Although I’m sure most of you reading this blog keep up to date with the latest in dinosaur discoveries, the ceratopsian our review tackles today was only recently discovered and so it seems prudent to give a brief overview of that animal itself. Dinosaur lovers have been blessed with an abundance of new ceratopsians out of North America lately and among them is the increasingly popular Nasutoceratops or “large-nosed horn face” and while the nose is indeed large, the pair of “Texas long-horns” on the head also helps make this a unique looking dinosaur. As for its popularity, it’s certainly a rising star! We’re being treated with not one but three new toys representing this animal this year. There is the Wild Safari model we’re discussing today but also a CollectA on the way (surprise, surprise) and even a Battat model later this year! So without further ado, let’s get to the business of reviewing not only one of the first new Wild Safari models of the year but also the first Nasutoceratops!
I must confess that this review will be rather predictable. For the last four years now we’ve been treated with a ceratopsian from Wild Safari, all sculpted by the talented Doug Watson. Doug has really shined with his ceratopsians and with regular releases like these the dinosaur toy community is always wondering what ceratopsian Doug will tackle next. Surprisingly Doug has managed to outdo himself year after year. Just when you think they couldn’t get better, they do! This is in my opinion his best sculpted ceratopsian to date. The level of detail and accuracy here is honestly a bit ridiculous, much better than you would expect from a $10 toy. I can’t find any accuracy issues here but when the man who wrote the master’s thesis on the animal is the advisor, I wouldn’t expect to. That’s right, recently Doug Watson let it out that Eric Lund of The University of Utah was the advisor on this model. Suffice it to say, the skull matches very closely to the diagrams I’ve seen of the actual skull; no doubt they served as a reference source.
It’s easy for me to say that at least where ceratopsians are concerned not even Papo can compete with the level of detail and of course accuracy presented on these recent WS figures. Pebbly scales are sculpted throughout with larger scutes sculpted sporadically all over the body. This of course is in keeping with what we know of ceratopsian scales in general even if we don’t have skin impressions from Nasutoceratops directly. Small hornlets run up the ridge of the nose and up the center of the crest, consistent with the diagrams I’ve seen of the actual skull. A row of raised scutes runs down the center of the back. One of my favorite details is the inclusion of wrinkles and folds along the tail, on the leg joints and abdominal area. It’s these little details that really helps make this model feel all the more lifelike.
Paint jobs and patterning are often hit and miss even with well sculpted toys but I must say that I quite like what’s been done here with the Nasutoceratops. The coloration is both eye catching and naturalistic with a grey color overall and yellowish patterning on the underside, along the legs and on the head and crest. Although the colors chosen don’t sound exciting the contrast and pattern created here really make them pop. The tiny eyes are painted shiny black, the horns and claws grey. The paint application is very good for a toy, hardly any detail is amiss.
This is in my opinion the best Wild Safari ceratopsian to date and a must have in any collection. Not only is it among my favorite Wild Safari models but it’s also among the favorites in my entire collection. You’re looking at a high quality piece masquerading as a toy here. With an expert sculpting talent aided by top advisors the future for Wild Safari looks bright indeed. In fact, it actually makes these reviews harder to write when all you can do is swoon over the model. Can CollectA and Battat possibly match up? We’ll have to wait and see but they’re going to be hard pressed to compete with the Wild Safari 2015 Nasutoceratops!
Available from Amazon.com here.