Lego's Jurassic Park: T. Rex Rampage is a Beautiful Beast

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Lego's Jurassic Park: T. Rex Rampage is a Beautiful Beast

Lego's Jurassic World sets have been around for a while, but so far they've always been aimed at kids. Despite some of them being on the expensive side, the models have always been fairly simple and they've revolved around the piddly plastic dinosaurs. I'm not knocking them; there's nothing wrong with those piddly plastic dinosaurs. Or at least there wasn't, until I feasted my eyes on Lego's latest Jurassic World set: the T. Rex Rampage. It's a 3,120 piece beast comprising of a brick-built dinosaur and a huge replica of the iconic Jurassic Park gates.

This ain't no kid's playset, and it's absolutely brilliant.

The Build

Jurassic Park: T. Rex Rampage is one of the most engaging builds I've done in a while. The instruction book comes in two parts; one for the dino, and another for the gates. That means it's the perfect set for either building with someone else, or doing over two building sessions. Both parts took roughly four hours each to build, so you're looking at around eight hours for the entire set.

The Jurassic Park gates have a fair bit of repetition in them as a result of their symmetry, but it never feels tedious. There are very few parts in the instruction books where you're told to build multiple of the same thing – typically, you'll work on one side of the gate first before moving over to the other. And thanks to each side's slightly different structures on the back (there's a series of small rooms, which we'll get to soon) it never feels like you're repeating exactly the same thing.

The gates themselves are one of the last things to go in, and putting them in initially left me wondering "how on earth are these going to hang properly?". But then you'll build a simple but clever mechanism, which not only holds the doors perfectly in place but allows them to open and close with the turn of a cog. As always, Lego has gone above and beyond with tiny technical details that are simple but very effective.

There are a few of those dastardly stickers involved in the set, but thankfully only a few. Strangely, the computer screens  in one of the gate's small rooms are stickers. Usually these are printed, but I suppose these ones are specific to Jurassic Park – you can see the shape of Isla Nublar in one of them, for instance. The "Jurassic Park" signage is also a sticker, which is pretty disappointing; as it's something of a feature point of the set it would have been nice to see this bit printed. But as long as you apply the stickers carefully it doesn't matter too much once it's on there.

But of course, the T. Rex itself is the star of the set here.  It's absolutely solid, and practically each limb makes up a separate bag (his tail alone is split over two sets of numbered bags!). For the most part, the instructions are pretty clear, but thanks to using a whole lot of brown bricks in different shades, it's sometimes difficult to ascertain what colour you should be using. It's not a massive problem though and it's usually fairly easy to figure out if you've picked the right colour or not.

It's also good to see that the Lego designers had a bit of a sense of humour when designing the T. Rex build: early on, a random frog goes into the build. Why? Absolutely no reason other than it's inside the T. Rex's belly. Nom.

Edit: as clever commenter THF_Dave pointed out, the frog may not be the T. Rex's last meal; instead, it's more likely to be a nod to the fact that, in the Jurassic Park film, InGen used frog DNA to fill in the gaps from what they'd recovered from dinosaur fossils. In which case, those Lego designers are an even cleverer bunch than I first realised.

Thanks to the T. Rex being somewhat poseable, his arms and legs just clip onto his body. They felt a little insecure at first, but once the model was completely finished, he stands up very well. I wouldn't recommend messing around with them too much, though, and due to the T. Rex's weight, you are somewhat limited in poses if you don't want him to fall over.

The Set

Without a doubt, Jurassic Park: T. Rex Rampage is one of the most impressive sets to look at and display. It's absolutely massive, so to do it justice you're going to want to make sure you've got enough space to display it properly. The gates are 42cm high and 48cm wide, and the T. Rex is at least 22cm high (depends how you pose it) and a massive 69cm long. For now, mine's just sat on my dining room table until I figure out where to give it pride of place. It really is the type of set you want to show off, and even your non-Lego-enjoying friends will be impressed by this.

Here's a level two chonk cat at the side of the set for a size comparison:

It's a giant dinosaur, so naturally it's going to appeal to kids, but it isn't really designed to be a playset. That said, the T. Rex is sturdy enough that it can withstand being picked up (mostly) without fear of Lego pieces falling off. It's pretty heavy though, so it's not the most suitable plaything for small hands.

Thanks to the series of small rooms in the gates, it might look like it's meant to be a playset, but more than anything they're there to give a nod back to scenes from Jurassic Park – like John Hammond's dining room, and Ray Arnold's control room. If you're happy letting kids run wild playing with a £220 set, though, knock yourself out.

The Minifigures

The T. Rex Rampage isn't an Ultimate Collector's set, but it comes with an information plaque and minifig stand like a UCS. The set comes with six minifigures, so it makes for a great way to display them – although you can adorn the gates with minifigs if you'd rather make a diorama. The minifigs included are John Hammond, Ian Malcolm, Ellie Sattler, Alan Grant, Ray Arnold and Dennis Nedry. There's also a tiny baby dinosaur, who looks hilariously out of proportion at the side of the giant T. Rex.

Four of the six minifigs have double faces, allowing you to choose between happy/neutral expressions and oh-shit-there's-a-giant-dinosaur-on-the-loose expressions. Alan Grant and John Hammond are the only two minifigs that have just the one face – they both wear hats, which wouldn't fully obscure the backs of their heads.

Each minifigure packs in a lot of detail, with most of them having printing on their backs and their legs. Some of them we've seen before – Alan Grant's minifig has made previous appearances, and little has changed about him. We've seen Ian Malcolm minifigures before, too, but this one is by far the best – he's got his shirt open, revealing his hairy Lego chest, and he has ripped detailing on his legs. The beads of sweat dripping down his face and his chest is just the cherry on top.

My favourite, though, is probably Dennis Nedry, who hasn't appeared in a set before. He's wearing a yellow raincoat emblazoned with the Jurassic Park logo, and his reverse face has a blue splatter on it – a nod to him getting dilophosaurus venom on him in the film. The detail that's gone into each of them is just delightful.


Okay, £220 is a lot of money to spend on a Lego set, and it's up there among the most expensive sets. But if you do have the money to spare, the T. Rex Rampage is genuinely one of the best sets Lego has released – at least it is if you're a fan of Jurassic Park, or dinosaurs in general.

It's iconic and eye-catching. The gates themselves are well made and great to look at, but it's the dinosaur model that really steals the show. The level of detail that has gone into it is insane, and once you've finished it it's almost hard to believe that it was just a pile of tiny plastic bricks a few hours before. An enjoyable build and an absolutely phenomenal display piece, Jurassic Park: T. Rex Rampage is well worth its asking price.

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