The approach of 2014 means an exciting new line from each of our favorite prehistoric figure manufacturers. However, there’s an extra surprise this year – the new 2014 line from Safari Ltd. has already arrived! While their offering is impressive as always, I have to say that my most anticipated figure is the Pachyrhinosaurus, and Safari has really delivered on this piece.
Given that Pachyrhinosaurus is the starring species of the new Walking With Dinosaurs motion picture, it is understandable that some people believe this figure’s release is simply an attempt by Safari to capitalize on the film. However, the development cycle for these figures can often take one or two years. It has been confirmed by the original sculptor, Doug Watson, that this was essentially a happy coincidence. Hopefully this means we can continue to look forward to more ceratopsian releases.
In fact, the blunt-nosed fellow has been getting quite a lot of attention in pop-culture lately, which should make its appearance less surprising (though certainly no less welcome). Collectors will notice some textural similarities between this model and the recent Vagaceratops, but the complex skull of Pachyrhinosaurus alone makes it seem far more impressive. The attention to detail here is excellent, and really shows the artist’s dedication to the original fossils.
This model features a beautiful set of high contrast patterns that blend softly, yet provide a nice pop to help this herbivore stand out. I would like to draw special attention to the eye, which is very precisely painted and has the crucial sheen that makes the animal come alive. The base color reveals itself gently on the horns and bosses of the head, which makes for a very convincing keratin-like appearance. In many other ceratopsian figures, the horns are simply dabbed with a different paint color, and it tends to look crude and distracting upon close inspection. I’m glad to see this little guy holds up to close scrutiny.
For a stout creature with relatively low flexibility, it can be tricky to incorporate some form of movement and fluidity to the pose. Our critter is caught mid-stride, but also with his head tilted slightly to one side. This can make it a little trickier to photograph the right side, but this simple gesture really helps break away from the often stiff appearance of other horned dinosaur models.
There has been some discussion as to how much of the pebbly texture of a dinosaur’s skin should be visible in a small figure, since it is scaled down quite a bit. Of course, it can be tricky to deliver a sculpt that adheres to scientific research, and still provides the “cool” looking aesthetics that will make people want to own a model. Undoubtedly, people do enjoy fine detail work in these models, which can draw the eye around the entire body, rather than just the head. This is clearly something that has helped make Papo figures so popular. However, Papo has often ignored the science, and these new releases from Safari are actually bringing in the best of both worlds.
Interestingly, there was a Papo Pachyrhinosaurus released not so very long ago. Many were pleased with that model at the time, but compared to this masterpiece from Safari, it seems downright bland, with very little paint and a head that is barely recognizable as its intended species. This leads us to a realization that may be jarring for those diehard Papo fans – Safari has surpassed Papo here. This seven inch figure is proof that you don’t always have to choose between science and aesthetics. Sometimes they combine into one truly awesome model.
This figure is available to order from Dan’s Dinosaurs here.
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