Pteranodon (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

It was once thought that there were two distinct species of the famous Pteranodon. P. longiceps is the “standard” one with a knife-shaped crest, while P. sternbergi was larger and had a more ornate, upright crest. However, a 2010 study concluded that P. sternbergi was distinct enough to be a distinct genus, Geosternbergia sternbergi.

This figure, released by Safari in 1999, is clearly a Geosternbergia, but I’ll refer to it as a Pteranodon, as that’s what it was intended to be at the time (Safari’s Tapejara figure has the same issue). At 8 cm in length and a maximum wingspan of 18 cm, it’s small compared to more recent pterosaur figures. The main colour is brownish-orange with light orange for the brachiopatagium, a greenish-yellow bill, and bright yellow eyes ringed in black.

This Pteranodon features the most important details of any pterosaur figure: wrinkled, leathery wings and a body covered in pycnofibres. The crest has the correct shape, but the bill could certainly stand to be longer. The feet and the first three fingers on each arm are little more than notches, and the extended fourth digits are ridiculously thick. On top of that, the head on mine is permanently warped to the right, and treating it to boiling water has not proved successful. If that were all there was to this toy, it’d be easy to write off.

But as you can see from the photos, this Pteranodon figure has poseable wings! Bendable rods inside the arms allow you to raise, lower, fold, expand, and tilt the wings to your content. Needless to say, this is quite a fun gimmick, one that I would have dearly loved fiddling with as a youngster. And I love fiddling with it now. Indeed, I think it would be great if Safari or CollectA or some other company revisited this gimmick.

And so, while the Safari Pteranodon (or Geosternbergia, if you prefer) isn’t going to win any awards for meticulous sculpting detail, it’s definitely one of the most fun pterosaur figures I’ve come across in my collecting. Recommended.

8 Responses to Pteranodon (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

  1. Actually “Geosternbergia” is generally not considered to be valid among pterosaur palaeontologists, so this this figure being a Pteranodon (sternbergi) isn’t incorrect.

  2. I suspect the extra beefy arms are to keep the wire from working out – a forgivable offense.

  3. Mine is stuck to the right as well. I don’t think it’s a warping issue; I’m pretty sure the model was actually cast that way. They must’ve made it that way to make the factory molding process easier. I just think of it as keeping one eye down to look for fish.

    Also, it never crossed my mind to pose mine in a grounded position before! I’ll have to try it. Incidentally, the poseable wings did end up slightly warping the skin flaps after I’d done it several times.

  4. The Lego stand is a nice touch.

  5. I don’t think the Kellner study you mention (where Geosternbergia originated) is looked upon too favorably by pterosaur workers. Mark Witton has a big post dedicated to this issue:

  6. Cloud Dandridge

    For some reason, mine has more elaborate colors on its crest with black stripes on it.

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