Review and photos by Dr Andre Mursch (“Brontodocus”). Edited by Plesiosauria.
Get your fore feet back down to earth, Bronto, here comes 2010’s latest release of the Wild Safari Dinos series by Safari Ltd:
Apatosaurus maybe regarded the archetype of a sauropod – a highly iconic dinosaur taxon almost everybody knows today – despite the long taxonomic confusion caused by its popular junior synonym Brontosaurus coined by the same author, O.C. Marsh. So there should be plenty of Apatosaurus figures around – and there are, indeed. The newest and long awaited release is the 2010 version of the Wild Safari Dinos Apatosaurus which is reviewed here.
The figure is 328 mm long measured in a straight line (there are always deviations possible due to the highly flexed, long tail). If measured along the curve on a level with the postion where the vertebral centra would have been (which is hard to achieve in reality on a toy figure) it would result in a total length of 489 mm from snout to the tail’s tip. The height is 125 mm at the top of the head and 96 mm at the highest point of the back. This results in a scale of anything between approx. 1/43 and 1/51 scale when compared with published reconstructed lengths between 21 and 25 m for Apatosaurus. Readers should note that this is one of the few Apatosaurus figures where a scale estimate based on the total length is possible, most other figures have a tail which is much too short resulting in a higher scale than they should have (in these cases other measurements could be taken into account).
This sauropod figure is a moderately lean but still robust representation of Apatosaurus and has a weight of 338 g, slightly less than the new WS Brachiosaurus. The figure’s skin texture is lacking scales or mid-dorsal spikes and has a crisply detailed, elephantine crinkliness, especially at the neck which looks nice but is not everybody’s taste. The allover colour is matt finished and simple but shows some accentuation of deeper areas which are darker. The dorsal surface is coloured in a slightly blueish grey and separated from the flesh tan ventral side by a dark grey band.
The head is moderately small (17 mm long) and corresponds to the low profile of diplodocid skulls. The nostrils are positioned at the top of the head where the skull’s external nares would be and not further toward the tip of the snout as has been suggested, recently. The eyes are tiny, about 1 mm in diameter, which looks quite realistic. Still they are excellently painted in a sharp yellow with a well-positioned, round pupil. The left eye is located slightly higher than the right one but it really is not that disturbing as if this was e.g. a tyrannosaurid figure. The ear openings are small but quite distinct and deep and coloured in a fleshy tone.
The neck is held horizontal at its base but curves upward at midlength, a position that has gained favour, recently. A skeletal drawing by Gregory S. Paul shows an almost identical neck posture and may have been an inspiration for the sculpt. The neck shows other nice details: It is not as laterally compressed as in some other figures but quite wide as the massive and wide cervical vertebrae of Apatosaurus would suggest. At the base of the neck a longitudinal groove indicates the position of the bifid neural processes of the basal cervical vertebrae.
The back is sloping down to the neck due to the front limbs being shorter than the hind limbs. The tail is long, actually a good deal longer than the figure’s snout-vent length and lifted well off the ground. Reminiscent of the idea of a whiplash tail, it is highly convoluted laterally. Despite earlier rumours about this figure the tail is not bendable, at least no more than the quite rigid vinyl allows. Both shoulder blades and the pelvis (traceable ilium and bumps representing the tips of ischium and pubis) are well definded.
The feet are among the best ones ever seen on any sauropod toy figure and can match with the quality of the “soft models” by Favorite. The fore foot has one long thumb claw and is otherwise missing toe nails. The palm is concave, giving the hand a c-shaped cross-section, something rarely seen in non-japanese dinosaur toy figures. The hind foot shows three claws on the inner three toes that point a little outward. All toe nails are coloured in a dark grey.
The quadrupedal pose (the figure’s now retired predecessor was rearing up) with the neck gently curved upward and the head held moderately (but not excessively) high, with the legs in a slow walking pose and the tail sinuating vividly, is quite attractive and gives the figure a certain majestic grace. It is an elegant rendition of an Apatosaurus and based on modern reconstructions despite the nostrils, skin and lack of the middorsal spike row. It is also quite affordable. I would highly recommend it to any collector of dinosaur figures either as a toy or as a collectible, it surely qualifies for both.
Soon available on eBay