Category Archives: Safari Ltd

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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Carnegievolution

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.

Pachyrhinosaurus (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)


The approach of 2014 means an exciting new line from each of our favorite prehistoric figure manufacturers. However, there’s an extra surprise this year – the new 2014 line from Safari Ltd. has already arrived! While their offering is impressive as always, I have to say that my most anticipated figure is the Pachyrhinosaurus, and Safari has really delivered on this piece.

Given that Pachyrhinosaurus is the starring species of the new Walking With Dinosaurs motion picture, it is understandable that some people believe this figure’s release is simply an attempt by Safari to capitalize on the film. However, the development cycle for these figures can often take one or two years. It has been confirmed by the original sculptor, Doug Watson, that this was essentially a happy coincidence. Hopefully this means we can continue to look forward to more ceratopsian releases.

In fact, the blunt-nosed fellow has been getting quite a lot of attention in pop-culture lately, which should make its appearance less surprising (though certainly no less welcome). Collectors will notice some textural similarities between this model and the recent Vagaceratops, but the complex skull of Pachyrhinosaurus alone makes it seem far more impressive. The attention to detail here is excellent, and really shows the artist’s dedication to the original fossils.

This model features a beautiful set of high contrast patterns that blend softly, yet provide a nice pop to help this herbivore stand out. I would like to draw special attention to the eye, which is very precisely painted and has the crucial sheen that makes the animal come alive. The base color reveals itself gently on the horns and bosses of the head, which makes for a very convincing keratin-like appearance. In many other ceratopsian figures, the horns are simply dabbed with a different paint color, and it tends to look crude and distracting upon close inspection. I’m glad to see this little guy holds up to close scrutiny.

For a stout creature with relatively low flexibility, it can be tricky to incorporate some form of movement and fluidity to the pose. Our critter is caught mid-stride, but also with his head tilted slightly to one side. This can make it a little trickier to photograph the right side, but this simple gesture really helps break away from the often stiff appearance of other horned dinosaur models.

There has been some discussion as to how much of the pebbly texture of a dinosaur’s skin should be visible in a small figure, since it is scaled down quite a bit. Of course, it can be tricky to deliver a sculpt that adheres to scientific research, and still provides the “cool” looking aesthetics that will make people want to own a model. Undoubtedly, people do enjoy fine detail work in these models, which can draw the eye around the entire body, rather than just the head. This is clearly something that has helped make Papo figures so popular. However, Papo has often ignored the science, and these new releases from Safari are actually bringing in the best of both worlds.

Interestingly, there was a Papo Pachyrhinosaurus released not so very long ago. Many were pleased with that model at the time, but compared to this masterpiece from Safari, it seems downright bland, with very little paint and a head that is barely recognizable as its intended species. This leads us to a realization that may be jarring for those diehard Papo fans – Safari has surpassed Papo here. This seven inch figure is proof that you don’t always have to choose between science and aesthetics. Sometimes they combine into one truly awesome model.

This figure is available to order from Dan’s Dinosaurs here.

Upcoming releases from Safari Ltd (New for 2014)


It has become an annual dinotoyblog tradition, around this time of year, to post an overview of each toy company’s upcoming dinosaur figures. So, here we go again, starting with Safari Ltd.

There’s just a single new addition to the Carnegie Collection in 2014, a brand new version of the ever-popular T. rex. This model will be the third (or sixth, depending how you look at it) incarnation of this infamous dinosaur in the Carnegie Collection to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the line.

Tyrannosaurus rex 25th Anniversary Carnegie Collection

There will be five new figures added to the Wild Safari line in 2014, as follows:

Monolophosaurus. An interesting choice – nice to see a more unusual dinosaur represented.
Monolophosaurus Wild Safari 2014

Pachyrhinosaurus. This is an a predictable choice considering the leading character in the upcoming Walking with Dinosaurs 3D movie is a Pachyrhinosaurus.
Pachyrhinosaurus Wild Safari 2014

Suchomimus. Or is that Baryonyx?
Suchomimus Wild Safari 2014

Carcharodon megalodon. A giant extinct shark.
Carcharodon megalodon Wild Safari 2014

An ammonite. Can you identify the species?
ammonite Wild Safari 2014

Finally, Safari are offering up a new set of ‘cave people’ consisting of various hominid species.
hominids Safari 2014

For detailed discussion of these new figures, see this thread on the dinotoyforum: http://www.dinotoyblog.com/forum/index.php/topic,1690.0.html