Carcharodontosaurus (original version) (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

When a dinosaurs has a name that means “shark toothed lizard”, you would probably expect the toy depicting that dinosaur to be scary and intense.  Carcharodontosaurus was an apex predator and carnivore that frightened most of the local fauna in its day.  Its enormous jaws were filled with long, serrated teeth that were designed to rip and tear apart the flesh of its prey.  It could give you nightmares.  Not to worry as it lived around 96 million years ago during the Cenomanian stage of the mid Cretaceous.  So unless it is genetically engineered and reintroduced into the wild, or walks through a time portal, for now, we can all sleep easy.

The 1996 Wild Safari Carcharodontosaurus actually has quite a fearsome look for a toy line that was brightly painted and meant to be affordable, cute, and robust for younger dinosaur fans.  For people who want to compare the newer toy versions by CollectA and its 2016 Wild Safari replacement, you will easily notice that this 90’s dinosaur is a relic of the past.

Wild Safari 1996 Carcharodontosaurus 5

The good news is that it certainly looks like a menacing animal ready to strike fear into the hearts of plastic toys.  Unfortunately, something is wrong.  It is in a tripod pose, and while it does look fierce, it is anatomically incorrect for the species.  With its head looking slightly up and off to its left, combined with a inclined back that keep going up until mid tail before coming down, the toy looks like the animal tripped over a log, fell, and caught its self on its left hand.  Due to all that tonnage coming down on that front left carpals, I can see why the hands looks to be bent back and most likely broken.    Look at that wrist, gruesome!

Why it was sculpted this way is baffling.  The best guess that I can come up with is that by making it look like a quadruped, and putting it in a tripod, it would improve stability.  I would say that it worked as it is a stable toy.  At 7 in (17.78 cm) long and 3 in (7.62 cm) high, its size is small when scaled next to other dinosaurs in the line.

Wild Safari 1996 Carcharodontosaurus 6

Wild Safari 1996 Carcharodontosaurus 4

The head and skull are very close to the right proportions, maybe a little short, but overall its not bad.  The eyes are correctly positioned and the mouth is open wide showing off its impressive dentition.  Inside the open mouth is a sculpted tongue.  The teeth are individually sculpted and uniform in size. Sure the teeth should be different sizes, if you want to count it against this toy, feel free, I will give it a pass.  Overall the head is a bright spot on this toy.

The next thing that needs to be mentioned is the arms, which were longer then T. Rex’s, but certainly not that long.  It  would have not been able to rest its weight upon one hand as it is on this model.  It did have three claws, so that part is correct.  Despite that inaccuracy of the pose, it does make the sculpt visually interesting.

Wild Safari 1996 Carcharodontosaurus 2

The body, flanks, legs, and tail all have a good healthy size and weight.  This toy is at least well fed.  There is some nicely sculpted muscles in its legs which is a good touch.  The texture of the skin is all wrinkles along the flanks, arms, legs, and tail.  Underneath the skin texture there are some faint skin folds.  Along the spine is an interesting texture pattern of scales that run from the neck to the tail.  The colorization is orange with green along the top of the back, neck and the top of the head.  The claws are all painted black.  The tongue and mouth are painted pink.  While the teeth are white, it is only the front side that is white, as the back side of the teeth is pink along with the rest of the inside of the mouth.  The eyes might only be painted glossy black, but there seems to be life behind them.

Wild Safari 1996 Carcharodontosaurus 3

Even though the pose is inaccurate, it actually does work very well in its intended role as a toy.  It can rear back on its tail look very threatening.  While its tipped back with its head up, it can give a mighty roar, and scare the pants off the toys near by. The paint job along with the entire animal is robust and can take a pounding.  Even though the mouth is open and looks threatening, the teeth are blunt, so no danger to kids there.

Wild Safari 1996 Carcharodontosaurus 1

It so many ways it is a bad figure, especially in the broken wrist pose. Due to that fact, it can be said that it is a forgettable figure from a more playful and less scientific time of the Wild Safari line.  Despite its limitations to collectors and educators, I have to admit, it has grown on me.  Why?  The head is actually reasonably accurate, and it has an endearing predator personality.  I also find the pose as painfully unique and interesting.  I still wouldn’t rate it that high of a figure, but it is a very good toy to be played with, and its not as common as some of the other early Wild Safari’s.  For collectors who want scale and accuracy,  I would say pass on this figure.  If your a collector who likes strangely depicted dinosaurs, then you might want to give it a chance.  I also recommend it as a toy for smaller dinosaur enthusiasts.

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7 Responses to Carcharodontosaurus (original version) (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

  1. Pingback: Utahraptor (Wild Safari, by Safari Ltd.) | Dinosaur Toy Blog

  2. You know, I really like the jet-black eyes. It gives the face an overall shark-like impression, which nicely helps to drive home the meaning of the name.

  3. I have a feeling that it was posed this way to mimic Mark Hallett’s depiction. https://www.google.com/search?biw=1366&bih=635&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=carcharodontosaurus+mark+hallett&oq=carcharodontosaurus+mark+hallett&gs_l=img.3…9404.11599.0.11812.13.13.0.0.0.0.151.1095.6j5.11.0….0…1c.1.64.img..2.3.333…0j0i8i30k1j0i24k1.pC3Evk9CuJI

    • I had a feeling like that too, but then I noticed that while the head is turned and the tail raised, there are too many differences. On the Safari model, both back feet are one the ground, in Mark’s one foot is resting on a corpse. On the Safari, the weight is resting on one hand, while in Marks, both hands are up in a neutral pose. The body is angled down in a march sharper angle than Marks. It could of been the sculptor used it as a starting point, then made their own sculpt out of it.

      • The figure isn’t a direct replica of Mark Hallet’s painting, but I agree with Gwangi that it may have been the inspiration regardless. I’ve always assumed the bent-over stance was suggestive of a kill pose. Consider CollectA’s Saurophaganax figure for another example.

      • This was one of my most desired figures as a kid. One toy store I rarely visited had it in a boxed set with the Utahraptor/baby and the Ceratosaurus. Even without being able to read the toy’s belly, I could tell it was special. Carcharodontosaurs are probably my favorite dinosaurs, and this was my first toy of their kind, so while it may be dated, it still holds a special place in my heart.

  4. This was my absolute favorite dinosaur toy as a child. While today it looks simplistic and dated, back in the ’90s it was one of the better sculpted dinosaur toys on the market. The musculature was solid and believable, and the creases in the skin seemed at the very least plausible. It was at least an improvement compared to most of the contemporary Carnegie models, with their blobby musculature and asymmetry that became obvious when viewed head on.

    Now I look back and notice the impossible pose, the overly simplistic paint job, and the shrink-wrapped calves and pelvis, yet somehow I still prefer it to the 2016 Safari Carchar. The silhouette looks elegant from every angle, and it gives the impression of an animated, intelligent animal. If anything, I think the paint is the worst aspect of this figure. With a more refined paint job, I believe this figure would hold up better by modern dinosaur toy sensibilities.

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