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Feathered Tyrannosaurus Rex

Safari Ltd.
by yo go re

Science marches on!

Tyrannosaurus rex, the so-called "king of the tyrant lizards," is probably the most famous dinosaur of all time. At up to 40' long, it remains one of the largest known meat-eating dinosaurs. However, recent discoveries of feathered dinosaurs are changing our understanding of the life appearance of this popular species.

And then suddenly, no. Between the time Safari Ltd. offered us this toy to review for free and the time we got it, a report came out saying that fossilized skin impressions had been found, and they were every bit as scaly as pop culture had always led us to believe (the idea is that dinosaur feathers are like mammal fur: little ones have lots, big ones are bald, which is why you'll find more hairs on a mouse than on an elephant).

Still, there aren't a ton of toys yet of feathery dinosaurs, and this beast is going full-on "pillow stuffing"! The most detailed feathers are the ones on the back of its head, which are short, spiky and ruffled. Beginning at the shoulders and continuing all the way down to the tip of the tail, the feathers take on a look that seems more like fur, as though he were wearing a wooly mammoth coat - this is possibly just a question of expedience (if the artist had chosen to do individual feathers on the entire body, they'd still be working on the sculpt today), but is it really so wrong? Consider the ostrich or the emu: do they not also look "furry" at first glance? The bits of exposed skin on Rexxy's face, feet, and belly have the same pebbly texture we're used to as the T rex norm.

The dino is posed in a modern style, with the body horizontal and the tail held aloft, rather than an old-fashioned upright/dragging pose. It's twisting slightly to the left, with the right foot trailing behind just a bit. There's no articulation, of course, but it's a nice pose. The dino is more than 12" long and 5½" tall. It's also incredibly heavy, which is a problem: the weight is enough to warp the plastic over time, so eventually he'll tip over and fall onto his face. It's not difficult to heat and re-shape the legs, though.

The face shows evidence of a hard life, so why would you want to make him fall over on his nose any more than necessary? As mentioned, the face is bare, so it definitely still looks like the T. Rex you've known since kindergarten: long, rounded snout, itty bitty eyes under large brow ridges, a narrow lower jaw filled with teeth, everything you think of when you think "Tyrannosaurus rex." There are three lines of red bumps on top of his nose, but what really catches the eye are the various scars that cover the nose, suggesting that not all of T. rex's prey went down quickly and without a fight.

The only other (non-Grimlock) T. rex I own is Marvel's Devil Dinosaur, and Feathers O'Houlihan here could give him a run for his money, color-wise. The skin is tannish, which makes sense for what is essentially a giant bird, but the feathers fade from nearly black to red to orange and finally to white on the underbelly. It's quite the festive fall colorscheme! And considering how many dinosaur toys tend to stick to the green/brown portion of the spectrum, this one absolutely stands out from the crowd!

Safari Ltd. may have been trumped by recent discoveries, but ultimately, that doesn't matter. Scientists found evidence that one T. rex that didn't have feathers - who's to say if that one was the norm or an abberation? Most Rexes may have lived in swamps or open floodplains, but maybe this one's ancestors migrated north in search of unclaimed territory, and thus needed to adapt to survive. Or heck, maybe they molted in the summer and grew new feathers in time for winter. All that really matters is that the Feathered Tyrannosaurus Rex makes for an awesome-looking toy.

-- 06/24/17

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