Few dinosaurs have had such a turbulent history of classification as Gorgosaurus. Due to the close similarities between this animal and Albertosaurus, Gorgosaurus has sometimes been referred to as a junior synonym of Albertosaurus. Both predators were closely related and remains of both have come from the Dinosaur Park Formation in Alberta, Canada, but Albertosaurus is slightly older. Continuing to the modern day, some paleontologists accept Gorgosaurus as a species of Albertosaurus, while still others maintain that the two are separate genera. The name Gorgosaurus means “fierce lizard” for obvious reasons.
This Gorgosaurus is unique because it is the only toy of this animal that any manufacturer has ever produced as far as I know. Safari released the model in 2004. The figure is 7 inches long and 3.5 inches tall, making it roughly 1:40 scale. Just by looking at the paint you can tell that this is one of the older Wild Safari figures, before they intensified the detailing and paint quality of the sculpts. The figure has a pale orange underside which transitions into dark orange/brown along the sides and back. There are dark red spots and stripes along the sides and tail. The skin is wonderfully detailed with wrinkles and distinct scales throughout. There is a row of fleshy scutes along the spine and bumps all along the skin. Very nicely done. The claws are painted dark brown, as are the nostrils and eyes. The teeth look like a solid block of white in the jaws, and the inside of the mouth is pink. The pose is a tripod stance, but it’s not overly horrible.
While not quite up to current Wild Safari standards, this is still a pretty good, accurate figure. The proportions of the animal’s body are pretty much correct all around. I’m happy to say that the tyrannosaur skull has been reproduced quite well, save for the crests above the eyes and the teeth, which look almost like a mouthguard. This was before Safari put effort into making their toothy dinosaurs actually look formidable. Another point of merit is that the forelimbs are not pronated but are instead sculpted in the correct position, something that manufacturers today oddly still struggle with (cough*SCHLEICH*cough).
Of course, one of the worst parts of the model is the tripod pose, but it’s excusable because it’s done for practicality’s sake so the figure will actually stand up, and at least the tail isn’t dragging lazily over the ground. In short, if you can excuse the small inaccuracies and the bit of quirkiness that came with all the earlier Wild Safari dinos, then this is a pretty darn good reproduction of Gorgosaurus.
This is a good figure that I recommend to anyone who comes across it because where else will you find another Gorgosaurus? I think this one deserves a spot on anyone’s theropod shelf. It’s been retired for a few years by now but can still be found occasionally on Ebay.