With an excellent catalog of accurate, high quality collectibles it’s hard to believe that the Wild Safari line by Safari Ltd. once produced a range of models that were often poorly sculpted and garishly painted. And if one were to forget about the past, the old Safari Suchomimus would surely jog some memories. But back in the 1990’s these were certainly a cut above the rest, some of the first toys not sculpted for a museum line that were a step ahead of the competition.
When I first started collecting dinosaurs I just went out and grabbed the first dinosaurs I could find. And this toy was literally one of the first dinosaurs I bought. Even though time has pushed it off of my shelf this Brachiosaurus (or is it Giraffatitan?) really is one of the better toys from Safari’s early years.
To really appreciate this toy you have to look past the garish paint job. And there are a couple paint jobs to choose from. My toy is painted in the absolute worst shade of bright green, with a dark green back and spots running down the length of the animal. That seems to be the more common color scheme but a sandy brown/yellow version with a dark green back also exists and is apparently the original (and superior) version. The application is also sloppy on this toy with the black toe nails and white teeth looking particularly poor.
Once you do get past that paint scheme you’ll find that this is actually a very nicely sculpted toy. It’s tall, alert, and regal. It’s well-proportioned and matches up closely with the artwork of the time by the likes of Gregory Paul. It’s a strong and imposing looking animal. The legs are well muscled, the tail base tall and broad, and the neck thick and strong. Underlying musculature is present, and you can make out the outline of the sauropod’s scapula. A ridge runs down the back, showing off the tall vertebra. No scales are sculpted here and I’m alright with that, instead we have wrinkles as is often the case with sauropod toys.
Of course since this is a toy from 1996 it’s also a bit dated. The neck is held much higher than you’ll find on most modern renditions and the nostrils are placed on the crest instead of on the snout. The feet are also incorrectly sculpted with four visible digits on each limb. The toy measures 8” in length and stands just over 8” tall. It’s not as beastly as the original Carnegie or newer Papo models but it’s of a sufficient size to convey a degree of heft.
Although this toy represents an early effort from Safari it’s certainly among the better ones from that early range. That said, Safari released a far superior model fairly recently and new models by the likes of Favorite and Carnegie pretty much make this model obsolete. It’s hardly worth seeking out for the average collector but where Brachiosaurus toys are concerned you could do worse and I’m sure a custom paint job would go a long way towards improving this otherwise decent toy.