Aging and death are two facts of life that many of us has chosen to ignore. In a society that has placed an almost obsessive quest for youth, beauty, and perfection, it’s no surprise that these two inevitable life events remain hidden, lurking in the dark shadows.
Since the dawn of civilization, society has always put a premium on youth and beauty, just take a look at the ancient Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Japanese, Indian, etc. art and see that many of the subjects of these magnificent images depicted the standards of youth and beauty of its time. Heck, even some primitive rock art show people in the prime of their life as they hunt and battle prehistoric beast.
Not much has changed since then. Today, in the glossy pages of magazines and the constant stream of advertisements, we are bombarded more than ever with more images of youth and unrealistic beauty standards that many of us would never achieve; we are sold and ravenously consume hundreds of products with dubious nature meant to arrest the advance of aging. Social media post glorifying youth and beauty garner the most likes.But reality is much more complex, more diverse, and full of imperfections that comes in different sizes, shapes and forms, and yes age.
So, what does all of these got to do with Wilson V2? Our quest for youth, beauty, and perfection goes beyond our bodies, it also manifests itself on the things we make and purchase. Relevant to our subject, just a quick stroll down the toy aisle of any store will confirm that even in toys, we are obsessed with the same perfection standards. Almost all the toys, from Barbie and Ken dolls to extinct and extant animals, all depict youth, unrealistic standards of beauty, and perfection. And when a new figure is unveiled, it is immediately put under the microscope in search of any flaws, and reading all the negative comments, just reinforces our obsession with perfection.
The first Wilson was released more than four years ago. At that time, I didn’t really pay much attention to it and dismissed it as yet another run-of-the-mill Tyrannosaurus with some fancy paint and cool base.During the pandemic lockdown last year, I spent my days off from work at home. To be productive, I continued to purge my collection and when the bin of theropods turn came, it was full of Tyrannosaurus rex. As I sort them all out, many didn’t make the cut. I pretty much have to keep only those that have significance and of course my personal favorites.
As I looked at them all, I noticed that each one of them represents an adult individual in the prime of its life. There was not a single figure that looks like an old animal. “Vintage/old style” sculpt yes, but old?We now have good figures that represents very young Tyrannosaurus rex from both CollectA and PNSO. CollectA even went further and gave us a dead version, but even this individual represents a young animal who met an untimely, and what looks like a violent death.These two exceptions aside, all of the figures in my collection represented the young, the beautiful and unblemished Tyrannosaurus rex in the prime of its life.
So, to fill this age gap, I searched for a figure that could represent an older individual. Sure, there are figures out there that are so wrinkly, but these are mostly what one would say “vintage/classic or Hollywood” based and does not look like a real old mature animal. My search led me back to the original Wilson. As I looked at photos of it online, I started to wonder if this would fit what I was looking for. There are some features to it that could be the unmistakable signs of aging. But the price of the original kept me hesitant to get it right away. Then, as if to make my decision easier, PNSO released a downgraded version, this figure, Wilson V2. When I finally received it, I was satisfied with how it compared and contrasted with the other figure I own, it easily passed for what I was hoping and looking for to represent an older individual.
This version 2 of Wilson is like a deposed king. Once in his initial release, he was all fancy with his diorama base and intricate and complex color scheme. Back then, he was hailed as one of the best as nothing in PVC form came close to it. But that was a few years back and things has changed significantly. Then, he was re-released, and was stripped off of his throne (diorama base), his flashy clothing (colors and patterns) was replaced with a drabber, simpler one, and to add insult, he was also cheaper than either his processor or successor. He also garnered not much of an attention or excitement when he was released, with no fanfare to accompany him, he quickly and quietly slips from attention. I never planned on reviewing this figure, after all Tyrannosaurus is not my favorite, plus I already reviewed enough already. So, he went back in his box and joined the others in storage.
Then December rolled in and with it a brand-new version of Wilson (V3 AKN Winter Wilson) was released! It was something else and completely different from its predecessor. I immediately ordered it as a birthday gift to myself. It arrived a month earlier, well before my birthday. This new Wilson was something else; new and refreshing and I decided to sign up and review it, perhaps you may even have read it.It was inevitable to write a comparison between these two figures, but, as I finished the section about it, I came to the conclusion during the final edit that it was too long and didn’t really fit the whole review. So, I decided to cut out the entire section from the final Wilson V3 review. I did save the original draft, and this would serve as the foundation for this review.
As my birthday quickly approached, I started to feel the inevitable anxiety as the realization of yet another year, and not just another year, but one that takes me right at the doorstep of another age bracket. Like many people, I, too, started to think about the reality of my aging. It is through this circumstance as well as a couple of innocent comments on the forum that made me decide to take a second and closer look at this figure and tackle its review from a totally different perspective.
The release of Wilson V3 (AKA Winter Wilson) provided the perfect opportunity to illustrate the difference between a young animal in its prime and that of an old one. It is by directly comparing the two figures that one can really start to appreciate and notice their differences. It helped that both are named Wilson, so it was easy to assume that they are indeed the same animal just in different stages of life. I don’t think it was a coincidence that both figures were given almost the same exact colors and patterns just some differences in shades and tones, these similarities make it even more convincing that the two are the same animal.
I know that some of you may be expecting a dissection of this model’s accuracy and point out all its flaws or shortcomings. Of the risk of disappointing some of you, I have chosen instead to do the opposite. We have a lot of reviews that does exactly that already and although important to any review, I felt that instead of looking at these imperfections or shortcomings as flaws, instead to look at them differently and perhaps appreciate them for what they may possibly represent.
Aging brings on physical transformations that changes many of our physical appearances that becomes harder not to notice and ignore as the years add up. Perhaps our face is the most visible part of our bodies to see these changes, for example our nose slightly gets wider, our ears bigger, our eyes encircled by wrinkles and more sunken, and our hair starts turning silver, often unruly, or even losing them. Even our teeth take on a different color and shape, and sometimes we lose them completely.So, let’s take a look at these two versions of Wilson and compare each feature and the changes as it relates to aging (at least the way I have chosen to look at it).
Starting on the head, Wilson V3 looks perfectly unblemished with full checks and hardly any sagging skin or signs of any shrink-wrapping. The large scales that adorn the top of the snout as well as the ridges above the eyes are small, smooth, and mostly uniform in size and look tidy. The scales above his head are small, uniformed, and arranged nicely with luster to them.His eyes look alert not sunken with hardly any wrinkles, even his nose looks perfect. His teeth look healthy, complete, and sharp with nice coloration .
On this Wilson V2, those same facial features now look more exaggerated. The cheeks that was once full are now more sunken; the large scales that adorn the top of his snout and ridges above the eyes are noticeably bigger in size, uneven, and looks unruly. His nostrils that were once perfect now looks flared and bigger with lots of skin cresses around it. His eyes now have a forlorn look, sunken, and encircled by wrinkles that marked the passage of time. His teeth look worn out and no longer the pearly white it once was.The scales on his head are also lager in size and are exaggerated even more by the abundant skin wrinkles and folds that surrounds it.
Hi neck is still powerful, but it has lost some muscles tone as the skin around it looks saggy now with large skin fold when once they were firm and filled out.His shoulder blades are now also visible and no longer engulfed and hidden by powerful muscles. The scutes that runs along the length of his spine are like untrimmed fingernails, they are significantly larger, wider, and full of pockmarks has lost its tidy look.
You can see his ribs sticking out as the skin around it sags and gives in to gravity. The once full stomach seen on Wilson V3 now looks pinched-in, not really starved-look, but definitely not full either. Now compare that to the full and well-rounded look of Wilson V3 and you can really appreciate these differences. As you move further down the body, the hip bones also protrude when once it was covered by taut skin and powerful muscles. There are more hanging saggy skin and folds especially in the area under the base of the tail that are hard to miss.Looking at him overall, even with is mouth open, he looks more fragile and not as robust and physically trim like he used to. Wilson V3 on the other hand can be billed as the picture of a perfect specimen in his prime with well define muscle, full figured, and taut skin covered in lustrous scales.
Like hair, skin tones also change as one ages (liver spots anyone?) Compared to Wilson V3, his colors are darker, more muted and subdued and have lost some of the colorful lighter highlights around the body which adds a sense of youth. The dark stripes are also no longer as prominent as they used to be, they now look shorter and more blended and duller instead of the crisp stripe running down the body and tail seen on V3.Even the scales on his feet are much larger and broader now and so are the nail.
His pose, despite retaining some form of dynamism, is no longer as awe-inspiring as that of the more actively posed Wilson V3. All of these exaggerated features we see in this figure is not so obvious when alone. It is when you see them together side-by-side that one can truly appreciate the difference. Only when they are close to each other and by directly comparing the details can one really fully take in and appreciate these transformations as subtle as some of these may be.In many ways, the two figures really complement each other and makes a nice illustration of how physical changes progress as an animal grows older, something that we really don’t see a whole lot.He exudes a more restrained form of confidence unlike his successor who is imposing and ready for a good fight.
Only after writing the review and during the final edit that I have come to realize that not only was I reviewing and going over Wilson V2’s assumed aging, but I was also going through, almost paralleling the tell tail signs of my very own personal aging .In a lot of ways, many of the features I have pointed out on Wilson V2 are easily applied to my own physical transformation. All I needed to do is look at the mirror and find the confirmation I have long avoided staring back at me.
Looking back on that day that I first received this figure, I now realized that I, too have fallen into the trap of searching for that elusive perfection. I realize that we are today spoiled by the various new PNSO offerings, so much so that one needs a reminder to stop and appreciate. I know now, as I remember how I quickly dismissed and even called this figure ugly, that I have harshly judged this figure for falling short of meeting my own “idea” of perfection and beauty.
It was a good reminder for me writing this review that in life, perfection is the exception rather than the rule. Looking around, we are not surrounded by unattainable version of perfection, rather, we are surrounded by a whole range of diversity, imperfections, that comes in many shapes, size, and forms.
So, while the standard today seems to be to quickly judge a figure based on how it meets our “vision” of definitive , there is a trend on focusing too much in finding flaws and imperfections rather than taking a moment to be celebrating. The good qualities, and positives are often too quickly overshadowed by all these noises that we forget to stop and appreciate just how far we have truly come just in the last five years.
With that, I couldn’t help but wonder, with the goal post of perfection standards quickly being moved further and further away from the reality of now, what then? If a company actually manages to satisfy the majority and produce a figure that is considered the definitive version, where do we go from there? It’s like a dog chasing its tail, and once he catches it, he realizes that he got it and owns it. Upon that realization, the excitement wanes.
For me, one of the pleasures of being in this hobby for so long is the opportunity to watch and experience growth from the various brands year after year. It is watching and following all of these improvements and growth that is truly exciting for me, not to mention seeing all of the diverse takes each artist and company put on their figure of the same species.I can’t imagine a day when all of the figures being put out are the “definitive “and look exactly alike with no or little variation. That would be boring, like flipping through a glossy fashion magazine looking at beautiful images of perfect models pages after page and all of them having the same expressionless look staring blankly at the distance.
In a way, many of the changes of how I view things today are a product of having been collecting prehistoric figures for a long time now. As I look back to the time when I first started my collection, it becomes clearer to me just how much my own attitude has also evolved for better or worse.And yes, perhaps the many changes and hard decisions that are rapidly occurring in my collecting habits and attitude are also the inevitable result of me growing older.
So, as I finish up writing this review, I sat staring at this version of Wilson in front of me and marvel just how much my view and attitude towards it has changed. As I look at it, I find a connection that I never thought I would. It’s hard to explain, but this figure has brought up in me a sense of nostalgia as well as an overwhelming melancholy. Yeah, perhaps it’s coming to term with my own aging.And just like that, this figure I once dismissed, have transformed itself into one of the most unique and important figures in my collection, not because of its beauty or perfection, but rather due to all of its flaws and shortcomings. That concludes this review, I hope you liked the unconventional way I had presented this figure. Thanks for reading, until the next one, stay safe and healthy. Cheers!