A smaller, 20 foot relative of Triceratops, Styracosaurus lived about 10 million years earlier than its more famous ceratopsian cousin. The apt name, Styracosaurus (“spiked lizard”), refers to the elaborate spiked frill. It also bore a horn on its nose. It isn’t clear whether these large spikes were intended to ward off hungry predators or if they were exclusively for mating purposes. A mix of the two is likely.
The advent of the Wild Safari line in 1997 was a thing of joy for me. I remember being a kid, going into my favorite toy shop one day, and seeing these displayed with the Carnegies. This Styracosaurus was among them. This figure is 6.5 in. (15cm) long and 3.75 in. (10cm) tall, which puts it at 1:40 scale. The three-point stance has always been a favorite of mine because it makes the figure so dynamic, and it has always been very sturdy too and not prone to falling over much.
The texturing is pretty good for a figure first produced in the nineties. The body is covered in pebbly scales, and there are wrinkles and folds of skin around the neck and joints. The colors chosen are very fanciful, to say the least. The first wave of Wild Safari dinosaurs were painted in very exotic colors, and this one is no exception. The figure is molded in dark purple plastic, with black stripes along its back and tail. The belly is painted pale yellow. The frill and rostral bone are both painted pale orange, and there is also a red design on the frill. There are two red spots on either side of the skull. The hooves are pale yellow, the eyes are black with a small drop of white in the center, and the nostrils and mouth are detailed in pink. Probably not the most realistic color scheme, especially the purple spikes, but whatever. My biggest complaint would be that there just aren’t enough fine details outlined on this one.
For being produced solely by Safari and without the guidance of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, I’d say that these early Wild Safari releases weren’t half bad. This is a pretty darn good sculpt of Styracosaurus. The skull is sculpted perfectly, no complaints there. This is how the animal would have appeared in life. Each foot has the correct number of digits, and the tail is the perfect length for a ceratopsian. The only real issue this figure has is that the forelimbs aren’t splayed out to the sides at all, but it’s passable because that information wasn’t available at the time this model was made.
This is definitely among the best of the first Wild Safari dinos. It’s still one of the better Styracosaurus toys that’s ever been made in my opinion, and there have been a lot of those! I like it mostly because of the perfect skull and awesome pose. I definitely recommend this to dinosaur fans, but I’m not sure there’s anyone on this site who doesn’t already own this one. It was only retired recently and can still be found for pretty cheap online.
Interestingly, Safari changed the color scheme in the mid-2000s, so later production figures were like the one pictured below. There were repaints of several other of the original Wild Safari dinosaurs around this time as well.