Have you ever dreamed of visiting a theme park that featured up-do-date, scientifically accurate (or as close to accurate as one can get) dinosaurs as opposed to tired old movie monsters? Well, that may never come to pass for real, but Dinosaurs in the Wild comes pretty danged close. This amazing attraction combines CGI and robotics to create what feels like an authentic trip to North America some 67,000,000 years. Visitors encounter icons Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, and Ankylosaurus as well as lesser known marvels Alamosaurus, Thescelosaurus, Quetzalcoatlus, and the recently discovered Dakotaraptor. Paleontologist Darren Naish, who served as the scientific consultant for the exhibit, has called it, “just about the only project I’ve been involved in whereby creative decisions have actually followed the advice and opinion of the consultant.” DITW debuted in London, England, this past summer, and will hopefully be returning in the future.
Today I’ll be reviewing the DITW Tyrannosaurus rex. Created along with an imposing Dakotaraptor by a company called IVS Group Ltd., it measures a whopping 45 cm in length and slightly over 19 cm tall. That makes it one of the biggest T. rexes in my collection, easily dwarfing the ones from CollectA, Papo, and Safari and surpassed only by the Jurassic Park gang and this guy. The main colours are burgundy and black with dull yellow eyes, a pink mouth, white teeth, and grey and white claws. Matches the colour scheme of the animal(s) from the exhibit very well indeed.
Probably the first thing you’ve noticed about this T. rex is the black mane of feathers (or filaments, if you wish) covering its neck and much of its back. Gives it a rather leonine appearance, which I suspect was intentional. The issue of whether or not tyrannosaurs possessed any degree of integument is an ongoing and highly divisive one, and I have zero desire to discuss it at length here. All I will say is that the current evidence suggests that T. rex didn’t have feathers, but does not prove for a fact that it didn’t. In any case, I’ve always liked the appearance of feathered tyrannosaurs, and I think this one looks pretty neat.
The head is exactly what a T. rex‘s should look like: big and blocky with forward-facing orbits, prominent but not exaggerated brow ridges, and while the eyes are a bit sunken, there really isn’t any of that despised “shrink-wrapping” that plagues so many dinosaur toys. And, of course, the enormous open mouth is lined with savage teeth. Indeed, the teeth are really quite sharp, to the point where it’s possibly not a good idea to let very young children play with this toy. The hands are correctly positioned, but the arms look a tad too big. The neck is nice and thick, the hind legs are well-muscled, and I like how the tapering tail curves downward. The rib cage could stand to be a bit thicker, but overall, I’d say this T. rex rates pretty well in terms of anatomy. The skin on the head is covered in lots of tiny pebbled scales. Rows of osteroderms run down the top of the muzzle and the palate is ribbed. The feathery parts have a shaggy texture to them while the skin on the body and tail is covered in wrinkles of varying size.
The T. rex‘s lower jaw is hinged, although the range of motion doesn’t allow for a closed mouth. The shoulders and hips have a limited range of rotation and the tail features a hinge joint that allows it to swing from side to side, although as you can see in the image below, it doesn’t look very good. The pegs and seams at the ankles and feet make them appear as though they’re articulated, but they’re not. Stability is also an issue here. The feet don’t rest properly on a surface, so getting this toy to remain standing can be something of a challenge. I pulled it off for this photo shoot, but I’m going to use a support to display it on my shelf. Time to get the LEGO bricks out!
Overall, this is not the best T. rex toy I’ve acquired over the years, but it’s definitely impressive and possessing a certain charm. Always a pleasure to see an up-to-date rendition of the tyrant king. I reckon my son will enjoy playing with this quite a bit once he gets older. This toy was available for purchase at the DITW exhibit while it was going on, and Darren Naish was kind enough to bring a bunch to sell at TetZooCon in London this past October, which is how I got mine. Or rather, how Sean Bell got one for me, so many thanks go out to him for that! For those of you still hoping to get one, I imagine you’d best be searching eBay. Good hunting!