Following yesterday’s look at the queen of the Jurassic Park toyline, here we present the pretender to the throne. This ‘young’ Tyrannosaurus rex (also known by the cutesy if nonsensical name of ‘Junior’) is about half the size of its big red sister, but is no less mean-looking for its diminutive stature. In fact, so enormous are its sharp plastic teeth that it can’t even completely close its mouth, thus ensuring that its pointy pearly whites are on permanent show. It’s an adorable cute-looking carnivore and no mistake.
Of course there was no juvenile T. rex in the film, although one did feature in Crichton’s source novel. However, it made a nice addition to pad out the original toy line and still dwarfed the puny humans. In terms of anatomical accuracy, forget it – contrary to what we now know about young tyrannosaurs, this is just a scaled-down version of the adult with a proportionately larger head. However, it’s still unmistakably Jurassic Park in spite of having been invented by Kenner rather than Stan Winston Studio, with its own baby-faced rendition of the Jurassic Park T. rex’s head.
In terms of small details it’s rather nice, and is up there with the superior, less toy-like Kenner Jurassic Park sculpts. The white underside features larger, almost crocodilian scales and the skin is ‘stretched’ where the legs meet the body, while the head is just as finely detailed as with the adult – the tongue, jaw adductor muscles, nostrils etc. are all lovingly sculpted. Although posed quite statically in a neutral, standing position, this toy displays very nicely as it stands bipedally with its tail suspended in a gentle curve in the air. It’s also perfect for kids to play with, even though its ‘action feature’ (squeezing its neck to open its jaws) is completely rubbish.
Although lacking the ‘big spectacular’ factor that its larger JP relatives possess in spades, this little guy nevertheless oozes charm (I’m on great cliché form today). It would be repainted a few times and re-released in later JP toy lines, but I’d argue that none of the latter paint jobs match up to this brown-and-white stripey version. Once again, this is a must-buy toy for Jurassic Park fans, and I’m sure that dinosaur enthusiasts more generally will still get a kick out of it. Palaeontologists and people with Degrees in Real Science, however, will probably sit gibbering over how the movies and their associated merchandise foster scientific illiteracy and inaccurate visions of prehistoric animals until they tear it limb from limb/their own hair out.* It’s another one, like the Papo-saurs, for the geeks rather than the nerds.
You can pick up this figure on eBay on a fairly regular basis, although oddly it can be more difficult to find than the Red Rex. I’d say that it’s well worth getting if you’re a collector of fine dinosaur toys, as this rubbery fellow is a great example of one. For a dinosaur toy from 1993 it’s aged pretty well, and holds up nicely against today’s more popularist sculpts (Papo and CollectA Deluxe, I’m looking at you).
P.S. – I didn’t ‘forget’ to mention the ‘Dino Damage’ – I deliberately left it out, ‘cos it’s rubbish. But if you insist…yes, a small piece of flesh can be taken out of the side of the toy, revealing a silly-looking circular wound and exposing muscle and a little bone. Hooray. If you are a child you will probably lose the piece of flesh within a month of owning the toy, thus severely damaging the toy’s resale value. How thoughtless of you.
*I’m sympathetic guys, really. You put all that effort in to educating the unwashed masses and they still confuse Dilophosaurus with Chlamydosaurus…