ve had several of these break down on me. Another thing I don’t like is that their feet are posed, which makes them impossible to stand. What’s the point of having articulated legs if the figure is going to be stuck in a running pose anyways? It also looks terrible. Another prevailing problem with this figure is that seams form very easily around the base of the rubber tail. Same problem goes with the Giganotosaurus. But there you go, those are the low points, and I think the positives outweigh the negatives, especially since this figure was released all the way back in 1997. I do not expect a lot of these to be in good shape since they are now vintage.

The Carnage T. rex has an amazing paint scheme. At first glance, it may look boring since it’s just “green with black stripes,” but it is really well done. That’s the thing I love most about the Carnage dinosaurs: the detailed paint! It’s very well applied, and while there is an obvious separation between the body and the tail, it works flawlessly since the tail takes on the colour of the animal’s belly, which is a pleasant yellow-olive green.

The figure comes with a footprint fossil bed base which is nicely sculpted, and a pin that keeps it from falling over. This is definitely needed for the bipeds in this collection. The other side of the base features a name plate, and on some releases it holds information about the animal. The jaws and neck are articulated. Notice how the figure is outdated and the hands are pronated a la Jurassic Park T. rex. Forgivable since it is vintage.

While the articulated legs are still posed, the figure can hold a variety of poses, such as the one above, chomping down on an unfortunate prey. The base really helps in this case, as it will hold the figure while posing. The tail is rubbery and has a wire running through the length of it, which allows you to pose and articulate the tail however you desire. This has always been one of my favorite things about these toys.

Again, this is an impressive figure, despite its vintage feel. It was far ahead of its time, and I wish we could see a fully articulated feathered T. rex figure in the future that was this impressive and well done.

I think this figure is worth it all the way, regardless of condition. The drawbacks are forgivable and fixable. It is also the most commonly found. I have had a lot of trouble finding used samples of the others, but never with this one. I sincerely hope you enjoyed this review. Happy hunting!


It’s on!

Tyrannosaurus rex (2016)(Museum Line by Bullyland)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

This Tyrannosaurus rex is one of two medium-sized models released in 2016 for Bullyland’s Museum Line, and this year they will be joined by a Triceratops and an Archaeopteryx. One thing I have noticed people complaining about is that it seems like Bullyland is regressing when it comes to the accuracy of their models, but honestly, I’m not too familiar with the line to determine if this is true or not. What I will say is that this T. rex is definitely not a masterpiece.

From nose to tail tip, the T. rex measures about 7″ long. It is sculpted in a dynamic, horizontal pose, and stands perfectly fine on its two feet thanks to its dewclaws. However, as you can clearly see, this model is not going to win any awards for being the most accurate T. rex ever made. In fact, it seems like a downgrade from the previous model made for the line. Like some of theropods that preceded it, this model has an articulated jaw, but unlike those on Papo and Schleich, the jaw is not well-integrated on the figure. As you can see, there is a big gap at the front of the face, and you can still see the inside when the mouth is closed to its limit.


Other problems with this figure include the arms being way too big and the wrists being pronated. Also I think the skull looks very derpy and not like that of the real thing. If you really want to get nitpicky and speculative, it can be argued that the model needs feathers as well, but it’s clearly too late to change that.

Really, this is less of a museum model, and more of a toy for children. The silly look of the face and the overly soft features make me less likely to treat it as a serious replica, despite the fact that the model does come with an info tag which gives out facts about the animal that I’m sure we are all familiar with. For example, it states that “T. rex was at the top of the food chain, and hunted hadrosaurs and Triceratops, although some experts believe it was primarily a scavenger.” The reason I bought it is simply because it has a charm to it, and I look forward to getting the Liopleurodon, and the two new models slated for 2017. If you’re a stickler for accuracy, there’s no reason to buy this. But if you really want a durable toy for your child to play with, then this will fit the bill nicely.