A humid spring morning finds A’tahsaia striding through the trees, following her nose toward the familiar and irresistible scent of rank meat. Arriving at the forest’s edge, she sights a small herd of torosaurs wading and drinking in the shallows of a river. There are six adults and three younglings, yet they all appear healthy and uninjured to her eye. Hardly an easy meal. But then she spots the true source of the enticing scent: a large alamosaur lying dead and bloated in the mud no more than a few hundred paces downriver.
Immediately, A’tahsaia emerges from cover and begins hastening toward the corpse—and alarms the torosaurs in doing so. The younglings huddle close to their mothers and the dominant bull stomps his feet, waves his head, and growls menacingly, but A’tahsaia pays them no heed. Upon reaching her prize, she rises to her full height to carefully sniff the air and scan the area for signs of other tyrannosaurs. Sensing none, she lowers her head and begins to feast . . .
Between their endearing miniatures, their incredible large scientific art models, and their exciting mid-range toys, PNSO has solidly cemented their reputation as one of the finest manufacturers of prehistoric toys. In this review, I’ll be tackling one of the very first products they ever revealed back in 2016: the vinyl Tyrannosaurus rex. Unlike all PNSO products nowadays, this figure was not bestowed with a quaint name like Aishwarya or Ripley or Shelfy, so I’ve chosen the name A’tahsaia after the giant cannibalistic demon from Zuni folklore. I’ve also decided this T. rex is a female based on the colour scheme. Many extant female birds and lizards have much duller colours compared to males, so it’s very possible that dinosaurs were that way too.
A’tahsaia is indeed rather dull-looking compared to the likes of her successor Wilson or the T. rexes from CollectA, Papo, and Safari. She is done up in varying shades of light and medium brown with black patches around her gold eyes, white teeth lining a salmon pink mouth, and lead grey wash. Her claws were originally dark grey, but they were so scuffed, I decided to get out the leftover black paint from my last art project and redo them. Granted, we still have no idea what a T. rex‘s colours really were, and it is perfectly possible that they were indeed like this, but I personally prefer my dinosaurs brightly coloured.
But if A’tahsaia’s colours don’t impress much, her sheer size certainly does! She measures around 40 cm long and 25 cm tall, making her one of the biggest non-Hasbro/Mattel T. rex figures in recent memory. She is posed somewhat heretically in an upright tripod stance, yet unlike certain other tripodal theropod toys, she doesn’t look stiff and static. Her massive tail is twitching upwards, her right leg is taking a large step forward, her head is looking to the left, and her mighty jaws are open to the maximum in a hiss or a bellow. Combined with her blazing gold eyes, she looks hopping mad. Perhaps she is confronting a rival over a meal just like in the opening narrative. As to the feasibility of this pose, we’ve known for decades now that T. rex, like all other theropods, would have normally held its body in a horizontal position. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility that it could have reared up high like this temporarily as a threat display or simply to scan its surroundings better. And it is comforting to know that A’tahsaia is certainly not prone to toppling over like certain other theropod toys. Being made of hollow vinyl, she is relatively light in spite of her size.
From the tip of her muzzle to the end of her tail, A’tahsaia’s skin is adorned with a combination of tiny scales, larger scales, and heavy wrinkles. She also has some speculative feathers running along her neck and back, and down her shoulder blades to her arms. It’s easy to miss this sparse plumage at first given that it’s all the exact same colour as the skin. Even a slightly darker shade of brown would have been nice.
Like any good tyrant lizard toy, A’tahsaia boasts thick, powerful-looking muscles in her neck, limbs, and tail. The round scales covering her body are very small for the most part, but there are also some large ones over her pelvis. She also features plenty of thick wrinkles that give off a leathery, somewhat elephantine appearance. Her teeth are pointy, but not sharp and the inside of her mighty mouth is reasonably well detailed. And as I noted earlier, her wide eyes and sharp brown ridges, combined with her wide open jaws, make her look very ferocious indeed. All in all, A’tahsaia has a quite a good sculpting job on her, but nevertheless pales in comparison with more recent PNSO products like Nick and Essien. The company’s artists have clearly honed their skills over the past three years. And one thing I definitely don’t like about this toy are the visible seam lines at the head, shoulders, midsection, knees, and tail.
Feel free to disagree, but I honestly like this T. rex better than Wilson, the stance and seams notwithstanding. It looks more dynamic and alive, and its sheer size makes it stand out prominently among the other tyrant lizard’s dominating the top of my display cabinet. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued for some time now. I was fortunate enough to find mine on eBay for what I believe was not too exorbitant a price. So if you’ve decided from reading my review that you’d like one for yourself, then I sincerely wish you the best of luck in your hunt!