The ubiquitous dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex has seen many incarnations and reconstructions in the two centuries since its discovery by human scientists – and plenty of merchandise has been produced to match. One particular specimen – the famous Sue of the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History – has seen a variety of merchandise specifically designed to its name, including minifigure sets (in collaboration with Safari ltd.) and various sizes of plush toys. In 2018, new studies of Sue’s skeleton led to notable revisions in the Field’s mount, which timed with a new extension to the Evolving Planet exhibit where Sue would be moved for display. To help commemorate these updates, the Field commissioned K&M International’s Wild Republic line for a big, brand-new, exclusive stuffed toy of their star dinosaur.
Sue the (plush) T. rex measures 65-66 cm (25.5-26 in) in total length; if you like to record model scale for your stuffed animals collection, this toy sits at about 1:18 scale to the real Sue specimen. The toy has substantial mass to it, with a plump body and sizable tail. Stuffed animals aren’t always the best choice for finding life-accurate figures; but the Wild Republic line has a good track record for quality toys, and Sue is no exception. Proportions of the body are relatively good; Sue has a large head with forward-facing eyes, small but stout arms, and the aforementioned round torso, which reflects the addition of Sue’s gastralia to the official museum display.
Sue is also a very well-built stuffed toy in addition to its accuracy. The plush is firm and holds form rigidly, while still being soft and play-friendly; the toy stands as a tripod, although the length of the tail disguises this somewhat. Stitching is fairly subtle in appearance, and the fabric of the skin has a textured impression of patterned scales (although, ironically, the fibers themselves give the toy a faintly feathered appearance). The mouth, teeth and claws use a simpler fabric to distinguish from the skin. A hemmed line is stitched into each side of the head to represent the brow ridges. As an additional fun quirk, the nature of the polyester fiber stuffing allows the tail to be posed and held in slightly different angles. The jaws can also be very slightly adjusted.
Although Sue the T. rex has traditionally kept a consistent color scheme through related media – based on John Gurche’s illustration displayed over the Field Museum main hall – in the wake of the updated display and exhibit, Sue’s color scheme has become more fluid in depictions. For Wild Republic’s toy, the chosen coloration is a mottled gradient of purplish-gray and golden-brown splotches, with a solid dirty-white underbelly. Hints of teal are also apparent in between spots along the face and body; it’s a subdued but nonetheless striking pattern which is quite pleasing to the eye. Solid dark gray is used for the fingers and toes, and the mouth and eyes are somewhere between burgundy and blood-red, contrasting nicely with the cooler skin tones.
Wild Republic’s Sue is a solidly-built and overall splendid stuffed toy; it captures the classic Tyrannosaurus image while reflecting new studies in the tyrant lizard’s appearance.Both kids and collectors will be able to admire this item, whether it stands guard in the playroom or the bed headboard. Sue the (stuffed) T. rex is available exclusively through the Chicago Field Museum’s gift shops, but if you can’t make it to the museum in person, you can also purchase the toy through their online store for a similar price (at least before shipping, of course).