Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama
Sideshow Collectibles

Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Tonight's guest review is another from Ryan Kelly, and he's looking at one of the Sideshow Dinosuaria dioramas - take it away, Ryan!

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved dinosaurs. From the time I was first able to talk I was talking about dinosaurs, and could spell “Tyrannosaurus Rex” without hesitation by the time I was five. Even after taking a course on dinosaurs in college about four years ago—still the hardest class I’ve ever taken in my life—I still love dinosaurs (though I can now tell someone the difference between theropods, sauropods, and ornithicians and still remember what a Parasaurolophus is).  My favorite dinosaur is and always has been Mr. T-Rex, followed closely by his biggest herbivore rival, the mighty Triceratops. As a little kid, I always had my T-Rex and Triceratops toys battling it out with each other, and as you can see, not much has changed (except things are a little more expensive this time around…just a little). Here we have the two most famous dinosaurs of all time fighting for survival in Sideshow’s Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Triceratops Diorama. Since these two guys both lived in the Cretaceous period—the last of the three prehistoric periods preceded by the Triassic and Jurassic—it is very likely that they clashed on more than one occasion. Personally, I’ve always wondered who was usually the victor, since the T-Rex has the huge mouth and jaws, sharp teeth, and an obvious height advantage, while the Triceratops has those huge horns and—like all ceratopsians—a large frill that serves as protective armor (and most likely a good battering ram).
Michael Myers Halloween II action figure by Mezco

Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles

As is usually the case with Sideshow, there’s a regular and an exclusive version of this diorama, with the regular being limited to 500 pieces and the exclusive to a mere 200. The regular is out of stock at Sideshow, but the exclusive is currently available on second chance and is gift card eligible. The exclusive, which I’m reviewing here, is a whopping $260, and comes with a Triceratops skull—a great display piece in its own right—which I’ll be reviewing in its own category. The regular is ten bucks less at $250. This is definitely the most expensive collectible I’ve ever bought and the only statue, since I typically don’t care for statues (they’re too freakin’ expensive and you can’t pose them or anything…what’s the point??). But seeing my two favorite dinos going at it mid-battle in one of the most classic prehistoric confrontations of all time was more than I could resist.

Packaging ***
At 19 ” tall and 14 ” wide and 10 ” deep, this is one huge box. The Diorama itself is only about 12” tall, but the box includes two large blocks of Styrofoam to hold it in place and offer protection, with the two blocks coming together (and held by tape going all the way around) and the diorama sandwiched in-between.  The box is well-decorated on the outside, showing a large picture of the diorama on the front and giving the story behind it (the scenario in which the two dinosaurs meet up and have their battle) on the back. On the sides, we get close-up shots of the two dinos, with T-Rex on the left and Triceratops on the right.

It opens and closes easily on top, and I had no difficulty whatsoever in removing the diorama. However, there’s a lot of wasted space in my opinion, though Sideshow took great measures to make sure that the statue was very well-protected during shipping. The box looks really cool, but might just be a bit too big, and they could definitely have done more with all the extra space.

Sculpting- ****
Wow. This thing looks real up close, and I especially like the head sculpt on the T-Rex. If I had a criticism, it would be that the T-Rex is too small compared to the Triceratops, but evidently, that’s the way Sideshow intended it. According to Sideshow’s backstory, this is supposed to be a young, not-fully-grown Tyrannosaurus taking on a large older bull Triceratops. While minding his own business grazing in the shade to escape the hot sun, the Triceratops was unknowingly being watched by a hungry and vicious predator. T-Rex, not being able to find a McDonald’s nearby, decided to have a medium-rare Triceratops sandwich. Yeah he’s old, so the meat would be tough, but it would have to do. He springs forward, attacking the Triceratops from behind, but the Triceratops immediately snaps into action and leaps around, gaining his balance and escaping the T-Rex’s fatal grip. Turning on him, he charges and plunges a horn into T-Rex’s belly. It has now become a rough day for both parties involved. Assuming Mr. T-Rex survives this discouraging ordeal, he will probably become a little more selective with his prey in the future, settling for a young  duckbill (or Taco Bell) whenever possible.

This scenario is beautifully captured with this sculpt. The determination and old age of the Triceratops and the pain and intense anger of T-Rex are spot-on. Both have their mouths open and tongues exposed therein, and it all looks crazy real. From the close-up shots of T-Rex, you can see that he looks really alive (and really ticked off). Considering that we’re looking at a large Triceratops and small T-Rex, I suppose the proportions are about right.  The heads are the right sizes, and the tails look about the right length (though it’s been a while since I’ve seen a Triceratops or a T-Rex in person).  The rock cliff they’re standing on looks great and well-sculpted as well, though I wish they had added more rock for the T-Rex’s left foot to rest on, because as it is, all the weight of the two dinosaurs together rests on the Triceratops’ left front leg which, by a long thin peg at the bottom of the foot, inserts into a hole in the rock just big enough for the foot (with a small hole inside it for the peg to fit in). This is some heavy polystone, and having that much weight resting on one foot inside a small hole makes it a little wobbly, but it works.

From the rocks and tree branch to the fierce gaze in the T-Rex’s eyes, all this looks very real, and not a single skin wrinkle or any other slight detail that I can see is left out. Sculpting is obviously the most important factor in a statue, and Sideshow has really nailed it.

Paint- ***1/2
The paint isn’t anything spectacular, but it’s still pretty good nonetheless, and does plenty to support the awesome sculpt. The skin color on both looks realistic and well-distributed from the light to dark colors, and the inside of both mouths look awesome too.  There’s only one real problem with this paint job, and though it’s not a major one, it needs to be addressed. The blood, or at least some of it, does not look all that realistic. I love the blood on T-Rex’s teeth, but they overdid it. His teeth are completely red, soaked in blood, and the Triceratops simply isn’t torn up enough for ALL the Tyrannosaurus’s teeth to be that red. There should have been some whiteness in the teeth. Granted, the tips are lighter and show that there is some underlying whiteness underneath the blood on the teeth, which is really cool, but they should have put different amounts of blood on different teeth, maybe even leaving some completely white.

Elsewhere, the blood around the penetrating horn in the T-Rex’s belly looks pretty fake, like something from a Rob Zombie horror movie.  The blood on the tip of the horn looks good, but on the places where the horn is stabbing underneath the skin, it’s just too thick, looking more like red paint than blood. Of course it is red paint, but we’re not supposed to be reminded of that.  By contrast, the blood around the T-Rex’s mouth is too light and faint, giving it a look of being too thin. The blood around Triceratops’s mouth looks that way as well—and that’s the other problem. Why is there blood around the Triceratops’s mouth? It doesn’t look like he took a bite out of T-Rex, since T-Rex doesn’t have any blood or gash on him to match (and as Triceratops is a herbivore without sharp teeth, how could he?). If the blood is supposed to be from T-Rex’s wound from the horn, it must be quite a good traveler, since it had to have gone from the wound at the Triceratops’ left horn to the bottom right corner of his mouth. The blood from Triceratops’s wounds looks pretty good, but could be better.

These are minor issues for me, however, and though I waffled a bit on this score between three and a half and three stars, the former won out since the paint on everything else besides the blood is freakin’ perfect, and the blood itself isn’t bad enough to pull it down much.  Despite the smallness of it, the paint job on Tyrannosaurus’s eyes is particularly spectacular, really giving him a more lifelike appearance and enhancing the sculpting of them tremendously. The eyes are what really show us that he’s in pain and not all happy, and combined with the huge open mouth and blood on the teeth, really give him a look of beautiful ferocity.

Accessories - Bupkis
You could say that the exclusive comes with an accessory—the Triceratops skull—but it’s important enough that I’m giving it its own category in the following section.

Triceratops Skull Display (exclusive only)- ***
The skull is about the size of a large apple and looks awesome. This places the exclusive a cut above the regular, since you will pay the same price for both. The sculpt is fantastic on both the skull and the rock stand—which matches that of the diorama—and the paint is great also. I could find nothing wrong with either. It would be better if the skull could turn on the stand and look different directions or even detach, but alas, it’s either glued or sculpted on. But considering that you’re only paying $10 extra for this, it’s great to have, and is by far one of the best Sideshow exclusive items I’ve seen yet.

Value - Exclusive **; Regular *1/2
At $260 at Sideshow (plus $20 for shipping I might add), this is INCREDIBLY expensive, but the addition of the Triceratops skull pushes the exclusive a little closer to an average value in my opinion, cheapskate though I may be. The skull is good enough to be worth anywhere from $20-$30 extra in my opinion, and thus at only $10 extra is a pretty decent value.

Still, both versions are badly overpriced. Yeah it’s a well-done diorama, but not enough to make you wanna spend almost $300. I actually cheated my way out of the shipping cost by getting a $25 Sideshow gift card on ebay for a mere $1.75. This knocked out the shipping price completely and took an extra $5 off the regular price, so after all was said and done, I only paid $255 (I use the word “only” in a very loose manner), making it almost an average value for me, being the exclusive. 
Although I think this statue is too small and lacks the paint job to justify the price tag, I don’t regret getting it one bit. Ebay aint really an option on this one, at least not right now. Ebay sellers usually charge the same amount as Sideshow for this piece, or more. The exclusive, when there is one on ebay, especially goes for a lot more than Sideshow’s price, and that’s why I suggest getting it now at Sideshow if you’re going to, because once they’re gone, secondary market value will probably continue to be a lot more. There are only 200 of the exclusive in existence after all, so I wouldn’t wait too long.

Fun Factor - ***
Although it’s a statue and not a toy by any stretch if the imagination, kids—and most adults—will undoubtedly be wowed by this. Two blood-covered dinosaurs going at it with teeth, horns, and all—what’s not to love? Give a kid Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops toys, and they’ll have them fighting each other within milliseconds; the beauty here is that it’s been done for you, since they’re fighting each other already.  But keep in mind that this is NOT for kids, as made obvious by the price. Don’t let any unsupervised kids anywhere near this thing. My girlfriend referred to this as a “stupid toy,” and I wanted to throw something at her. If I ever have kids, they will only see this from a safe distance, if at all. Don’t mess with daddy’s toys.

Things to Watch Out For -
Use caution when placing Triceratops’ foot (with the peg) into the hole in the rock; it has to be lined up perfectly in order to slide down into it. It’s kind of an awkward process since the dinosaurs are attached together in one piece and the weight of them together is pretty heavy and unevenly distributed, making it difficult to make the foot line up perfectly with the hole. Once it’s lined up, it should drop straight in. Be careful if you try to pick up the whole thing once it’s put together; lift it up at the bottom because the foot comes out again pretty easily and is kind of a pain to get back in. Don’t try to force anything when inserting it because the peg is long and thin and could easily break.

Overall - Exclusive ***1/2; Regular ***
Honestly, my pictures don’t do it much justice. This is really an awesome piece, and even though it cost over twice as much as my old pickup, I’m glad I got it. I would have gotten it long ago if I had the cash. Like I said, the Triceratops skull display puts the exclusive a slight cut above the regular, since you don’t pay much extra for it. Had this diorama been closer to $200 rather than $250/$260, it would be a definite four star. Everything about it is good—very good—but it simply doesn’t quite make the perfect score due to the jacked-up price. For that kind of money, I would have expected something larger and with a slightly better paint job on the blood spots. However, if you have the extra cash to spend and are willing to cough it up, you won’t feel too bad getting the exclusive, as you are getting  not one but two great display pieces to add to your collection. I would highly recommend this diorama for any collector who is a dinosaur enthusiast. Or a millionaire.

Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles

Dinosauria: T-Rex vs Triceratops Diorama statue by Sideshow Collectibles

This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Ryan Kelly.

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