Review and photographs by Funk, edited by Suspsy
Can there ever be too many Tyrannosaurus toys? Chap Mei didn’t think so, and made several versions, that, while they differed in colouration and other details, all seem to have taken most of their anatomical cues from the way this genus was portrayed in the Jurassic Park franchise. The subject of this review is their Dino Quest electronic Tyrannosaurus, which pushes the animal even further in a monstrous direction, as we shall see.
Being similar to the JP Tyrannosaurus as well as being a toy that has to stand up and not break, it would, of course, be a moot point to complain about anatomical inaccuracies. Its arms and fingers are way too long, the feet are huge, and the head has the classic boxy JP shape, with the rounded crests forming a tall “bridge” above the eyes, whereas there would probably instead have been bosses in front of and behind them. But unlike the JP depiction and most of Chap Mei’s other Tyrannosaurus figures, this one has a row of spikes along the top of the back, as well as rows of smaller osteoderms along the flanks. That’s possible, of course, though there is no fossil evidence for it, and it is similar to stereotypical vintage dinosaurs which always had to have similar rows of spikes on their backs for some reason. There are also many smaller scales and wrinkles, making the skin look pretty good (from a reptilian perspective).
Looking at the head, the boxiness of the skull is emphasised by a surprisingly square jaw, which is more similar to for example that of Giganotosaurus than the more receding chin of Tyrannosaurus. And when we get to the feet, things start to get even weirder. While most Chap Mei Tyrannosaurus toys show the hallux (or dewclaw) correctly on the inner sides of the feet (and some don’t include them at all), this toy has them on the outer sides of the feet for some reason.
And here a pattern emerges: this toe configuration, as well as the square chin and row of spikes on the back, are awfully reminiscent of the way Godzilla was depicted in the 1998 American remake. And to top it off? I mentioned this toy is electronic, and it has a button on its back (which looks like a huge callus and breaks up the row of spikes in an unfortunate way), and when pushing this button, the jaws close from their default open state, the eyes blink yellowish green, the arms rotate, and the toy emits a roar that is extremely similar to that used throughout the Godzilla films. While I think I’ve heard other dinosaur toys make this same roar, all these features can’t be a coincidence? Do we have the perfect chimera of the JP Tyrannosaurus and Godzilla, the two greatest reptilian movie monsters (if we ignore Reptilicus)? Well, apart from it being the 1998 Godzilla, which, depending on where you stand, might make it lamer. But I liked that movie better than the newer American version.
Moving on, the coloration is rather subdued and surprisingly naturalistic, similar to some crocodiles, with a dark brownish green upper side, faint black stripes, light brown lower flanks, and a greyish underside. The claws (except for those of the halluxes for some reason) are black, the teeth are shiny bright white, and the tongue is bright red; these two last choices take a bit away from the otherwise realistic colour scheme, but well, since it’s basically a monster, who cares?
What else can be said about this toy? It is about 35 cm long, which is somewhat large. The limbs are able to rotate, and it stands quite stably, which is nice. A downside is that the left side has no less than five screw holes that appear to hold the two plastic halves the toy is made from together, so you’d have to display or play with it while looking at the right side. It also has some holes on the chest, but those are to help the roar emit through the plastic.
So should you get it? Yeah, if you’d like to own a Godzilla-ised Tyrannosaurus figure, if you have kids who want to play with a monstrous dinosaur, or, of course, if you collect Chap Mei toys. This one was my little brother’s; by the time it came out it was too ridiculous-looking for me to have bought it as a kid.