Category Archives: Safari Ltd

Oviraptor on Nest (Dino Discoveries by Safari Ltd)


Safari Ltd. recently announced their retirements for this upcoming year. On the list was the 2007 “Oviraptor on Nest” figure, part of their “Dino Discoveries” line. While discussing it on the forum I realized this spectacular little diorama has not been reviewed yet so here I am, reviewing it. The “Dino Discoveries” line consists of a series of fossil replicas as well as models depicting notable fossil finds, in this case the preserved fossils of Citipati brooding their nests. Though I say it is a spectacular model, it is far from flawless but it has a lot of unique features that make up for its short comings. Indeed, it may very well be the model that “sparked” this dinosaur collecting hobby for me.

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Sculpted in 1:10 scale this Oviraptor is in actuality the much more well known Citipati from Mongolia. It is usually Citipati that is depicted in the media as Oviraptor, the actual Oviraptor is only known from scant material. The model is heavily influenced by paleoartist Luis Rey and his depiction of brooding Citapati. The figure shows an adult Citipati looking down over its nest of eggs, all in various stages of hatching. I assume the adult is a male due to the bold coloration on the face but the chicks have the same coloration, maybe I’m just looking too much into it. Regardless of sex the parent looks to be a proud one and maybe a little bit surprised, looking down at its young with wings outstretched around them. The emerged chick looks ready for its first meal, fresh out of the egg.

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The accuracy is hit and miss with this one. Certainly of note are the feathers, sculpted at a time when feathers were rare on model dinosaurs. The feathers are scant though, only present on the arms and running down the back. The arm feathers should extend down the middle finger but as is so often the case with these models they stop at the wrist. The rest of the body is naked, literally. The only scales are on the hands and feet, the rest is just naked skin like on an ostrich leg. The upper thigh does have some raised bumps that almost make it look like a plucked chicken. Personally I like this alternative over having the animal half scaly. It shows that this animal probably descended from a fully feathered ancestor. Still, a full body covering would have been preferable. One has to wonder how it incubated its eggs against its fleshy body instead of a nice warm downy covering but all well, it is still far more realistic than the brooding Maiasaura put out by Carnegie back in their early years.

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Perhaps the most glaring problem with the model is the tail. It is certainly the biggest issue I have with it. The tail is wrapped around the nest, no doubt to save space but while the body is flesh colored the tail is a much darker shade of brown and it starts very near the attachment point for the tail which makes it look like it was literally tacked on there. The tail also has a bizarre series of rings going all the way down the length. This in conjunction with the dark brown make it look much more like a rat tail or even an earth worm than the tail of a bird-like theropod dinosaur. To the models credit the rest of the anatomy looks pretty spot on, in particular the head which is very nicely sculpted and detailed right down to the bizarre tooth-like projections on the roof of the mouth. Oh yeah, the hands are not pronated. It’s almost an obligation to state whether or not they are in these reviews.

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Aesthetically you’ll either love or hate this model, much like Luis Rey’s paleoart. As is the norm for him this model is presented in a very wide array of psychedelic colors that most paleoartists wouldn’t dare paint their dinosaurs in. The body is a fleshy skin color (except for the rat tail) while the feathers are various shades of pink and purple. White gives way to light pink towards the base of the feathers which give way to full on purple near the tips, this applies to the feathers running down the back as well. Overall not a bad look but once again it is the head that really stands apart on this model. Meticulously painted, the head is purple and blue with a red beak. The crest is red as well but with a very sharp looking black and white design painted on it. The eyes are green with a black pupil, the hands and claws are painted black. As said before, the hatching chicks are painted similarly to the adult, though they lack the crest. The nest is your standard grassy sort of nest and sitting on a brown base. The paint application is very clean overall.

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This bold, interesting and detailed model is an instant eye-catcher in any collection and although it suffers from its share of problems you’ll be hard pressed to find mass produced mini-dioramas of this caliber for the price range. It really is a well crafted piece of art and I truly wish Safari would produce more models like it. It not only represents one of the most exciting discoveries of its day but also the work of a highly acclaimed paleoartist. You can’t help but hold your gaze on it, it’s so animated and alive and beautiful to look at. The fact that it will be retired soon means you should probably get it while you can but I’m sure it should remain easy to find for some years to come.

Available from Amazon.com here.

Suchomimus 2014 (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)


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The first time I ever heard of Suchomimus was when I saw Jurassic Park 3 and the character Billy said, “It’s a super-predator: Suchomimus, “then Billy uses his hand and mimics the length of the snout and finishes by saying, “the snout.”  The Suchomimus, which means “crocodile mimic” definitely had a pronounced and interesting snout that in a quick glance resembles today crocodiles and alligators, though in reality there are many structural differences.  It lived during the early Cretaceous, in western Africa and was most likely a piscivore, which means it ate primarily fish.  Unfortunately in the world of dinosaur toys, Suchomimus seems to be the middle child in the family of Spinosauride, despite having one of the most complete fossil remains in the family, it is vastly unrepresented for such a unique animal.  With new members of the family being discovered and joining Baryonyx and Spinosaurus, it is nice to see Safari to do a re-sculpt (Suchomimus) before moving on to the next member in the family.

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About the toy:  The Safari model is touching the ground with all for limbs, though it feels subtle, as if the Suchomimus is wading in shallow water, waiting for a fish to swim by.  Suchomimus is 81/2 inches long (10-11 cent.) and 4 inches tall (21 cent.).  The head is turned slightly to the right (if you are looking at it head on), which is a little over two inches off the ground.  The back legs are next to each-other, hips are around three inches off the ground, and the tail levels for a moment then continues higher.  Just before the end of the tail, it tops off at 4 inches off the ground before the tail dips slightly, and curves to the left.

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The head is really nice with well developed nose and ear holes, and the eyes look nice.  The teeth are partly individual sculpted, with no real gaps in some of the teeth, but they are at different lengths.  The animal is covered in scales that look like a crocodile scales, thay are large and square by the raised ridge along the back, and become rounder and smaller the lower you go on the body. There is a definite contrast in scale size.  Along the spine, is a single line of scutes that again is very crocodilian.

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The neck is short, and you can see the strong shoulder muscles and clear hips with muscles tone underneath the skin.  Yes Suchomimus had neural spines, which are extensions on the vertebra; they were much smaller than Spinosaurus.  The neural spines are most elongated at the rear back of the sacural vertebra which is over the hips and ends half way down the fleshy tail. There is no sail just a raised ridge that makes the animal look bigger. There is even a nice wattle of skin underneath the head and neck.  The arms are long and powerful that end in three fingered hands that are nicely splayed with huge claws.  The feet also have three digits that are spread out distributing its weight nicely.

The colorization is mostly green, orange, and beige.  The ears, nose, inside of the mouth are all pink.  The claws are black.  Along the ridge and top of the animal are green, along with the feet, tail, and outside of the arms and legs.  Along the midsection and underneath are orange/beige.  On one of my models the white for teeth extended a little high onto the gums, but for the most part it is well painted.

Scientific Accuracy: Ok, so there might be a concern, such as the thumb claw should be longer than the other claws on the other two digits.  That was the only issue that I found.  I have no concern on the skin texture looking like a crocodile as no skin impressions have been found for this species that I know of.  The hands are not overly pronated and face inward which is correct, most models get this correct now a days.  In fact, I really can’t find much to complain about, it was researched and done very well.

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Playability:  I think this is a great toy to be played with and a great model for the shelf.  It is stable with all four limbs touching down.  Its body can be moved into many positions, including standing up and balancing on its tail.  It was a joy to take pictures of, because every angle offered something new.  It is great with kids, tough and durable, though I have found some of the paint on the flanks does wear off rather quickly.

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Overall Appraisal: I fully recommend this unique species and dinosaur toy. It has good details, colors, and is accurate in its reflection of the fossil material, minus the length of the length of one claw.  It is a good illustration of the diversity and specialization of dinosaurs. Its pose, looks active and full of life, ready to catch fish in streams and lakes. If you pair it with models from different companies, styles and sizes, it actually fits in very well due to its head being low, and the tail going up high.  It is simply awesome. It will make a beautiful, but deadly addition to your Dinosaur collection.

You can add Suchomius to your collection by going to most toy shops that sell Safari, along with Amazon or Dan’s Dinosaurs.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.