Tag Archives: Tyrannosaurus

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.

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!

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!