Part 3 of the Nemegt Fauna Series. Review and photos by Bokisaurus, edited by Suspsy
Today’s review concludes the Nemegt Fauna review trilogy by looking at the Tarbosaurus figure by Favorite Co. Ltd. As I explained in my Saurolophus review, back in 2012, the Osaka Museum Of Natural History launched an impressive special exhibit that highlights the impressive diversity of dinosaur fossils found in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. Along with the special exhibit were museum merchandise exclusives, of which two stood out. These are the Saurolophus and the Tarbosaurus, sculpted by the famous Hirokazu Tokugawa and released by Favorite.
Tarbosaurus, meaning “alarming lizard,“ is a large Asian tyrannosaurid that was found in Late Cretaceous Mongolia. For a while, there were many species named, but officially, only one is currently accepted by scientists: Tarbosaurus bataar. Although part of the royal family that includes the most famous dinosaur of all, Tyrannosaurus rex, Tarbosaurus has not reached the same fame level despite sharing similar features and being only slightly smaller. While its cousin ruled North America, Tarbosaurus ruled over Asia. He was the undisputed king of the land, the apex predator. For a tyrannosaur, Tarbosaurus is well represented by dozens of near perfect fossil specimens, including the important skull. This bounty of fossil finds makes Tarbosaurus one of the most studied dinosaurs.
The Royal Family
Size-wise, Tarbosaurus was slightly smaller than T. rex, measuring between 10 and 12 metres long for the largest known individual. At 11 inches long and 5 inches tall, this figure is roughly around the 1:34 to 1:40 scale. The sculpt is beautiful and active with the head tilted to the side, and of course, like 99% of tyrannosaur figures, its mouth is wide open! Rich in details, the figure has some nice muscle definition that shows this one is in his prime. The head is nicely sculpted and easily identifiable as a tyrannosaur. My only criticism is that the teeth are small, blunt, and very uniform in size. This give it a rather funny look.
The figure is painted an overall olive brown with some lighter highlights. A darker brown band runs along the back starting at the hips and ending at the tip of the tail. It is not fully feathered. Instead, the feathers are concentrated at the head and nape area, giving this Tarbosaurus a shaggy look. These hair-like feathers are colored black with a thin outer ring colored white. These colours are perfect for the desert environment and the hunting style of this large predator. The browns would blend in perfectly with dried vegetation, concealing the animal as it waits for its prey.
During the Late Cretaceous, what is now the Mongolian desert was then a lush environment with rivers, forests, savannas, and shallow lakes. This environment supported a vast and diverse range of large dinosaurs including Tarbosaurus. Imagine that the rainy season has just started and the surrounding land is starting to awaken. The rain not only rejuvenates the vegetation, but also signals the start of the migration season for some of the seasonal residents of this land. Patrolling his territory, a lone male Tarbosaurus surveys his domain for any signs of trespassing from neighboring rivals. His vast territory encompasses the lush forest edge and the dry plains below. At the center of his territory is a large, shallow lake that attracts many species of dinosaurs that are thirsty and hungry from their long journey. Only an animal at his prime can secure such rich hunting ground. At the edge of the forest where it meets the lake, a small corridor rich with vegetation is a perfect place to lay an ambush. The Tarbosaurus heads toward this corner of his territory. Along the way, he startles a small herd of Gallimimus and send them scurrying back out towards the open plain.
They are part of a vast herd numbering in the thousands on their migration journey. Our Tarbosaurus gives the herd a mock charge, but otherwise ignores the Gallimimus, as they are simply too fast for him to bother trying to take down. He is not built for fast running and agility. He is designed as an ambush predator, only bursting into speed only at the last second. He is after something much bigger and easier to catch than the fleet-footed Gallimimus. A scent suddenly captures his attention. It belongs to a predator, not another Tarbosaurus, but a close relative. It is Alioramus, a smaller tyrannosaur that also inhabits the region, although seasonally it spends its life wandering the plains and following the vast migrating herds like a shadow.
Although both animals are top predators, they avoid directly competing for the same food source by going after different prey animals. With its great size, Tarbosaurus goes after much larger prey, while Alioramus, being smaller but faster, tends to go after much smaller prey such as the Gallimimus and the various oviraptorids that inhabit the plains. To establish his dominance over this intruder, the Tarbosaurus charges toward the Alioramus, sending him running back towards the open plain. Satisfied that the intruder is no longer in his territory, the Tarbosaurus continues deeper into his favourite hunting ground.
As he nears the forest edge, two pairs of eyes observe him from a distance. A pair of Deinocheirus nervously watches his every step. During the lean months, Deinocheirus is Tarbosaurus‘ main prey. Despite their size and their impressively large claws, Deinocheirus are not aggressive animals and would rather flee to the safety of the forest depths than stand and fight. Somehow, the familiar sounds echoing from the distant plains signals to the Deinocheirus pair that today, and for the next few months, they are not on Tarbosaurus‘ menu. Still, the pair disappears back to the safety of the forest. The Tarbosaurus has reached his destination and slowly enters a brush thicket. Here he squeezes himself between the dried vegetation and keeps perfectly still. Only the movement of his blue eyes betrays his presence. Soon, the reason for this inaction becomes clear as a small herd of Saurolophus comes into view. They are heading directly towards the corridor between the forest and the lake. The Tarbosaurus is on a hunt.
Unaware of his presence, the Saurolophus herd passes by him as they enter the corridor. The Tarbosaurus‘ blue eyes locked in on his target: a young female Saurolophus who has wandered away from the herd and is heading straight into his trap. Once he is certain that the youngster is close enough, the Tarbosaurus charges out of the thickets. His roar sends the Saurolophus herd running back towards the safety of the open plain . . . except for one. The young female.
Now separated from her herd, the Saurolophus runs toward the opposite direction, right into the forest and into the trap. With no way out, she is now trapped and cries desperately for her herd. This is the moment the Tarbosaurus has been waiting for. He runs straight towards the trapped youngster, blocking the only escape route. The desperate Saurolophus tries to enter the forest as the predator closes in. But before she can go any deeper, she was sent back running by another large animal emerging from the forest shadows.
A large male Therizinosaurus emerges from the forest just as the Tarbosaurus is about to catch up with the Saurolophus. The predator’s unmistakable scent had caught the attention of the Therizinosaurus before he came predator within sight. Aggressive by nature and armed with deadly claws, the scent of the approaching Tarbosaurus has sent this Therizinosaurus into a blind rage. If there is anything that he hates the most, it is Tarbosaurus.
Although primarily a herbivore, Therizinosaurus is a formidable opponent for any predator. Its ill temper, large size, deadly claws, and habit of charging any danger instead of fleeing protects it from most attacks. Only a desperate predator would go after a healthy Therizinosaurus, and this Tarbosaurus generally avoids hunting them, although sick or injured animals have sometimes fallen prey. Now faced with this nemesis, Tarbosaurus narrowly misses a slashing claw aimed at his head. The unexpected encounter gives the young Saurolophus an escape route and she quickly bolts past the dueling titans and runs towards the open plain. The Therizinosaurus and Tarbosaurus circle each other, each one sizing up the other. With no sign of backing down, Therizinosaurus is gaining the upper hands as he pushes Tarbosaurus into a corner. Rather than risk injury, or worse, a fatal wound from those deadly claws, Tarbosaurus decides it’s best to retreat. He quickly turns and heads back towards the opposite side of the shallow lake, leaving the Therizinosaurus behind. With more and more migrating animals arriving each day, there are more opportunities for a successful hunt somewhere in his territory.
The story of life and death, predator and prey, and the complex relationships of the animals to one another and their environment has been playing out for millions of years. It will be millions of years before the curtain falls for these inhabitants of the vast Nemegt landscape. For now, the roars of Tarbosaurus and and all the other predators will continue to frighten prey animals. The cacophony of sounds that signals the arrival of the migrating herds will continue to echo throughout the vast plains and canyons as they once again fill the air with new life. Those strange and mysterious sounds from the forest dwellers will continue to enchant strangers, drawing them closer to its lush interior . . .
In closing, this Tarbosaurus figure is a welcome addition to any collection. It is well-crafted and jam-packed with details. It is also one of the few larger figures of the species currently available. Its size is perfect for those who likes their figures to be within the 1:40-ish range and displays nicely with other figures that are of the same scale. It may be a challenge and expensive to acquire this figure, but it is well worth the reward.
Well, we have now reached the end of my Nemegt Fauna Trilogy. We have met many fascinating inhabitants of this enchanting landscape along the way. I am glad that I was finally able to write reviews in this format, one that not only focuses on the subjects, but also includes other animals that lived alongside them. Thank you all for reading these reviews, and I hope that all of you enjoyed it as much as I had enjoyed writing them. Till the next review, cheers!