Category Archives: Carnegie

Tyrannosaurus rex (2014) (Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd.)

Just as the Carnegie collection’s 10 year milestone was celebrated with the release of an updated Tyrannosaurus sculpt, so this year’s 25th anniversary sees the release of an all-new T. rex figure, one better suited to the line’s current aesthetic. This latest generation T. rex is an obvious improvement still further on the old version, and shows a commendable level of background research, even if it’s still not quite the ‘definitive T. rex‘ figure that some might have wanted it to be. Still, if nothing else, we’ve certainly come a long way from the chunky blockhead with painted-on teeth.


First impressions are good. While the tripod pose is a pity, the subtle sideways sweep of the tail at least looks less stiff and unnatural than the obvious ‘prop tails’ on the Carnegie Cryolophosaurus and Concavenator. The overall proportions of the body are excellent; the hips are massive, the chest suitably barrel-shaped, and the arms are as tiny as they should be (by no means a given in T. rex toys, in spite of the animal’s reputation). The head appears very large at first glance, but it’s by no means disproportionate for T. rex – ‘Stan’ in particular is noted for its outsized-looking noggin.


In fact, the head in particular is excellent on this figure, corresponding closely to real T. rex skulls without appearing ‘shrink-wrapped’. Careful attention has been paid to the shape of the animal’s hornlets and bosses, and there is ample room for jaw musculature (an occasional problem with T. rex figures) alongside nicely realised superficial details such as the nostrils, ears, and beady eyes. The teeth are appropriately proportioned and, while of course making concessions to the fact that a child would probably want to deploy the jaws as a weapon, don’t appear overly blunted.


The head is borne on a lovingly detailed, impressively muscular neck, while the torso is certainly robust – although perhaps not robust enough. The Carnegie style certainly favours rather svelte (but by no means emaciated) dinosaurs, and here it seems that the torso could perhaps do with being a little deeper, which would have made the protrusion of the pubic ‘boot’ a little less obvious. The ankles and feet also seem a little delicate for T. rex, and could do with some widening side-to-side. While we’re discussing the beast’s multi-tonne chunkiness, its big fat rear end might also not be big and fat enough.


Yes, I’m afraid that the problem with Carnegie theropod backsides persists in this figure – that tail base is simply too thin to accommodate the pretty meaty muscles that ran from the tail to the thigh and helped drive the creature forward (the better to hunt Triceratops, lawyers and what have you). Still, it seems churlish to complain about this sort of thing when so few other figures get it right; this remains an unusually well-researched figure, and will please anyone used to despairingly trudging past the usual hideous dreck in their local shops.



All in all, it’s been quite a journey for the Carnegie T. rex – from chunky child’s plaything, through smush-faced terracotta wonder, to stripy green, toothy-grinned splendour. There may remain anatomical nitpicks, and (as with other Carnegie figures) it perhaps could have used a little livening up aesthetically – there are no decorative spines or feathers, and the paint app leaves something to be desired. Nevertheless, it’s a figure I’d recommend to anyone hankering for a decent 1:40-ish scale model of a freakish coelurosaur in their life.

Available from Amazon here and Ebay here.

Upcoming releases from Safari Ltd (New for 2014)

It has become an annual dinotoyblog tradition, around this time of year, to post an overview of each toy company’s upcoming dinosaur figures. So, here we go again, starting with Safari Ltd.

There’s just a single new addition to the Carnegie Collection in 2014, a brand new version of the ever-popular T. rex. This model will be the third (or sixth, depending how you look at it) incarnation of this infamous dinosaur in the Carnegie Collection to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the line.

Tyrannosaurus rex 25th Anniversary Carnegie Collection

There will be five new figures added to the Wild Safari line in 2014, as follows:

Monolophosaurus. An interesting choice – nice to see a more unusual dinosaur represented.
Monolophosaurus Wild Safari 2014

Pachyrhinosaurus. This is an a predictable choice considering the leading character in the upcoming Walking with Dinosaurs 3D movie is a Pachyrhinosaurus.
Pachyrhinosaurus Wild Safari 2014

Suchomimus. Or is that Baryonyx?
Suchomimus Wild Safari 2014

Carcharodon megalodon. A giant extinct shark.
Carcharodon megalodon Wild Safari 2014

An ammonite. Can you identify the species?
ammonite Wild Safari 2014

Finally, Safari are offering up a new set of ‘cave people’ consisting of various hominid species.
hominids Safari 2014

For detailed discussion of these new figures, see this thread on the dinotoyforum:,1690.0.html

Triceratops (Version 2, Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd)

Guest review by John Hall.

Let’s face it – if you’re reading this blog you have known since your age could be measured in single digits that Triceratops was a late Cretaceous ceratopsian from North America whose name means “three horned face”… etc., etc., etc. So how can I open this review of yet another Triceratops model with some sort of novel perspective on this famous dinosaur? Well, one thing we perhaps tend to forget about Triceratops is that this wasn’t just a ceratopsian, but a giant ceratopsian. Forget the traditional comparisons with rhinos – at 9 tonnes and 8 metres long, these bad boys were considerably bigger than elephants (a very large African elephant bull can reach a little over 6 tonnes and stand 4 metres tall at the shoulder). Triceratops was also more or less double the size of other familiar ceratopsians such as Styracosaurus and Chasmosaurus. Considering this size, to witness those incredible horns in action (perhaps as either an offensive weapon against predators, or as a means to settle disputes between rival males) must have been a truly staggering sight. Since African elephants today are quite capable of knocking down entire trees to browse their foliage, the impact of Triceratops herds on the local plant life must also have been quite appalling (I’m a botanist – I like to think of these things, even if no-one else does).

Triceratops Carnegie Version 2

The figure I am reviewing today is the version of Triceratops released by Safari Ltd as part of the Carnegie Collection in 1999. Somewhat confusingly, there are two Carnegie versions of Triceratops, both of which are still being produced by the Safari company. The original Carnegie Triceratops was released in 1988, although it has had numerous changes in colour scheme since then (you can find an excellent review of this figure by Griffin here). As you might expect, the later, 1999 figure has a considerably more dynamic pose, although it could hardly be called a replacement for the original figure, since both are still being made and sold today.

Triceratops Carnegie Version 2

It seems to me that dinosaur figures of this kind need to be reviewed as both children’s toys and display pieces for collectors, and to begin with the positives, there is no doubt that this Triceratops is an excellent toy. The posing of the legs is very appealing, as if the animal was captured in the moment of lunging forward. This is complemented by the very striking expression on the face, with the eyes wide and the beak agape, as if roaring in fury at some unseen foe – a cliché indeed for theropod models, but to see such a moment of aggression captured in a “placid” herbivore is quite refreshing, and certainly in keeping with the awesome weaponry possessed by this animal. The colour scheme is very well conceived, with flame-like orange stripes along the charcoal black flanks. Especially welcome (given the fact that the head is the focal point of every Triceratops model) is the fact that the face shield is similarly adorned with orange, red and yellow markings. Whatever colour these animals were in life, it seems a safe bet that ceratopsian head shields were display structures of some kind and it is hence almost inconceivable that they didn’t bear bright colours and patterns in this way. Ceratopsian models always look distinctly unrealistic to my eye without them. The Safari Ltd website gives the dimensions of the model as 18.5 x 9 cm. Curiously, different Safari Ltd literature I have seen lists the scale of this model as both 1:35 and 1:45; but I suppose the traditional Carnegie scale of 1:40 can be safely assumed.

Triceratops Carnegie Version 2

While I would hazard a guess that kids playing with dinosaurs will love the intense expression on this fellow, I must say that as a collector I find this model a little disappointing. One thing that detracts from the dynamic pose is that both head and tail are turned in the same direction to form a U-shape. This means the model can only be displayed to good effect from one side; I personally find head and tail curving in opposite directions (in an S-shape curve) to be much more aesthetically pleasing and versatile in terms of display. The very exaggerated angle of the jaw gape also seems rather disconcerting. I’m no anatomist, but I find it hard to believe a Triceratops would be able to drop its lower jaw to such a degree; I can’t help but be reminded of a rattlesnake or moray ell rather than a huge plant-eater. Speaking of the head, this sculpt gives the facial features a very fleshless, sunken look, especially along the lower jaw and below the eyes, reminiscent of the ghastly “zombie dinosaur” restorations briefly in vogue during the seventies. The tail seems very stubby to me, although I concede that short-tailed ceratopsians are entirely consistent with modern skeletal restorations. Still, given the fact we can’t really know how much length was added to the tail by flesh and muscle, it seems to me that a little extra tail length for aesthetic reasons is fairly justifiable. The pebbly skin is pleasing enough in concept, but at least on my example the texture was disappointingly shallow and lacked crispness. The execution of the painting on mine was also pretty crude, with the brush marks of the red detailing rather poorly done – but again, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt here and suggest this may be an unlucky quirk of my particular model.

Triceratops Carnegie Version 2

Overall, I would say that this is one of those dinosaur figures that unfortunately photographs considerably better than it looks when you hold it in your hands (I’m rather surprised by how cool this model looks in my own photos, despite my negative comments above!). The dynamic posing is a definite improvement on the original Carnegie Triceratops, but since this was a pretty forgettable three-horned-face anyway, this isn’t really saying much. Ceratopsian collectors will want this figure, as will anyone hunting a complete set of the Carnegies; but it seems to me that for anyone who is just looking for a handsome 1:40 triceratops for display purposes, the collectA trike is probably the better option.

Triceratops Carnegie Version 2

Unfortunately, as graphically illustrated above, the museum-endorsed status of the Carnegie Triceratops still gives it little protection again “less-realistic” models with considerably more ‘tude. Don’t panic folks! I’m not a member of some weird cult that sacrifices lesser dinosaur models to the Papo Tyrannosaurus – (cool though that would be). I have just sawn the trike’s head off prior to remodelling the head position.

This figure is available from Safari Ltd here, here, and here.