Keynes the Lythronax is the seventieth model of the “Prehistoric Animal Model Series”. The peculiarity of his release is that he and four other tyrannosaurid models were released closely together, monopolizing the novelties of this company for a period.
The packaging is the usual one for this line, white cardboard box, plastic blister, booklet, poster and transparent base. But I can happily report that Keines stands perfectly on its own without the need for any support. The model is twenty-six centimeters long and this has made several collectors turn up their noses a bit. In fact, the length currently estimated for the only Lythronax specimen found is around seven meters and Keynes would therefore be on a 1:27 scale and not the usual 1:35. One could try to reconcile the measurements thanks to the fact that the holotype appears to be a subadult and therefore could have grown a little further, so much so that some estimates report nine meters as the maximum length for this dinosaur.
Lythronax argestes, whose name could be translated as “blood king of the south west” is currently the oldest member of the Tyrannosaurinae subfamily, which also includes Tyrannosaurus, dating back to around 80 million years ago. His remains were found in Utah and more precisely in the Wahweap Formation and in addition to a good part of the skull they include a rib, both ischians, left tibia, left fibula, two metatarsals and a chevron (part of a caudal vertebra). It goes without saying that much of the post-cranium is unknown and has been reconstructed using phylogenetic inference.
Once removed from the container, there are two things that are most striking about the model: the color and the weight. This is one of the rare times where the promotional images are significantly worse than the finished product. In fact, the chromatic variety is decidedly wider and gives a much more natural appearance. The considerable weight instead depends on the fact that the model is stocky, visibly stockier than the other tyrannosaurids of similar length released by PNSO in the same period. This fully reflects the real counterpart, Lythronax is estimated to have been a massive animal, a true precursor of Tyrannosaurus from this point of view.
Another big similarity between Lythronax and Tyrannosaurus can be seen in the general shape of the skull, the back part is decidedly wider than the front one and this allows the eyes to be facing forward and to have excellent stereoscopic vision. So much so that if you look at the model from the front you feel yourself being observed by its small amber eyes. Above there are two bump-shaped thickenings and immediately in front two horns. These structures are not preserved in the fossil but recall the illustrations with the “in vivo” reconstruction of the animal released in conjunction with the scientific study that described it and are probably based on the related genus Teratophoneus. Instead, the jaw bones were found that housed only eleven teeth per side, fewer than most other tyrannosaurids, and this detail was also reproduced well by PNSO. Keynes’s snout is shorter compared to that of other tyrannosaurs models, but again this is a faithfully transposed characteristic of this dinosaur.
Overall the head has been beautifully reconstructed. The advanced nostrils on the tip of the muzzle, the ears, the scales, the choanae on the palate, every detail is well sculpted and placed in the right place. Even the inside of the mouth is finely sculpted including the pharynx and oral muscles and to top it all off the layer of glossy varnish could not be missing to give that extra touch of realism. There are no lips but the model was designed before the release of the now very famous study by Cullen et al. dated March 2023. As per tradition, the mouth is articulated and the mechanism works perfectly.
The voluminous neck and barrel-shaped body are perfectly in line with the vision we have of this dinosaur. The forelimbs are short, but also robust and end with the classic two tyrannosaurus fingers. As usual in theropods, the thumb is shorter, while the second finger is longer but thinner. The choice to place the arms along the sides of the body, in a resting position, is also very apt. The claws are well sculpted and there are no color bleeds unlike other models in the past.
The hind limbs follow the proportions indicated by the fossil, the leg and thigh are extremely muscular while the lower part of the limb is relatively frail when compared to other larger tyrannosaur models of this line such as Zhuchengtyrannus. It seems almost superfluous to reiterate how once again PNSO, by combining the study of footprints, fossils and legs of modern birds, has managed to convey an incredible sense of realism. The details from the scutes to the pads and ending with the blunt claws are meticulously crafted and enhanced by the colouring.
The tail is sufficiently long and crossed by grooves that show where the main muscle bundles are positioned. The base is much wider than the end, however, perhaps due to the robustness of the model’s build, it would have been better to make it even more voluminous, especially in width. Below, immediately behind the protrusion of the pubis there’s the orifice of the cloaca.
The aesthetic result of the scales is crazy and I dare say that you physically couldn’t do better. Excluding the largest ones on the muzzle and feet, the others are very tiny, even less than a millimeter in diameter, but despite this their presence is evident to the touch and stands out thanks to the dark colored washes. Personally I would have preferred that some feathers were added somewhere, even without reaching the extreme example of the Lythronax CollectA, as would be expected in all tyrannosaurs. However, it is not news that PNSO only puts them on when there is a clear indication from the fossil remains or if the standard popular representation of a certain dinosaur is feathered.
So is this Lythronax worth buying? Although it is the least famous genus in the quartet of tyrannosaurs released by PNSO which also includes Daspletosaurus, Albertosaurus and Gorgosaurus I would dare say that this model is the most successful of the group. Livery, pose, attention to detail and scientific accuracy are all Keynes’ strengths, the quality/price ratio is also good and the few things you may not like are more related to personal taste than to actual errors. So I can only recommend getting it back, and how can you say no to the “king of gore”.