Review by Dan Liebman of Dan’s Dinosaurs
In 2009, Safari released what they are hoping will be the definitive replacement of their original Carnegie Spinosaurus figure. The original, which bears the classic “Sail-backed Allosaurus” appearance, has seen two variants in color. This latest model seems to have adopted a decidedly natural set of hues, looking rather appropriate for a large predatory dinosaur.
Casual observers might be quick to point out the similarities between this highly anticipated Spinosaurus and the one manufactured by Papo. While Papo remains a true giant when it comes to detail, their Spinosaur is known to have several issues with scientific accuracy (after all, it is based upon the model seen in the third Jurassic Park film). Carnegie’s 2009 Spinosaurus is all about scientific accuracy; it is well known that the manufacturer collaborates closely with paleontologists when sculpting their figures.
This figure looks lean and quick, not overly muscular and lumbering, but a fit carnivore which one can easily envision lingering near the edge of Egyptian waters, waiting for an ideal moment to strike like lightning. The body is primarily vanilla-toned, with a charcoal dorsal division. The prehistoric eyes are golden, and the mouth interior glistens nicely. A bit more definition in the fenestrae would have been nice, but it’s scarcely missed.
Most of the wrinkles in the body are running vertically, and the neutral coloring helps to make this texturing visible. Some may complain that the figure looks too plainly textured given its size, but I’d say it’s about appropriate for a Carnegie. The flanks are lightly armored with attractive scutes, which might offer a bit too much friction under heavy child’s play. Still, the rows of scutes make the Spinosaurus a pleasantly tactile figure to handle. The infamous dorsal sail is rounded nicely, though perhaps a bit too symmetrical.
Like the Giganotosaurus, this Carnegie therapod relies on its curled tail to act as a third leg for support. Much like the slightly shorter Giganotosaurus, the tail tip can be easily balanced against other objects to give the Spinosaurus a more natural posture. Otherwise, the animal is impressively accurate. The forearms bear claws of proper proprtion, the slender skull has the distinctive nasal crest, and the jaws are properly lined with conical teeth suited to stabbing and holding fast to slippery prehistoric fishies. The figure even has the well-defined kink in the jaw, a distinguishing characteristic for the Spinosaurus and its relatives.
In terms of size, this is easily the largest carnivorous dinosaur in the entire Carnegie Collection. It is less than an inch shorter than the Papo Spinosaurus, but otherwise comparable in size. You’d be hard pressed to find a high quality, accurate sculpt of this species for a similar price point. This figure does a great job of reflecting the primeaval, otherworldy quality of the dinosaur kingdom – it looks familiar, but alien at the same time. Perhaps it is so fascinating and terrifying for that very reason; it is something not of our world, something we were not meant to look upon.