In 2004 Safari Ltd. released four dinosaur figures in collaboration with Chicago’s Field Museum in honor of the newly mounted “Sue,” the worlds largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus. Among the releases were two versions of Sue herself but two other dinosaurs that were Tyrannosaurus contemporaries (and food) were also released; Anatotitan and Torosaurus. All four of the figures were excellently made and remain among the best figures ever produced by Safari. The Torosaurus in particular is very note worthy. In a market plagued with inaccurate ceratopsian models this one remains among the best ever produced by any company. I cannot sing its praises enough; even among other models by Carnegie and Papo it is hands down one of my favorite ceratopsian figures and this long overdue review is going to tell you why.
At just over 3” this Torosaurus represents a 1:75 scale model of the actual 25’ long animal. Though it is nearly as small as some of the Kaiyodo DinoTales figures this little fellow packs a lot of punch. Like the other Field Museum figures a lot of homework went into this little guy. I can think of few ceratopsian figures that match the level of accuracy met by this Torosaurus. Where most ceratopsian toys make the tail too long this one gets it right. Where most fail to properly splay out the limbs this one gets them right. Even the feet on this little guy are done correctly which is something Safari itself would fail to do on its 2007 Triceratops and many companies continue to do wrong. Indeed the forelimbs are worth mentioning as like so many other dinosaurs the ceratopsians had some weird hand modifications that allowed them to walk as quadrupeds. Toy producers seldom take these strange characteristics into account and opt out for more elephantine limbs in their dinosaurs but this Torosaurus even in its small size displays the strange hands of a ceratopsian as they truly were. The recently reviewed Vagaceratops would get this feature correct as well, hopefully all future Safari ceratopsians will also.
Looking at the head all the important features seem to be in place. The epoccipitals are there, as are the two fenestrae in the frill. The body is well muscled and the pose dynamic with the creature looking to the left with an expression on its face that can only be interpreted as “Oh no, here comes Sue!” Wrinkles are present on the skin but there are no real scales sculpted, nor are there any osteoderms like those found for Triceratops. Given the small size of the figure this is forgivable and it looks like attempts were made to at least give it a bumpy texture. The paintjob is exceptionally well done, especially when you consider this little guy was painted by hand. There is no bleeding of colors or sloppy brushstrokes here. The body is a mix of green and brown with black specks on the flanks. The frill is beautifully painted with yellow along the edges broken up with black bars. Two dark red eye spots highlight the openings in the frill. Each epoccipital and toe nail is delicately painted in brown and the makers had the sense to leave the fourth and fifth digits unpainted and clawless as they would have been. The beak and horns are a creamy beige color with black tips. Even the epijugal horns below the eyes were given their own brown color different from the epoccipitals. The eyes are black and the open mouth, tongue and nostrils are all painted pink. No detail is left amiss.
It is a true delight to see such craftsmanship in such a small piece, no matter how large your collection this little Torosaurus stands out and with that brilliantly patterned frill how could it not. I guess if there was one complaint it would be that the toy looks a little emaciated but I almost feel guilty saying that much. This piece should find a place on every serious dinosaur collector’s shelf. Unfortunately this Torosaurus as well as the other Field Museum figures are getting harder to find with the Torosaurus perhaps being the most difficult. If you live in Chicago I believe the museum still carries them but you can on occasion find them on eBay. Dan of “Dan’s Dinosaurs” also has them in stock. I suggest buying one of these charming figures before they’re gone. Next up will be the equally impressive “Sue” duo so stay tuned.