Category Archives: Safari Ltd

Baby Louie in Egg (Dino Discoveries by Safari Ltd)

Review and Photographs by Quentin Brendel (aka Pachyrhinosaurus), edited by Suspsy

In yet another museum partnership, Safari Ltd produced a model of the dinosaur embryo known as “Baby Louie” for the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. It’s believed that the dinosaur itself was an oviraptorid, however, not much has been published on it because the fossil was originally smuggled out of China and was in the hands of a private collector. Since then, it was kept in the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis before finally returning to China in 2015. Baby Louie is surprisingly large for an oviraptorid, and it’s possible that it’s a Gigantoraptor. The figure itself appears to be heavily inspired by a model by Brian Cooley, who is also responsible for the impressive sauropods outside the museum.

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The egg is very elongated, as are oviraptorid eggs, and is flat on one side, allowing it to sit on a shelf without rolling off. The flat side is positioned so that the open part of the egg is tilted forwards. The dinosaur itself is in a fetal position with its eyes closed. It is fairly developed as though it’s almost ready to hatch. There’s plenty of wrinkle detail and striations on its body, which are rather subtle and do not distract from the overall form. The background of the egg is flat and veiny. The backside includes the manufacturer’s information and a small indentation with holes in it to attach the tag.

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Baby Louie is light brown with a pale yellow underside. It appears as though the brown was painted over the yellow as the brush strokes create a more varied colouration which makes it look more natural. There are touches of gray on the eyelid, lips, arms, and legs. The claws are not painted a different colour from the body. The background is of a medium red material with darker red paint highlighting the veins. It looks as though this model was made in multiple pieces, with a seam line around the inside of the egg; the interior of the egg was produced separately from the exterior and attached inside. The egg itself was produced in a very pale pink and dry-brushed with a lighter colour.

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For an oviraptorid, this figure lacks some of the trademark features of the group, such as a beak and head crest. Some oviraptorosaurs did not posses crests, however, the original Baby Louie fossil has a beak, witch is relatively difficult to overlook. Comparing it to photos of the original fossil, the proportions don’t look awful. As with many theropod sculpts, the wrists are pronated as well. And to get to the elephant (mammoth?) in the room, the embryo does not have any feathers. I would imagine a baby oviraptorosaur would hatch with downy feathers like those of a chick, however, not all birds hatch with feathers and so not all feathered dinosaurs might have either.

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In length, the egg is just under five inches and around an inch and three quarters wide. It is pictured with a US penny for scale. This figure is more of a model and less of a toy compared to other Safari Ltd products, as it is not something kids would really play with, due to the size of the model and that it is a broken-away egg.

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Overall, Baby Louie is a good figure. The sculpt is great, but I don’t think it’s incredibly accurate. Safari Ltd did make other dinosaurs in eggs, including an Oviraptor and a cringeworthy Tyrannosaurus. Of these, only the Oviraptor is in the same league as this guy, but it isn’t perfect, either. I would recommend this figure, especially if you see one in a shop somewhere, but I don’t think I would have gone out of my way to buy this. They aren’t very common anymore so if you’re looking for one your best chance is to wait for one to pop up on eBay.

Utahraptor (Wild Safari, by Safari Ltd.)

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The first specimen of  Utahraptor ostrommaysorum  was found in 1975.  In 1991 further remains were found, and like its fellow dromaeosaurids, it also sported a large, nightmare inducing, “killing” curved claw on its toe.  Thanks to its size being comparable to the over sized Velociraptors in Jurassic Park, and starring in a popular book written by paleontologist Robert T. Bakker, it became a popular dinosaur in the mid 90’s.  Safari Ltd. introduced their first Utahraptor toy with the inaugural dinosaurs for the brand new Wild Safari line in 1996.  The book Raptor Red came out it 1995 and I can’t help but wonder if Safari painted the red stripe on the head of this toy in honor of the way the Utahraptors are described with a red snout in the book.

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About the Toy:  It is on the smaller side at 13.5 cm long, with the tail taking up over half its length at 8 cm.  It is 6 cm long at its highest point, which would be the tail.  It is posed for stability by using the hidden one arm down tripod pose, comparable to the large Safari Velociraptor and the Schleich WOH Velociraptor.  At least its wrist isn’t broken like its fellow original line Wild Safari pal, Carcharodontosaurus.  Since it is leaning on its right front hand, the shoulders are low, and the hind quarters and tail are high.  Either it is about to pounce on its prey, or it tripped on a rock while chasing its intended victim, and is trying to stay upright.

The head is up with its mouth open wide and inducing fear to its adversary.  The teeth are relatively the same size and painted sloppily in white.  Also inside its open jaws is a sculpted tongue which is painted in a dull pink.  The rest of the mouth is painted in the same dull pink.  Starting under its eyes and extending forward is a strip of red the ends before it gets all the way to the nostrils.  Also present are small ear holes at the back of the skull.

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The hands are facing inward and end with three claws.  The claws on the right foot are ok, with the large claw raised but not entirely painted so it looks smaller than it was sculpted.  On the left foot, the large claw is too small and almost uniform with the rest of the claws on its left foot.  The dew claws are present as well.  All the claws are rounded and blunted for safety.

This toy is also devoid of feathers, but this was the norm at the time and should not be held against this toy.  Instead it is covered in the typical wrinkles and skin folds that Safari put on its models during the 90’s.  Its tail is also semi straight with some small bends in it.  Its base color is light brown with a tan underneath.  Starting at the base of its skull and ending almost all the way to the tip of its tail are dark charcoal brown stripes.  The stripes do not extend far down its flanks, stopping at the hips and shoulders.

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Safari Utahraptor and CollectA Gastonia squaring off.

Play ability:  It is a really nice and playable toy.  It has a vicious look to it, with its mouth open, body low, and big claws.  It is a look that many kids like for their predatory animals.  Kids usually have this toy jump onto their intended prey, which incidentally is probably how this animal hunted if it was going to take down larger prey.  It is also really stable, so it easy for kids to set it up on sofas and carpeted floors, which is a bonus.  The toys edges are not sharp and it is tough enough to take on some hard playtime adventures.  The paint holds up very well.

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Overall:  For collectors, this is an outdated, featherless, Utahraptor from the early days of the Wild Safari line.  The line originally was designed to cater to kids for the quick spur of the moment purchase.  It is in this capacity were this toy really shines.  For kids, it is still a fun toy to play with.  If you like featherless 90’s style dromaeosaurids, or you know a younger dinosaur fan, then this is a good toy to pick up.  It can be usually be found on Ebay for a reasonable price.

 

 

Upcoming releases from Safari Ltd (New for 2017)

This month Safari Ltd excited us all by announcing a bumper lineup of 13 new prehistoric creatures scheduled for release over the coming months. Feathers play a key part of the story with five of the new dinosaurs sporting up-to-date plumage, including some very familiar species. Close observers have also pointed out a notable overlap with species previously portrayed by Safari Ltd in their recently discontinued Carnegie Collection. This suggests that the company is intentionally replacing those familiar figures with completely new versions for their Wild Safari line. We will leave the detailed analysis for the individual figure reviews when the models are released over the coming months. In the meantime, here’s a summary of what we can look forward to from Safari Ltd for 2017…

Einiosaurus

This is Safari Ltd’s first ever version of this curve-horned ceratopsian.

Einiosaurus Wild Safari new for 2017

Microraptor

Einiosaurus Wild Safari new for 2017

Coelophysis

This is Safari Ltd’s first ever version of this early theropod.

Einiosaurus Wild Safari new for 2017

Tylosaurus

Einiosaurus Wild Safari new for 2017

Parasaurolophus

Einiosaurus Wild Safari new for 2017

Quetzalcoatlus

Einiosaurus Wild Safari new for 2017

Psittacosaurus

Einiosaurus Wild Safari new for 2017

Deinocheirus

This is Safari Ltd’s first ever version of this unusual hump-backed theropod.

Einiosaurus Wild Safari new for 2017

Feathered Velociraptor

Einiosaurus Wild Safari new for 2017

Diplodocus

Einiosaurus Wild Safari new for 2017

Kronosaurus

Einiosaurus Wild Safari new for 2017

Giganotosaurus

Einiosaurus Wild Safari new for 2017

Feathered Tyrannosaurus

Einiosaurus Wild Safari new for 2017

What a fantastic selection! Safari Ltd have pulled out all the stops with some exciting depictions and clearly have no intention of slowing down after putting the Carnegie Collection to rest. Safari Ltd have also put a special effort into the content of their website recently: each of the new dinosaurs has a dedicated page with information about its history and palaeobiology. You can check these out and see more photos on Safari Ltd’s website here. You can also join in the discussion about these new releases on our Dinosaur Toy Forum here.