Kronosaurus (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd)

Available from Amazon.com for under $20

When their vaunted Carnegie Collection was discontinued in early 2015, Safari Ltd evidently got to work pretty quickly to take up the slack elsewhere, because in a mere two years they more than doubled the output of figures from their standard dinosaur line. This year they’ve released a whopping 13 new figures, several of which are updated versions of animals that had been in the Carnegie Collection. One is this Kronosaurus, the first new figure of this genus since Schleich’s in 2005. The Carnegie Collection version was on the market for nearly 20 years, and Schleich’s was really no improvement, so we were due for a new one.

Safari Kronosaurus

This figure is large. It’s roughly 34 cm long, almost a third of which is the head. This is appropriate, as Kronosaurus had a truly gigantic head, up to 2.7 meters long. This figure is about 1:25-1:30 scale and could easily serve as a doorstop.

Safari Kronosaurus

Our hefty friend sports a fairly standard color scheme for a large marine predator, with a mix of grays above and white below. Even with the relatively conservative color scheme, the pattern is deceptively intricate, consisting of a broad, graded band of gray along the dorsal midline, criss-crossed by irregular but sharply defined transverse striations. The effect is quite eye-catching, and if I didn’t have the toy in my hands you could convince me that it was a computer-generated model. It’s sculpted in an active pose, with the head twisted slightly to the side as though striking at prey.

Safari Kronosaurus

The gaping jaws show off the dentition to great effect. We can see four teeth per side in the premaxillae (the front of the snout), marking this as K. queenslandicus. The gap between the fourth and fifth pair of teeth aligns with huge teeth in the flared lower jaw. This sort of pattern occurs in many aquatic predators, such as crocodiles, and makes it easier to handle prey.

Safari Kronosaurus

This new Kronosaurus represents a dramatic improvement in accuracy relative to previous renditions. Comparison with its Carnegie predecessor is especially instructive. Whereas the old one was perfectly cylindrical, inviting frequent comparisons to a sausage, the new one has a broader head and body, which makes it look much less…extruded. And while the old one had dinky rear flippers, the new one has long, broad ones, reflecting their important role in swimming.

Safari Kronosaurus

There is a low, subtle keel along the back of this figure, continuing on to the tail, but there is no fin. There is circumstantial evidence for small tail fins in some Jurassic pliosaurs, but tens of millions of years of evolution separate them from Kronosaurus. In contrast to ichthyosaurs, mosasaurs, whales, or metriorhynchid crocodiles, Kronosaurus did not use its tail for thrust production. Rather, it propelled itself with its flippers, which is unusual in modern animals. Sea turtles probably come closest, with perhaps penguins a distant second. Neither has any sort of vertical fin. Although Kronosaurus did not have a shell, it shared with turtles a relatively stiff torso, which, along with its slight dorsoventral compression, would help with stability. Therefore, it may not have been necessary to have a fin to prevent rolling. Since we have no clear and obvious modern analogue to compare, until and unless soft tissue around the tail of a big advanced pliosaur is found, Safari’s decision not to include a fin looks perfectly reasonable. At the same time, including one would also be defensible.

Safari Kronosaurus

The one minor gripe I have with this figure is that the fins tend to curl upward. I’m not sure why this is, and if it were a subtler bend it could be explained as minor deformation as the animal rows against the water. It might be that if you softened them up with a hair dryer and squished them between two books they would assume a more natural shape. If you try that or something similar, let us know in the comments!

Safari Kronosaurus

With the small exception of the curly fins, this is a spectacular figure that reflects great attention to detail. It’s the most accurate Kronosaurus on the market, ending the Carnegie version’s dubious 20-year reign. Kids and adult collectors alike should find a way to give it a home.

Available from Amazon.com for under $20

13 Responses to Kronosaurus (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd)

  1. Just received the CollectA version of this Pliosaur. Compared to it, the Safari version looks down right “needle-nosed.”

    Would any resident expert care to comment on which is more accurate?

    • I don’t claim to be an expert (I study fish evolution and anatomy), but the dentition on the Safari version is more accurate, especially the gap (diastema) between the premaxillary and maxillary teeth. As far as the shape of the muzzle goes, pages 270-272 of Colin McHenry’s dissertation on Kronosaurus reconstruct it with a snout that tapers pretty severely. (Google “devourer of Gods: palaeoecology of Kronosaurus” to find it.) I don’t own the CollectA figure, and the photos I’ve seen don’t show it from an angle where I’d be confident proclaiming that it’s too broad-snouted, but the Safari version agrees with the contours as reconstructed by McHenry.

      Pertinent to your previous comment, I too would have preferred a smaller Kronosaurus and a larger Tylosaurus. It’d be nice to have all my sea monsters in a similar scale.

  2. Nice review.

    However this figure touches upon one of my pet peeves.

    For some unfathomable reason, both this new pair of sea reptiles by Safari (this Kronosaurus and their new Tylosaurus,) their older pair (the laughable Carnegie Kronosaurus and oddly posed and equally laughable Wild Safari Mosasaurus) as well as the new Kronosaurus /older Mosasaurus from Collecta all have the significantly larger Mosasaur significantly smaller than the Pliosaur. Hard to see, under these circumstances, how the one contributed to the demise of the other.

  3. It’s nice to see that the old WWD Liopleurodon paint job is still going strong, lol.

  4. Great review of a great model. (Extruded – ha!) It’s very striking

  5. Top-notch review! You may well have convinced me to pick this one up.

  6. Magnificent opinion forgot to comment that this figure is very resistant to abrasions by falls, which is appreciated by this brand. Very good partner with the one who has been released from Collecta

  7. Make sure you do a comparison photo with the Collecta version if you do a review of that one!

  8. Great review! Quite the contrast between the old CC figure and this one.

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