Review by forum member Gwangi
The year 1993 was a big year for dinosaur fanatics, the most obvious reason being the release of Jurassic Park in June of that year. It is difficult for me and likely others of my generation to grasp just how long ago that was and how much has changed since. Dino-mania swept the country and no matter where you looked they were there. I was totally engrossed in it before the movie was even released. Not able to get enough dinosaurs I grabbed up any magazine or periodical that featured the prehistoric animals or Jurassic Park. In the back of one of those magazines were advertisements featuring different collectables that would appeal to nerds such as me with a love for dinosaurs and movies. Among them were the advertisements for Safari’s “Dinosaurs of China” collection. The collection included famous dinosaurs of the region such as mamenchisaurus, yangchuanosaurus, velociraptor and therzinosaurus. Some came along with skeletal representations sculpted on display stands on which to place the figure. I fell it love with the pictures of these models, they looked fantastic and to my young eyes were a far cry from your average dino-toy. Now finally after nearly 20 years I’ve gotten my hands on some of these and I gotta say…it’s about time!
Discovered in the 1940’s the true nature of therizinosaurs was a paleontological mystery and it wasn’t until the early 90’s that people finally started to realize what we were dealing with. I won’t get into too much depth on the subject as I already touched on it with my review of Safari’s “Great Dinos Collection” version of the creature and I’m sure most readers are familiar with the story, safe to say Safari was pretty quick to jump on producing one of these bizarre creatures.
Being nearly two decades old the figure stands up quite well in terms of accuracy and for a figure rarely produced stands out as a gem in any collection. The figure measures about 6” in length and stands 3” high at the top of its curved neck. The figure is supposed to be 1/40 in scale but the size estimates for therizinosaurus vary from 20-40 ft due to insufficient material on which to estimate a size. If therizinosaurus was 20’ long than this scale is correct.
The figure was sculpted by dinosaur artist Ely Kish as are the rest of the collection and certainly looks like a piece of art. One of the striking features of this figure is the color and pattern choice which can also be seen in her painting of the animal. Overall the body is a light green color with white on the underside. Dark green spots dot the entire body and fade to an aqua color on the limbs. The hands, feet and portions of the underside are also lined in brown. When I first saw this I thought the previous owner had painted the brown on but this is not the case. The body is covered in wrinkles and small scales with more of the former but the level of detail is pretty good considering the small size.
One feature I really like is that you can see and feel the vertebra all the way down the neck. Where accuracy is concerned this therizinosaur looks pretty good for its age. It stands correctly on two four toed feet, balance is aided by the tips of the claws. How this animal got around exactly is unknown, some think it may have walked on its knuckles similar to the extinct ground sloth but it is typically reproduced as a biped. The head is appropriately small and the neck long, the backward pointing pelvis is quite accurate but the gut region could probably be a bit more wide and robust. The hands are correctly positioned and not pronated. If one were to find something seriously wrong with the figure I suppose a lack of feathers would be it given this dinosaur’s relation to the feathered beipiaosaurus and coelurosaurs as a whole. I’m not going to get too nit picky about that as the figure was produced in 1993 before the discovery of feathered dinosaurs and represents a group that was up until that time poorly known and still is. Perhaps the biggest complaint is in regards to the head which is asymmetrical in appearance; I guess you should just try to avoid looking at it head on. This may not be a problem with all the models but it sure is with mine!
Overall what we have is a nicely sculpted, fairly accurate and striking to look at figure of an obscure theropod that even today is rarely produced, this could very well be the first figure produced of the animal and if not it was and is certainly one of the best. If you would like to acquire one of these, eBay may be your best bet but I have yet to see one aside from this one I got in a lot. If you’re fortunate you may even get the fossil background that I was unable to obtain.