REVIEW: TF Collaborative Tyrannocon Rex & Autobot JP93 (part 2)

Welcome to part 2 of our extended look at the new Transformers Collaborative effort, the catchily-titled Tyrannocon Rex vs Autobot JP93. Be sure to check out part 1 if you missed it, as whilst this line of toys may have started out as homages of classic movie cars and the like, now they’ve evolved and are running amok!

Last time we took a look at their respective alternate forms and determined that it was very much Tyrannocon Rex who was the star of the show so far, with that T Rex mode being one of the best such offerings in recent years! By Comparison, JP93 was nicely finished with some excellent paint but was sadly let down a bit in how the car mode tabbed together.

Moving on to transformation and perhaps unsurprisingly, you’re going to see a bit of a theme emerge here, as yet again it’s the dino’ that takes the spotlight in terms of which is more fun to handle. Whilst neither of these is what you’d call challenging, Tyrannocon is certainly the more complex of the two, and not to mention the most unexpected. JP93 meanwhile, is very paint-by-numbers in a lot of regards, with everything unfolding in almost classic Autobot car-to-robot style.

It leaves the larger offering as the main interest factor here by my estimation, although there’s still some fun to be had in how straightforward JP93 is at the same time. Still, the real test for me was that I found myself wanting to convert Tyrannocon back and forth a good few times over, both to make sure that I’d fully discovered all the little intricacies along the way but also because it’s just outright enjoyable to do so!

Even if you’re familiar with previous Beast Wars Megatron designs such as the original 1996 toy or the recent Masterpiece effort, this is a little different in several regards (being a retool of the Kingdom release). For one thing, it all happens ‘upside-down’, with the underneath of the T Rex ending up on top in the robot form (as evidenced by the lighter scale of the belly being evident on top of the shoulders). It’s not a complete revelation, by any means, but it does add a bit of a twist to what could have otherwise been a simple rehash of toys gone by.

Ultimately a lot of the main pieces all fall in familiar fashion, with the head and tail of the dino’ mode becoming arms and the legs turning into, well, legs! There’s also a highly nostalgic twist and turn manoeuvre found in the upper body section although again, it’s peppered with new engineering and an altogether overhauled technique for fashioning the hip section.

Of everything happening here, the backpack is probably the bit that stands out as most unique versus previous toys, although I would advise a little caution with how some of the panels are manipulated, lest you incur a bit of damage along the way. That said, my biggest cause for concern is actually in the tail, with the two panels that fold down on either side of the arm not wanting to move in a manner that felt at all comfortable, pushing into the plastic on the main body as they went. It seems to me as if these pieces just aren’t put together in a way that allows them to move precisely as they’re supposed to, so it’s a definite spot to take care of!

Overall though, it’s a fun conversion and, as I say, one I’ve found myself idly repeating over and over. It also gives you a very good-looking robot form indeed, as Tyrannocon Rex is fully unveiled in all her glory!

Of all the Collaborative efforts thus far, this one is the most unique to me. The reasons for that are tricky to pinpoint exactly, but I think it’s because whilst previous efforts have all cribbed pretty hard on their respective franchises for inspiration as to how their robot modes are going to appear, it feels like the designers could just let loose with this lass and give us something wholly original. After all, whereas Ecotron kind of looks like a robot Ghostbuster and X-Spanse is quite literally trussed up to appear as close to a 1990s’ X-Man as can be, there isn’t any precedent for what the Jurassic Park Rex would appear like if it were able to transform. It feels like they had complete free reign to do what they wanted with this figure and, I have to say, it works for me.

Yes, by and large, it’s Beast Wars Megatron with a different head, and I will say that if I had one major critique of the robot mode here, it’s that the retooling involved doesn’t go nearly deep enough to differentiate itself from the Kingdom version (especially considering the extent taken with previous Collab releases). However, that new noggin and a fresh lick of paint still manage to make Tyrannocon feel like her own gal in many regards, and I’m here for it.

The colour scheme is great, for starters. The red is mostly just bare plastic (albeit with some well-matched hips), but still, the palette works so well alongside the brown and tan of the skin, not to mention the black sections on the thighs and chest. That alone is enough to set this effort apart from most Megatron comparisons, and by my eye is entirely favourable to the turgid Kingdom attempt at T Wrecks (which utterly missed the mark in capturing the idiosyncratic shades of the Beast Machines original, in my opinion).

What is a shame is the lack of paint applications here though, letting the side down a smidge versus the lovingly finish scaly sections of the T Rex mode. The main body of red being unpainted is understandable, but to see no highlights at all on the vents or other moulded detailing feels like a bit of an oversight and firmly reminds you that this is, after all, a mainline release (even though Kingdom Megatron did boast a little more going on in this department).

Still, besides that there’s a lot to appreciate, not least of which is that new head design. Again, it’s very distinct but does a good job at feeling almost instinctually animalesque, as though Tyrannocon is a raging, savage brute, just ready to run on instinct more than anything! The visor section looks particularly good with that shiny red paint on the go.

Overall it’s a strong appearance, despite the slightly lacklustre chest section, and makes this toy one that I really took to admiring in hand. The colours on offer make her a bit of a natural in front of a camera lens too, in my opinion!

Fortunately, she also handles well, with articulation aplenty and good, strong joints, all of which adds up to allow any number of decent poses. The feet are also big enough to provide a good dose of stability, meaning that you should be able to get pretty creative with how you display this figure.

Additionally, I’m a big fan of the hands, with the tail section featuring a lot more manoeuvrability than I’m used to from a design originating as Beast Wars Megatron and the head giving the right amount of jaw-opening menace to make things interesting. It’s all pretty clever for a toy of this level and allows for a lot of fun, too.

I will say that it’s weird how the head almost can’t be posed the right way up very naturally, as you have the rotate the arm around at the shoulder or bicep to have the eyes of the T Rex positioned at the top. Even the 1996 Megatron toy has a rotating joint in the arm itself to allow this to happen a bit more gracefully, so I’m surprised to see such an obvious thing being absent here.

Overall though, Tyrannocon Rex ends up as one of my… no, she is my favourite TF Collab release thus far, bar none. It’s the most polished effort we’ve seen from the line and ends up entirely justifying the Jurassic Park logo on the front of the box, in my opinion.

But wait, there’s more, as we mustn’t forget about JP93! All joking aside, I did have a fair bit of fun transforming this lad up, as despite it being a very straightforward process, it’s all relatively slick at the same time, if maybe not quite as finessed as his nemesis.

The first thing I noted was that in addition to the poor fit of the vehicle mode, sadly my copy has a couple of joints that could do with being a notch tighter too, particularly in the arms and hips! I wouldn’t say they’re loose, necessarily, as they will hold a pose if you need them to, but no doubt there’s a bit of give too, and I even noted the left arm not quite being up to the task of holding up accompanying weapon at every angle. Shame.

Still, once again what JP93 lacks in stability and handling, he certainly makes up for with good looks, bringing all of that bright, colourful vehicle mode appearance through to the robot form with aplomb. He’s maybe a little out there in terms of traditional Transformers colour schemes, but honestly, he looks fantastic!

If anything, it’s a much more traditional (if we can call it that yet) TF Collaborative outing here, as the robot mode is made up of obvious nods towards the Jurassic Park franchise in much the same way that previous releases have done with their big-screen inspirations. He really does look like the Explorer from the film just got up and walked away!

The sight of the JP logo on the chest is extremely exciting too, and I like the way the written title ends up proudly displayed across the door wings too, giving a thematic twist to a classic bit of Transformers design. 

That said, I can’t help but feel that splitting the word, ‘Jurassic’ between the ‘r’ and the ‘a’ wasn’t necessarily the best choice. Sometimes these things can’t be avoided, true, but the result here is a little unfortunate, perhaps!

Moving on, the head sculpt is just another example of how the film is closely referenced, with the eyes and helmet all being a clear reference to the shades and hat sported by protagonist Alan Grant in the first adventure (and perhaps the third, although the less said). It’s overtly silly in every regard but if you’re on board for this release to begin with, I get the feeling you’re probably going to love it. Sadly my copy has a small but fairly noticeable paint chip on the nose here though.

In terms of articulation, I’d say that JP93 is pretty good too, with both arms and legs providing a fair bit of range. It’s strange to see that there’s no kind of waist swivel whatsoever though, and arguably the movement allowed for the head isn’t quite as dynamic as I might have liked (he can’t look up, for example, which is a small but palpable missing presence in a set where this is the smaller of two toys).

I do also think the legs are strange, with an unsightly joint at the knee (albeit one that allows an impressive amount of range) and some fairly non-existent feet. The ankle tilt on offer is good but then I’m not on board with how the clear plastic roof from the vehicle mode folds round to the underneath of the sole, if only because it’s just begging for paint chips or worse, outright breakage if you’re not a little careful with it.

Additionally, the clear plastic backpack on my copy simply refuses to stay tabbed in as it’s supposed to, so I’ve just resigned myself to leaving it propped up as best I can by this point. It’s not the end of the world but it is another minor annoyance on a toy that is starting to mount them up a little, by this point.

It’s a shame as honestly, there’s a lot about this figure that I really want to adore and, dare I say, so much love that’s clearly gone into it from a design perspective too. Whoever conceived this penned an elaborate love letter to the JP franchise, only to have the mailman tread on it before delivery. 

Still, as one half of the total package, JP93 doesn’t completely steer this set off course either, even if it is a shame that he can’t match the standard set by the prehistoric partner. It’s strange that this is an entirely new mould for this release, although assuming we maybe do see it used again at some stage in the future, here’s hoping it gets a more illustrious second run!

As a total package then, I think there remains a fair bit to like about the Jurassic Park Collab effort, even if there are some faults along the way. That sounds a bit like par for the course of this entire line to some degree, although I’d equally say that this is probably still my favourite release of them all so far. 

A large part of that is certainly down to Tyrannocon Rex, who ably steps up to be one of the nicest Generations toys I’ve handled in a good while, boasting a finish that easily outshines some of her contemporaries. Given the overall price tag here, it’s hard for me to say she entirely justifies that all by herself but if you’re a JP fan then you’re probably going to get your money’s worth all the same. 

Even JP93, for all his faults, still manages to provide a bit of interest and a fair dose of play value along the way, standing out as one of the more colourful mainline toys of recent memory and making a quirky new addition to your Autobot ranks, if nothing else!

And besides, who honestly thought we’d be sat here assessing a set like this to begin with, eh? Even when I dreamt of the idea of a Jurassic Park crossover release, I don’t believe I ever thought it would turn out quite as elaborate as this, so for that, I am thankful. It just goes to prove that, once again, life finds a way. 

WHAT’S HOT? Tyrannocon Rex is the standout release of this set, despite a couple of faults in the mix.

WHAT’S NOT? JP93 is not without charm, but falters heavily in terms of build quality and has some design quibbles to boot.

TTFN

About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

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