Monolophosaurus (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)


Monolophosaurus 1
For the 2014 crop of Wild Safari figures, the one my 3 year old son was most excited about was the Monolophosaurus. I must admit, I didn’t really know this particular carnivore, and the picture of the toy didn’t really interest me that much. As the months wore on my kid finally convinced me to give it try. So how does it stack up, let’s take a look.

History: Monolophosaurus which means single-crested lizard was found in 1981 in Xinjiang China. It consisted of an almost complete skeleton including the skull, lower jaws, vertebral column and pelvis. Unfortunately the rear of the tail, the shoulder girdle and the limbs were not found. Monolophosaurus lived during the Middle Jurassic aprox. 170 million years ago and it likely prowled the lakebeds and riversides of Asia. This carnivore is instantly recognizable by the single crest that runs down the centre of its skull.

Monolophosaurus 2

About the Toy: The pose on this figure is standing upright with its head turned slightly to the right.  The feet are slightly staggered with the right foot forward.  The tail bends toward the gound and to  the right.

I was impressed with the good detail on the toy. The head looks good, the crest is thin and is the right size covering three quarters of the skull beginning from the snout tip and ending at the eye socket. The mouth is open and shows different size teeth, with tender flesh between the jaws. Unfortunately there is a seam line that is visible that runs from the lower jaw to the underside of the neck. There are nice nasal openings and ear holes on the head. Starting from the top of the neck, a line of scutes runs all the way down the vertebra column and ends at the tip of the tail. The texture detail and anatomy are very good. There are defined muscles on the shoulder and calves. The skin is sagging off the ribcage, with skin creases on the hip and tail. The skin is covered in different size scales. Amazingly, it stands on two feet, and the feet are not oversized! The arms and digits are pointed inward, which is correct.

The colorization is basically red brown, with a cream color underside. The eyes and nasal openings are painted a glossy black. The inside of the mouth is pink and the teeth are white. The claws are all painted a dark grey color that looks very nice.

Monolophosaurus 3
Scientific accuracy: What did I find that was inaccurate? Well, on the skull of Monolophosaurus, the teeth on the upper jaw, go way back into the mouth and ends before the eye sockets, on the toy the teeth end around the same spot as the teeth on the lower jaw. The tail could also be stiffer and not have such a curve on it.  It is classified as a Tetanuran or “stiff tailed” Theropod which means the tail was kept straight by a variety of tendons.  Other than those small details, I think it looks great anatomically speaking. Even the feet are in an acceptable size. As far as I can tell, a great job by the Wild Safari team.

Monolophosaurus 5
Playability: It is a typical carnivore. The size and shape are fairly standard, with an open mouth showing off its teeth, which will be fun for kids, and terrifying for plastic herbivores. None of the edges are sharp, and it stands very well on its feet. The paint job can rub off with serious play, but not too badly.

Monolophosaurus 6
Overall appraisal: I’ll start with the paint job. Unfortunately mine was not painted very well. The teeth and eyes are painted sloppily, not nearly as nice as the paint job on the Carnegie Concavenator which has a beautifully painted head. If they can paint the teeth well on that head, why can’t that happen every time? So I hope that with this model it was just the product of it being the last one painted after a long day of work. The pose is ok, and the colorization is ok, the anatomical details are very good. Other than the paint job, I really do like this toy. As it is the only model of this species as a standard museum quality toy, it makes it unique. It could be used in a diorama for Dinosaurs from Asia, during the Jurassic. So if you like the unique species, and hopefully the paint job, I will recommend this model.

Available at Amazon.com here:

Stegosaurus (World of History 2012 version by Schleich)


Stegosaurus Schleich 3

History: One of the most recognizable dinosaurs, Stegosaurus continues to be a popular choice for TV specials, movies, and of course toys. Stegosaurus lived during the late Jurassic around 150-155 million years ago. It shared a habitat alongside some of the most well known dinosaurs, such as Allosaurus (which would dine on Stegosaurus), Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, and Diplodocus. It is also likely they lived in multiage herds, due to footprint evidence, which can lead to interesting possibilities for dioramas, or displaying different Stegosaurus models.
In 2012, Schleich introduced a new Stegosaurus toy into the crowded market of stegosaurus toys; let’s see how it stacks up.

Stegosaurus Schleich 7

About the toy: The stegosaurus is approx 7inches long (19 cent) and 4 inches (10 cent) high from the tip of the plate above the hips. The pose is a slightly active one, with its left leg raised, head is pointed slightly toward the left side and the tail is bent to the right side of its body. It looks to be slowly shuffling along in search of some tasty veggies. On its head you can see its nasal cavity, textured beak, and a small ear hole behind the eye. It has a short neck, then it’s back raises up and looks like a small round hill. Its highest point is above the hips then it comes down a bit in a rounded fashion down the tail then levels out and curves to its right. There are 18 alternating plates along the back, starting with small ones on the neck, they increase in size a reach their apex in size over the hips and then become smaller down the tail. The plates all have texture lines that run vertically up the plates. The tail ends in four tail spikes that are in a classic V formation. The Front legs are short with 5 toes and the back legs are longer with 3 toes.

Stegosaurus Schleich 4

The texture on the model is very wrinkly and saggy kind of like an elephants. Along the top of the back, but below the plates there appear to be Osteoderms or rounded ossicles of different sizes. On the head there are little skin folds for the jaws, creases on the neck, and a nice jowl of skin underneath the head. The legs show some nice flexed muscles, wrinkled skin along the legs and elbows. The mid torso shows sagging and wrinkled skin that continues all the way down the toy.

Stegosaurus Schleich 5

The color is basically different shades of brown, and orange. The eyes are glossy black, and the spine is dark brown. The dark brown extends slightly up the plates and then turns to a light brown/tan. The dark brown also stops on the tail at the last plate, and the end of the tail is very light brown, with the spikes being almost white. The beak and toes are dark grey. Beginning at the neck and ending at the beginning of the tail are some circular orange pattern spots.

Stegosaurus Schleich 6

Scientific accuracy: Not bad, not bad at all. It is missing the throat scutes covering the neck. The head is also a little big and I would have preferred the tail being a little higher, instead of the rounded back that ends in a lower slung tail. Of course they also added one extra plate, but most companies never get close to 17, so not too bad.

Playability: This toy is very playable and children of all ages will enjoy this toy. It is easy to play with, with the points all rounded enough not to hurt anyone. The paint stays on very well, so it can be played with roughly, and can be used inside or out.

Stegosaurus Schleich 1

Overall appraisal: This is one of Schleich better attempts. I would have preferred a better color choice, but if one is so inclined, I think this would look awesome with a homemade paint job. The eyes are shark like, just black orbs, but it works. There is detail all over this toy, so it’s a joy from every angle. I happen to love Stegosaurus, so I am a bit biased, but this really is a decent toy. It is a good size, with good detail, and pose. I would recommend this for kids, and adults who don’t mind a few minor inaccuracies.

Available from Amazon.com here.

Addendum:
The newer version is not a resculpt but a new paint job for the 2007 schleich stegosaurus Replica Saurus (Out of production). I am not sure if it is the same scale, but the sculpt appears to be the same.

schleich_stegosaurus_2007_Replica Saurus-Out of production

Woolly mammoth (Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd)


There’s a vast array mammoth models out there in the world of prehistoric animal figures but they rarely get much attention here on the Dinosaur Toy Blog. That is, of course, because they are just boring old mammals, but let’s not hold this against them, they can’t help it. So, it had to happen eventually – I’m finally reviewing a mammal!

Wooly Mammoth Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd

There are all sorts of different mammoth species (belonging to the genus Mammuthus) and many of them also have common names. For example, there’s the Steppe mammoth (M. trogontherii), the Columbian mammoth (M. columbi), and everyone has heard of the woolly mammoth (M. primigenius). It is this latter species that Safari Ltd chose to immortalise in plastic form as part of their extensive and ever-growing Carnegie Collection range. The figure was released in 2003 so it was quite a late addition to the museum line, especially considering the ubiquitous nature of the creature. The name of the animal is embossed on the inside of the left forelimb and reads simply ‘MAMMOTH’, but all of the other branding for the toy refers to the model as a woolly mammoth, so we are going with that.

Wooly Mammoth Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd

This is a satisfyingly hefty figure, 14 cm high and 20 cm long (1:30 scale). It therefore rivals the size of most of the dinosaurs in the same collection, including some of the smaller sauropods.

Wooly Mammoth Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd

The woolly mammoth was covered from head to toe, and from trunk to tail, in hair (or wool, I suppose), and the body of the Carnegie figure is masterfully sculptured with a shaggy-looking texture. This wavy hair hangs down from the midline in a natural way, and is expanded into a puffy hump above the shoulders, and a flat-topped dome atop the head – a distinctive characteristic of this species. The underside of the trunk is flat and smooth, presumably to assist its function as a manipulating appendage. The relatively small ears jut out from the body in a somewhat comical way, but this cuteness is counteracted by the sweeping and dangerous-looking coiled tusks. In my figure the tusks are slightly asymmetrical and distorted, but this does not detract in any way.

Wooly Mammoth Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd

We have the preserved hair of woolly mammoths so we know they were brown, as is this figure. The eyebrow ridges are picked out in a slightly lighter tone, which gives the animal a mature, distinguished, almost wise appearance. There are no inaccuracies to speak of – mammals tend to have it good in prehistoric animal toy land. The tusks are a pale colour that I’d describe as…ivory.

Wooly Mammoth Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd

There aren’t many mammals in the Carnegie collection, the only others are a pair of Australopithecus hominids, and a Smilodon, all of which are now retired. This is probably because Safari Ltd have had several other lines of which prehistoric mammals have played a significant part (Wild Safari; Missing Links). Now that Missing links line is retired, perhaps there’s justification for adding more prehistoric mammals, or other Cenozoic creatures, to the Carnegie Collection?

Wooly Mammoth Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd

“Who do you think you’re calling a ‘boring old mammal’!”

To conclude, this is a great figure of a woolly mammoth and, although I’m more of a reptile enthusiast myself, I highly recommend it. It is still in production and therefore easy to get your hands on. It is available, for example, from Amazon.com here.