Category Archives: theropod

Tyrannosaurus Rex w/articulated jaw (Prehistoric & Extinct by Mojö)

Ever since Tyrannosaurus rex was described back in 1905, this amazing animal has captured our imaginations.   Its not hard to see why. It was one of the largest land carnivores of all time and it had a huge skull with bone crushing jaws.  It is so recognizable that toy makers just can’t help themselves on trying to capitalize on their popularity by making as many as they can.  For 2017 Mojo released three new Tyrannosaur Rex toys and they are a vast improvement over their previous releases, which were tail dragging, piano playing monstrosities. Overall Mojo has improved their range of products.  By no means have they caught up with Safari or CollectA but they have taken a step in the right direction.

About the toy:  Of the three tyrannosaur’s that Mojo released for 2017, the articulated jaw T. rex is the smallest.   It is 7.5 in (19.05 cm) long and 3 in (7.62 cm) high.    It terms of size and pose the sculpt is similar (just a little smaller) to the striding Wild Safari 2011 sculpt.   It legs are not spread out as far as the striding Wild Safari version, instead they are closer together in a fashion that makes it look like it is creeping up on its prey.  Combine that with scientific inaccuracy, exaggerated rugosity on the skull,  a softer rubbery plastic feel that you would expect from a Schleich WOH toy, and suddenly this toy looks like the Schleich T. rex met the 2011 Safari and they had a baby.

Red Schleich T. rex side by side with 2017 Mojo T.rex

The pose is dynamic enough to make the toy look like it is on the hunt or it is just curious about what is on the other side of a river.   The figure is very steady on its feet without any assistance and this is due to the exaggerated size of both feet.  Unfortunately it does detract from the toy but I guess that’s the price for stability without a base.  Unless some new information has come out that I am unaware of, there is another error that plagues this T. rex, and that is the position of the arms.  The arms are pronated, with the claws facing down, which is inaccurate and every toy maker that wants to be taken seriously should know by now to have the claws facing inward.  I guess old habits die hard.

One of the most important features on a Tyrannosaurs rex is the impressive head.  One of the important things to look for is the position of the eyes.  The orbits are set in a way for the eyes to face foreword.  The back of the head should be expanded so that is in the shape of a T, with the snout being thin and long.  When we look at the head on this figure, it has those characteristics.  There is a clear antorbital fenestrae on the sides of the face in front of the orbit.   Also present on this figure is rough rugged bumps on the nasals that spread backwards and spouts a little flaring horn above the eyes.  This line of bumps continues going back on this toy until both sides meet at a point on the back of the skull. The seam for the head is visible despite attempts to blend it in along with skin folds on the neck.

Inside the mouth there are over thirty five teeth present.  That’s double than what you would normally find inside a T. rex mouth.  The teeth are individually sculpted and despite appearances, when you look closely you will notice they are different sizes.  Inside the mouth is a sculpted tongue.

As for the rest of the body on this figure it appears to be on the thin side.  There should be a little more heft to the toy.  On its back you can see a small bump from the dorsal vertebrae and at the hips you can see the ilium sticking out.  Above the arms you can see a bulge of muscle over the scapula.  There are similar muscle bulges on the legs.  There are some small skin folds connecting the torso and the legs.  The overall texture on the sculpt are lines of wrinkles running horizontal and vertically across the figure.  There are some scales on the antorbital fenestrae and on top of the head.

The colors are safe.  The head, torso, arms, legs, and tail are green.  The underside is in cream. There is some black wash in the skin folds that make them stand out a little.  Along the back all the way to the tip of the tail are dark blue triangle stripes.

If you are wondering were the feathers are, sorry but this is a scaly version.   Not trying to pick a fight but feathers are still speculative.  Yes it is highly likely that Tyrannosaurus rex had a liberal coating of feathers, it is also not impossible that it had a considerable coverage of scales on it as well.   Maybe feathers could have only been on youngsters.  The reality is we do not fully know yet, though there are some good ideas on what it could have looked like.   If you are interested in great feathered Tyrannosaurus rex toys both Safari (Hardbit)* and CollectA (Firestreak)* have made great versions with feathers, but lets take it easy on this figure as you can’t really take points off this toy for the lack of a feathery down.

Playability:  It is durable and has a moveable jaw.  Those are two important qualities for a dinosaur toy.  It is safe to use as they are no sharp edges and the material is bendy.  The toy is stable so it can be used on different surfaces with an increased chance of standing wherever it is being played.  The only problem is the size.  When you have a Tyrannosaurus rex toy, you want it to inspire awe and fear, unfortunately this is a smaller toy.  I guess it could be a juvenile that would accompany a parent on the hunt.

Overall:  Mojo has stepped foreword and released an improved product compared to their previous tyrannosaur releases.  It checks a few positive boxes but it does fail in other areas.  If you are looking for a gift for a child, well look no further as it is a really good toy for kids under eight years old.  For collectors it is not a must have,  as it is average at best when compared to all the other tyrannosaur toys that are available.  For educators , you should pass on this figure as it has too many scientific inaccuracies.  There is one more positive thing about this toy.  The cost.  It is an inexpensive figure.    As always, if you like it go for it, and happy hunting.

 

*Disclaimer: Both the 2017 Tyrannosaurus rex by Safari Ltd and Feathered Deluxe T. rex by CollectA do not go officially by the names Hardbit and Firestreak, those are names that were given to the toys by the reviewer Suspsy and used in this review as a reference to the reviews done for those figures.

 

Tyrannosaurus (Dor Mei)

Here’s a toy that many of you will no doubt recognize. It probably doesn’t stand on too many collectors’ shelves today but certainly helped fill a lot of toy boxes in the 80’s and 90’s. Yes, you could call this a Chinasaur but you could also call it retro, vintage, and nostalgic. For me it’s an iconic toy from my youth and now that I’ve reacquired it I’m excited to formally introduce you all to the Dor Mei Tyrannosaurus.

Even if you didn’t have this particular toy growing up roughly 30 years ago you no doubt had something produced by Dor Mei. They were responsible for a lot of the cheap dinosaur toys from the late 80’s. Dor Mei was right up there with the likes of UKRD, Imperial, and AAA. They closely resembled their contemporaries of that time and their toys stood out if for no other reason than they were large. The Tyrannosaurus in this review stands 10” tall and measures 12” from snout to tail. Dor Mei was also responsible for a lineup of Godzilla knockoffs and other large menacing plastic reptiles.

This is the kind of toy only a hopeless nostalgic could love. Superficially it resembles a Tyrannosaurus. Large toothy head? Yup! Small arms? Of course! Bipedal? You got it! But it gets just about everything wrong with the details. For starters it is of course a tail-dragger. That should be of no surprise but if you look closely at the legs and feet you’ll see that anatomically they look more human than dinosaurian. This is a model of a man in a dinosaur costume, looking like something straight out of “Unknown Island.”

The tail is short and thin, the torso laughably long. The arms are too long as well but the hands aren’t pronated. Not an intentional decision to be sure. The head is big and boxy. The mouth is filled with generic pointy “shark teeth” and two gigantic eyes resting atop the head. The toy comes off looking more like a frog than our favorite theropod. Ear and eye openings are present and surprisingly the finer details aren’t as bad as you might expect. The skin is covered with pebbly scales; the belly has scales resembling those on a crocodile. The fleshy throat dewlap is cross hatched but gives the toy a lot of its charm. Skin folds run down the torso and the crudest hint of musculature is present on the legs. No bad for what it is.

This toy can be found in at least two color schemes that I’m aware of. The most common being this reddish-brown version. The back is a lighter shade of greenish-brown with a black stripe down the spine. The eyes and nostrils are red and the claws aren’t painted. The teeth are sloppily painted white, and some don’t have paint on them at all. Another version exists that’s painted yellow with black tiger stripes coming down the flanks along the back.

The toy is hollow which as a child meant you could stuff a lot of smaller dinosaur toys in there. Or action figures. Whatever you wanted really. It was a lot of fun to play with and was the matriarch of my particular pack of Tyrannosaurus. Although hilariously outdated this is one of those toys you can’t help but love. It has a lot of personality and represents a unique approach to the Tyrant King. It’s easy enough to find to this day, on eBay in lots or singly. No doubt there are hundreds lurking around yard sales and flea markets as well. If vintage retrosaurs are your thing, check out the Dor Mei Tyrannosaurus.

Spinosaurus (Small)(Recur)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

Today’s review is of the Recur Spinosaurus released back in 2015 (according to the year printed on the belly). As a modern take on the species, this model is a pretty decent replica, and a stark contrast to the Tyrannosaurus I recently reviewed from the same line.

​One thing that’s obvious is the fact that this toy was made with longer hind legs like most reconstructions prior to 2014. Despite this, it is sculpted with its arm acting as a third leg, just like the Papo Acrocanthosaurus. Unlike that toy, the arm on this one is propping it up high enough to give us the classic horizontal theropod impression, and it gives off a somewhat imposing look. In terms of accuracy, this model could be decent for a pre-2014 model if it were not for the head, which shows traces of the Spinosaurus that appeared in Jurassic Park 3. These include a head that is clearly too broad, a pair of crests, and the lack of a tooth notch. The other issues with this figure include the fact that the feet are too big and the legs are too long. Of course, there has been ongoing controversy over the the 2014 Ibrahim/Sereno reconstruction, so I’m willing to let this slide for now. One thing that I have to praise the toy for is the fact that Recur gave it the large fish hook claws that the spinosaurid family are known for. Though being a toy, the claws have blunted tips to prevent its target audience from getting hurt. Like all Recur toys, this Spinosaurus is made out of a soft and squishy PVC material and there is likely cotton inside of it. The only hard parts on this model are the arms, which are made out of a incredibly stiff plastic. Which is good, because if the arms were not this hard, the toy would have no way of standing, because the hind legs are very pliable.

​In terms of detail, the model is decked with wrinkles, but there are small osteoderms at the base of the sail that run up about halfway down the tail before they stop. Along the top of the tail, there are larger osteoderms than those found along the base of the sail, and almost look like they would be spiky if it were not for the fact that this was a toy made for kids. On the back of the neck, there is a set of completely different integument in the form of crocodile-like armour. Why Recur decided to do this is beyond me. Perhaps this was meant to go down the entire length of the back, but they scrapped it instead. It would not be the first time a company took the crocodilian look of spinosaurs to the extreme.

The colours on this toy are very dull at first glance, but if you look closely, you can see more variety. The majority of the Spinosaurus is painted in grey, but the armour on the neck is painted green and the tops of the neural spines alternate between green and blue, giving it a nice pattern when viewed in the right lighting. The teeth are painted in a dull white and the tongue and mouth interior are painted purple.

Overall, this makes for a excellent toy, but a only decent replica of Spinosaurus. It really was not made to be included among the likes of CollectA or Safari figures, and it is aimed at a much younger age group than most other toys we review on this blog. The soft materials make it ideal for very rough play should you (or your child) wish it to clash with other dinosaur toys. As of now, the only place you can find it at is DeJankins, which just got its replenishment orders in as of the time of this writing.