Review and photos by Marc Vincent aka Horridus
Since Safari are soon to replace their classic sculpt of this most well-known of sauropods, it seems only fitting to take a closer look at this ‘retired’ figure before it disappears into bargain bins and onto eBay for the next several years.
Here depicted with one of its earlier and more lurid paint jobs (it can now be seen in more sober browns, which I must admit I prefer the appearance of – but it was cheap on, yes, eBay), this relatively small Apatosaurus is posed in a rearing posture, its hind legs and the base of its tail forming a tripod. This is reminiscent of everyone’s favourite overpriced plastic hulk, the Battat Diplodocus, also known as ‘The Holy Grail of Dinosaur Collecting’ and ‘I’ve Bought a Car for Less Than That’. Fear not, however, as this figure is of course still available on the cheap and brand new – limbs need not be sold off.
With its flailing front limbs this is certainly an unusually dynamic representation of a sauropod. It isn’t implausible either – it seems that diplodocids were the sauropods most likely to be able to rear up in this way. Anatomically this figure is a pleasingly accurate restoration for such a cheap toy, looking like a more robust and muscular Diplodocus as it should and not like a podgy, shapeless ‘brontosaur’. The head is suitably low and tapering, and it has a long, flexible tail. Its skin has the classic ‘wrinkly’ look (no matter, you wouldn’t see the scales at this, er, scale anyway).
There are of course some inaccuracies that are simply a result of the age of the mould (it’s dated 1996) – for example the feet, as is very common with sauropod figures, and it has the old-fashioned placement of the nostrils high on the head. Certain parts of the paint job are a little crude on my (rather old) model, including the teeth and eyes, but I understand these have been tidied up for its repaints. Most unfortunate is that this is another toy that’s prone to the ‘googly-eyes’ effect, ie. it has a very asymmetrical head resulting in eyes that aren’t level (see also the Carnegie anniversary Tyrannosaurus).
Overall, though, it’s a nice little figure, and rearing sauropods remain unusual. It’s also good to see a nicely modelled Apatosaurus that isn’t a bloated ‘brontosaur’. It’s still widely available and is a pleasing little sauropod to have standing around on your desk.
Sometimes available on Ebay here