Category Archives: Safari Ltd

Triceratops 1996(Wild Safari by, Safari Ltd.)

Triceratops Wild Safari 1

When it comes to iconic dinosaurs, even after the rise of Velociraptor and Spinosaurus from Jurassic Park fame, Triceratops is placed towards the top of the list along with Tyrannosaurus Rex and Stegosaurus.  In fact, if I did a Greek Pantheon of Dinosaurs and replaced the top twelve Greek gods with Dinosaurs , Triceratops would get a top spot.  The question would be who’s place would it take?  Obviously in Zeus place would be T-Rex.  Some might think that due to its three horns its equivalent would be Poseidon due to the trident, but I think not.  I would replace Hera with Triceratops.   First, Triceratops was a grazer and one of  Hera’s symbols  was a cow, I think that’s close enough too be match.  Also, since T-Rex and Triceratops lived along side each other, they were married (Zeus and Hera were married) in the never ending dance between life and death, so I think the Triceratops is a good fit.

Of course your not here to read my nonsensical meanderings about Triceratops popularity, or its place in the cosmos, but to know a little bit more on the early Wild Safari Triceratops toy.  This toy was made during the early days of the Wild Safari line which was meant as a cheaper alternative to the Carnegie line and more kid friendly.  They had bright colors with soft, yet fun expressions.

Triceratops Wild Safari 9

About the Toy:  Its length is six and one eight inches (15.56 cm) from the tip of the horn to the tip of the tail.  It is two and seven eight inches (7.3 cm) high at the frill.  Adorning its head are the features that you would expect.  Two brow horns and a nose horn and short frill.   Even with a short frill, the skull and ornamentation of Triceratops was among the largest in land animals, making up approx one-third of the entire length of the dinosaur’s body.    On this toy, the frill looks less rounded than it should and not quite as broad.  The horns are wide at the base and are medium in length.  It can be considered an acceptable length though I would favor longer brow horns.

Back when it roamed the world, its beak-like mouth was best suited for grasping and plucking rather than biting shrubs and vegetation.  Unfortunately, the beak on this model is very small, it should have been bigger.  Inside the mouth the tongue is absent.   The cheeks are missing as well.

Triceratops Wild Safari 2

 

Triceratops had strong limbs to move and support its massive body. The forelimbs, which were shorter than the rear ones, supported the body weight on three fingers; the rear limbs carried its bulk on four fingers.  On this toy there are five toes on front and four on the back.  The front legs are supporting the weight directly underneath the body and the front feet on this model have the feet facing forward.  Many scientific theories explain that ceratopsians carried their front feet with their palms facing each other, while the legs and elbow joints were only slightly sprawled.

Triceratops Wild Safari 4

Wild Safari Triceratops 1996 and 2008 versions

The pose is active.  Its head is up and looking to its left while the right legs are spread.  With its front right foot reaching forward and the back right foot almost into the air. It looks to be making a turn, maybe circling a rival, courting a mate, or about to face off against a threat.   The mouth is open and the tail is bent slightly to its right.  The detail on this toy is not as good as version 1 or 2 of the Carnegie’s, and falls well short of its Wild Safari replacement. The model does have sufficient bulk along with loose skin and slight muscle bulges.  The texture of the body is basically loose rippled skin with some circular bumps.  The head has some scales on the frill and along the entire spine are some small vertical lines.

Triceratops Wild Safari 8

The color on this toy is bright and colorful.  The base color is grey which covers the flanks, legs, and belly of the animal.  The horns are a grey and charcoal mix.  Inside the mouth is pink.  The eyes are expressive, colored black with a white outline.  Along the spine is a blue and light green mix.  The rest of the frill is mostly blue with some light green and the head is mostly light green with some grey.  The round bumps on its frill are charcoal and down the middle they form a christian cross pattern with three additional bumps on its left and two on the right. The rounded bumps are charcoal along the flanks all the way to the tail.  The toes are painted in charcoal as well.

Safari also made a baby Triceratops that has the same blue, green, and grey color combo as the adult.  There is also a brown version of this toy and its baby that in my opinion doesn’t look as good as the blue version.

Triceratops Wild Safari 12

Play ability:  Younger kids find it an enjoyable toy to play with.  The colors are bright enough to get attention and with the head up, it looks ready to do battle or munch on plants.  The tail, horns, and jaws are bendy enough to move with your fingers but retain their shape.  Even though the horns are a little sharp, due to it being bendy, there is no danger.  It is easy to use, and its tough enough to handle rough play.  Safe for the sandbox and the living room floor.

Triceratops Wild Safari 3

Overall:  All in all, this figure is outdated, but cute.  It doesn’t stack up to the newer Triceratops toys in details or accuracy. Of course it was designed to be a cheaper toy for kids, and it that capacity it does quite well.   It also has a very cute and expressive eyes which gives it some personality, and personality goes along way.  This model has been retired for a long time but it is easy to find if you want one.  It is a flawed, colorful, and cute toy, that is good for kids.  As for collectors, it depends on your cup of tea if you like a little cuteness or not.

 

Smilodon (Prehistoric Life Collection by Safari Ltd)

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

Smilodon, the notorious sabre-toothed cat, has been included in dinosaur toy sets for decades. It’s often depicted in the likeness of a modern tiger, probably in part due to its common name being “sabre-toothed tiger.” On the contrary, this cat wasn’t closely related to tigers, belonging to a now-extinct subfamily of felidae: Machairodontinae.

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The Wild Safari Smilodon‘s pose is good for playability and dioramas alike. It’s lunging forwards with its mouth open, brandishing the namesake sabres. It looks as though it would be pursuing prey or facing an enemy. The ears are pointed backwards and there are subtle wrinkles in what looks to be an open mouth snarl, creating a very realistic expression. There’s great attention to detail in the musculature around the rest of the body as well. The tricep is bulging and better defined in the weight-bearing front left leg than on the right leg. The fur is very well-defined, being a bit longer on the back of the neck and flowing in the proper directions. From nose to tail, it’s four and a quarter inches long.

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The colours are similar to those of a bobcat, but with more solid and prominent stripes, like the stripes of a true tiger. On the ventral surface of the neck, they’re especially similar to tiger stripes. As with most cats, the WS Smilodon is countershaded with a white underside. In addition, it has white markings around the eyes and white patches on the ears, also like a tiger. The nose is an oddly vibrant color of pink, being the same colour as the mouth. A duller pink would have looked better, but it would probably have increased production costs.

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In the newer figures, there is a dark wash inside the mouth. Overall, the older one is paler with more natural-looking transitions between the brown and white fur. The stripes are more neatly-applied on the older version, making it preferable to the newer version in my opinion. It’s also worth noting that the newer one has a glossy finish while the older does not.

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The proportions seem to be right. If there are errors, they certainly aren’t obvious. As noted earlier, the body is well-muscled as it should be, including the famously robust forelimbs of a sabre-tooth. Unlike dinosaurs, the understanding of the basic anatomy of recently-extinct mammals has not changed very much, so figures much older than this one could still hold up to modern knowledge.

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Given that it’s a popular genus, there are relatively few good Smilodon figures on the modern market, but this is one of them. The attractive pose and accurate anatomy make this one formidible figure. In fact, I would consider this to be the best mass-produced sabre-tooth cat figure so far. It is still in production as of 2016 and can be purchased on Amazon and eBay. Safari also produced a Smilodon cub, though it has eluded my collection so far. From the pictures, it looks like an excellent match for this figure.

Parasaurolophus (Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd)

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

Perhaps the most well-recognized ornithopod, Parasaurolophus is included in nearly every dinosaur toy line. It was part of the original starting lineup of the legendary Carnegie Collection. In fact, the Carnegie Parasaurolophus was one of only five models released in 1988 to have remained relatively unchanged until the extinction of the Carnegie line in 2015. Through its lengthy tenure, the Carnegie Parasaurolophus has gone through different versions. The two to be featured in this review are the 1996-2007 and the 2007-2015 versions. Before 1996, this dinosaur was rounder and less well-defined, sporting a straighter neck and glossier paint.

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The Carnegie Parasaurolophus is in a tripod stance, perhaps rearing up to feed or to look for predators. The head and neck are tilted backwards which could also insinuate alertness or browsing. The entire figure, though most noticeably in the head and neck region, is covered with intricate detail including skin folds and scales. The scales are probably too large considering how small they would have been in life, but smaller scales are much more difficult to sculpt at such a small scale. Forest Rogers did a very nice job with the wrinkles and folds in the neck. They convey a good sense of movement, as though the neck really is flexed upwards.

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The earlier version of the figure is painted in a solid green with medial black stripes leading up to a bright yellow head, which sports black markings of its own and surprisingly, red eyes. It appears that the paint job is to depict the head as a point of visual display. Even though the transitions are naturalistic, the colors are still relatively flat, and could have been improved. 2007 brought with it quite a few repaints of classic Carnegie dinosaurs. Among them, was a new Parasaurolophus. The new paint job is much more complicated than that of its predecessor. The new paint is on a light brown color base material. Most of it is in varying shades of green, which is most vibrant over the sides, overlapped by yellow spots. The green colour becomes less intense as it nears the ventral surface, allowing for the base color to show through for a brown underside. The dorsal surface is painted with a darker green with very faint medial stripes (perhaps as a reference to the older color scheme?). The darker green was applied thinly as to allow the medium green to appear through the high spots. The head is largely free of green (save for a tiny accent near the bill) and is painted with dark brown with the lighter brown showing in the low areas. The crest is a dark red, which is found nowhere else on the figure. The eyes are yellow this time, and while they’re closer, they still aren’t the typical Carnegie gold.

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In length, this model is about six-and-a-half inches long straight from bill to tail to tail tip. The bottom of one of my newer figures reads 1:50. Interestingly, it is only on one of my post-2007 figures, which, according to the production date stamp, was made in August of 2013, while my older one was made before Safari started stamping dates on their figures. The other three are stamped “10 METERS”. All four have 1988 on them.

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Despite a few anatomical errors, the figure was probably up-to-date at the time of its introduction to the market. Proportionally, it’s almost perfect except for the length of the tail, which is just a smidge shorter than it should be. The forelimbs look a bit small from a distance, however, when compared to a skeleton, they are right in scale with the rest of the body. Even the spinal ridge, with the dip in the middle, is true to the actual animal. After that, though, there seems to be a dip at the base of the tail which is not in the actual dinosaur, but that’s probably due to the strange posture the figure has in order to have support from its tail. The hands show four claws on each. I don’t know as much as I’d like to about hadrosaur hands, but it appears as though the number of digits- four- is correct, but it is now recognized that they should be bound together in more of a hoof-like structure, with three digits on the ground and one held off the ground. The hands on the Carnegie Parasaurolophus look more suitable for a more basal, bipedal ornithopod, but that’s probably just a sign of the times, since hadrosaurs were once viewed as animals which were both quadrupedal and bipedal. More recently it was thought that they were facultative bipeds, but some have suggested that it would not be practical for a hadrosaur to take to bipedal running.

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Even though this figure isn’t completely up-to-date, I would recommend the Carnegie Parasaurolophus to any dinosaur enthusiast. It’s a nice figure (if it weren’t, I wouldn’t have bought four of them) and even though the Carnegie Collection has come to an end, it can still be found on eBay and elsewhere for a reasonable price.

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