Ceratosaurus is the other new Wild Safari theropod for 2012. Unlike Acrocanthosaurus, which is a brand new addition to the range, this Ceratosaurus replaces an older, now retired sculpt that was actually one of the best of the ‘old wave’ Wild Safari dinosaur toys. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to deny that this new model is a considerable improvement.
Ceratosaurus is typically imagined as cowering in the shadows of the bigger, badder theropods that lived alongside it, especially the far more numerous Allosaurus. However – and as Scott Hartman will tell you – it certainly wasn’t a wuss. In terms of proportions, this figure looks to have been based on the famous Smithsonian specimen that was probably a subadult (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Happily, it follows the anatomy of the real animal very closely, with the exception of the toes, which have again been enlarged to aid stability.
While it’s always great to have a stable figure that nevertheless has its tail held high, the giganto-toes do end up looking a little clownish on this figure, probably because it’s (accurately) more slender than that hefty Acrocanthosaurus. Still, unlike certain other Ceratosaurus figures – some of which should be wiped from the face of the Earth – they’re the only things that stick out as being obviously wrong. In fact, this is a figure that rewards close inspection, as it’s rich in small details – from the tiny, vestigial, clawless fourth finger to the excellently sculpted head with its three distinctive horns and HUGE teeth, all of which are individually sculpted. Arguably the head is a little bit too ‘hollow’ in places, but you really couldn’t ask for much better.
Safari have really ramped up the production values of their Wild Safari figures in recent years, and while not matching the frankly ridiculously high standard set by Papo, they’re surely getting close – and of course Safari actually make an effort to research the animal concerned, rather than just grabbing the nearest pop culture reference (of course there are always exceptions, before you start your trolling engines). Superficial details are gloriously crisp and refined, with the scaly covering and tiny eyes being particularly praiseworthy. Although the brown colouration (with red throat patch) is a little bland and uninspired, it at least appears naturalistic, and there are very few instances of paintjob fudging. Painting the larger scales on the feet and hands the same colour as the claws was a mistake, though – they’d have been better off going for standard issue Shiny Shiny Black™ for the pointy bits. Other than that, and a little sloppiness around the teeth, it’s top marks.
As long as you don’t mind expando-feet, and aren’t averse to theropods (and why would you be?), there’s really no reason to not get hold of this figure. It’s inexpensive, well researched and lovingly detailed. I might even go as far as to say that it’s the best Ceratosaurustoy yet produced, and not just because I wish to invoke 10 million comments from furious Battat fans. For the price, you can’t go wrong!