Zhuchengtyrannus magnus (Dino Kingdom 2012 by Takara Tomy)

2.5 (2 votes)

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Here’s something unique! Although the animal was described in 2011, Tomy are the only company to have produced a Zhuchengtyrannus magnus figure (so far – I can’t imagine Collecta will leave it alone forever). The Dino Kingdom 2012 expo had a particular focus on Chinese dinosaurs, so it’s only fitting to see this huge tyrannosaur among the tie-in toy lineup.

It’s important to note that any reconstruction of Zhuchengtyrannus is going to be, by necessity, rather speculative – the animal is only known from parts of the jaws, namely a right maxilla and left dentary. However, as large tyrannosaurs were really quite uniform when it came to body shape (like the employees of unsettling American clothing retailers), it’s pretty safe to assume that Z. magnus would have looked much like its close relatives T. rex and Tarbosaurus bataar.

Within that remit, this figure does very well – with muscular legs, stout arms, a bulging neck and a chest like a great big keg, this is a creature that appears bulky, but very powerful with it. Overall, this is an excellently proportioned sculpt that clearly has a great deal of effort and care behind it. The animal is also portrayed as having very well-developed binocular vision, a trait present in the North American T. rex but not the Asian Tarbosaurus (or many other tyrannosaur species), which seems a bit iffy. On the other hand, since that part of its skull isn’t actually known, does it really matter? It’s certainly plausible enough. As are the feathers.

Yes, they decked out another one of their giant tyrant dinosaurs in a coat of fluffiness! Don’t they know the popular super-scientific rule advanced by countless internet trolls, namely that direct evidence must be found for feathers on every last theropod dinosaur that could plausibly have had them before they can be restored with such an integument? Tsk. Seriously, though, the inclusion of the feathery coat is most welcome, and although the avoidance of another green mohawk should be applauded, the animal’s plumage does seem a little sparse – limited only to the neck, back, tail and arms, although admittedly quite bushy. These feathers are a great start, but how about MORE feathers? We want MORE! (Oh, I’m such a fanboy.)

Feathers aside, while this figure should be praised for its intricate detailing and frequently highly meticulous paintwork (those eyes!), the colour scheme and choice of pose do seem a little uninspired. It seems that T. rex, with its energetic attacking posture and wild blue face mask, was intended to steal the other theropods’ thunder in this collection; by comparison, Z. magnus appears rather plodding and dreary. On the other hand, some may view this pose as fittingly statuesque and dignified, particularly as the mouth isn’t hanging wide open like the animal’s just been grossly offended by something.

Whatever your thoughts on the pose, this remains a wonderful little model – highly detailed, well researched and affordable. The only problem is finding one, although eBay’s a good bet, and it’s definitely worth your while. Happy hunting!

You can support the Dinosaur Toy Blog by making your dino-purchases through these links to Ebay and Amazon.

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Comments 7

  • I actually disagree with the rather sarcastic comments about feathers. Don’t forget, fossilised skin of Tyranosaurus has been found, with no feathers…
    Oliver Wings actually feel that the largest theropods would probably have secondarily lost their feathers, for the same reason that large mammals e.g. Elephants, rhinos, lose them: large body means its harder to lose heat. The largest feathered dinosaur we’ve found is about a ton and a half, which is acutally abozt the weight that mammals start losing their hair

    • In response, I’d say that the skin patches that have been found for large tyrannosaurs have been minimal, to say the least, and frequently from areas of the body that express scales in animals known to have been feathered. Furthermore, while feathers aren’t the same as hair, the Tomy toys have a greatly reduced feather covering anyway, which ties in with what you said about mass v the need for insulation.

    • Further to my other comment, I should probably point out that the remarks about feathers in the review were in direct response to comments left on the review I wrote directly before this one, which weren’t as reasonable and polite as yours.

  • Blimey. You know I’m always in support of any figure that includes feathers, but that skull just doesn’t look right o_O perhaps I am spoiled by all the lovely Kaiyodo figures. Interestingly, I bought the Sinoceratops figure from this set, and Clawmark Toys sent it to me with the Zhuchengtyrannus’ base.

  • Well, I can’t say this looks good. The color is gross, if that adjective can fit here, the feathers look odd rather than enhance the look, and the head is pretty hideous.

  • I agree to an extent with the points advanced by a number of people about a sparse coat of feathers resulting in a mangy look in art and toys alike. I don’t much care for the cut-out rug look myself. I think it depends on the approach and execution, though. A partial covering can work if done well.

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