Here we have another new release from Safari Ltd for 2013, the long-necked Elasmosaurus. I lent a small helping hand with the design of this figure, as I had done previously with Safari Ltd’s other recent plesiosaurian offering (Liopleurodon). As such, I was pleased to finally see the figure ‘in the flesh’ and I’m delighted how it has come out. While I retained a few minor reservations about the Wild Safari Liopleurodon, I haven’t any issues to raise about the accuracy of this new figure. We don’t know that much about the anatomy of Elasmosaurus, since it is known from only fragmentary material, but based on other elasmosaurids the general proportions and anatomy are all correct, and this the most accurate Elasmosaurus figure available by a mile.
In some ways it’s easier to review a bad model than a good one, so I apologise now for the shortness of this article. Please take the brevity of this review as a high compliment on the quality of the figure. Overall, the sculpt has an excellent natural realistic quality, which is the result of a lot of background research conducted during the design phase, and a fine attention to detail in the sculpting process.
A few words on the anatomy. The upward-facing eyes are positioned near the front of the skull, correctly positioned in the orbits rather than in the temporal fenestra as sometimes happens in plesiosaur toys. The ferocious maw is lined with some gnarly fangs, elasmosaurids had rather scary-looking interlocking dentition. The rear of the head is bulked out with musculature, and if you look closely into the open mouth, even the internal nares are visible on the palate. The ridiculously long neck is curved in a sweeping sinuous posture, but gone are the days of swan-necked plesiosaurs. In keeping with the times, this figure has an almost entirely horizontal neck.
The body is lean, quite flat, and obviously rigid. The tail is short, compared with the neck anyway, and the flippers have strong bases and beautiful wing-like outlines. The front limbs curve upward towards the tips providing the illusion of movement. There’s also a cloaca at the base of the tail, so as much attention has clearly been paid to the rear end of the animal as to the front end. The skin texture is lightly stippled all over – speculative (it has to be) but reasonable.
The simple colour scheme – dark green on top, orange below – contrasts with the stunning stripes of the Liopleurodon. However, a dash of orange and a sharp black stripe indicates the rear of the head, so the figure is not completely without markings.
To conclude, you’ll struggle to find a better Elasmosaurus toy out there and I highly recommend it. I think of it as the perfect counterpart to the Wild Safari Liopleurodon: Now we have good representatives of both major plesiosaurian groups, a short-necked pliosaur and a long-necked plesiosaur. Plus, the two are roughly to scale to each other.
I thank Safari Ltd for kindly sending me a copy of this figure to be reviewed on the Dinosaur Toy Blog.