The 1959 Sleek Marx T-Rex is Still One of the Best
The Marx T-Rex
It is hard to remember back when I first came across this most wonderful Dinosaur toy. My first T-Rex toy(s) had been the SRG Tyrannosaurs from the American Museum of Natural History. They were inaccurate (three-fingered "hands") and breakable, but they served for several years.
(Both images taken from Time-Life magazine/Yale Peabody Hall mural)
and, of course, the Pot-Belly's arms were comparatively huge. These were not, in any way, the dynamic predators I wanted to be playing with.
It was probably c1960 when I first discovered the 'sleek' Marx T-Rex from their new (1959) Revised Mold Group. At the time I knew nothing about "mold groups" but I sure knew what I liked, and I LIKED this new Marx T-Rex. A lot.
The "skin" on this new figure (middle picture) was sculpted differently from the earlier predators. The stippling (to represent scales) effect being abandoned in favor of a smoother skin armored with scutes.
This "new" figure was/is beautifully sculpted with plenty of detail but, more importantly, beautiful lines and in an active and dynamic pose. It was, in effect, a dream come true.
It came about through a quirk of the casting process that Marx used to make their figures. The earlier, Pot Belly T-Rex simply cooled too slowly after being removed from the mold. This may have been only a few seconds per figure but those few seconds, multiplied thousands of times added up to a significant bottleneck in production. With the popularity of their Dinosaur toys line taking off MARX needed to create a new, 'faster cooling' T-Rex. Thus the "Sleek Marx T-Rex" was created.
Weighing in at one and three eighths (1&3/8) ounces (1.3725 oz, 38 gms) and measuring eight and a quarter inches (8.25 inches, 21cms) in length this is ~1/64 (given a length of 44 feet) scale. This Marx T-Rex fits in well with the other Marx Dinosaurs and is a rather awesome predator in comparison to its fellows.
As can be readily seen not only does this fifty plus year-old Marx T-Rex readily fit in scale-wise it matches up quite well to today's best Tyrannosaurs in terms of both detail and good looks. It falls behind only in terms of its monotone coloring.
I was motivated by this poster (provenance unknown)
to paint one of my yellow Marx T-Rex as a redheaded step-child.
"How long do we have to hang out in this stupid bush?"
our Marx T-Rex is ready to take center stage. Marx T-Rex, come on down!
Despite being sculpted in the now defunct upright position this figure projects a very contemporary, dynamic and active look. It is so well balanced, in fact, that it can easily balance on its two feet, without the support of the tail for balance.
The head is very good looking and I really like the somewhat artistically licensed "rounding off" or softening of the lines, which does not extend to the teeth. This is a unique take on the Tyrannosaurus head.
That great head blends in very well into the neck and body, creating a very dynamic look for the sculpt as the head seems to be caught in mid-swing to the left.
Those forelegs, or arms, are not highly detailed on the one two-fingered hand, but on the other hand they are realistic in size (their actual size was about six-feet long) and look quite natural on the Marx T-Rex figure. They definitely give the impression of being what paleontologists think they in fact were, largely vestigial and effectively useless.
The legs are also well sculpted and offer a real sense of motion, the front, right foot, is planted down flat while the trailing foot is rising up on
its toes ready to swing forward as the mighty predator stalks its prey....
the "guest of honor" getting "roasted." In a raw sort of way, Trachodon tar-tar, Yuck!
There are many theories about the Tyrannosaurus Rex and what kind of a hunter/predator/scavenger he may have been. For many years the prevailing thought had the Marx T-Rex pegged as a solitary hunter, like the modern day Tiger, working alone. There was/is a lot of discussion about how fast such a huge (45 feet, 7-8 tons) creature would/could have been. Could it have chased down prey on its own? (If it tripped at speed it would surely break a leg.) Was it an ambush hunter? (And how long would its prey have taken to figure that out?) Or merely a scavenger, stealing other, smaller, faster predators kills?
We have long imagined titanic battles between the ferocious Marx T-Rex and the mighty three-horned Triceratops...
... But the Triceratops was a herd animal, unlikely to be caught out on its own, and much like the Water Buffalo, a but too dangerous to take on in any circumstance.
So current theory (opens new window) put forth by Philip Currie is that the younger and fleeter juvenile Tyrannosaurs would hunt in a pack of as many as ten, driving prey towards an adult or adults who would readily render the panicked prey puree. For modern play the Marx T-Rex will perfectly play the role of said youthful Tyrannosaurs whilst larger Safari Ltd,Carnegie,Papo or Bullyland Tyrannosaurs take on the role of adults.
Whether coming or going the Marx T-Rex was, is and remains one of the best renderings of this mighty predator ever produced. Its looks and playability (if not its playfulness) keep it in the forefront of Dinosaur toys and even its smaller scale do not necessarily bar it from play with its larger latter-day contemporaries.
This IS a SLEEK Tyrannosaurus and well lives up to the sobriquet of "Sleek Marx T-Rex."
Like all the Marx Dinosaur toys this Marx T-Rex is a collectible and a collector's item. Given its very contemporary and still 'sleek' lines it plays well with other Dinosaur toys in addition to looking terrific up on the shelf if that is where you want it to abide. I would suggest that a standard sleek Marx T-Rex in good shape would be worth ten to fifteen dollars while one in an "odd" color (metallic green, silver, butterscotch, a dump figure, etc) would be worth considerably more. They remain findable on such venues as eBay, your grandmother's attic and estate sales. The normal damage is to the tail, the ends of which have found their way into generations of toddlers mouths (and between their teeth) but you should be able to find an intact figure without too much trouble. For a "collector" having at least one is a must (I have two dozen or so- but that's because I love them) as it is for anyone interested in the history of Dinosaur toys.
The earlier figures are in a flat plastic that may (or may not) have lead in them. The later, waxy-finished "Heritage Plastic" used after 1963 are not leaded but who knows what is in them. After all this was from before toys became considered as dangers to the children who play with them.
This Marx T-Rex is one of the nicest and most attractive Tyrannosaurs ever made. It remains quite contemporary in its design and quite 'play-with-able' even when compared to the wonderful new Dinosaur toys being produced by contemporary manufacturers such as Safari Ltd, Papo and Bullyland. It was, is and remains one of my all-time favorites.
Be Careful! These are breakable. They should always be wrapped carefully (this goes for all the Marx and other figures as well) for shipping or for transport.
Tragic Result of Bad Packing Technique- Receiving this otherwise pristine figure truly broke my heart. It was mailed in an envelope and not in a box. Other poor mailing techniques include just throwing figures into a box without buffering material. Don't let this happen to you.
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