It has been said that if one simply dropped into the middle of late Cretaceous North America, the massive herds of hadrosaurs are likely one of the first sights to see. Despite their prevalence, the so-called “duckbill” dinosaurs are extremely underrepresented in the dinosaur toy market. The most common reconstructions are focused on the ornately decorated headgear of lambeosaurines – namely Parasaurolophus – drawing even less attention to the relatively “plain” hadrosaurines. Granted, Safari did produce an excellent little rendition of Anatotitan for the Field Museum’s “Sue” line, but even that piece has fallen out of production.
Fortunately, the tide may have turned with Safari’s 2011 unveiling of Edmontosaurus. This creature is actually very closely related to Anatotitan, and Safari’s decision to utilize a similar orange paint scheme may add further confusion among casual collectors. Our knowledge of Edmontosaurus is tremendous however, so a mass-produced figure like this seems long overdue. From mummified remains to (likely) tyrannosaur bite wounds, there is plenty for a paleoartist to work with. The numerous skin impressions are not quite as useful for a figure of this scale, but plenty of banded lines and wrinkles adorn the body.
Safari does not typically denote the species type on the usual ventral stamp, but interestingly, this piece is noted as “Edmontosaurus regalis.” This would make it the largest known species of Edmontosaurus, around forty feet long and plenty of meat for a tyrannosaur to sink its teeth into. It would not be a stretch to suggest that Safari intended this figure to be a companion piece for their new T.rex, which arrives later in the year. Countless depictions of Tyrannosaurus/Edmontosaurus predation scenes should serve to liven things up for this herbivore in dioramas or simply children’s play areas. Indeed, the twisted and active posture allows one to imagine a panicked animal reacting to something terrifying on approach.
A set of black-button eyes reinforce the dull, Cretaceous-cow image hapless hadrosaurs have been cursed with. However, the effect is a convincing one, so this remains one of the most interesting mass-produced hadrosaurs in recent years. The only flaw can be found in the hands, which bear separate digits rather than the thick padding Edmontosaurus is known to possess. Despite this discrepancy, it appears the artist used the available material quite well. The hind legs are thickly muscled, and the keratinous beak is enhanced in a dark brown. The tail is strong and stiff, with only a slight curl at the tip.
While it might be a bit much to wish for a brilliantly colored hadrosaur like those produced by Angie Rodrigues, this is still a respectable effort by a company known for its dedication to authenticity. The sculpt is more active than usual, the colors are pleasant without seeming cartoonish, and the size ensures it is affordable. Don’t leave your theropods unattended when this tasty little number joins your collection.