Fearsome denizens of the Permian, gorgonopsids were rocking the sabre-toothed look hundreds of millions of years before cats came onto the scene. The largest, Inostrancevia, was roughly the size of a black bear and had enormous canine teeth for slashing or stabbing its prey to death. Beware, Scutosaurus!
Wild Safari’s 2011 Inostrancevia figure is sculpted in a classic walking pose with its right limbs as close together as possible and its left limbs stretched out to maximum length. Its head is turned to the left with the mouth open in a snarl. Accuracy-wise, it looks quite satisfactory, albeit chunkier than other restorations that I’ve seen. The toy measures 14 cm long, which is about the length of an actual Inostrancevia canine.
The colour scheme is rather dull. Slightly pinkish brown and beige with grey claws, dirty brown accents between the toes, yellow-orange eyes, pink nostrils and mouth, and white for the teeth. Hardly what you’d call an exciting or vibrant ensemble. A few spots or stripes would have really livened it up. Also, the paint on the eyes and feet has been applied very sloppily. It looks like the Inostrancevia has mud smeared between its toes.
The sculpting, however, is pretty good. The skin has a pebbled texture with thick wrinkles defining the muscles in the neck and limbs. Mind you, it is unknown what gorgonopsid skin texture was really like. They may not have possessed any scales at all. The large paws and stout claws look ideal for holding down struggling prey. And most importantly, the enormous fangs give this ancient beast a very fierce, dangerous appearance. The varying sizes of teeth reveal its familial link to mammals.
With its relatively small size and underwhelming colours, the Wild Safari Inostrancevia is probably not a toy that will make anyone sit up and go “Wow!”, but it is a solid, well-sculpted, and savage-looking monster that adds a welcome touch of variety to one’s prehistoric collection.