Safari’s take on the sinisterly horned ceratopsian from Utah is the second Diabloceratops figure of 2013, following Collecta’s pretty decent effort a few months prior. While it can be a bit dull when companies rush to produce figures of the same animal, they’re quite welcome to as long as we get toys of this calibre.
Safari are on something of a winning streak this year, with the release of a number of truly excellent Wild Safari figures, the recently(ish) reviewed Elasmosaurus and Gryposaurus among them. This Diabloceratops has received all the attention to detail that we’ve come to expect from the line in recent years. Collecta’s was nice and all, but – and in spite of having a somewhat more subdued colour scheme – Safari’s sculpt blows it out of the water, batters it and serves it with chips.
As noted last time, Diabloceratops is only known from its head – so if you don’t get that right, you might as well go home. Happily, this sculpt is beautifully proportioned in that regard, matching up very well with the real skull. There’s excellent detailing in the transition from beak to scaly skin, the bony nodules on the snout and sagging flesh around the mouth. The spotty patterns on the frill may not be as exuberant as the tribal warpaint on the Collecta toy, but they nevertheless provide a very welcome focal point and burst of colour.
Where this sculpt really trumps the Collecta is in the postcranial anatomy – you know, the bits behind the head. Try as they might, Collecta still can’t quite manage Safari’s degree of finesse. Although necessarily speculative, the body of this toy is a good reflection of the scientific knowledge on the anatomy of basal centrosaurines. Particularly impressive are the slightly bowed forelimbs, complete with five-fingered hands that avoid the usual pitfalls of being too rhinoceros-like or elephantine; there’s a nice concavity in the back of the paw, and the two outer digits are reduced to clawless stumps. Perhaps the hands should have been turned outwards a little more, but that’s a real nitpick. The wide thighs, chunky tail base and well-developed shoulders are other highlights.
Any downsides? Well, the paint job, while excellent, is not quite up there with the very best, i.e. Papo. There’s no real sloppiness, and the colour blending is pleasing, but a very few details can appear a little crude…close-up. Really, though, this is a beautiful figure, and I’d recommend it highly; there’s unlikely to be a much better ceratopsian toy this year.