zondag 18 december 2016

Jurassic Park 2009: Deluxe Electronic Tyrannosaurus Rex

Year of release: 2009

-Forest Hunter General
-Missile Launcher (with missile)
-Off-Road Vehicle cut-out (Note: since this last “accessory” is actually a part of the figure's box, it will not be reviewed here.)

Description: this Tyrannosaurus figure, though heavily retooled, is still the largest of all JP dinosaur toys ever produced. It measures a good 70 centimetres in length and about 20 centimetres tall. This Rex stands in an active pose, with its left leg moved forward and its right leg posed backward, as if walking. Its head is quite large, almost as big as its belly. It can swallow human and smaller dinosaur figures whole, but they have to be retrieved via the same way they came in. The head, neck and tail are made of a more flexible material than the rest of the figure, with the eyes being small transparent orbs with a black spot (the pupil) painted on them. The T-Rex features poseable arms, legs and even feet (which sport huge toes and claws, including the smaller ones on the side of the lower legs). On its belly, the T-Rex carries a visible speaker unit and battery cover, as well as a little switch, with 'On', 'Off' and 'Try me' printed next to it. The actual sounds are activated by pushing the little button on its back, above the upper legs. In the case of the latter option, the figure only makes noises when the button is pushed, while when in 'On' mode the figure also produces sounds at random. Overall, this figure produces at least thirteen different sounds, including stomping sounds which can be produced by bashing the feet on any surface (this also works when the figure is still boxed).
This large T-Rex features a basic three-way paint job. Colours on the softer parts of the figure's body are more vivid because of the different materials used. The underside (most of the lower jaw, throat, belly and most of the lower part of the tail) are painted greyish beige. The limbs, flanks and middle part of the tail are coloured grey. The top parts of the body (most of the head, neck, back and upper part of the tail) are painted orange. Black lines run over the orange colouring, while additional black colouration is found on the head on the snout, in a a big cluster around the eyes, with a line running out of this part around the chin and in a wave pattern over the lower jaw. Diffused black stripes and spots adorn the flanks, knees and tail, while black bands are found around the lower arms and end of the tail, and a row of black spots runs over each toe. On the upper jaw near the snout the creature sports small triangular blue shapes, two on each side of the face, with black lines around these. The claws on both fingers and toes are painted black. The Rex has beige teeth (some of them broken off or worn out) and the inside of its mouth is pink, with the tongue coloured a darker shade of pink.
The Forest Hunter General wears a dark grey jacket adorned with lighter grey spots and shapes and revealing a grey shirt underneath, as well as silver tags around his neck. He also sports a black utility belt, dark grey trousers and black boots. His pants and shirt sport some slight tears, like he’s had a run-in with an unpleasant dinosaur. He has brown hair and eye brows, black eyes and a rather grim look on his face. He stands in a very odd pose, left leg stretched forwards and right leg braced backwards, left arm reaching up and right arm pointing down, as if he's startled by some prehistoric vermin in front of him. He comes with a missile launcher, which is coloured in a slightly metallic dark grey paint job, with a dark pink missile sticking out of it on both ends. Pushing the end of the missile sort of launches it, though it doesn’t work very well.

Analysis: it took a while, but Hasbro finally did something else than just repaint figure after figure for this toy line, though only once. In this case, they dug up an old T-Rex sculpt, the biggest and baddest around, and revamped it to become the new top predator figure. With great results, since this is by far the most impressive, awe-inspiring and daring figure Hasbro has produced since the JP III line!
Even though this Deluxe Tyrannosaurus uses the specifications of the classic and much beloved Bull T-Rex figure from the TLWS1 toy line, it's a totally different animal altogether. It can still swallow figures, but these can only go a short distance instead of making it all the way to the belly and being retrieved via a big slit in its belly (which also means this new T-Rex incarnation doesn't have a big hole there). That's probably why this Rex doesn't come with a survival pod, since human figures won't be retrieved and thus won't survive being gulped down by the latest Tyrant Lizard King. The figure's poseability has been maximized. This time it can move more than just the arms. The legs and even the feet (which is wholly new for JP toys' standards) are also poseable, increasing playability.
The new paint job is okay, but not the figure's most appealing feature: the grey, beige and black feels fine, the orange less so. It seems too colourful and cheerful on a massive predator like this, though it does feel in place in the already very brightly coloured JP 2009 line. It does also hint at the dismally ugly orange paint job from the Chaos Effect Omega T-Rex predecessor though. However, overall it's an acceptable paint job, and also fairly detailed. All the claws have been taken care off, the tongue is coloured differently from the rest of the mouth, and there's various lines, spots and stripes to give the animal more character. The triangular blue shapes on the upper jaw are a nice little touch for example. The Rex also retains its glassy retina, something only used three times now in JP toys lore.
The sound system of this T-Rex has been expanded a lot compared to the previous Rexes. Though the sounds are not as loud as before, there's an awful lot of them instead of only two or three. At least thirteen different noises can be heard, varying from movie accurate roars to snarls, growls, chomping and stomping sounds. Some of these may be familiar, as they were used for the Bull T-Rex and the JP III T-Rex figures. The difference between a 'Try me' and an 'On' option is a nice touch, but makes little difference overall.
This Deluxe Tyrannosaurus comes with a Forest Hunter General figure and its missile launcher. The human figure is completely dwarfed by the huge T-Rex, and is only useful as prey for this berserker beast. It fits in its mouth and throat easily. Basically Hasbro provided the Rex with its own snack. Unfortunately the General is not painted differently from its regular appearance in this toy line, which makes it less original. The weapon is still totally lame and does absolutely no damage to the hulking carnivore.
Overall, this is one of Hasbro's finest releases and certainly the main attraction of JP 2009. It's not surprising many dinosaur collectors totally ignored the rest of the line and only got themselves its crowning achievement. It should come as no surprise if this becomes a much desired and valuable toy over the next decade, as has been the faith of most big JP figures before. It sincerely deserves such a future.
Unless Hasbro starts to milk this figure to no end as well...

Repaint: yes, more or less. Though at first glance this figure appears a mere repaint of the TLWS1 Bull T-Rex, only its bare shape and size have survived the heavy retooling this sculpt underwent for this toy line. The torso and limbs are now composed of hard plastic, while the head, neck and tail are comprised of softer material than before. The original three Bull Rex sounds are still there, but now backed up by new roars and growls, as well as the JP III T-Rex figures' noises. Overall, this figure might as well be a totally new sculpt, even though it doesn't appear to be. The Forest Hunter General appeared in the exact same paint job in his own set in this toy line, but was originally a JP III figure, which by itself was already repainted for JPD2. The missile launcher originally came with the JP III Military Diver figure, appeared again with that figure repainted in JPD2 and has also been featured with the Diver of this toy line.

Overall rating: 8/10. Probably the best addition to the world of JP toys since the better JP III sculpts were first released in 2001. Though the paint job is not perfect, the many new features, much improved poseability and overall size make for a formidable dinosaur toy. The General and his weapon (as well as the cut-out vehicle) are nice little additions but are hardly noteworthy compared to the main attraction here, though they add some additional fun. This set wasn't rare on release, but that swiftly changed. Because it's such a good and huge toy, it was quite sought after and has by now become almost as valuable as the original TLW Bull T-Rex it was based on. Don't expect this one to be an easy find, despite it not being a very old toy.

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