For the 2014 crop of Wild Safari figures, the one my 3 year old son was most excited about was the Monolophosaurus. I must admit, I didn’t really know this particular carnivore, and the picture of the toy didn’t really interest me that much. As the months wore on my kid finally convinced me to give it try. So how does it stack up, let’s take a look.
History: Monolophosaurus which means single-crested lizard was found in 1981 in Xinjiang China. It consisted of an almost complete skeleton including the skull, lower jaws, vertebral column and pelvis. Unfortunately the rear of the tail, the shoulder girdle and the limbs were not found. Monolophosaurus lived during the Middle Jurassic aprox. 170 million years ago and it likely prowled the lakebeds and riversides of Asia. This carnivore is instantly recognizable by the single crest that runs down the centre of its skull.
About the Toy: The pose on this figure is standing upright with its head turned slightly to the right. The feet are slightly staggered with the right foot forward. The tail bends toward the gound and to the right.
I was impressed with the good detail on the toy. The head looks good, the crest is thin and is the right size covering three quarters of the skull beginning from the snout tip and ending at the eye socket. The mouth is open and shows different size teeth, with tender flesh between the jaws. Unfortunately there is a seam line that is visible that runs from the lower jaw to the underside of the neck. There are nice nasal openings and ear holes on the head. Starting from the top of the neck, a line of scutes runs all the way down the vertebra column and ends at the tip of the tail. The texture detail and anatomy are very good. There are defined muscles on the shoulder and calves. The skin is sagging off the ribcage, with skin creases on the hip and tail. The skin is covered in different size scales. Amazingly, it stands on two feet, and the feet are not oversized! The arms and digits are pointed inward, which is correct.
The colorization is basically red brown, with a cream color underside. The eyes and nasal openings are painted a glossy black. The inside of the mouth is pink and the teeth are white. The claws are all painted a dark grey color that looks very nice.
Scientific accuracy: What did I find that was inaccurate? Well, on the skull of Monolophosaurus, the teeth on the upper jaw, go way back into the mouth and ends before the eye sockets, on the toy the teeth end around the same spot as the teeth on the lower jaw. The tail could also be stiffer and not have such a curve on it. It is classified as a Tetanuran or “stiff tailed” Theropod which means the tail was kept straight by a variety of tendons. Other than those small details, I think it looks great anatomically speaking. Even the feet are in an acceptable size. As far as I can tell, a great job by the Wild Safari team.
Playability: It is a typical carnivore. The size and shape are fairly standard, with an open mouth showing off its teeth, which will be fun for kids, and terrifying for plastic herbivores. None of the edges are sharp, and it stands very well on its feet. The paint job can rub off with serious play, but not too badly.
Overall appraisal: I’ll start with the paint job. Unfortunately mine was not painted very well. The teeth and eyes are painted sloppily, not nearly as nice as the paint job on the Carnegie Concavenator which has a beautifully painted head. If they can paint the teeth well on that head, why can’t that happen every time? So I hope that with this model it was just the product of it being the last one painted after a long day of work. The pose is ok, and the colorization is ok, the anatomical details are very good. Other than the paint job, I really do like this toy. As it is the only model of this species as a standard museum quality toy, it makes it unique. It could be used in a diorama for Dinosaurs from Asia, during the Jurassic. So if you like the unique species, and hopefully the paint job, I will recommend this model.
Available at Amazon.com here: