Category Archives: Safari Ltd

Monolophosaurus (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

Monolophosaurus 1
For the 2014 crop of Wild Safari figures, the one my 3 year old son was most excited about was the Monolophosaurus. I must admit, I didn’t really know this particular carnivore, and the picture of the toy didn’t really interest me that much. As the months wore on my kid finally convinced me to give it try. So how does it stack up, let’s take a look.

History: Monolophosaurus which means single-crested lizard was found in 1981 in Xinjiang China. It consisted of an almost complete skeleton including the skull, lower jaws, vertebral column and pelvis. Unfortunately the rear of the tail, the shoulder girdle and the limbs were not found. Monolophosaurus lived during the Middle Jurassic aprox. 170 million years ago and it likely prowled the lakebeds and riversides of Asia. This carnivore is instantly recognizable by the single crest that runs down the centre of its skull.

Monolophosaurus 2

About the Toy: The pose on this figure is standing upright with its head turned slightly to the right.  The feet are slightly staggered with the right foot forward.  The tail bends toward the gound and to  the right.

I was impressed with the good detail on the toy. The head looks good, the crest is thin and is the right size covering three quarters of the skull beginning from the snout tip and ending at the eye socket. The mouth is open and shows different size teeth, with tender flesh between the jaws. Unfortunately there is a seam line that is visible that runs from the lower jaw to the underside of the neck. There are nice nasal openings and ear holes on the head. Starting from the top of the neck, a line of scutes runs all the way down the vertebra column and ends at the tip of the tail. The texture detail and anatomy are very good. There are defined muscles on the shoulder and calves. The skin is sagging off the ribcage, with skin creases on the hip and tail. The skin is covered in different size scales. Amazingly, it stands on two feet, and the feet are not oversized! The arms and digits are pointed inward, which is correct.

The colorization is basically red brown, with a cream color underside. The eyes and nasal openings are painted a glossy black. The inside of the mouth is pink and the teeth are white. The claws are all painted a dark grey color that looks very nice.

Monolophosaurus 3
Scientific accuracy: What did I find that was inaccurate? Well, on the skull of Monolophosaurus, the teeth on the upper jaw, go way back into the mouth and ends before the eye sockets, on the toy the teeth end around the same spot as the teeth on the lower jaw. The tail could also be stiffer and not have such a curve on it.  It is classified as a Tetanuran or “stiff tailed” Theropod which means the tail was kept straight by a variety of tendons.  Other than those small details, I think it looks great anatomically speaking. Even the feet are in an acceptable size. As far as I can tell, a great job by the Wild Safari team.

Monolophosaurus 5
Playability: It is a typical carnivore. The size and shape are fairly standard, with an open mouth showing off its teeth, which will be fun for kids, and terrifying for plastic herbivores. None of the edges are sharp, and it stands very well on its feet. The paint job can rub off with serious play, but not too badly.

Monolophosaurus 6
Overall appraisal: I’ll start with the paint job. Unfortunately mine was not painted very well. The teeth and eyes are painted sloppily, not nearly as nice as the paint job on the Carnegie Concavenator which has a beautifully painted head. If they can paint the teeth well on that head, why can’t that happen every time? So I hope that with this model it was just the product of it being the last one painted after a long day of work. The pose is ok, and the colorization is ok, the anatomical details are very good. Other than the paint job, I really do like this toy. As it is the only model of this species as a standard museum quality toy, it makes it unique. It could be used in a diorama for Dinosaurs from Asia, during the Jurassic. So if you like the unique species, and hopefully the paint job, I will recommend this model.

Available at here:

Woolly mammoth (Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd)

There’s a vast array mammoth models out there in the world of prehistoric animal figures but they rarely get much attention here on the Dinosaur Toy Blog. That is, of course, because they are just boring old mammals, but let’s not hold this against them, they can’t help it. So, it had to happen eventually – I’m finally reviewing a mammal!

Wooly Mammoth Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd

There are all sorts of different mammoth species (belonging to the genus Mammuthus) and many of them also have common names. For example, there’s the Steppe mammoth (M. trogontherii), the Columbian mammoth (M. columbi), and everyone has heard of the woolly mammoth (M. primigenius). It is this latter species that Safari Ltd chose to immortalise in plastic form as part of their extensive and ever-growing Carnegie Collection range. The figure was released in 2003 so it was quite a late addition to the museum line, especially considering the ubiquitous nature of the creature. The name of the animal is embossed on the inside of the left forelimb and reads simply ‘MAMMOTH’, but all of the other branding for the toy refers to the model as a woolly mammoth, so we are going with that.

Wooly Mammoth Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd

This is a satisfyingly hefty figure, 14 cm high and 20 cm long (1:30 scale). It therefore rivals the size of most of the dinosaurs in the same collection, including some of the smaller sauropods.

Wooly Mammoth Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd

The woolly mammoth was covered from head to toe, and from trunk to tail, in hair (or wool, I suppose), and the body of the Carnegie figure is masterfully sculptured with a shaggy-looking texture. This wavy hair hangs down from the midline in a natural way, and is expanded into a puffy hump above the shoulders, and a flat-topped dome atop the head – a distinctive characteristic of this species. The underside of the trunk is flat and smooth, presumably to assist its function as a manipulating appendage. The relatively small ears jut out from the body in a somewhat comical way, but this cuteness is counteracted by the sweeping and dangerous-looking coiled tusks. In my figure the tusks are slightly asymmetrical and distorted, but this does not detract in any way.

Wooly Mammoth Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd

We have the preserved hair of woolly mammoths so we know they were brown, as is this figure. The eyebrow ridges are picked out in a slightly lighter tone, which gives the animal a mature, distinguished, almost wise appearance. There are no inaccuracies to speak of – mammals tend to have it good in prehistoric animal toy land. The tusks are a pale colour that I’d describe as…ivory.

Wooly Mammoth Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd

There aren’t many mammals in the Carnegie collection, the only others are a pair of Australopithecus hominids, and a Smilodon, all of which are now retired. This is probably because Safari Ltd have had several other lines of which prehistoric mammals have played a significant part (Wild Safari; Missing Links). Now that Missing links line is retired, perhaps there’s justification for adding more prehistoric mammals, or other Cenozoic creatures, to the Carnegie Collection?

Wooly Mammoth Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd

“Who do you think you’re calling a ‘boring old mammal’!”

To conclude, this is a great figure of a woolly mammoth and, although I’m more of a reptile enthusiast myself, I highly recommend it. It is still in production and therefore easy to get your hands on. It is available, for example, from here.

Dilophosaurus pair (Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd)

Review and photos by Emperor Dinobot, edited by Plesiosauria

The legendary Dilophosaurus pair by the Carnegie Collection (Safari Ltd), was first released in 1995 with follow-up variations in 1997 and post 2000s. Luckily, I have all three variations which are differentiated by coloration and mold. Newer versions seem to be more refined, but this review will talk about that later.

Dilophosaurus pair Carnegie Collection

The main difference between these figures and others in the Carnegie Collection is that these were often sold in pairs held together by a piece of cardboard. Normally, Carnegie Collection dinosaurs were (and still are) sold as a single figure, so the pair represents an oddity in the collection. Some of the Dilophosaurus figures also had the original tag (in addition to the cardboard backing), but the tag was later scrapped as they became more widely available.

Dilophosaurus pair Carnegie Collection

Dilophosaurus pair Carnegie Collection

A diversity of Dilophosaurus! Top left is the newest version; center is 1997-ish release; top right is the original release.

The models make nice companion pieces. One of the Dilophosaurus is crouching and the other is standing, so they can be posed as if they are fighting, arguing or talking. This makes this an awesome pair for diorama building.

Dilophosaurus pair Carnegie Collection

They have one of the fanciest color schemes of any Carnegie Collection figure up until that point. Original molds were made in grey plastic and were covered with a white belly undercoat and glazed with a nice shiny brown overcoat. Finally, heart shaped red spots were painted on them. Later versions had a more detailed color scheme and became somewhat darker and less shiny. Their eyes are always done in apple green and their claws are interesting because they sport both a grey and a black tip on both hands and feet. Later versions seem to be slightly more refined and symmetrical despite the pose. The original version has that primitive Carnegie look we all know and love.

Dilophosaurus pair Carnegie Collection

Done in a 1:40 scale and at around only 4 inches in length, the level of detail is pretty nice and standard for such a small Carnegie Collection dinosaur. I highly recommend this pair to dinosaur enthusiasts everywhere, although I may have a slight fascination with them as they represent my favourite dinosaur. The Carnegie Collection Dilophosaurus pair is a timeless classic. Unfortunately, the figures were retired in 2009, so they are now out of production, so the best place to find them today is on Ebay.

Sometimes available on Ebay here.