Category Archives: Safari Ltd

Tyrannosaurus rex (Keychain from Sue at the Field Museum by Safari Ltd.)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

Everyone knows about the now-defunct Carnegie Collection, which was a collaboration between Safari Ltd and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. As far as I know, this was one of the longest running museum lines, with a lifespan of over 27 years, before being cancelled due to disagreement between the two entities. However, as you may know, this is not the only time that Safari collaborated with a museum. In fact, I’m sure many of you are familiar with the Field Museum of Natural History’s line of prehistoric figures released back in 2006. Out of all the four models, only two were not the famous Sue itself, and almost every figure in this line has been covered already on this forum. I say almost because there is one more figure that is often overlooked, because it rarely counts as a part of the collection, and serves to be more of a piece of merchandise for the museum. What I have today is the blog’s first review of a keychain that has a dinosaur figure hanging from it.

image

The Sue keychain is made from Safari’s standard PVC plastic, and due to the flexible nature of the material, its legs have become warped after carrying it around in my coat pocket for nearly all of eternity. Anatomically, this little girl is not your typical robust Tyrannosaurus rex. Instead it’s a gracile little critter, so much so to make me wonder if Safari intended this to be a juvenile Sue instead of a full grown adult. The tail lacks caudofemoralis muscles, and the feet have no dew claws due to it being such a tiny model. The hands are very crude with painted on claws, and on top of that, they are also pronated. The colors on this figure are not your standard Sue colours. Instead, we have a light orange body with a light green wash instead of the famous plain orange body with a dark green back. The teeth are painted white and the eyes are “mean girl” red. Being a figure that’s made to be carried around in your pocket means that this model will get paint rubs from being pushed up against whatever it is you’re carrying with you. The only way to prevent this is to simply not take it with you, or spray it with a varnish to coat the paint when you first receive it.

image

Overall, if you like keychains and dinosaurs, then this one is a no brainer, I don’t like collecting keychains myself, but I needed something that will help make my key ring stand out from the rest of those in my household. Unfortunately, this figure has long been retired, so a trip to eBay is your best bet for acquiring one.

Iguanodon (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

The hulking ornithopod Iguanodon bernissartensis is probably the loveliest thing ever to spring from a mine in Belgium. Known from a number of remarkably complete specimens, you’d think it’d be hard to get the big-handed one wrong, and indeed most toys over the years have been decent, if unremarkable. It’s the sort of dinosaur that just sort of has to be in your toy range. Now’s the turn of the Wild Safari line to receive its own brand new Captain Stabbythumbs, and I must say it’s a quite excellent piece of work.

Wild Safari Iguanodon in profile

This beastie is yet another sculpt from Safari stalwart Doug Watson, a man who can be relied upon to turn in a well-researched, anatomically correct dinosaur toy. Proportionally it’s very hard to fault, and compares very favourably with Scott Hartman’s latest (2016!) Iguanodon skeletal. The limbs are the right lengths, the oversized hands are suitably absurd-looking and face the right way, the head’s exactly the right shape…why can’t you got wrong somewhere, Doug? You don’t leave much to write about.

Wild Safari Iguanodon looking pretty

Perhaps it could do with a little more meat in places, mainly around the thighs and hips (Iguanodon had massive muscles around there), but one could well argue that that’s an aesthetic preference. I also don’t believe there should be a claw on the pinkie, although it’s difficult to tell if this was part of the sculpt, or just a mistake made during painting. These are truly minuscule nitpicks though, and do nothing to detract from the figure as a whole. It’s very solid.

Wild Safari Iguanodon rear

The figure is covered in scales, and although they were strictly speaking probably a lot finer on the real animal, they do help lend the animal’s hide a reptilian, textured feel that might otherwise be lost. There are also crinkles and folds here and there, the better to enhance the sensation of bulk. A row of tiny, squared-off scales runs down the animal’s back, reminiscent of certain hadrosaurs, which is a lovely touch.

Wild Safari Iguanodon dorsal view

The colouration is also quite pleasing – mostly browns and creams, with a row of purpleish stripes down the animal’s back to add a little interest. Subtle, but attractive. The paint application on my example is mostly very good (certainly when compared with my 2016 WS Carcharodontosaurus), with small details like the eyes and claws handled especially well. At something like 1:45 – 1:50 scale, it’s not especially big, but more than makes up for it with attention to detail.

Wild Safari Iguanodon with Gulden Draak beer glass

All in all, it’s easily the best toy of its kind out there – well-researched, attractively coloured and all around just a thoroughly decent fellow. (And no, the name of the beer mentioned in the above photo isn’t an attempt to suggest anything. No one’s gilded this dragon.) Iguanodon might be the unassuming sort – at least, when it’s not trying to gouge some idiot theropod’s eye or trachea out – but this one’s a worthy addition to your collection.

Available from Amazon here.

Prehistoric Landscapes Cycad by Safari Ltd.

Review and photographs by Lanthanotus, edited by Suspsy

Here comes another (unfortunately retired) one of the prehistoric plants produced by Safari Ltd, the other two being reviewed here. I did not include it in the first review as my usual retailer didn’t have it in stock anymore and it took some time to find one for a reasonable price.

image

Like the other plants, it’s an overall nice if not too detailed sculpt, but what first struck me was its size and its completely different appearance than in the advertising photo. According to this photo, I expected a model of around 5 to 6 cm(2″) tall that would add some nice undergrowth to the other, more towering plants. Unpacking it, I recognized not only its height of around 10 cm(4″), but also its differences in the sculpt. At first I thought it was some kind of perspective trick and if I bent the plant’s stem, I could almost make it look like on the photo provided by Safari. But in fact, the advertised plant is quite different from the one I obtained and no, the model is no knockoff. As you can see from comparing the photos, the stem on the final product is much elongated and the base is also decorated with some stones as well as greens and scrubs. One can only speculate about these differences. Maybe the smaller sculpt was thought to not be profitable when counting production costs versus retail price, but a photo of a prototype had to be used in order to publish a catalogue on time?

image

Whatever reason, while the plant can only serve as undergrowth for really big dinosaur models, it still makes a nice addition to any prehistoric animal collection and provides some decent liveliness to the scene. Like the other two plants, it’s set on top of stony underground that’s littered with some small rocks and fallen leaves in different stages of decay–some of them may represent scrubs, but the lack of detail makes it difficult to determine. Cycads nowadays usually grow with a single, unbranched trunk, but occasionally it can split off, although I have never observed this in wild cycads. So it may be a trait a gardener can achieve with special treatment to the plant. I am not too deep into palaeobotany, but given the long history and great variety of cycads, forms like the one represented here may have been well possible.

image

As the model is not specified, it’s not possible to pin down the toy’s resemblance to a specific cycad plant. Furthermore, there are plenty of buds in the center of the crown and it cannot be determined if they would unfold in the right direction from inward to outward (as it is the case for ferns and cycads) or if they are intended to be sculpted as in the tree fern where the buds fold out in the wrong way as correctly mentioned by Tim in the comments for my previous plant review. Let’s just say Safari got it right here. As with the other two models, the paint job is nothing special but serves its purpose, although the addition of some colorful seeds (bright red on the recent Cycas revoluta for example) would have been nice.

image

Unlike the other two models, the cycad arrived with a small booklet attached which gives a short description about the plant in different languages. The cycad went into production in 2010 (at least assuming by the copyright printed on the bottom) and retired only a few years later as Safari did not include it in their 2014 catalogue anymore. You still can occasionally find it in some retailer’s stock for around 7 €, otherwise you have to search eBay or other online markets, though prices sometimes are as high as 20 € or more.

image