Tyrannosaurus (King Kong 1933 by X-Plus)

4.7 (14 votes)

After roughly four years of blogging and collecting I’ve reached my 50th review for the DTB. For this special review I wanted to do something offbeat and distinct. In seeking out a unique subject I came across a figure that merges my love of cinema with my love of dinosaurs, and I knew this was the model I would have to review. Depictions of dinosaurs don’t get much more vintage than this folks; I’m talking about the X-plus King Kong Tyrannosaurus from the original 1933 film. Much like Jurassic Park is the modern pinnacle of dinosaur movies; King Kong was once the same for its era. The film combined the latest science and special effects technology by Willis O’Brian to create a masterpiece of film making that still stands up today.

Although a dated reconstruction by today’s standards this model, and the stop-motion creature it’s based off is a classic representation of Tyrannosaurus. Naturally you must forgive the science of the time for not being where we are today. The three fingered hands, tail dragging stance and general reptilian vibe were all accurate in 1933. Indeed, the Tyrannosaurus depicted in King Kong was based off of Charles R. Knight’s 1906 depiction of Tyrannosaurus for The American Museum of Natural History, which was based on the Tyrannosaurus skeletal reconstruction by Henry Fairfield Osborn, the man who gave the tyrant lizard king its name in 1905. When you look at a model like this you’re not just looking at movie memorabilia, you’re looking at paleontological history, and something as significant I dare say as the dinosaur depictions in Crystal Palace Park.

But boy what a piece of movie memorabilia this is. Folks familiar with movie and pop culture collectibles will already be familiar with X-plus. They’re a Japanese company that produces some of the finest collectibles out there, from Godzilla to Fred Flintstone and everything is between. Although the Tyrannosaurus only appears in King Kong for a brief three minutes before Kong snaps his jaw, the battle between the two beasts is among the most classic in cinema history Personally for me, this is my favorite scene in the film, even though poor Rexy comes up short in the end. Luckily my T. rex won’t have any oversize primates to contend with, save for a toddler perhaps! There is so much personality packed into the those three minutes that the dinosaur still feels like a fully conceived movie character, and that infusion of character into his work is part of what made Willis O’Brian a special effects legend. All of that character is present in the X-plus model too, as well as a high level of commitment in bringing this movie monster to life.

There is no point discussing the accuracy here, suffice it to say its movie accurate and thus time period accurate. The hollow model stands an impressive 8” tall and 15” in length and is made out of PVC. There is some assembly required here as the model is packaged in a box with the tail and left leg separate from the body. Putting this thing together was a chore. The parts barely snap together and the soft hollow body doesn’t allow you to exert much pressure on it. In the end I had to use warm water to soften up the male ends and a dull butter knife to push them in. It probably took me a good 20 minutes to assemble the thing but was certainly worth the struggle. While the seam around the tail is slightly off putting those around the legs are no more obvious than those on the legs of the actual creature in the movie. This also means that the tail and legs are articulated, and so are the arms. Getting it to stand right means playing with the legs a bit but once you get it into position it stands nice and sturdy. Oddly, the tail is held up off the ground on this tail dragging T. rex. Unfortunately the jaw is not articulated which I feel is a missed opportunity.

For those who like their dinosaurs scaly this guy is a real treat. The entire body, save for the saggy and fleshy throat, foot pads, and hands, are covered in pebbly raised scales with a line of distinctive scutes running down the back and tail. A tongue is sculpted inside the mouth, complete with individually sculpted teeth and a palate on the roof of the mouth. The coloration on this guy can be quickly addressed…its gray. That’s none too surprising since this model represents an animal from a black and white movie. That said the gray is used to good effect with proper darkening and lighting along various body parts, ridges and musculature. The only parts that are not gray are the white teeth and black eyes.

Although this model will probably appeal to movie buffs more so than dinosaur collectors this is not just a model of the 1933 King Kong Tyrannosaurus. Fans of outdated paleo-art, Charles R. Knight, Tyrannosaurus, paleontological history, and dinosaur movies, will all find reasons to love this model. Luckily this is not a rare or expensive model. Although some eBay vendors will be selling it at an inflated price you can easily find it on eBay or Amazon for about $30. For a unique model of this size and quality that’s a very fair price.

Since this is my 50th review I feel it’s a good time to stop and thank those who have helped and encouraged me along the way. Firstly of course, a big thanks to site owner Dr. Adam Smith for giving me the opportunity to write here as well as for creating this place to celebrate all things prehistoric. My wife Alicia needs mentioning too, who despite not being a collector has read every single one of my reviews and puts up with endless spending on, and ranting about, dinosaur toys. A special shout-out goes to my fellow blog writers whose reviews inspired me to start writing and collecting in the first place as well as all the forum members who have given me a community with which to share my passion. And last but not least a big thank you to those that have read and commented on my reviews and have encouraged me to keep doing this. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the ride so far, here’s to 50 more!

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Comments 12

  • Yoyoyo it Is great love it

  • Man, those were the days, when going to the movies was a treat for something special. That old King Kong movie was a classic. I love the vintage look on this model, just like Marx and Invicta dinosaurs.This T-Rex also remind me of the Allosaurus in ‘Valley of Gwangi’, Ray Harryhausen’s version of cowboys vs. Gwangi.
    I’m wondering if a model of the t-Rex in the new Kong movie was ever made.

  • Great review Gwangi! Gongrats on your 50th review!

  • To my eye, the head of the beast actually looks a little more like the Allosaurus from 1925’s The Lost World. Or was that a T. rex, too?`

    • I’m fairly certain the theropod in “The Lost World” was indeed an Allosaurus, but back then large theropods were interchangeable. Especially Allosaurus and Tyrannosaurus.

  • Congrats on 50 reviews! Great photos here- the spring green really makes him pop!

    I enjoyed how you explained the tie-in with retro dinosaur art, very cool. The feet and stance especially remind me of my old Tyco rex, as well, which I’m sure was also inspired by Charles R. Knight’s classic artwork.

    • Thanks! I’m glad you liked the review. The picture was taken in my baby daughter’s room. Seems to be a good place for photographing these guys.

  • Congrats on your 50th review. Not to get all sentimental, but I have always looked forward to reading your reviews, due to their information, quality, and humor.

    As a fan of the 1933 King Kong, (of course who isn’t a fan), I have to say this is a really interesting toy. I agree with your disappointment concerning the jaw. I would have figured the jaw would be articulated, especially since I can picture Kong opening and closing the mouth after he defeated the rex.

    Oh well, Cheers to your 50th and to 50 more.

  • Excellent review Gwangi and well done on reaching the big Five O! Looks a great Dino toy too, all you need now is the big ape to take him on!

    • Thanks. If I end up with Kong I’ll make sure to let the T. rex win a few rounds.

      • If you ask me, I ‘d want the T. Rex to win against King Kong biting his hands off and going for the rest of his body because I really hate that gorilla for what he did to my favorite dinosaur, reptile, and animal of all, especially since I love reptiles and hate mammals just as I love animals and hate humans. Plus, the mouth’s my favorite part of an animal just as the hands are my least favorite parts of a human.

        What Kong did to Tyrannosaurus traumatized me big time. And so, I wish that I could create a King Kong movie where the T-Rex wins against that ape the way that I want him to.

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