Review and images by PhilSauria, edited by Suspsy
Tarbosaurus (alarming lizard) has only one officially recognised species, T. bataar, and was a large member of the tyrannosaur family that roamed Asia around 70 million years ago. Tarbosaurus had the smallest forelimbs relative to body size of all tyrannosaurids, and that’s saying something for a member of this group! However, as the subject of this review is a toy from Mattel, we can place the science lesson to one side and instead look at the colours, detail, articulation, and action features instead.
As one of the newer releases, it comes in the packaging with the sunset and fence background, against which the mostly grey colouration of the figure stands out nicely. This is one of the larger Mattel figures, measuring 35 cm (14 inches) long from nose to the tip of the slightly curved tail and 15 cm (6 inches) tall to the tip of its dorsal spines. Said spines may constitute a bit of artistic licence but I think that they give this one a distinctive look that sets it apart from the T. rex and Albertosaurus and reminds me of the title creature seen in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.
Getting back to the colours, the Tarbosaurus is mainly a medium grey with a dark grey along the spines and along the upper surface with some of the colour used as striping down the body. The dramatic splash of red that adorns the throat and lower jaw really stands out against the greys on the rest of the body; one could rather ghoulishly imagine the animal having lifted its head up from having had its face down feeding on its latest meal! The claws on the hands are unpainted, as is the norm for Mattel, but in this case the claws on the feet do not see any paint either. The eyes are also red, once again really prominent against the grey head.
As for the sculpt, while Mattel’s bipedal figures generally have enlarged feet as an aid to stability, to my eye, the feet on this one seem slightly larger than usual. The tail, while shorter than it should be (short tails are another norm for Mattel) is not too bad on the whole. Surface detail on the body is mostly creases and wrinkles with ratite-style scaling on the toes. The head has a nice variety of small and large scales over the face, with the teeth slightly rounded off for safety during play.
Which brings us to articulation and features. The arms can move around and out and the legs can ratchet and lock to give you a relaxed horizontal pose or have your Tarbosaurus rear up more aggressively. This is another one of those Mattel toys with the mouth open by default, but it can be made to snap closed via a switch on the base of the tail. Rotating the tail swivels the head from side to side. So with one hand, you can have the beast turning its head from side to side while snapping viciously. If I were a child in possession of this toy, I’d love that!
And so, the Tarbosaurus is another winner from Mattel in my opinion,and one that should have great appeal to kids and adult collectors alike.