Well here’s a weird one. Fans of prehistoric TV and movies might remember the BBC show “Primeval” but at this point it’s pretty niche. Even more niche is that for a brief while a few of the characters (human and animal) were made as toys! They were pretty obscure even in the initial run, most likely released only in the UK or maybe parts of Europe. Anyway, the series focused on ‘anomalies’ where portals between time periods brought prehistoric organisms to our time–fortunately for the all British cast, they seemed to only show up in Britain regardless of their actual paleogeography (yes a Canadian season also exists. I haven’t sat through it though). I have my opinions…but I did enjoy the prehistoric life when it appeared (frequently monsterfied or oversized, but whatever). Most creatures were treated as threats, but one small critter was introduced as almost pet-like. This was the show’s take on Coelurosauravus, nicknamed “Rex” because of course it was.
The figures were made by a company called Character Options, who specialize in collectible figures. The figures were released in 2007-2009, so the first two (of five) seasons; this Rex figure reflects that with its rounder, sail-like wings; later seasons saw the character model change to more bat-like wings. There weren’t a lot of sets or animals made (why did they skip the gorgonopsid from the first episode? That’s all I truly wanted) but they pack a lot of detail nonetheless. The figures were packaged as sets, with a human character and some animal or animals, depending on the creature size. The Coelurosauravus was bundled with a parasitic worm and an evil dodo as well as the character Abby (manic pixie dream girl by way of reptile keeper…) I didn’t get Abby though; most likely I traded to get the animal figures from this and another package with a UK friend, but it’s been so long who knows what went down now.
It is difficult to say much about the figure–it is quite small and wouldn’t scale with many figures from the same geologic time. The figure is quite show accurate, with bright green colours and the big almost butterfly-like wings. It has a fairly knowing look to the face, which makes sense since it played a role as a ‘character’ in the show (as opposed to most of the smash and attack animals…even dodos became dangerous. It was a weird show). There are also the liberties of a TV show; the wings should be extensions of the ribs, not separate appendages (making it a dragon I suppose…) and the crest is speculative. Finer details like the digits and face are a little less distinct, but that’s a function of size. It is at least kind of neat to have a weird weigeltisaur reptile in the collection (I have a couple because of course I do).
Obviously, the line of figures is very out of production and was kind of obscure even when it was in production. And the line didn’t even continue for the full run of the show. For fans of the show, these were (are) must haves; some of the larger dinos and such are more basic, but there were a few more obscure creatures (see the Anurognathus above, for example!) If someone is a fan of really strange animals, these are definitely worth trying to find. If someone is a fan of prehistoric creatures in mass media, they’d also be an interesting addition. But given the age, and the dedicated fans…I really don’t know how easily they could be found. Or what they would cost.
The good news is that Rex was clearly meant to be a breakout character, so there actually were other models/figures. I vaguely remember some kind of ‘flying’ drone-like (before toy drones) model. And maybe a plush? It seems like there would have been a plush. So those might be out there too!?