More than any recent figure, Rebor’s sizeable King Rex seems to embody both the best and worst of the current dinosaur collectible scene. On the one hand, it’s hugely encouraging to see a company produce offerings that bridge the vast gap between the toy and ‘monstro Sideshow wallet-buster’ ends of the market, and produce a line of undeniably high-quality figures to boot. At the same time, it’s a little sad that their contribution to the ever-more-crowded T. rex toy shelf looks so…familiar.
When people inspect a T. rex figure, they’ll be looking at the head first and foremost – after all, it’s the cool-looking business end with the mouth full of spikes and a gnarled, keratinous mass to top things off. Looking at Rebor’s figure, the first two words to spring to mind are ‘Jurassic Park‘. Every small detail of the head – from the jawline to the ‘angry eye’ crests – is almost directly lifted from the JP creature. It’s not as close as the original Papo T. rex, but the similarity is quite unmistakable, all the same. It could’ve been worse, John – a lot worse – but just imagine what the artist could have achieved if they had sculpted a truly original head, based on the real animal’s skull. It’s just all so predictable.
If you’re going to stick a JP head on your figure, you might as well make it an exceedingly handsome JP head, and it’s here that Rebor have succeeded with aplomb. The Rebor Rexy is essentially akin to a Papo figure on steroids, and you get what you pay for in terms of fine detailing and a superb paint finish. The head in particular shows a great deal of finesse in the scalation, wrinkling around the eyes, and (like the Papos) an extremely fine set of very pointy dentures. The jaw is also articulated, allowing for a variety of looks ranging from ‘demure coelurosaur’ to ‘raging awesomebro jerk’. It’s a nice touch.
The rest of the body is very well detailed, too (even if not quite to the same standard as the head), and has the believable, organic quality that Papo’s dinosaurs are praised for. The flesh has an extremely gnarled, wrinkly and folded appearance, as if this were some battered old beast; muscles pop from the legs, and there is a weird, sinewy look to the base of the tail which I actually quite like. A lot of thought has gone into making this look like a living animal rather than a statuesque model that just ticks the boxes.
In terms of how it compares with what’s known about the real T. rex – well, it’s a mixed bag, as one might expect given the JP head. Its bodily proportions are certainly much more on the money than any of Papo’s efforts, indicating that at least a modicum of research went into this. The arms and legs are probably a little too long (the strange, almost crouching posture makes it a little tricky to judge), and the arms could also probably do with a minor repositioning. More obviously, the snout is too wide side-to-side, meaning the skull somewhat lacks its distinctive shape. The torso could perhaps do with being broader, but the creature has convincing heft all the same, with obviously massive hips and thighs and a reasonably chunky tail base (a feature often overlooked).
There’s no denying the high production values of this figure, and it’s certainly visually arresting. The sandy colour scheme (with fiery highlights) works very well, and the careful attention to detail outclasses even some resin figures that are notably pricier than the Rebor. The fact that it’s another all-over scaly T. rex is a bit of a shame – given the Yutyrannus that’s also in Rebor’s range, I’d have loved to have seen them stick a little plumage on their King Rex. The scaliness adds to the somewhat ’90s-retro feel of the model as a whole, although at least the integument is still handled with a little flair (the dorsal spines being very reminiscent of a certain sexy Sega).
In all, this is indeed a very well-made piece, but it’s probably also going to split opinion. Having spent some time this evening with the old fella on my desk, I must say that I’ve really warmed to him, in spite of my ongoing reservations. Yes, it’s a bit of a JP monster, and yes, that little rocky prop thing is…odd. However, it’s a charming number with an exceptional degree of artistic polish for a mass-produced figure. For the same reason I’ll normally p-p-p-pick up a Papo (while avoiding equally inaccurate Schleich pap), I’ll recommend the Rebor. A bit pricey and anatomically iffy, but I’ll still hail to the King, baby.
Available from Ebay.com here.